Recommendations for heating controls, smart thermostat?

Hi all,

I’m thinking of upgrading my house heating and hot water controls from a current, quite basic timer/thermostat combo to a “smart” setup. I see that many use Zigbee, some use Z-Wave, maybe there are others that use Homekit, Wifi or other things. Are there any setups which are known to work particularly well with Webthings? Any to avoid? I’m in the UK, which will almost certainly restrict what’s available to me and what’s common, e.g. British Gas Hive is very common here but probably not outside the UK.

Cheers :slight_smile:

I use a Centralite Pearl Zigbee thermostat. It’s inexpensive and integrates easily into Webthings with the Zigbee addon. When brought in as an active item on the Things page, one can review and change the properties at will. The only “smart” activity I’ve setup is that when I’m away from the house, or I go to bed, the heat target gets set to 59F. I could go a lot further if I wanted to but after 40 years of marriage I don’t need those arguments…

As a note here, I use primarily the Macro addon (Macrozilla) rather than the out of the box rules. Macrozilla makes me set the thermostat temp in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit (it’s a bug). Also, Macrozilla doesn’t do time well. With out of the box rules you shouldn’t experience those inconveniences.

I also control the re-circulation pump on my on-demand whole house hot water system. I have a Navien CR-240A with the built in pump. I’ve removed the pump control from the Navien circuit board (not hard), put a male 120v plug on it and pluged it into a Zigbee smart outlet. Zigbee motion sensors in the kitchen and bathrooms will trigger the pump to run for two minutes so hot water is instantly available. If you have a re-circulation pump this is really a configuration to consider. A pump running when hot water is not needed is a waste of energy. Worse though is the erosive effect on copper pipes that will eventually cause pin holes in the copper (not a myth, I have a plumber friend who has seen this multiple times).

Finally, if you choose to go Zigbee, at the initial setup restrict the signal to channel 25 or 26 (see posts on this subject) to prevent interference from wifi. It may help and it can’t hurt.

Hi Kevin,
Thanks for the tips. I’ve not seen Centralite in the UK yet, but perhaps it’s here under a different brand. Zigbee certainly seems to be very common. We don’t typically have recirculation pumps in the UK AFAIK, so no need to worry about that (other things that are inefficient though).
Cheers :slight_smile:

I can speak only for TRVs - my setup is RPI4, Conbee2 and Danfoss Ally TRVs (Zigbee version) and Webthings. Works fine.

First I tried Immax NEO Smart TRVs instead of Danfoss Ally TRVs - it got paired but I was not able to control it. So I updated the firmware of Conbee2 and swapped the TRVs. Maybe only updating the firmware or getting proper add-ons would have been enough - but I already swapped the old ones for the new ones, so I can’t say.

Hi @juraj3,
Thanks for the info. Good to know you can use these Danfoss TRVs without the central controller, that should give more flexibility.

After looking at various options I think I’m going to go with Drayton Wiser. It’s the cheapest option I can find with all the functionality I’d like, and various ways to achieve it too. I did like Wundsmart’s no-cloud data storage approach, but the fact their TRVs are linked by LoRa which is not as easy to interoperate as Zigbee has put me off (also the price, the overall system is much more expensive).

Cheers :slight_smile:

I have a Zigbee thermostat and it works great. I can’t remember the brand and I’m not home to check, but I had no issues with the initial connection. I use the WebThings “rules” to do magical things that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to do with the thermostat alone (like several temp changes per day for wake up, midday, and bedtime).