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Smart radiator valves - product and compatibility guide

04/01/2020

Jo Alsop

Heating Hero

The Heating Hub

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What are smart radiator valves? Can they work with your current heating controls? How much are smart TRVs?

Smart thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) can be individually programmed to control the temperatures on a room by room basis. This improves efficiencies but they must work with a compatible heating control. We guide you on the products available from third-party manufacturers, such as Nest, Tado and Danfoss, and boiler branded models from Vaillant and Worcester Bosch. We show you which are compatible with which heating controls and whether they are suitable for a new or existing boiler/heating control.

Third party smart TRVs - we review prices and compatibility

At the time of writing, seven smart control manufacturers offer a compatible smart TRV that works exclusively with their smart control thermostat: Drayton, Energenie, Lightwave, Netatmo, Tado, Danfoss and Honeywell. NB Nest is compatible with the Energenie smart TRVs. The table below shows each TRV with its’ compatible smart control. All of the systems below are compatible with one or more home automation app offered by Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, Google home etc.

As part of this research we contacted all of the smart control manufacturers to ask some technical questions. We thought you may find it helpful to know how we got on. Drayton, Energenie, Danfoss and Honeywell were easy to contact with excellent UK based technical teams and phone numbers clearly on the website. Netatmo and Tado did not have phone numbers but did a good job via email.

Smart TRVs Drayton wiser smart TRV Energenie Lightwave TRV Netatmo Smart TRV Tado Radiator Thermostat Danfoss Connect wireless TRV Honeywell evohome radiator multizone kit
 
Price £53.00 £40.00 £55.00 £62.00 £59.00 £58.00 £60.00
Type Smart Smart smart Smart Smart - Smart
 
Works with: Drayton Wiser Heat Hub wiring centre for smart phones. Optional thermostat for in home controls. MiHome Gateway and Thermostat, Nest Lightwave Boiler Switch and Thermostat Netatmo Smart Thermostat Tado smart thermostat Danfoss Link CC Central Controller Honeywell Evohome thermostat
Also compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa Amazon Echo/Alexa Amazon Echo/Alexa Amazon Echo/Alexa Amazon Echo/Alexa Amazon Echo/Alexa Amazon Echo/Alexa
  Android App Android App Android App Android App Android App - Android App
  iOS App iOS App iOS App iOS App iOS App - iOS App
  - IFTTT IFTTT - IFTTT - IFTTT
  - - Apple Homekit - Apple Homekit - -
  - - Google Home - Google Home - Google Home
Guarantee period 1 year 2 years 2 years 2 years 2 years 2 years 1 year
Zoning level room by room room by room room by room room by room room by room room by room upto 4 zones
Opentherm compatible Yes No No No No No Yes
Boiler Plus technology Automation and optimisation Automation and optimisation (Nest will do load compensation with an Opentherm boiler) Automation and optimisation Automation and optimisation Automation and optimisation Automation and optimisation Load compensation with an Opentherm boiler
Getting in touch UK office, phone number on the website UK office, phone number on the website UK office, phone number on the website Contact form via website Web chat facility UK office, phone number on the website UK office, phone number on the website

 

Boiler manufacturer's smart TRVs - we compare price and functionality

Both Worcester and Vaillant offer their own smart TRVS that are only compatible with their products.

Advantages

  • Both Vaillant and Worcester use load compensation making the combined TRV and smart control set up incredibly efficient
  • If you use the boiler manufacturer's own smart TRVs you only have to deal with one manufacturer for all your heating system products

Disadvantages

  • Neither of the boiler manufacturer's smart TRVs are compatible with home automation devices such as Alexa, IFTTT and Google Home.
  • The boiler branded heating controls are quite expensive, although the Worcester Easy comes with upto 10 years of manufacturer’s guarantee when fitted with a compatible Worcester boiler
Smart TRVs Vaillant TRV Worcester EasyControl smart TRV
 
Price £60.00 £60.00
Type Smart Smart
 
Works with: Vaillant VRC 700 or VRC700 f + Internet gateway Worcester EasyControl thermostat
Guaranteed Period 1 year 1 year
Zoning Level zones or room by room zones or room by room
Opentherm Compatible NA NA
Boiler Plus Technology Load and weather compensation Load and weather compensation controls
Getting in Touch UK office, phone number on the website UK office, phone number on the website

 

The most important thing to know about smart TRVs

The third-party smart TRVs reviewed here all do much the same thing, it is the control thermostat that is the most important choice. The Honeywell EvoHome is suited for much larger properties. All six other thermostats are compatible with the vast majority of heating systems (old and new boilers) and will operate the boiler efficiently based on a learned pattern of when you need heat.

A more efficient feature of the Nest and Honeywell Evohome is that they can reduce how much gas the boiler uses – this is call load compensation. However both the boiler and control must speak the same ‘language’, called Opentherm. For compatible boilers and smart controls read our Guide to Opentherm compatible controls and boilers.

Wireless TRVs

Some manufacturers have produced a wireless TRV that can be controlled and adjusted from a smart phone, however unlike smart TRVs they do not communicate with the thermostat to bring the boiler on and off. The thermostat will have to be on anyway and the only real benefit is that you do not have to physically adjust the TRVs, they can be done from your phone. The products below are only wireless TRVs. The Tado TRVs can work in the same way.

Smart TRVs Danfoss Eco Smart TRV JG Speedfit Aura TRV
 
Price £45.00 £70.00
Type Smart Wireless
  Any third party or existing thermostat Any third party or existing thermostat
Works with: Danfoss App - can use third party thermostat JG Speedfit wireless thermostat and receiver
Guaranteed Period 1 year 5 year
Zoning Level room by room room by room
Opentherm Compatible No No
Boiler Plus Technology NA NA

 

Standard TRVs verses Smart TRVs

Standard TRVs cost from around £12 to buy, although many designer products are also available at higher prices (see our Guide to 32 TRVs). Standard TRVs are manually set by the user by turning the dial from low to high. The principle of TRVs is that you can reduce the heating in little used rooms and thereby reduce your fuel bills.

Smart TRVs work on the same principle but they can be adjusted remotely, via your phone or thermostat. They can communicate with the thermostat to call for heat on a room by room basis. Rooms can be turned on and off via the thermostat or smart phone app. Smart TRVs cost between £40 – £60 each, although the costs reduce when they are purchased in packs.

Compatibility with radiators

All of the manufacturers have gone to great lengths to produce a smart TRV that is compatible with existing radiator valves. For retrofitting installations, the head of the old TRV is removed and the new smart TRV head is screwed on, it is often as simple as that and can be done by the homeowner. Go to the manufacturer’s websites for more advice and ‘how to’ videos. The thermostat set up however should be done by a heating engineer who has undergone training with the smart control manufacturer.

New Boiler Plus requirements

Boiler Plus is a new building regulation efficiency standard that requires an ‘advanced heating measure’ to be fitted with all new combi boiler installations. Slightly different standards apply for existing boilers and heat only and system boilers. Smart TRVs can assist compatible controls achieve better efficiencies. See our quick guide below for which applies to your boiler.

New installations of a combi boiler:

require a combined programmer and thermostat with an ‘advanced’ energy saving feature. Namely: weather compensation, load compensation or smart controls that combine automation and optimisation features. (Or you can fit a flue gas recovery unit.)

New installations of a heat only or system boiler:

must have ‘time and temperature controls’ namely a programmable room thermostat or a thermostat with separate programmer. You can still opt to install an advanced control.

Existing boiler installations:

have no minimum requirement for heating controls other than those required at the time of installation. Again you can opt for an advanced control. You may only wish to have the functionality of an internet control.

Guide to selecting the right advanced controls

Remember that it is only mandatory for combi boilers to be fitted with an advanced control (or a flue gas recover unit). You can still fit an advanced control with a system or heat only boiler, or on any existing boiler, and many people do so in order to have the functionality of an internet control. Compatibility is key to achieving decent fuel savings however. As outlined above, controls with load compensation features are the most efficient, however the boiler and control must use the Opentherm language.

For more on selecting the right advanced heating control view our Guide to Advanced Heating Controls.

Jo & Caroline - Heating Heroes

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