Elinor Robinson, Director at RadiWarm, explains some of the control options available for pipeless radiators.
There are many situations where a home needs more heating, such as home extensions, loft conversions, conservatories, or a room with a cold spot. In all these cases, it is expensive and disruptive to dig up floors to extend the gas pipes to add traditional radiators.
Water-filled pipeless radiators can provide a less disruptive solution for most domestic settings. They are relatively inexpensive, provide comfortable radiated heat, are easy to install and maintain, and only need a normal electricity socket. They can be used for a whole house, but more usually are added to an existing gas system.
Many on the market are connected wirelessly to a thermostat so they generate a consistent heat. Once a room reaches the desired temperature, the internal smart heating software will switch to eco-saving mode to maintain ambient room temperature, only needing to use electricity when required.
The control technology for pipeless radiators is sophisticated but easy to set up and use. The flexibility and responsiveness of the systems on offer mean that the radiators are only used when and where the homeowner chooses. This can make a real difference to their electricity bills.
For example, someone working in a home office may want to heat that room only on some days of the week. A single radiator can be programmed to do this, in contrast to many standard gas pipes systems where the whole house has to be heated at a time.
There is a choice of technologies and system functionality for controlling pipeless radiators, with different price points.
Many radiators can be independently and remotely controlled from a web-based app on a smartphone or tablet, with the right controls in place. The householder can command an individual radiator or a group of radiators in a zone (e.g. all the radiators in the bedrooms) to heat up, to maintain a pre-set temperature, or switch off remotely.
The app shows the heating status of each zone – current room temperature and target temperature – so that adjustments can be made instantly. Many of these systems offer a seven-day schedule as well.
Wireless battery-powered thermostats connected to one or more radiators are at the heart of this control system. Using a gateway that plugs into an existing home router, the heating can be programmed and operated through the app. Therefore, heating is matched to any lifestyle need and can be managed in real time. Some systems offer 10 zones in one home, so can easily accommodate future building extensions.
Each day of the week can be programmed differently, and time and temperature can be scheduled for each zone. Depending on the thermostat, boost, advance, override, and alert functions (if thermostat batteries are low or temperature is too high or too low) are available.
This controllability is useful for busy people who might need to be away from home at short notice and need to adjust their home heating remotely. These systems are simple and not disruptive to install because there is a wireless connection between thermostats, radiators, and gateway.
However, not everyone wants to control their pipeless radiators from an app. A usually cheaper option is a programmable thermostat and timer device set up in the home. This kind of unit will be familiar to people with a gas central heating system.
Each radiator can be connected via an RF link to the control unit, so heating can be zoned, programmed, and operated from a central point in the home. RadiWarm’s 7-day Controller, for instance, allows for a different setting each day with up to six programmes per day. These options typically have slightly less functionality than the web-based system, but are ideal for many people.
And then there are entry level pipeless radiators, the cheapest option of all. They tend to be individually controlled with their own in-built timer and thermostat. They bring the benefits of pipeless radiators but do not offer zoning or the sophisticated programmability of the other solutions.
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