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Smart Central Heating Jargon Buster

Even before the introduction of smart heating, central heating was a minefield of often confusing terms. For many people, the ins and outs of their system is best left to the experts. Knowing where the central heating thermostat was and how to turn it up and down was often all that was required as long as you didn’t encounter any breakdowns.

In recent years, energy efficiency and savings have grown in importance; as people look to reduce their usage and their energy bills, systems have become more advanced and smart heating has taken off in a big way. 

Knowing how your system works and how to get the best out of it is important, particularly in the current climate caused by the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Many of us are working from home and/or home-schooling, leading to more energy usage in the household Monday to Friday.

If some of the newer smart technology terms are leaving you confused, our jargon buster may help shed some light. We have compiled a short alphabetical list of key words that you may have heard but weren’t sure about. 

Smart heating terminology

Central heating thermostat

Not to be confused with a smart room thermostat or smart radiator thermostat, a central heating thermostat is the basic control for adjusting your heating system temperature. It may have a digital display, allow you to set schedules and override as well as adjust your hot water, but it isn’t part of a connected, smart heating system.

Geofencing

This is a feature of some smart heating systems that allows you to set a boundary around your home linked to the GPS system in your smartphone. It has a range of uses but in its simplest form, if your heating system detects that your phone has passed through the boundary, it will turn your heating off to save energy. On the flip side, when it detects you approaching the home it will turn your heating back on to the schedules you’ve set.

IFTTT

This acronym stands for ‘If This, Then That’ which is a protocol that connects different apps and devices around your home. It then allows them to take actions that they couldn’t do by themselves by creating customised automation via triggers. A simple example of IFTTT automation would be “IF temperature in the bedroom drops below 15°C, Then turn on the heating in that room”. 

Pairing

This is the process of adding a new wireless device to your network. 

Smart app

Smart heating systems can be controlled on your smartphone or tablet via an app that you download onto your device. You can also add new devices quickly and easily via the app and get other valuable information about your system. For example, the Wiser app gives you access to the Smart Modes, Insights and Heat Reports to help save you money.

 

Smart meter

This isn’t to be confused with smart heating or smart thermostats. A smart meter is completely separate and is provided by your energy supplier to replace your old gas and electricity meters. You may have recently had a smart meter installed. It sends your meter readings directly to your energy supplier to remove the need for you to send them meter readings, suppliers then don’t need to send you estimated bills either. Smart meters include a digital display that you can plug in at home to give you information on your energy usage. 

Smart plug

This type of smart home device let you control electrical appliances via your smartphone or tablet, usually via an app, to provide more automation. They simply plug in to your regular plug socket, plug the electrical device into the smart plug, then you can control devices through the app. Many smart plugs are designed to complement other smart home systems, for example, Wiser Plugs can be controlled through the same app as your Wiser smart heating. Details of the Wiser smart plug can be found here.

 

Smart radiator thermostat

These clever devices fit directly on your radiator valves and connect to your home Wi-Fi network to provide room-to-room heating control. Upgrading to room-to-room control has been shown to save as much as 18% on your energy bills (BEAMA 2018). Smart radiator thermostats by Wiser can be individually controlled via the Wiser app as explained here.

Smart room thermostat

Other names that you may have heard smart room thermostats go by include ‘Wi-Fi thermostat’, ‘smart thermostat’ and ‘smart hub’. Like a conventional central heating thermostat, it’s the key starting point for your heating system, but a smart room thermostat connects to a Wi-Fi network to offer more flexibility and control. Designed to complement your smart heating app, a wireless smart thermostat lets you view room temperatures and setpoints, create zones to control the heating in different areas of your home, and override settings to boost or reduce temperatures. See more in-depth information on the Wiser smart room thermostat here.

Smart speaker

A smart speaker is a device that connects to your home Wi-Fi network and allows you play music, listens and responds to your commands and provides you with information. Smart speakers commonly found in many homes include the Amazon Echo range and Google Home.

You can command your smart speaker to adjust your home heating settings, find out more here.

 

TRV

This stands for Thermostatic Radiator Valve and these are the conventional non-smart valve controls fitted to home radiators. These must be manually turned to adjust your heating room-to-room.

Want to find out more about Wiser?

We hope this quick guide helps clarify some of the terminology you may have heard. You can find out more in our comprehensive support section, or to find out how to buy Wiser products from one of our trusted partners, click here