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Man With a Hammer – Wiser Provides Superior Heating Control in an Extensive Renovation Project

Smart Renovations – Smart Heating by Wiser Helps Renovators Manage Heating Comfort and Cost

The renovation scene is known for big ambitions, big transformations, and even bigger personalities. Whether undertaken by professional property developers or DIY heroes working single-handedly, derelict older properties are being given a new lease of life with extensive renovations, preserving much-loved buildings and their history to be enjoyed by a new generation.

But period properties simply can’t retain the heat that modern buildings can, so heating bills can be especially high even after a complete renovation. Managing heat use and reducing energy wastage intelligently using modern, smart heating controls like Wiser makes a lot of sense, and its sleek, subtle design ensures there’s no contention with period features.


We spoke to passionate renovator and DIY guru, Greg Penn, about how Wiser helps him manage the heating in his beloved ex-military property, an ongoing project in which he’s painstakingly renovating each of its approximately 30 dilapidated rooms, returning this more than 200-year-old period officer’s residence to its former glory.


Follow the renovation journey on Greg’s Instagram at @manwithahammer

See what Greg has to say about Wiser in his Instagram heating update


Can you give us an overview of the property and your renovation project?

The house was built in 1804, by the Royal Navy as the residence of the chief officer in charge of the Royal Naval Hospital in Devon. It has approximately 30 rooms across 5 floors and was very dilapidated when I took it on nearly 3 years ago. I’m restoring it, one room at a time singlehandedly, turning it into a comfortable, modern home (I am hoping it’s my forever home), whilst retaining and restoring all the period features and character of the property, and decorating it in what I hope, is a sympathetic style.


We’re really impressed at what you’ve managed single-handed! Why did you choose the Wiser heating system? What about it appealed to you?

The house had central heating already fitted, though very old with outdated radiators (usually in the wrong place) and it all needed significant work. I’m going through the house installing more appropriate, traditional cast iron column radiators, in better locations. The house is listed so there’s a limit to how much change can happen, but I knew heating such a large house in a cost-effective way was going to be very difficult. The fact the Wiser heating system gives me total control of every single room in the house, means I can heat the spaces I am using, and only those spaces, making my heating bill no worse than a much smaller house when used sensibly. The app is also easy to use and the whole thing is really simple to set up, and doesn’t require any complex plumbing.


And which products do you have at the moment?

The smart thermostats and room thermostats linked to the central hub.


What benefits have you seen since having the Wiser products installed?

Before the Wiser system, I barely dared turn on the heating at all – knowing it would be very expensive. Now I can actually warm some of the parts without worrying – it feels like such a treat to have a warm bathroom in the morning after two winters without heating.


What are your future plans for the building?

Well, I’ve another 16-ish rooms to renovate, and then there’s the garden to do which I think will take a couple of years… then I might get a few months R&R… but a house like this needs constant maintenance!


Do you think you’ll incorporate more smart technology into the property?

I really love smart tech – anything to make life easier is I believe to be applauded (when it can be easily integrated!). I think it’s even more apparent in a large house – if you’re on the ground floor, being able to turn a lamp off that you might have forgotten about on the top floor (about 80 stairs away!) is definitely a luxury. In time, lighting, car charging, kitchen appliances… as much as I can link really will, I hope, make living in a 218-year-old house that bit more comfortable.


So would you recommend Wiser?

Wholeheartedly – it’s been the easiest bit of ‘smart tech’ I’ve ever set up, is incredibly well thought through, and is an absolute no brainer for helping to heat your house in a cost (and environmentally!) friendly way!


Meeting the Maker

Greg joined us for a tour of our Plymouth factory late last year while picking up his system, where he saw where his Wiser devices had been manufactured right here in his home county of Devon.



Find out more about How Wiser Works and read more Wiser Renovation Stories on our website.