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Some thoughts about home heating and domotics

If you wish to include into your domotics your heating system, you should think about several concepts. This is a small collection of them I’ve found during my years trying some of them:

  • How deep I want that integration?
  • How complex is my heating system?
  • How intelligent I want that system to behalf?

If you look at the first question, “How deep you want that integration”, you should know there are several well known heating systems that offer you an all in one heating package: Nest, Honeywell, Netatmo, Danfoss, etc… And there are also (z-wave) devices that could be included into your domotics as one device more: for example z-wave termometers, relays, thermostatic valves, etc, from Secure, Fibaro, Danfoss, etc.

Always, second option offers more integration than first one. Because you can access each device directly from your controller, include them into your rules, scenes, variables, etc. But this doesn’t mean the rest do not integrate! They do, but not as well.

To integrate first type, check if your controller supports them. In this case, your options are big. You will be closer to a z-wave device situation. If not, you maybe can use IFTTT or similar communication: I suggest you visit IFTTT channel of your heating brand to understand available communication.

 

And how complex is your system? Have you got your own boiler, or is it a central building boiler? Are you willing to have thermostatic valves on each radiator? Or just a unique home temperature control? The answer to these questions will drive the decision of which devices you need.

If you have one thermostat at home that controls all the radiators at the same time, this is the simplest and most common situation. If you wish to control the temperatures of each room separately, then please consider the following point.

 

How intelligent I want my home heating system? If I am considering it to be included into my domotics system, the answer of that question its maybe “as intelligent as possible”. Ok if that is the case, bear in mind:

  • Intelligent in terms of energy: hermostatic valves and “smart” thermostats often:
    • Calculate their own hysteresis
    • Learn about heating curves using their own algorithms to calculate the inertia of a room/home, and they maybe close or open a radiator valve before/after the scheduled time in order to save energy.
    • Detect open windows, closing the radiator valves to avoid wasting energy
  • Intelligent in terms of adjusting the programed schedule dynamic and automatically to certain events that happen at home:
    • Advance or delay a setpoint because you are early/late from work
    • Adjust temperature rooms if going bed
    • Reduce set points if away
    • etc

The smart part to adjust the schedule is directly linked to the first point “how deep I want that integration”. The energy part is not as simple as it looks like. This is the explanation:

Normally all in one heating packages of the leading companies such as the mentioned ones, they do this. Even if this is a multiroom system where you want to control the temperature of each room independently. BUT if you try to do this with z-wave devices and a complex system (multiroom system, with your own boiler) take in account:

  • Thermostatic (z-wave) valves, such as Danfoss LC13 or Popp they do have these features built-in: they do calculate the inertia and they do close if a window is open near them. But they do not send that information to your controller… and as far as I know, there is no way to asking for that information from the controller to them. Normally the unique information available on the valves is heating point and in some cases the temperature of the room. But not the %open or the “window feature”.
  • So it could happen all your radiators are closed, but your controller is asking the boiler to heat, because it hasn’t got this information.
  • This means, the “energy” part of it, you will not have completly
  • And if you have thermostatic valves in all your radiators and all of them are closed, while the boiler is on, you could case a damage to it.

So here my thoughts, my findings, after some years of different systems and after reading about this subject not only in Zipato system, but also Fibaro and others.

Hope this helps building your own smart heating system!

 

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you can find also interesting comments about this topic in here: https://forum.fibaro.com/index.php?/topic/28065-heat-controller-setup/&tab=comments#comment-136941

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