Three winters with EvoHome Honeywell

by | Dec 19, 2017 | Smart Hubs

This is my third winter with EvoHome. I live in London in 4 bed house with two kids and cannot be happier. Have not seen 40% reduction of heating cost, but it reduced significantly. Key benefit is that it became much more comfortable and wife can not complain it is too hot or too warm. 

GOOD

  • Comfort – even wife stopped saying that it is too hot or too cold, key benefit
  • Paying less – started paying significantly less for heating
  • Good controls – 22C in Kitchen between 2am and 3am to finish that bloody chicken? Easy! Improved app allows good schedule and ad-hoc controls

BAD

  • Expensive – even two years after it was introduced, the cost of the system will hit you bad. It will break-even eventually (especially if you have relatively big house), but expansion is still expensive (ready to pay £250 for underfloor heating?)
  • No local comms – EvoHome need to talk to Honeywell server for any changes. This is inconvenient and makes the system less resilient

VERDICT: RECOMMENDED

See photos/ use advice/ viable competitors below

Controller

This should be near your boiler. Easy to install.

Opened TRV

AA batteries need to be changed once in two years

Gateway

A bit flimsy. You do not need to use it really ever so can easily hide it.

Smart TRV

Well made. You can manually adjust temperature.

 

REASONS TO BUY

Back in 2015 there were not that many options for heating systems that control each radiator. You could have gone for Evohome and for Home Genie, but the latter was very complicated to setup and reviews were not great.

Key reasons for me to buy EvoHome were the following:

  • Brand – Honeywell is a trusted company with many years of experience in heating systems
  • Cost Benefits – Evohome claims that it will save 40% off your heating cost by only heating rooms that you want. For me it made sense and I never understood the hype of Nest systems. I also never really bought into geo-fencing, but this might be something I need to explore.
  • Ease of implementation – Honeywell cetrifies the installers confirming the knowledge and skills to install the system

After looking at the internet and local DIY shops, I found out that the retail price is much higher. I decided to buy frim from EvoHomeShop online shop and in couple of days the parcel arrive.

INSTALLATION AND USE
There are three parts of Evohome system:

  1. Controller – This is a white box that is connected to the boiler and tells it when to switch on and off
  2. Gateway – Wifi connected unit, that linked to controller and also each radiators. This is basically brains of your system
  3. TRV heads – TRVs are individual valves for each of y our radiators. Evohome enhanced it with the radio so it can speak to gateway and temperature sensor

My house house did not have any TRVs so I needed to install them first. Choosing right heating engeneer was key and you can check if they have any experience in installing EvoHome at Honeywell website. Overall I would not call the setup process complicated, but having somebody with knowledge was useful. The set up process included three key parts: (a) connecting controller to the Gateway (b) connecting TRVs to Gateway and (c) inital setup of the system.

Binding of TRVs is very simple, but my engineer was concerned that the signal might have been weak on the second floor. Luckily it was ok for me, but he had some challenges with his previous customers. Binding and naming the TRVs, you can link it to the app and start looking at the schedules.

APP

This was a weak part of the set up at the beginning. App did not want to load, took ages to update and was counter intuitive. Honeywell changed it overtime, but there is still home for improvement.

To controll the system through the app is easy. Using intuitive controls, you can change the schedule for each TRV. This is done by specifying how should the temperature change and when. I.e. every working day kitchen must be 22C at 6.40am. You can manually adjust the application and install the desired temperature and duration.

TIPS
Callibrate TRVs – depending where the radiator is, the real temperature can be different in in one of the rooms the actual temperature was different to the one in TRV and I used the option to calibrate in the TRV. It was not the easiest to find how to do it and confusing to understand the mechanics (did negative offset meant that the temperature will be higher), but works when it is done.