As more and more aspects of my life are moving onto my phone I was beginning to get very frustrated with my ‘so called’ basic thermostat. Now when I say basic, I don’t mean a 20 year old malfunctioning dial on the wall that only works when you take a sledge hammer to it, but a full on wireless piece of kit that links seamlessly to my boiler. The programmer – while a bit annoying in the fact that the buttons aren’t terribly responsive – worked well and gave me the option to add regular time slots as well as a day by day setting. But still I was getting frustrated. This wasn’t enough for my ‘busy’ mid-twenties London lifestyle, where my plans frequently changed on a day-to-day basis.
Like anyone, I don’t like working late, however this wasn’t because of missing my favourite TV show or my dinner, it was because I knew I was pointlessly heating my house. It got to the stage where I was so paranoid that I once texted someone I knew on my street to go and turn my heating off – they weren’t best pleased! I thought that the time had come to replace this so called, modern wireless thermostat and programmer. So I took the plunge and went for the Tado. It’s been 2 weeks…and this is what I think:
Installing the Tado Intelligent Heating Controller
I was debating over paying the £50 or so quid for a professional installer, just to make sure that I didn’t electrocute myself. However, I thought that I couldn’t write a review on all aspects of the Tado unless I went for it myself, and I have to say I made the correct decision and wouldn’t recommend anyone getting a professional; unless you have the DIY skills of a donkey and fingers to match.
Following the step-by-step guide on the website makes it extremely easy, as you seamlessly go through everything from registering the devices (3 in total), to wiring the receiver into the boiler. My only slight problem at this stage was the fact that unlike the Nest, there are 3. There is a separate small box that has to be plugged into your WiFi router, as well as the receiver – which is wired to your boiler, and the thermostat – which is actually very discrete and can actually pass for a coaster (a mistake made by most of my visitors until I installed it on the wall). So with the install relatively stress free and taking around 45 minutes, it was on to testing it.
What does the Tado Intelligent Heating Control offer?
So there are 3 settings on the Tado:
1: Off – or, as I like to call, frost protection mode, as it only turns the heating on when the thermostat reads 5 degrees.
2: Manual – which turns your smart phone (provided you have 3G or WiFi), or any computer linked to WiFi into a thermostatic controller. This means that you can turn your heating up from your bed if you find it gets a bit chilly in the night, or turn it down if you’re on the exercise bike or similar temperature raising activities. The important thing is that you can have 0.1 degree control over your temperature from any area that has 3G or WiFi.
3: Auto – the clever stuff! But basically allows you to set two different temperatures so splits your heating into up-and-about and in-bed mode. Auto mode also uses Geo-fencing so it can see where you are, to make sure that you don’t unnecessarily heat your home when you aren’t there.
So three fairly simple settings that should not only save you money but also increase comfort.
After the couple of weeks, I’ve found myself switching between all three. Over the weekend, I love the auto mode as I have the temperature set to 20 throughout the day and 16 when I’m asleep and in bed. The Geo-fencing also cuts the heating off, if for some bizarre reason I wake up in a different city after a couple too many – hasn’t happened to me I have to say, but for some it may prove useful! Now importantly if your phone ends up in Scotland but you end up at home, all you have to do is logon to the Tado on your computer and set the temperature from there. The one problem I have found, hence why I often switch to the manual mode, is that even when I’m a few miles away it still thinks I’m popping to the shops as opposed to sitting in the office all day. The closer you get, the closer it gets to your set temperature; the further away, the colder it gets. The reason why I often switch from Auto mode to Manual is that Geofencing drains your battery fairly quickly, but the switch only takes a click and from there on in you can just set the temperature manually. Although the nice warm orange of the Auto mode is replaced by a grey…almost like Tado are telling you how boring you are switching away from their most intelligent mode. Turning it to off, or frost mode, gives me a nice picture of grass, trees and a sunset, congratulating me on improving the environment!
The other smart features are that it logs a continuous graph that shows the history of your room temperature and when the boiler has been on, which I find fascinating as you can see how quickly (or slowly) your house loses heat, and therefore how poorly insulated it is – No marks for me on this one as my cooling down gradient looks like Everest.
Tado also tries to give you how much it thinks it has saved you since you have had it. For me…in just over 2 weeks it seems to think I have saved £0.77 per day… that is actually a decent chuck out of my heating bill for my 2 bed flat.
So for me, it is a gadget I can’t live without. I wouldn’t even mind if there were no savings, because in all honesty it is fun and my house is cosier and more inviting than ever.