LIGHT­WAVERF

Heat­ing

Computer Shopper - - SMART THERMOSTATS - £160 From www.light­waverf.com

VERDICT

The only choice if you have elec­tric ra­di­a­tors, but it’s ba­sic and ex­pen­sive for ev­ery­one else

LIGHT­WAVERF IS best known for its smart-look­ing con­nected light switches and power sock­ets, but the com­pany has also ex­panded into the heat­ing mar­ket. All of its kit is con­trolled through the same app as the heat­ing and light­ing prod­ucts, but the heat­ing prod­ucts use two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion, whereas the orig­i­nal gen­er­a­tion of prod­ucts was one way only.

The dif­fer­ence is that with two-way com­mu­ni­ca­tion you can see what state a de­vice is in. In the case of the heat­ing prod­ucts, this means you can see what the tem­per­a­ture of each de­vice is. For the best re­sults, you’ll need to use the new Light­waveRF Link Plus bridge, although the older Link is sup­ported.

BUILD YOUR OWN

Build­ing a Light­waveRF heat­ing sys­tem means putting to­gether the right com­po­nents for your home, with a sur­pris­ing choice on of­fer. At the most ba­sic, you can in­stall the Boiler Switch (or have a pro­fes­sional do the job for you). This switch has in in­te­grated ther­mo­stat, and you can sched­ule your boiler to turn on and off. As the Boiler Switch (£80) has to be placed near the boiler, its tem­per­a­ture read­ings may not be as ac­cu­rate.

The so­lu­tion is to buy the Home Ther­mo­stat (£80). This bat­tery-pow­ered ther­mo­stat looks a lit­tle ba­sic, with its monochrome LCD screen, but it wire­lessly con­trols the Boiler Switch and con­nects to the Light­waveRF app for re­mote con­trol.

From the ther­mo­stat, you can pro­gram your heat­ing sched­ule, although us­ing the sim­ple con­trols and ba­sic screen makes it feel like pro­gram­ming an old-fash­ioned heat­ing sys­tem: it’s not par­tic­u­larly in­tu­itive to use, and it can be dif­fi­cult to keep track of your set­tings.

In­stead, the ther­mo­stat is a use­ful tool to quickly ad­just the tem­per­a­ture of your home, or power the sys­tem down as you leave. When you ad­just the tem­per­a­ture, changes are kept un­til the next sched­ule change.

Heat­ing is best con­trolled through the app. From the app you can see the cur­rent tem­per­a­ture, the set tem­per­a­ture and the time of the next sched­uled change.

It’s sim­ple to go into the app and ad­just the sched­ule on a day-by-day ba­sis. For­tu­nately, you can copy sched­ules from one day to an­other eas­ily, so you don’t need to re­peat your choices.

You can also ad­just the tem­per­a­ture on the fly, with changes last­ing un­til the next sched­uled change. It’s a shame that you can’t set a timer for a tem­per­a­ture or set a per­ma­nent tem­per­a­ture, how­ever.

In­stead, you can only turn the ther­mo­stat to per­ma­nent mode by press­ing its Mode but­ton. Once in per­ma­nent mode, changes made in the app or on the ther­mo­stat are kept un­til you change them.

HOME AND AWAY

The ther­mo­stat also gives a few other modes that aren’t avail­able in the app: Hol­i­day lets you set a tem­per­a­ture for a set num­ber of days (one to 28); Away lets you dial down the tem­per­a­ture if you go out; and Frost pro­tec­tion turns the heat­ing off un­til tem­per­a­tures drop below 4.5ºC. It’s a shame that these modes can’t be con­trolled from the app, and that there’s no ge­ofenc­ing op­tion to turn on Away mode au­to­mat­i­cally.

We like the Boost op­tion, which dials up the tem­per­a­ture by a de­gree above the cur­rent tem­per­a­ture for an hour. This can help take the chill out of a cold house.

Light­waveRF also sells Ra­di­a­tor Valves (£55), which re­place your ex­ist­ing TRVs to give you smart con­trol. You can turn your ra­di­a­tors on or off us­ing the TRV’s power but­ton or use the Boost but­ton to dial up the tem­per­a­ture a few de­grees above the cur­rent tem­per­a­ture for an hour.

Via the Light­waveRF app, you also get the same tem­per­a­ture sched­ul­ing op­tions as with the Ther­mo­stat. This gives you room-by­room heat­ing con­trols, which can save you a con­sid­er­able amount of money by only heat­ing the rooms you’re us­ing.

So far, so good, but the down­side is that the ra­di­a­tor valves can’t call for heat from the boiler, as they can’t talk to the boiler switch. In ef­fect, the sched­ules for the TRV are use­less un­less they’re syn­chro­nised with your main heat­ing sched­ule.

The ad­van­tage of these TRVs is that you can use them in ad­di­tion to your ex­ist­ing heat­ing sys­tem, as a smarter way to con­trol room tem­per­a­ture than a dumb TRV.

More use­ful to some peo­ple will be the Elec­tric Switch (£67). You wire one elec­tric ra­di­a­tor per switch (you’ll prob­a­bly want to get an elec­tri­cian to do the job for you), so that you can sched­ule tem­per­a­tures at dif­fer­ent times of the day. No other heat­ing sys­tem has this op­tion.

HEAR HERE

Light­waveRF has Ap­ple HomeKit sup­port if you buy the LinkPlus bridge, plus Alexa and Google Home in­te­gra­tion. We found that they all work well, let­ting us con­trol our heat­ing and light­ing eas­ily with our voice.

An IFTTT chan­nel for heat­ing lets you set tem­per­a­tures on all of your de­vices au­to­mat­i­cally, which could be handy to turn down the tem­per­a­ture on a warm day, or boost heat­ing on a par­tic­u­larly cold day.

For those with elec­tric ra­di­a­tors, the Light­waveRF heat­ing sys­tem is your only choice and gives you room-by-room con­trol. For ev­ery­one else, the Light­waveRF sys­tem is a lit­tle ba­sic and com­par­a­tively ex­pen­sive, par­tic­u­larly if you don’t have the light­ing sys­tem and have to buy the LinkPlus. For stan­dard con­trol, Tado is a bet­ter op­tion, while full-on room-by-room con­trol is bet­ter with Honey­well Evo­home.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.