Recent research by TACMA has found that homeowners can make savings of up to 40% with the correct installation of effective heating controls. However, many installers automatically opt for wired products and overlook wireless controls. Simon May explains why installers should consider choosing wireless over wired counterparts.
Heating technology has come a long way since the first electric room thermostat was invented in 1883 by Warren S. Johnson. Early thermostats featured mercury thermometers with electrodes inserted directly through the glass, so that when the desired temperature was reached the contacts would be closed by the mercury.
Nowadays installers are faced with a myriad of options when it comes to selecting the best controls for heating systems. So, what are the best controls to install that benefit both the homeowner and the installer?
When selecting the right controls for individual installations, a combination of products such as thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), room thermostats, and a timeswitch or programmer can be fitted to create a complete effective solution.
What’s more, installations can be performed faster and more easily by using wireless products. Installers often overlook wireless controls because they may not be familiar with them or think they will be too complicated to install. However, there are many advantages to selecting wireless controls over wired equivalents.
One of the main benefits of installing wireless heating controls is the fact that they are so easy to fit. Wired controls may require cables to be run in walls and under floors, which may need an electrician depending on the installer’s level of expertise.
Wireless controls installations cause little or no disruption to the fabric of the building, so there’s no need to rip up floorboards or put unsightly holes in walls. There’s also no damage to any of the home’s décor, which can be hard to replace – especially if there is wallpaper on the walls.
What’s more, because it’s so quick to install wireless products, the time spent on site is reduced. This leaves installers with more time to answer calls, set up new jobs and carry out more work, driving money back into the business. The Mi Series is a new complete range of heating controls from Drayton, featuring wireless products that are both practical and modern.
Developments in wireless
New developments in wireless heating control technology mean that products perform better than ever before. There is a lot more freedom when choosing where to place the units too because devices can be wall mounted or freestanding using a table stand.
Some devices also feature signal strength indicators, which allow the installer to find an optimal position to place the product so it works to the best of its ability. Knowing that there is a strong connection between devices means installers needn’t worry about callbacks when the products aren’t working correctly.
Wireless controls – such as the MiTime RF Packs from Drayton – are also pre-bound, meaning that installers don’t have the time-consuming task of commissioning them. Devices also boast a two-way wireless connection making them more reliable, as they are able to communicate back and forth to ensure the heating system is working as desired.
Easy upgrades for Part L
One of the issues installers may face on a day-to-day basis is making sure they adhere to the Building Regulations, which specify not only how new buildings must be constructed, but also how existing buildings and installations must be upgraded to achieve a minimum level of acceptable performance. There are changes and updates made to these rules frequently, so its essential installers stay in the know.
One of the most recent alterations has been to Part L, which is concerned with the conservation of fuel and power in order to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Under recently announced revisions, new build homes will have to be 6% more efficient than under current regulations.
For installers, adhering to Part L offers the opportunity to advise homeowners to install or upgrade their heating controls, so they can reap the money saving benefits of using less energy. After all, a heating system is only as efficient as the controls used to operate it, so having effective controls in place will mean only the required amount of energy is used.
Ultimately, if homeowners want to achieve the full comfort, energy saving and cost benefits that can be had from heating controls installation, they need to understand how to use their heating system correctly. This is where installers need to ensure the customer understands how to use the controls and the best programming options to suit their lifestyle.
Although this may add slightly to the time it takes to perform the installation, there is less likelihood of callbacks if the householder knows how to operate their heating and hot water correctly. With this in mind, the Mi Series features ‘easitext’, an innovative on screen step-by-step guidance for ease of use, that is so easy for homeowners to operate it’s likely they will require little or no assistance.