At the end of the guide, we will have everything we need to create a house with the ideal climate all year round, controlled automatically by an app, saving on energy bills.
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Home automation for independent heating with a smart thermostat
In most of our homes, we will find a gas boiler (methane or LPG) prepared for heating radiators and hot water; obviously this boiler will hardly be so new as to have Internet connectivity or other automated control systems. But the law comes to our aid: in fact, in all the houses it is mandatory to have a room thermostat to adjust the internal temperature depending on the time of year.
From our boiler, therefore, two simple wires (usually red) will leave, which will be placed in a small wall-mounted housing inside the house (usually very close to the wall where the boiler is present): these are the thermostat control wires.
These two wires are positioned inside the thermostat, which works exactly like a relay: when the environmental conditions or the program set on the thermostat require the boiler to be turned on, the circuit closes (the current passes), the boiler turns on and begins to heat the radiators. Conversely, when these conditions fail, the circuit opens (no more current passes) and the boiler switches off.
The simplest thermostats allow you to switch the heating on and off via a button, via a chronometer at weekly times and days (Chrono thermostat) or by setting a minimum temperature in the house (when we go down under this temperature the radiators will always light up). Obviously the “old” methods always require a minimum of control from the user, otherwise the thermostat “does too much on its own” and turns on the radiators even when we go to sleep or there is nobody at home.
To give a little home automation to the heating system, we recommend buying a smart thermostat like the one sold here -> Decdeal Wi-Fi Thermostat for Gas Boiler (40 €).
By purchasing this thermostat and connecting it to the two control wires of the boiler we will have at our disposal a small jewel of the home automation: with it we can set the desired temperature during the workweek or the weekend, turn on the radiators manually and check at a distance temperature and ignition of the boiler via the dedicated app for Android or iOS, via Google Home, via Amazon Alexa or via IFTTT.
The configuration is very simple: we create an account from the specific app and connect the thermostat to our Wi-Fi network, so we use the scenario functions offered by the app itself to recreate the desired conditions (we can also rely on external weather conditions).
Alternatively, we can configure Google Home, Amazon Alexa or IFTTT and also enable voice commands: just find the “Smart Life” service and associate it with one of the routines that can be configured with these assistants.
If we want other types of Smart thermostats, we can view the best trade from the list below:
- tado ° Smart Thermostat (123 €)
- BTicino Smarther Thermostat (€ 148)
- Netatmo by Starck (€ 162)
- Nest Thermostat (€ 249)
Whatever thermostat we choose we will have compatibility with all the domotic services already mentioned and exclusive control via the app, we just have to choose the model that convinces us the most.
If we have a different heating system (radiant, pellet stove, etc.), it is always advisable to contact a plumber to find out the limits of your system and find out if it is possible to place other types of intelligent thermostats (like this one).
To learn more about domotics, we refer you to reading our articles.
- How IFTTT works to automate messages and control home automation
- What Google Home can do: voice assistant, music and home automation
- Functions of the Amazon Echo, what it is for and what it does
Domotic for central heating (Thermostatic Valves)
If we live in a condominium with central heating, we will hardly be able to adequately manage heating and consequently energy consumption, since the boiler is unique for the whole building. In these cases, we can remedy using intelligent thermostatic valves.
Thermostatic valves are small devices to be placed in the hot water inlet tap inside the radiator: when we reach the desired temperature in the room, they block the flow of hot water, therefore keeping the radiator at the desired temperature.
These devices allow you to save a lot of energy, because they allow the boiler to send more hot water only in the cooler radiators or that we have set to a higher temperature, avoiding the radiators that are already at temperature (in the hottest rooms, small or crowded). If we already have thermostatic valves we can interface them with these devices (which actually open and close the valve automatically), connected via Wi-Fi to a central unit (synchronized with the thermostat) or manageable via app or voice commands thanks to Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
The best automatic and smart valves that we can buy are:
– Eve Thermo Thermostatic Valve (€ 68)
– Tado ° Smart Thermostatic Valve (€ 122)
– Netatmo NVP-IT Basic Kit (€ 184)
The operation and assembly are quite simple: the previous control unit is removed, the appropriate adapter is positioned for the new head and the new thermostatic valve is inserted. If we do not have thermostatic valves already positioned or we are not able to hook those choices, we strongly advise contacting a plumber, so as to be able to position these devices correctly.
Home automation for cooling, air conditioning, and air conditioning
When we talk about air conditioners, there are already many models on the market that offer Wi-Fi connectivity or app control: if we are among the lucky owners of these models we will not have to do anything else, having already everything available.
If instead, we have an old air conditioning system, we will first have to check if the control wires are available: in this case, they can be either two (as for the boiler) or four or 7 (based on the electric wires supplied for the conditioner control).
Once we understand how our air conditioner works, we can use one of the following thermostats to manage this type of equipment.
- Beca Series 002 Air conditioner thermostat (30 €)
- Decdeal BECA Programmable Thermostat (34 €)
- Beok Fan Coil air conditioner thermostat (€ 54)
- Nest Thermostat (€ 249)
The connection is a bit complex, difficult to apply by those who do not know a minimum of electronics: some of the wires must be connected to the thermostat, so as to control the passage of the current for the main functions. On the simpler models, the connection is identical to the boiler: current is passed only when the temperature is too high and we need to turn on the air conditioning.
If we chose the Nest, we can easily use only one thermostat for the boiler and for the air conditioner, being prepared for the use of both. Also, in this case, we recommend contacting a qualified installer or an electrician, to avoid having to handle electrical wires and seriously endanger our lives and the lives of others.
If we want to find out more valuable tips to save money, we refer you to reading our dedicated guide below.
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