Tado Smart Thermostats

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I recently bought the Tado Smart Thermostats for my house to attach to my radiators. You’ll be familiar with such things as Hive and Nest which are Smart Thermostats, essentially these just make your Heating Thermostat you’ll typically have in your hall or landing into your home Internet enabled, so you can control it from your smartphone using an App. That’s a useful feature but ultimately it doesn’t change that much on how your heating behaves.

The Tado Smart Thermostat is basically the same as this it provides an Internet enabled wall thermostat the same as Hive or Nest, but then goes a step further to add independent thermostats you can fit to your radiators to have granular control of the heating to each room of your house.

The Basics

The Tado Smart Thermostat can be added just on its own, there are various ways that it can be deployed, but in my case I bought the Starter Kit that included these items which is all you need to get started.

  • Wireless Smart Thermostat
  • Internet Bridge
  • Extension Kit

A Thermostat is basically just a switch, that’s all, a switch that turns something on (in this case a boiler) at a particular temperature.

The setup was straight forward, you create a Tado Account and put the app on your phone, you then register the Internet Bridge with Tado account.

You then install the Extension Kit, this replaces your existing Thermostat control box, there are a myriad different configurations here, but Tado provide customised guides for your boiler (if you enter the details, manufacturer model number etc.) in my case I removed my old wireless thermostat and control box and replaced it with this Extension Kit.

At this point I was able to turn my heating on and off from the App, neat but I then needed to add the wireless Smart Thermostat. This is just a case of registering this device and then mounting it on the wall in your chosen location.

At this point you have an Internet enabled smart thermostat much like what Hive or Nest do; but at this point the the real benefits of the system for me have yet to be fully realised.

The Per Room Thermostats

So within my house we typically have a single radiator per room. So you can then purchase a Smart Radiator Thermostat, these replace the Thermostat on your radiator in each room. To use the Tado, system you must currently have a manually adjustable radiator thermostat installed on any radiator you wish to put a Tado Smart Radiator Thermostat.

In my case installing a Smart Radiator Thermostat was as simple as unscrewing the old and putting the new Tado one in its place. These manual thermostats just work by pushing a small pin up and down to open and close the valve to the radiator allowing you to adjust the heat to a particular room. What the Tado does is make this a completely automatic process based on a desired temperature where it is continually monitoring that room’s temperature, if the temperature goes to low, it opens the value (and calls for the boiler to start – if needed) to heat up the room. If the room is too hot it closes the valve to ensure that even if the heating is on, this room doesn’t get any heat.

What this means is the temperature is monitored at many data points in your house (where ever you have a Thermostat installed, rather than just that one Thermostat in your hallway.

For me with a south facing house this is great, especially in the autumn and winter, before Tado typically the front of the house was too cold and the back got too hot (especially on cold but sunny days – when the sun would heat the back of the house).

Now we set each room to 20 degrees centigrade, then set the period of time we want the room at that temperature. Now in the morning the sun comes up heats the back of the house, these rooms heat up, so the Smart Thermostats close these valves so the radiators go off, instead heat is directed to the North facing rooms keeping the whole house at a more constant temperature; rather than the back getting too hot, and the front being too cold, all because the only data point for measuring the temperature was in the hallway, not in each room as it is now.

I also coupled this with the period of time for heating for maximum effect: for example we don’t use the bedrooms between 9am and 6pm, so why bother keeping them at 20 degrees why not set these to 18 degrees, but then at 6pm as bedtime starts, heat them up a bit saving energy and money.

Extra Features

There are also some extra features such as Geofencing some of which require a subscription to operate automatically, what this means is you can leave your home and it will see via your GPS you have left and then turn off/down the heating, turning it back on as you get home.

Tado works with the typical Google Home and Amazon Echo systems for voice activation, its handy to ask for a room to be warmed up or to query the temperature in a room just with voice commands.

One of the only issues I found with this was the Amazon Echo considered the thermostat to be part of a room, meaning turning off the Philips Hue lights of a room, also turned off the radiator, i’m still trying to figure this out.

Conclusion

Overall i’ve been very pleased with the Tado Smart Thermostat system, it just works, since installing it at the time of writing i’ve only had 2 of the 13 Thermostats needing a battery replacement in over a year. Its simple to setup and seems to just work without any real intervention.

The app gives you an idea of energy savings with a monthly report, I’ve checked this with Gas usage and although weather and temperature differs from month to month and/or comparing to the previous year, typically I was seeing a 15-20% saving for gas compared from the previous year (when I didn’t have the Tado Smart Thermostat systems or Smart Radiator Thermostats installed).

To add some more context here is the heating cost for January each year:

  • January 2018 = £92.62
  • January 2019 = £99.29
  • January 2020 = £82.82
  • January 2021 = £59.62 <– this was the first January with Tado

A reasonable saving just for that one month, and reduction of about £15 per month from around October to March can be seen compared to previous years too. So perhaps i’m saving about £90 per year.

With the current savings I’d expect to pay off the cost of the system in about four years, but in a way just the more pleasant stable temperature is worth it alone, and if you can also make it easier to control, save money, save energy and reduce the use of fossil fuels as well, then why not?

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