Get more out of your HVAC system: heating & cooling with Loxone (part 1 of 2)

Florian Woess
11/09/2016 in Know How

As the winter season approaches, we spend more time indoors. There is no better time to get rid of your thermostat and replace it with a Loxone Miniserver for perfect heating & cooling control for your HVAC system. We just did so in our new Loxone Smart Home and the results are simply stunning!

Here’s our old thermostat:

We had two of these thermostats in our house. One on the upper floor and one on the lower floor. The basement had no thermostat at all. We were able to set a temperature, switch between heating and cooling, and control the fan. That was it. No temperature schedules, remote control, or individual room temperatures.

That setup had a couple of major drawbacks for us:

  • Unbalanced heating and cooling throughout the house – the thermostat uses the hallway temperature to control heating and cooling in all bedrooms. The temperature difference between the hottest and the coldest room has been 5°F.
  • We had to switch between heating and cooling manually. We had both cold and hot days here in Media in the past couple of weeks and had to switch back and forth to get our desired temperature.
  • Setting up or changing heating and cooling schedules on the device is unintuitive and means going to each thermostat and changing schedules. There is no possibility of setting flexible schedules or presence-based heating and cooling.

The problem is that we have no way to control it in a truly smart way with a thermostat. What does a smart climate control look like, anyway? Is it able to control your heating and temperature from your phone? Well, there are many people who can do that. What about being able to create an environment that knows when you are at home and keeps you comfortable all the time? At Loxone we have made this possible! Here’s what we did in our home:

Controlling the HVAC system with a Loxone Miniserver

We removed the thermostats and hooked up the HVAC to the Loxone Miniserver. We measure the temperature individually in each room with the temperature and humidity sensors that are included with the Loxone Touch. We placed a ‘Temperature & Humidity Sensor Air’ in all rooms where we did not install the Loxone Touch.

Check out the section with the tech details at the end of the blog, to find out more about how we wired the HVAC.

By hooking up the Miniserver to the HVAC system we get a fully-fledged self-learning and easy to use heating control. It gives us the perfect temperature throughout the daywhile keeping the energy bills low. We’ve been using it for a week now. Here’s what we improved in our home:

Precise temperature control

The Miniserver reads the temperature of all rooms in the house, calculates the average temperature for each zone, and settles it to the exact target temperature.

It also takes the temperature difference between the hottest and the coldest room into consideration. If the difference is too high, the fan turns on automatically and balances the temperature.

The Miniserver even learns how long it will take your home to reach the desired temperature. For example if I want my home to be at 70 ℉ by the time I get home at 6pm, the heat turns on at 5pm if the house takes an hour to heat up.

Individual heating schedules

We can set up individual heating schedules for all days of the week. Changing the schedule is easy, you can just do it with your Smartphone or PC, sitting on the couch instead of walking up to all your thermostats.

Presence-based autopilot heating & cooling

My favorite feature: We also set up an automatic away mode. If there is no movement for more than 30 minutes, the temperature will automatically be lowered. As soon as movement is sensed again, the temperature is set back to the normal level. That way you can save a ton of energy without losing comfort.

Remote control

Our heating works automatically without a thermostat and the need of manual control. However, if we want to change anything manually, we are able to control the whole system with the free Loxone Apps. We can set temperatures, heating modes, heating schedules, and more. Imagine you’re returning from winter vacation early: you can set the temperature back to normal in your home while being on the way so that the home welcomes you warm and comfy.

Home & Frost protection

The Miniserver monitors the temperature in each room. Imagine you leave a window open while being on winter holiday. If the temperature drops below a certain level, you will automatically be notified and I can react before damage is done.

We also placed a water sensor below each HVAC unit. That way we will immediate be notified if the HVAC system leaks water before any water even leaks.

Hooking up the HVAC system: Tech details

Here’s how we hooked up the HVAC to the Miniserver:

  1. We turned off the power and removed the wall thermostat.

2. We pulled back the thermostat cable and ran it to the Miniserver.

3. We connected the thermostat cables to the outputs of the Miniserver. We use one relay to switch the Fan on and off, another one for heating and one for cooling.

We installed Loxone Touch switches with built-in temperature and humidity sensors to monitor the temperatures in each room. Alternatively you can use the wireless Loxone Temperature & Humidity Sensor Air. With the smart heat controller in Loxone Config and a bit of configuration we got everything up and running within an hour. With a few small changes the same setup also works for heat pumps. Read more on that here >

Next step: Individual room control with dampers

Hooking up the Miniserver with the HVAC system is a huge improvement for our Loxone home! It makes our daily life more comfortable while saving energy. However, we’re still missing a truly individual room control. To achieve that, we installed dampers to regulate the air flow to our rooms. That way, the Loxone system is able to adjust heating and cooling for each individual room of the home. For instance, set your bathroom temperature to a warm 73 degrees for the morning shower, your bedroom at 68 degrees for a good night’s rest, and your living room at 72 degrees on those chilly nights. So stay tuned and find out more on installing dampers in your Smart Home in my next blog. Don’t miss it and sign up for our infomail and follow us on Facebook. Any questions on controlling your HVAC system with Loxone? Let me know in the comments or get in touch with us for a free project consultation.

I would like to learn more about LOXONE