Remi Volpe, Managing Director at Drayton, discusses how smart heating controls can meet the needs of elderly customers or those with limited mobility.
When fitting smart controls, it is important to consider how they can be tailored to suit the differing needs of homeowners, including elderly customers and those with limited mobility.
Multigenerational living is on the rise, with nearly 7% of UK households accommodating two or more adult generations, according to a 2017 report by the National Housebuilding Council.
With several generations living in the same house, it’s likely that there will be different heating requirements for each person. Luckily for installers, there are now a number of smart controls available on the market with features that meet the needs of a modern family.
For example, for extended families living together it can be tricky to keep everyone comfortable. Using the multi-zoning capabilities that smart radiator thermostats offer, installers can ensure that the grandparent’s bedroom remains warm throughout the day without heating the rest of the home while other family members are out.
Smart controls don’t just have to be for multigenerational households – more often installers are being asked to fit the latest technology for elderly people living in their own property.
Research by OFCOM found that for mobile phone users aged between 65 and 74, 36% use a smartphone, with 20% of over 75s also opting for a smartphone. Smart controls that can be altered via an app are proving easier for older users to manage compared to traditional programmable thermostats with small LED screens, which can sometimes be tricky to set.
Smart controls can also provide peace of mind for elderly customers when it comes to energy usage and keeping heating bills under control. Algorithms such as optimum start and optimum stop enable heating controls to automatically adapt to environmental conditions to perform more efficiently.
Another benefit in fitting smart controls for elderly customers living alone is providing relatives or carers with the ability to remotely monitor and adjust the temperature in an individual’s property.
This can be especially important during the colder months, when people may forget to heat their home adequately or struggle to operate their devices, providing relatives with peace of mind over the comfort and wellbeing of their loved ones.
Home automation is designed to make homeowners’ lives easier. But, for people living with a disability, this technology is having a profound impact. When recommending a heating control for customers with restricted mobility or health conditions, careful consideration must be taken to ensure it will be suitable for them.
In most cases, a smart control that can be activated remotely through the customer’s phone is an ideal solution. Being able to remotely personalise the temperature removes the struggle with cumbersome dials, which are often in hard to reach places, or the need to rely on someone else to help with heating.
Systems that are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant mean that customers with limited mobility also have the ability to alter their heating settings via voice activation.
Additionally, installers should consider the design of smart radiator thermostats and whether they are suitable. Traditionally, radiator thermostats are located in hard to reach places making it difficult for customers with limited mobility to access, so in this case a product that can be controlled remotely can be a better solution.
Thanks to the different functions that smart controls offer, they are no longer exclusive to the tech savvy generation. By being aware of the benefits of each feature within a smart control system, installers can be confident in recommending a smart solution to a wide and diverse range of customers.