DRAY­TON

Wiser Heat

Computer Shopper - - SMART THERMOSTATS - £190 From www.screw­fix.com

VERDICT

It may lack some of the fea­tures of its com­peti­tors, but this mul­ti­room heat­ing sys­tem is easy to use and ex­cel­lent value

MUL­TI­ROOM HEAT­ING sys­tems are usu­ally a lit­tle com­pli­cated to set up and con­trol, but Dray­ton is aim­ing to make things eas­ier with its Wiser Heat sys­tem.

It’s avail­able in sev­eral ver­sions, de­pend­ing on whether you need to con­trol just heat­ing (one chan­nel), heat­ing and wa­ter (two chan­nels), or two heat­ing zones and hot wa­ter (three chan­nels). We looked at the one-chan­nel kit, which ships with the boiler switch, a wire­less ther­mo­stat and two Ra­di­a­tor Thermostats. Im­pres­sively, this costs just £190, which is cheaper than some ther­mo­stat-only kits.

RELAYING IN­FOR­MA­TION

As with other smart heat­ing sys­tems, the Wiser Heat has to be wired up to your boiler. It’s a straight­for­ward job, although as this in­volves mains power, you’re prob­a­bly best get­ting an ex­pert in. Once the boiler re­lay is in place, the rest of the sys­tem is con­fig­ured through the app.

When you first start the app, it takes you through con­fig­ur­ing your smart ther­mo­stat and ra­di­a­tor valves. Wiser Heat works by get­ting you to place the heat­ing el­e­ments into rooms. Each room can con­tain mul­ti­ple de­vices, such as two ra­di­a­tor valves.

With the starter kit, you’re best off wall-mount­ing the ther­mo­stat for whole­home use (say, in a hall­way), and then us­ing the in­di­vid­ual ra­di­a­tor thermostats for well-used rooms where you want to con­trol them in­di­vid­u­ally, such as the liv­ing room and mas­ter bed­room. Ad­di­tional ther­mo­static ra­di­a­tor valves (TRVs) can be bought for just £38, so you can ex­pand the sys­tem un­til you have ev­ery ra­di­a­tor un­der con­trol.

With an all-TRV sys­tem, the ther­mo­stat can either be de­com­mis­sioned or placed into a room to act as a tem­per­a­ture sen­sor. This can be use­ful if you have a TRV be­hind fur­ni­ture, which could give false read­ings.

Un­like other TRVs, the Wiser Ra­di­a­tor Thermostats don’t have a screen or ad­vanced con­trols. In­stead, you just twid­dle the spring-loaded top to­wards the ‘+’ po­si­tion to give you a 2ºC boost on the cur­rent tem­per­a­ture for one hour. The ‘–’ po­si­tion low­ers the tem­per­a­ture by 2ºC for an hour. It sounds ba­sic, but the clever con­trols mean that a touch of the dial makes a cold-feel­ing room warmer, or a hot-feel­ing room cooler.

The ther­mo­stat gives you more con­trol, as you can pick a tem­per­a­ture set point and choose how long you want the boost to last (30 min­utes or one, two or three hours).

GET APPY

For more con­trol, you can dive into the sim­ple smart­phone app, which shows you the cur­rent tem­per­a­tures and set­tings of each room. Tap­ping any room lets you turn on a boost to a set tem­per­a­ture for 30 min­utes, one hour, two hours or three hours.

Here, you can also set sched­ules by day for each room. That’s handy, as you can have the bed­room warm up first, be­fore heat­ing the kitchen up later for when you come down­stairs, for ex­am­ple. Sched­ules can be copied from day to day, but not be­tween rooms, which is a lit­tle an­noy­ing. Fi­nally, you can over­ride a sched­ule en­tirely, switch­ing to man­ual mode to keep a con­stant tem­per­a­ture.

If you have the hot wa­ter ver­sion (from £199), you can also sched­ule your hot wa­ter or give a tem­po­rary boost from the app.

Us­ing a mul­ti­room sys­tem can save you more money than us­ing a sin­gle ther­mo­stat, as you only heat the rooms that you need. To fur­ther cut costs, Wiser has a cou­ple of ad­di­tional modes.

First, Eco mode takes into ac­count the ex­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture and ther­mal prop­er­ties of your home, to ad­just when the boiler turns on and off. For ex­am­ple, in colder weather, your boiler will have to turn on ear­lier and run for longer to warm your house to the set tem­per­a­ture. It will take a few weeks for the sys­tem to learn how your home works be­fore you are able to get the most out of it.

There’s also an Away mode, where your heat­ing is set to a re­duced tem­per­a­ture (con­fig­ured by you). This mode is handy when you’re out or on hol­i­day, but it has to be ac­ti­vated man­u­ally as the Wiser Heat sys­tem doesn’t sup­port ge­olo­ca­tion.

There’s also no IFTTT chan­nel, so you can’t en­able ge­olo­ca­tion by your­self, or have the Wiser Heat con­trolled au­to­mat­i­cally. It’s a bit of a shame that there’s no IFTTT, given that all the main com­pe­ti­tion sup­ports it.

CALL FOR HEAT

An Alexa Skill means that you can con­trol your heat­ing us­ing your voice. Alexa recog­nises in­di­vid­ual rooms, so that you can ad­just the heat au­to­mat­i­cally, and you can find out what the tem­per­a­ture in each room is, too. There’s cur­rently no Google Home or Siri sup­port.

Honey­well Evo­home gives more flex­i­bil­ity, with its cus­tom ac­tions and IFTTT chan­nel. Its ra­di­a­tor thermostats are also more fully fea­tured, let­ting you set the tem­per­a­ture that you want from the room. If you want the most pow­er­ful and flex­i­ble mul­ti­room heat­ing sys­tem, then, we’d choose the Evo­home.

That said, what Dray­ton’s sys­tem lacks in com­plex­ity and au­to­ma­tion, it makes up for with sim­plic­ity and a lower cost. You can’t find mul­ti­room heat­ing for less, mak­ing Wiser Heat a rec­om­mended choice for those that want fine con­trol on a tight bud­get.

The clever con­trols mean that a touch of the dial makes a cold-feel­ing room warmer, or a hot-feel­ing room cooler

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