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.
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.