Something I have never quite understood is why thermostats for central heating are located in the hallways of most homes. From my experience, hallways are often the coldest in homes because they are close to the draughty front door that sucks in freezing air when someone enters or leaves the house. So why are thermostats placed there? Surely that just means that the thermostat won’t kick in until the draughty hallway has reached the desired temperature, meanwhile all the other radiators in all the other rooms are working and the temperature in those rooms is higher than what the thermostat is set to? So basically the used rooms in the house are much hotter than the home owner intended them to be. Surely it would be more efficient to have a thermostat in every room so homeowners can control the temperature level of each room individually to prevent energy being wasted. The temperature of rooms can vary depending upon the size of the room and the location of the room in the house, resulting in some rooms reaching ridicules high temperatures before the thermostat in the hallway clicks off? I get that most radiators have a temperature setting but it isn’t practical to go round the house every day adjusting them to suit.
This traditional system is incredibly uneconomical and one would have thought a more modern approach would be widely available in this day and age, especially since the cost of energy and the cost of living is a subject often in the news.
I only experienced the traditional ‘combi’ system while living in student accommodation. My room was unbearable hot. Because it was small and located on the second floor and because my housemate who had a room twice the size of mine on the ground floor whacked up the thermostat to get her room to a moderate temperature.
The central heating in my parent’s house is run by a wood burning stove and there is no thermostat at all. They just reduce or increase the amount of wood put on the fire accordingly. This may sound inefficient but the house is quite small, all rooms are used equally and my step dad runs a business called Yorkshire Woodland Products and sells firewood so fuel is readily available.
In our current tiny home we only have electric heaters. Each one has a timer and these were set to come on an hour before the room would be used in winter (they are switched off now it is spring and only used now and again). We only have three rooms, though, so this system works very well for us. The bedroom heating only comes on an hour before bed time and the bathroom heating is manually turned on before we use the shower. The water is heated by an immersion heater which is know as a ‘conventional’ heating system but without radiators.
My brother-in-law is attempting is own home made system using a Raspberry Pi computer. He intends to have sensors in each room which can be controlled via the Pi, and hopefully by Wi-Fi, so he can change the settings using his phone. I would say this attempt is only for uber geeks and those who have hours and hours to spend playing about with electronics if the time he has spent on it is anything to go by!
Much to my joy, there is a device called the evohome by Honeywell that has recently come on the market and controls every room individually, It promises a perfect balance of comfort, control and energy saving. The device controls hot water and heating via an app on any mobile device and could save as much as 40% on energy bills when replacing basic timer and thermostat controls. It does sound like a fantastic little device.
The system is tailored to each home depending on how many rooms or ‘zones’ you wish to control, and depending on the heat source those rooms use. For example, if your kitchen has underfloor heating and all your other rooms have standard radiators, that’s ok because your system will be uniquely fitted to match your set up. Because the evohome system is uniquely set up for each home a qualified plumbing and heating installer will be required. It all look really easy though as there is a sit you can visit to work out which components you need and it also recommends qualified installers. You can find out your potential household saving by filling out the details on this page. Their YouTube video explains the benefits well and is nicely done too. Check it out here.
D and I would love to build our own quirky home one day and we will be putting a lot of thought into how we heat it in the most environmentally friendly, yet practical way as possible. I certainly won’t be having one thermostat in my hallway!
I would be interested to hear about your set up at home. Do you have a standard one thermostat system? How do you manage the temperature of your rooms effectively if you do? If you have some new snazzy system like the evohome I would love to hear what you think about it.