We are big believers in smart heating systems and Heat Genius is one of the smartest. The Heat Genius team have sent us over this case study of one of their recent jobs to give a clear idea of how it can transform the comfort and efficiency of a home.
The Pump House
David, Lizzie and their children, Sephy and Zephyrus, live in a stunning period building that previously served as a pump house. It is located in a beautiful rural area of North Yorkshire, surrounded by fields and hedgerows. It’s a spacious property and, like so many older homes, cost a fortune to heat. The heating used to run on LPG, and would land them with a heating bill of £2,800 per year.
Why did they choose the Genius Hub?
With their heating bill through the roof, David was on the hunt for solutions. Many of the options for improving the building itself, such as wall insulation, would be very expensive and disruptive. David saw that smarter heating controls were clearly the place to start, especially as they have many rooms they don’t often use: “The fact that The Genius Hub is fully wireless means it was really easy to install. You don’t need fancy wiring, or the walls knocked about. All you need is the Genius Hub and the valves on the radiators, and you get this new level of flexibility which no other system can offer. I had considered Nest and Honeywell Evohome, as they both popped up when I searched, but they would not work as well for us. The Nest just controls one zone, so it would cost a fortune to have multiple zones in the house, and Evohome doesn’t offer the automatic control. Price wasn’t the most important factor, but the Genius Hub system actually worked out cheaper than Evohome anyway. This system is the only one that offers all of the options for complete control, and it is so clearly the best on the market.”
Were there any concerns before purchasing the Genius Hub?
With a large property and the desire to control all 28 radiators individually, the initial outlay on the Genius home equipment wasn’t insignificant. Did David have any questions or concerns before making the investment? “Not really. I guess the only concern was the battery life for the valves. That’s turned out to not be an issue at all, actually. I get about a year out of the normal batteries that came with the system, but I bought a load of AA Energiser lithium batteries from eBay for £1 each and they last even longer. So far they have been in for 6 months and are still reading 100%! The only question I had before ordering was about the fitting of the valves, because the towel radiators were slightly different to the others, but Genius home technical support were great at helping me with that. I also didn’t realise that I didn’t need a dump radiator, but that was explained to me too by one of the technical team. After that I just ordered it online, it was easy.”
How do they use the Genius Hub?
The Genius Hub is the only zoned home heating control that can be a truly “fit and forget” solution, as it learns when you use each room and automatically cuts energy consumption without impacting on your comfort. David sometimes prefers to exercise a bit more control over his heating though. “In the winter we tend to keep all of the rooms cooler and then simply go on the app and boost the rooms when we plan to use them. I always use the the Genius Hub app on my Android phone and that works really well. I’ve recently started using my Windows tablet and that works quite nicely too. I also keep it on a tab on my browser, so when I am working in the study, I can just boost it as required. We’ve also got room sensors in some of the rooms. The kitchen is in ‘Footprint mode’, so it learns when the room is used and warms it up before we use it, and that works well. Otherwise the other rooms are in super-eco mode, which means the rooms only heat up when there is someone actually using them. This works well with the rooms that we use less frequently. Now that it is all set up it is spot on, we almost ignore that it is even here. I love just heating the rooms when I am using them, it just makes so much sense!”
How much energy is the Genius Hub saving?
It’s fun to be able to control your heating down to the individual room, but the bottom line is: how much energy does it actually save? “After installing The Genius Hub, the cost of heating the house dropped by 40% in the first winter. So it was instantly saving us over £1,000 per year off our gas bill giving us a 2 year pay back! Since then, we’ve had a Ground Source Heat Pump installed, to replace the LPG boiler. The company that installed the heat pump estimated that our heating bill would go down to £1,000 per year, but because we’ve got The Genius Hub, it’s actually gone down to just £400. So with just those two technologies combined, we’ve seen a seven-fold decrease in the cost of our heating.”
What’s it like to use the Genius Hub?
Nothing beats an old-fashioned thermostat for simplicity, even if it’s a wasteful option. Is it complicated to control such a large zoned system using the Genius Hub? “It’s really easy to control everything via the Genius Hub app, it’s just a couple of taps to heat whichever room you need next. I can’t say how enthusiastic I am about the system; it provides us with everything that we ever needed in terms of heating control. Also, the response from Genius home was amazing if there was a concern about any part of how the system worked. I cannot fault the after-sales service; any problem has been resolved and even at really unsociable hours sometimes. I am quite evangelical about it really, I like the concept and I like the fact that it saves us money. I think that this is how all homes should be controlled. I really think that this is the best thing that we have done to our home. I really love it!”
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