Posted: 2023-02-02 12:18 AM
I have just installed the basic Wiser multi room kit that comes with HubR, a room thermostat and two smart TRVs (or rad thermostats). For now I have installed the smart TRVs in Living and Dining rooms, which get used the most. And the room thermostat, I have put in my hallway next to the old analogue thermostat. I can move things around and may be buy more smart TRVs, but only if that would make a significant difference. So that is why I am here to ask how has everyone's experience been and for any suggestions.
Some info about the house - it is an old building from 1930s, cavity brick walls without any sort of insulation, loft has 30+ cm insulation, flooring - half of the house has concrete flooring with Victorian style tiles and the remaining has exposed floor boards. Last winter I had sealed all around the flooring and between the floor boards. There are no drafts anymore. All windows are double glazed, some are older than 15 years, and some around 5 years old, but all of them close tightly and there are no drafts there either. But because of no insulation in the walls & floors, the house looses heat very quickly. We have been here for 1+ years and the plan is to save money and get it insulated in some time, but until then wish to do as much as possible to save energy.
We have 7 rads, 1 in Living, 1 in dining 1 in hall way, 1 each in the 3 bedrooms, and 1 towel rail.
Posted: 2023-02-02 10:22 AM
I can move things around and may be buy more smart TRVs, but only if that would make a significant difference. So that is why I am here to ask how has everyone's experience been and for any suggestions.
The question is, what would you like to make a "significant difference" to? 🤔
I started off the same as you with a single Roomstat and two iTRVs - (if you scroll down to my 'sig', you'll see it's grown somewhat!). The house is sizable and is only 5 years old - it therefore had two heating zones when built (with upstairs & downstairs wall stats). The upstairs stat was greatly affected by rising warm air and needed to be set to 21°+ before any of the bedrooms would be heated. ☹️
It quickly became apparent, that if I switched to a full system (i.e. virtually every room aka micro-zoning), I would be able stop heating rooms unnecessarily (bedrooms during the day, kitchen at night etc) and achieve more consistent temperature control of each room. (It also became apparent that the rooms that 'matter' need a Roomstat to achieve the latter. iTRVs are clearly challenged in the temperature sensing department by their less than ideal placement in the room. I define rooms that 'matter' as those with a chair or a bed!)
I found out that Zigbee does not have a massive range and have ended up with two ridiculously expensive 'repeaters'. They function as remote switches - but that is functionality I have no use for - especially since their location is determined by the 'repeater functionality'.
The list price of my system is well in excess of £1500. I kept costs down by watching for special offers and bundles on Amazon ( I now have 3 spare hubs!) and also bought some gear from eBay. Assuming the system results in me using less oil, it will be quite a while before it pays for itself!
The Wiser app. is poor (on a good day) and pathetic when trying to do something complex (on a large system). For example, if I decide on an early start tomorrow, I have to individually adjust the schedules of eleven rooms - they're all different and I can't just 'nudge' them all forwards an hour. That's tedious enough - but the app conspires to stop you doing it all, by constantly 'springing back' to the current day - and making the wrong change. (Reported repeatedly to Schneider, but not fixed).
If I then decide I'm out all day and engage "Away" mode, I will have to remember to remotely disable it, before returning. Because of this, I've ended-up with a suite of bespoke scripts that I use instead.
The other thing to note, is that Schneider think nothing of deploying software changes, without asking permission or providing a fall-back mechanism. They've only just started announcing that they're about to make such a change - and little detail is provided. My system is now firewalled-off from the world and I use my VPN if I need remote access 🙄 (I have a potential issue to overcome, in that the Hubᴿ's time will eventually need resynching).
In short, I think Wiser is great for small systems - but it doesn't scale well. It's ideal for hobbyists and retired IT professionals who like tinkering. 😁 (My other-half is utterly clueless about its operation!)
Posted: 2023-02-02 11:20 AM
Mr Hornby is spot on but if you can live with the downsides, I think the upsides compensate to an equal margin.
I have deployed two systems to 1) to a highly insulated house and 2) to our own Edwardian lath and plaster draughty old (and listed alas) gaff. 1) works really well and 2) is more problematic.
With 2) and despite full double glazing, loft insulation, partial under floor insulation and filling part of the building with insulating foam behind the lath (lots of potential downside if that bridges damp) we have a house that gobbled £(10 - 15/)day in January 2023 but closer to £20+ / day before HUBr and 'stats were installed.
Clearly there is a limit to what a control system can do when the fabric of the building is so utterly so very rubbish . In this house, the system does not seem to cope fantastically with drops in OAT below 5C. I'd avoid the "optimum start" feature or you will burning fuel big style in old Edwardian houses but I value the investment.
Using the graphs in Insights to evaluate how quickly a room gains and loses heats - that informs on the schedule times to employ and whether or not a room should be heated on any particular day.
We have a large kitchen/diner and the insight graphs have shown that if we drop night temperatures below certain critical values, the heating system does not have the capacity to restore daytime set points.
NOTE. The iTRV temps appear to over state the actual (mid height) room temperature by as much as four or five degrees. That isn't a killer as long as you are aware of it (although it would be good if Drayton/Schneider would add a user-variable offset).
The real problem for Schneider
Posted: 2023-02-02 04:28 PM
I found Insights to be 'overwhelmed' by the number of rooms I have defined. In the graphs for all rooms it was hard to tell which was which and the list selection of individual rooms is likewise challenged. In any case, it doesn't work with my firewall in place 🙁 (admittedly a problem of my own making).
On a positive note though, the ability to interface with the Hubᴿ directly - albeit via an undocumented interface - does open up lots of other options. (I created a few 'custom sensors' for Paessler's PRTG that get the job done).
Posted: 2023-02-05 02:00 AM
I don't have anything to add on the issues raised above, although I will say that as a former Nest user, Wiser is fast superior in every way, and in my research on moving to a new house I evaluated all the major alternatives. Wiser was lower cost for managing heat in every room and it works offline if I want. A major plus for me is that it integrates into Home Assistant, allowing me to automate away mode, set up different modes (e.g. a guest mode that moves a room into the normal schedule for duration of their stay). I'm pretty pleased with that. The Home Assistant integration also has a better schedule editor.
It's hard for me to say if I made much saving as I got this pretty soon after moving so I don't have previous costs to compare to.
Advice for someone getting started:
Hopefully Schneider will tackle these issues so workarounds aren't needed anymore.
Don't have buyers regret. Hive, Tado, Nest etc have annoying quirks too.
Posted: 2023-02-05 06:20 PM
A major plus for me is that it integrates into Home Assistant
I tried Home Assistant (under Windows Hyper-V) and though it integrated well, I noticed that my Hubᴿ kept going offline - this seems to be noted as an area of concern in the Home Assistant forum. I'm fairly sure a (much) lower scan rate would fix it, but that might impinge on some of the fancier operations that people have been performing with HA.
I also tried OpenHAB, which turned out to have an even steeper learning curve. Although it said it had found the Hubᴿ, I never did get to see any useful data 🙁.