Friday, 9 October 2015

Smart heating technology: gimmick or Godsend?

In recent years, the home heating market has been flooded with a huge range of digital products designed to help customers save money by heating their homes more efficiently. With the ability to show how much heating you're using, programmable digital heating systems have the ability to switch heating on or off remotely via the internet, preventing your home or water from being heated unnecessarily. But do smart heating technologies really save you money, and in any case, how can you decide if one is right for you?

While all Smart Heating Controls can control themselves or be controlled remotely through the internet, they come with a variety of different functions. For example, some have the ability to switch your heating on when you're on your way home to prevent money being wasted when you're out of the house or alternatively allow you to switch the heating off when you forget. Others have the capacity to learn your daily routine and switch themselves on and off automatically or control individual rooms in your home, so you can only heat the rooms you frequently use. Several can even adjust themselves according to the weather outside so you don't unintentionally heat your home on a warm day.

Estimates for savings from Smart Controls vary widely, with some retailers and manufacturers suggesting 20% savings, some saying you can save up to £150 a year on heating bills and one even claiming half your annual heating bill. However, in reality the amount consumers can save is likely to depend on their commitment to learning about the system and teaching it their daily routine.

As such, although Smart Controls can be expensive, for some the savings on their heating bills could make one a worthwhile investment. For example, it could be a good choice if you're someone who wants to keep track of how much heating you're using and how much it's costing you. Digital heating products are also probably better suited to people who are comfortable using computers and smartphone apps and can be very useful for people who are always on the go and want to be able to programme their thermostat to fit around their busy lifestyle. If you have a regular routine, some controls have the ability to remember your comings and goings to ensure that your home is always warm when it needs to be.

For similar reasons, Smart Controls may not be ideal for those prone to forgetfulness, who may not remember to use their app to remotely switch their heating on or off or those not familiar with using smartphones or computers. Additionally, for those planning to stay in their property for only a short period of time it may not be worthwhile paying out high sums for digital technologies, especially if the property isn't well insulated in the first place.

While it probably isn't wise to splash out on digital heating technologies without first considering carefully whether they're for you, it's clear that for tech savvy consumers who are keen to save money on their heating bills, digital thermostats really are the smart solution.

 
Green areas show potential cost savings as a result of installing a Smart Control Heating Programmer.

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