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.
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.
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.
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.