Martin Wilson, Sales Director at Resideo, maker of Honeywell Home, outlines the importance of maintaining the ‘professional supply chain’.
By reducing household energy costs and simplifying home comfort, connected thermostats are often seen as an entryway for consumers to begin integrating smart technology into their homes.Research from YouGov showed that connected thermostats are the most popular type of smart home device after smart speakerswhilst Smart Home Week noted that 43% of consumers want a thermostat that can be controlled via a smart phone.
This is excellent news for heating engineers, as it signals that homeowners are more likely to splash out for the additional benefits of a connected control, therefore, creating higher value installation work.
Installers play an instrumental role in product selection and without this expert input, homeowners risk wasting their money on a product that doesn’t meet their needs or isn’t compatible with their system.
For example, wireless thermostats are an increasingly popular choice due to their flexibility and convenience, but they must be installed carefully to provide maximum benefit. A room thermostat can be mounted on a wall or table stand, but the preferred height from the floor is at least 1.2m and it should not be mounted on a metal wall box. Ideally, there should also be a 30cm distance from any metal objects and at least 1 metre from any other piece of electrical equipment.
This is elementary stuff for a seasoned installer, but a homeowner is unlikely to possess this knowledge.
Another consideration is the installation of multiple heat zones or heating plus stored hot water control with an S Plan Plus with certain thermostats, such as the Honeywell Home T6R-HW. This is a more advanced installation as it requires installing a two-channel wireless receiver as well as multiple thermostats. However, as many installers can attest, lots of homeowners do not know where to locate their storage cylinder, let alone specify and install a control method for it.
Compatibility with other smart devices should also be taken into account. Most connected thermostats, including those from the T6, evohome and Single Zone ranges, can be linked to smart speakers such as Amazon Echo or Google Home to amplify the level of comfort and convenience they offer. Users can adjust the temperature or turn their heating on/off by using simple voice commands. Heating engineers can add value here by specifying a smart thermostat that is guaranteed to be compatible with the homeowner’s chosen type of smart speaker.
“As many installers can attest, lots of homeowners do not know where to locate their storage cylinder, let alone specify and install a control method for it.”
The process of wiring in a thermostat is also risky if done incorrectly and can cause damage to décor, electrocution and fires. Sometimes even the most experienced installers defer to a Part P registered electrician for peace of mind over the most complex jobs, so the thought of an unqualified person attempting it themselves is troubling.
This current state of play is a real cause for concern, and it begs the question: how far will DIY culture escalate? If a homeowner manages to install a couple of thermostats correctly, what is stopping them from going one step further and tinkering with the rest of their heating system? It is illegal for anybody except a Gas Safe Registered installer to work on a boiler, but violations of the law are all too common as it is difficult to enforce what goes on in the privacy of peoples’ homes.
The perils of illegal gas work are grave: statistics from the Gas Safe Register show that around one-fifth of all illegal gas work investigated by the organisation is found to be immediately dangerous, and, therefore, poses a serious risk to the health and safety of homeowners and the public.
Shoddy gas work not only endangers lives, but also is more expensive in the long run. The cost of paying for a professional to rectify the damage will likely outweigh the price of getting the job done properly in the first place. But, of course, there is no greater penalty than serious illness or loss of life.
Merchant staff interact with tradespeople daily and are best placed to advocate the benefits of a professional thermostat installation. DIY fanatics will always exist, but for the average person the benefits of hiring in help far outweigh the costs, which is why we are proud to support professional installers.
For more information about Resideo, maker of Honeywell Home, visit www.resideo.com.