So the tado smart thermostat has been in a couple of months now. You can see my previous musings about it here and here. To recap, it is a complete replacement for your existing thermostat, comprising a wireless room ‘stat, a control box that is plugged into your boiler, and a ‘dongle’ that is plugged into your router to communicate with both tado’s servers and your mobile phones.
The premise of the technology is that it is location and weather aware. Through your mobile phones it knows where the house occupants are and so regulates the heating accordingly, even more so if it knows it is a hot and sunny day outside. The intelligence quickly learns the characteristics of your house – how long it takes to heat to a desired temperature, and how quickly it cools once the heating is off. Some clever algorithms then control your heating leaving you to get on with stuff knowing your house is heated to the optimal temperature only when you need it, thus saving energy and money.
I opted to have the system professionally installed. A date was arranged with tado, a bloke turned up, plugged the control box into the boiler, worked with me to test all the comms and left. 10 minutes he was here, it’s really that simple.
When tado ship you your system you need to pre-register all the devices through their website. Once done you can then setup your times and temperatures. All the config is done through tado’s excellent portal or via the app on your phones (available for android and ios).
You are able to have several time periods with different temperatures assigned to each. Our current config is:
You can see we have it warmer in the evenings than the mornings and at the moment we have different timings for each day. It’s also dead easy to over-ride the settings if you need a quick heating boost.
What we’ve found is the heating is definitely on far less that it used to be. You need to get your head around the fact that the boiler will fire when the system thinks it needs to (based on ambient temperature, outside weather/temperature AND if anyone is home), what this means in practice is the boiler will not fire at 8pm, it may fire anytime before that to get the house temperature to 20 degrees FOR 8pm.
If no-one is home then the heating just won’t come on. If the system detects us on our way home (based on our phone GPS signal) then it will fire the heating as necessary to get the house temperature to what we’ve asked for at that particular time of day. This means the house is warm when you arrive, you don’t need to come home to a cold(er) house and wait for it to warm up.
The location part of the system is great. As an example, we recently went away for the weekend, and rather than change our thermostat settings we left the system to it. It knew we were no where near the house and didn’t fire the boiler all weekend. It has a failsafe and will fire if the temperature gets to 5-8 degrees to prevent freezing. The phone app also shows you the ambient temperature of the house wherever you are. You can see in the following graphs how the heating fired to warm the house as we awoke on the morning of the 2nd, then went into ‘away’ mode (the green walking symbol) until we arrived back home, at which point it had warmed the house as necessary.
It took us a while to play around with the timings and temperature settings but once we’d worked out what we needed it has been a fit and forget system, which is exactly how it should be. I’ve yet to receive my utility bill for the current period so when I do it will be interesting to compare usage between this year and last. Tado reckon an average of 30% savings.
We had a couple of minor issues where our dongle lost communications with tado’s servers but a quick support ticket to tado and they remotely tweaked our settings and since then it’s been fine. I can’t fault tado’s support either, it is all email based, but when I needed them they responded very quickly.
In short we’re very happy with the system so far, and we’ll be even happier if our utility bill shows a saving.