With heating accounting for as much as 60% of the energy used in a home, having the right heating controls can save your customer money as well as helping to create an environment that is always warm and comfortable. Here’s what you need to know to help customers make the right decision.

While inexpensive and simple to fit, traditional heating controls can make it difficult for the user to get the temperature right. Many homeowners will frequently adjust the thermostat up and down in an attempt to find a comfortable temperature. This is often ineffective because the basic thermostat does not offer the level of control required and the frequent changes cause energy to be wasted.

The alternative is smart and connected controls that provide the user with greater control and more advanced features that both allow the heating system to be more effective and prevents wasted energy.

Connected controls enable the heating to be monitored and controlled from anywhere via a tablet or smartphone using an app. The heating schedule can also be fully programmed based on the routine of the household, so the house is at the correct temperature when they wake up in the morning or arrive home.

Features and benefits

There are a range of connected heating controls available, but it is worthwhile looking for certain product features – before recommending an option to your customer.

Holiday mode

If the homeowner is going to be away, the heating can be easily switched over to holiday mode for a set number of days without affecting or removing the programmed schedule. In holiday mode the system is kept in standby mode to save energy while preventing damage such as frozen pipes.

Geolocation fencing

Also known as geo-fencing, this feature enables the system to alert homeowners once they are a certain distance from their home as a reminder to check if they’ve left the heating on and adjust their heating schedule if necessary.

Optimised start

This feature can help reduce wasted energy by taking the ambient temperature into account. Instead of activating the heating at a fixed time, the optimised start function calculates how long the house will take to heat up based on the current temperature and starts the boiler exactly when required. The user simply sets the time they want the house to be warm by. For example, this could be the time they wake up in the morning and the control adjusts the start time accordingly. This means on milder days the boiler will fire later so the house is not warmed before it is needed, preventing wasted energy.

Advising the customer

There may be a number of reasons why the customer has not invested in a connected heating control. An annual service offers an ideal opportunity to speak to them about the possibility of upgrading, especially if the current device is reaching the end of its life. Also, for new combi boiler installs in England, fitting a connected control satisfies the Boiler Plus requirement to improve energy efficiency.

Some customers may not be aware of what connected controls can offer and the options available. As an installer you are ideally placed to offer advice. However, some may see the larger up-front cost of the devices as a barrier. As such, it may require an explanation that the potential energy and cost savings that can be achieved will offset the initial investment. For example, the Energy Saving Trust estimates that homeowners can save £75 per year by simply turning the room thermostat down by one degree. Therefore, having better control over the heating means the payback period on connected devices is relatively short.

Click here to find out more about the Alpha Connect wireless thermostat.