Multi Zone Heating: A Better Alternative To Smart Thermostats?

Krista Aumüller
10/26/2015 IN Know How

Smart heating is becoming an increasingly important consideration for homeowners looking to cut down on their energy bills.

In an earlier blog we looked at smart thermostats – what they are and how much you can realistically save by installing one. (Read about our smart thermostats)

Smart thermostats offer users the ability to control their heating via an app. The heating can be switched on and off remotely and the temperature adjusted up and down. The greater control over heating schedules can bring savings of around £150 annually, which usually means the thermostats pay for themselves within a year or two.

The drawback, however, is that just like the traditional thermostat, a smart thermostat on its own can only control the temperature for a single zone, which means the temperature is the same for every room in the house.

Intelligent Zoned Heating

Intelligent heating through zoning offers even greater potential for energy saving.  In fact, the difference between a single smart thermostat and a smart zoned heating system is significant. According to Ofgem (2014) a multizoned heating system could save up to £400 off the annual dual fuel bill of £1385. Compared to the £150 offered by single smart thermostats, this seems an attractive prospect.

heating-function-graphic

Multi zone heating and cooling allows individual rooms or zones to be heated to a specific temperature, at a specific time of day. This is usually achieved through the use of smart thermostatic radiator valves and it means you don’t waste energy or money heating rooms that no-one’s using.

For example, if you usually take the dogs for a long, muddy walk on Sunday afternoons, the radiators and underfloor heating in the utility room will warm the room ready for when you return to ensure your coat and boots dry quickly. Multi zone heating and cooling can be tailored to your schedule to ensure your heating is completely optimised for the way in which you use your home. 

So now that we’ve looked at the benefits of a multi zone heating system, let’s take a look at a couple of options that you might consider.

Honeywell EvoHome

evohomeHoneywell was the first to introduce the circular thermostat as we know it way back in 1953. Since then, they’ve been busy bringing things up to date and now offer a single smart thermostat, a voice controlled thermostat (yes, really!) and their multizone heating and cooling offering, Honeywell Evohome. With Honeywell Evohome, you can control up to 12 zones in your home.

Honeywell Evohome can be purchased from several professional plumbing and heating websites. For a zoned heating and cooling system with four radiators, you’d need the following (prices are approximate):

  • WiFi Controller: £185
  • Wireless relay box: £80
  • Mobile access kit: £50
  • 4 pack radiator adapters: £200
  • Total: £515

You can reduce this total by buying products in a bundle, like the Honeywell Evohome Connected Pack 1, which is priced at around £400 for all of the items above.

Loxone Air

Loxone_Miniserver_GO_FrontSimilar to Honeywell, with Loxone Air, you can enjoy a wireless zoned heating and cooling system, which is ideal for retrofitting.

For a zoned heating and cooling system with four radiators, you’d need the following:

  • Miniserver Go: £297
  • Nano IO Air (wireless relay box): £90
  • 4 x Valve Actuator Air (Radiator valve actuator): £288
  • Mobile access: Included
  • Total: £675

On the face of it, this option is the more expensive one. However, if you’re considering controlling other aspects of your home aside from heating, you could well find that this is most cost efficient solution.

Once you have a Miniserver, you have the basis for a full smart home solution. You can control your heating, lighting, security, AV and more. There’s no need to sign into multiple clouds or apps either, since your home is completely centrally managed…the way it should be. 

Is It Worth It?

Whether you opt for a single zone smart thermostat or a multizone system, either will bring considerable savings. However, if you’ve got the money to invest in a multi zone heating, you’ll reap the greatest rewards long-term.

In terms of seeing a return on your investment, the payback time is very similar to the single zone smart thermostats. You’re likely looking at a payback time of 2 years when you take into consideration the increased saving potential that comes with multizone systems. Long-term, zoned heating is a better investment, since after the initial 2 year payback period, the annual savings for a multizone system are twice that of the single zone thermostats.

Want to find out more?

If you’d like to find out more about zoning your heating with the Loxone Miniserver, why not request a free brochure, or find out more on our website?

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