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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > August 2019 > BUYER’S GUIDE TO smart heating

BUYER’S GUIDE TO smart heating

Intelligent heating has quickly become a standard feature in many homes – but what’s the optimum setup for self builders, and how will an integrated system take your controls to the next level of convenience? Emily Brooks explains the options

Remote-controlled heating has been one of the first real success stories in making home automation affordable to everyone. The benefits of app-operated thermostats are clear – where would we be without being able to boost the heating from the sofa or switch it on before we get home? But there’s opportunities to take things further if you’re self building.

Simple solutions

Companies such as Nest and Hive have aimed themselves squarely at the retrofit market, making it easy for anyone to get a smart thermostat at a cost of around £200. As well as being easy to control via apps, they’re compatible with voice-activated assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. They’re also part of a diverse family of products, from light bulbs to security cameras, that can all be controlled from one place in order to make life easy. Besides allowing you to remotely switch your heating off and on, or the temperature up and down, they have some more advanced features. For example, they can learn how long it typically takes your home to heat up, so instead of programming a time for the heating to come on, you can set when you want it to reach a certain temperature. Combine a central thermostat like these with smart thermostatic radiator valves (STRVs) and you’ll have more nuanced control over individual zones – so, for example, if you’re coming home at night and going straight to bed, you can just switch the bedroom radiator on for an hour. Hive has just launched its own version (costing £54) and other brands include Tado (whose products are Apple compatible, where Nest and Hive are not). Some of the boiler companies are also getting involved in the market. Bosch’s EasyControl system, for instance, is designed for optimum compatibility with Worcester boilers.

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About Build It

Make a success of your bespoke home building project with inspiration and advice from Build It magazine. This month's advice-packed issue includes: - Design & build masterclass - How to win the planning game - Buyer's guide to bifold doors - Renewable energy: ground source heat pumps - Modular extensions: quick ways to add value to your home - Build It's real-life Self Build Education House ... and more!