HONEY­WELL VERDICT

Evo­home

Computer Shopper - - SMART THERMOSTATS - £210 From theevo­home­shop.co.uk

A pow­er­ful and flex­i­ble room-by-room heat­ing sys­tem, but it’s ex­pen­sive to in­stall

THERE WAS NO mess­ing around when Honey­well launched the Evo­home, and it was the first prod­uct to of­fer room-by-room con­trol us­ing the sys­tem’s smart TRVs. A cou­ple of years on from launch and the sys­tem has evolved, main­tain­ing its po­si­tion as the most pow­er­ful multi-zone prod­uct that you can buy. It’s also one of the most ex­pen­sive.

At its cheap­est, the Evo­home costs £210, which nets you the touch­screen con­troller and the re­mote boiler re­lay. In this mode, the sys­tem acts as a smart heat­ing sys­tem, with the touch­screen con­troller us­ing its in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture sen­sor. You can add an ad­di­tional boiler re­lay in if you’d like to con­trol hot wa­ter.

Op­er­at­ing like this, the Evo­home is a rather ex­pen­sive waste. It’s when you add in the TRVs (£59 each, but look for packs to save some money) that Evo­home really starts to come into its own. By re­plac­ing your ex­ist­ing dumb TRVs with the smart ones, you get room-by-room con­trol of your heat­ing.

DIY in­stal­la­tion is pos­si­ble, but pro­fes­sional in­stal­la­tion is bet­ter and should cost around £100, de­pend­ing on the com­plex­ity of in­stall and the num­ber of ra­di­a­tors that you want to con­trol.

Honey­well’s TRVs are easy to fit, ship­ping with adap­tors to fit most ra­di­a­tors. We have to say that the TRVs aren’t the most at­trac­tive, suf­fer­ing from a rather plain in­dus­trial look; how­ever, as you won’t see most of them, it’s an over­sight that we can for­give.

Con­fig­u­ra­tion of the TRVs is ex­tremely flex­i­ble, and mul­ti­ple units can be com­bined into a sin­gle zone. This is par­tic­u­larly handy if you’ve got rooms with mul­ti­ple ra­di­a­tors.

CON­TROL PANEL

Evo­home is com­mis­sioned and con­trolled di­rectly from its touch­screen con­troller. It’s bril­liantly sim­ple to use, giv­ing you an overview of ev­ery zone in your home, and it con­nects to Wi-Fi, so you can use the Evo­home app with­out hav­ing to in­stall a sep­a­rate hub.

Your first job is to set a sched­ule for each zone. A wizard will help you, but we found it eas­ier to take each room and con­trol it sep­a­rately. For ex­am­ple, you may want to have your bath­room come on early so that it’s warm when you get up; you can fire up the kitchen a lit­tle later, so it’s warm when you get down­stairs.

Sched­ules can be ad­justed by day, too, so you can run your heat­ing to suit your ac­tiv­ity, for ex­am­ple by chang­ing things for the week­end when you may lie in for a bit.

Con­ve­niently, sched­ules can be copied be­tween zones and days, so you don’t have to pro­gram ev­ery sin­gle change. We found that it took us a few weeks to get our sched­ules right, but we ended up only heat­ing zones as we needed them.

By not hav­ing to heat the en­tire house, Evo­home will save you more money on heat­ing bills than other sys­tems; how­ever, the ini­tial out­lay means that the sys­tem will also take longer to pay for it­self.

FLEX­I­BLE FRIEND

There will be times where your sched­ule doesn’t quite work, such as if you come home early from work. At this point, Evo­home is also ex­cep­tion­ally flex­i­ble, and you can man­u­ally dial up the tem­per­a­ture from the con­troller, app or by spin­ning the TRV’s ro­tat­ing head, and us­ing the in­te­grated screen to see the set tem­per­a­ture.

From the con­troller or app, the tem­per­a­ture change can be made per­ma­nent, or you can set an end time (this de­faults to the next sched­uled change). From the TRV, tem­per­a­ture changes are made un­til the next sched­uled change.

We found the TRVs a lit­tle loud, and you can hear a small me­chan­i­cal whine as they turn on. It took us a few weeks to get used to this in the bed­room, but we could sleep through the noise in the end.

As well as the de­fault sched­ule, Evo­home has four pro­grammable quick ac­tions: Econ­omy re­duces zone tem­per­a­tures by 3ºC; Away sets ev­ery zone to a pre-set tem­per­a­ture, which is handy if you go on hol­i­day; Day off changes the sched­ule to match the week­end, so you’re warm if you’re home dur­ing the week; and there’s a Cus­tom mode, which lets you set your own spe­cial sched­ule. We use Cus­tom mode as a guest mode, turn­ing up the heat in the spare bed­room when we have peo­ple to stay.

VERY RE­MOTE

Ev­ery­thing you do from the touch­screen con­troller you can also do from the smart­phone app either re­motely or in your own home, bar copy­ing sched­ules be­tween zones. Honey­well has de­signed the app so you can see all the dif­fer­ent zones and re­lated tem­per­a­tures di­rectly on the home screen.

There’s no built-in ge­ofenc­ing, so you can’t turn off your heat­ing au­to­mat­i­cally when you go out. How­ever, you can use IFTTT to ad­just your heat­ing au­to­mat­i­cally. Us­ing the Life360 ser­vice, for ex­am­ple, you can turn your heat­ing off when you go out and on when you re­turn.

Honey­well cur­rently only sup­ports Alexa voice com­mands, although Google Home is sup­ported in the US. The Alexa Skill works well, let­ting you ask Ama­zon’s voice as­sis­tant to tell you a zone’s cur­rent tem­per­a­ture or ad­just the tem­per­a­ture.

There’s no doubt­ing that Evo­home is ex­pen­sive, but it’s the only sys­tem de­signed from the ground up to give you room-by­room con­trol. For the ul­ti­mate flex­i­bil­ity, then, it’s the best sys­tem to buy, and it will save you more money on run­ning costs.

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