Castrads – Interview with technical director Adam Baylis

Genius Hub are pleased to announce that our smart radiator valves are now available to be colour matched with Castrads amazing cast iron radiators. The perfect combination for a stylish and smart heating system.

Castrad_and_Genius Hub

Genius Hub (formerly Heat Genius) is delighted to announce our new collaboration with Castrads, manufacturers of high quality traditional cast iron radiators. Their beautiful products are handmade to order in Manchester, offering customers a wide variety of exquisite designs and finishes. As a result of this collaboration, Genius smart valves are now available in a variety of classic colours to complement every décor.

This allows even period homes to benefit from the latest in smart heating control technology, without spoiling the aesthetics. We were curious about how our cutting edge technology would integrate with these classic radiators, so we spoke to the first customer to install them together. Here is a Case Study of Adam Baylis, Technical Director of Castrads about installing the Genius Hub system.

Why did you choose Genius Hub?

I had seen it reviewed in several well-known technology publications. The journalists seemed really impressed with it and it sounded like the best option for our home. I wanted to be confident that the ‘smart’ technology was reliable and easy to use, so it was reassuring to see such positive reviews. 
 
Another really important aspect for us is that the valves are elegant and are available in different colours. We have invested in cast iron radiators and other period features for our home. All the other valves on the market are white plastic, which would have looked terrible! Having the Genius Valves painted to match our radiators meant I could have the best of both worlds: period looks but with the latest smart heating control technology.

How did you want to use your heating controls?

Our house is poorly insulated and with thick stone walls so it can take a long time to heat up if the heating has been off while we’ve been on holiday. So we definitely wanted to be able to turn the heating on remotely. In addition, we have two young children and all the chaos that goes with them! So we wanted something that could suit our complex schedule. For example, our heating needs change depending on whether it’s term time or not, whether it’s a nursery day or not and whether I’m working from home or not.
 
So we needed something that was more flexible than an old-fashioned heating scheduler. The learning function of Genius sounded ideal because then we don’t have to remember to keep changing the schedule, it will just adjust the timings automatically. Our girls go to bed earlier than us – if we’re lucky! – and we don’t want the heating on in their rooms while they’re sleeping. However, that doesn’t mean that the grown-ups should also have the heating off while we’re downstairs. We also have one room that doesn’t get used every day. So for both those reasons, zoned heating control was important for us. Finally, we’re expecting our third child soon and we wanted a heating system that would make it easier to get the temperature right in the nursery.
niva chrome angled trv niva smart valve

Was there anything you were concerned about?

I was worried about whether the signal would reach all over our house as we have several very thick walls. It turns out that’s not a problem for Genius Hub, as they supplied repeater plugs to boost the signal and its proven very reliable. I wanted to be sure that the system would work in the event that our broadband stopped working – and it does as all of the intelligence is on the Hub!

How did you design the system?

I went for belt and braces, which in hindsight means I’ve ordered more kit than I really needed to. I probably could have been a bit more frugal and not ordered room sensors in some of the rooms and just used a manual schedule, because their usage is quite predictable. But at least now that I have room sensors everywhere, if our usage of those rooms changes, the system will pick it up. It’s nice to know that I really don’t have to think about the heating, it will just take care of itself!

What do you like about the system?

I like the fact I can not only control the whole system from my phone, I can also get all the information about which rooms are at which temperature and even if there’s somebody in them. It’s really useful to be able to change all the settings when I’m away from home. It means that if my wife calls and tells me she’s cold I can have a look and see what’s going wrong there and then. It’s easy to see if it’s a problem with the boiler or just one of the radiators. Similarly, I like the fact that I can allow the Genius Hub technical support to access my system remotely if there’s something not right. I like baking bread and it’s nice to be able to boost the temperature in the kitchen while my dough is rising, although that’s perhaps not the most efficient use of my heating!

Is Genius Hub system saving energy?

We’ve saved about 15% on our gas bill since we had our system installed, compared to the same period the year before. To be honest, though, the way I have been using it is more about being more comfortable and warm, I didn’t make any effort to save energy really. For that reason, I’d actually expected the savings to be less than they were.

What’s been your experience of Genius Hub overall?

Very positive. I ordered through the website and everything arrived promptly. All the kit was brilliantly labelled for each room making installation a doddle, which I think is unique to Genius Hub! The system has been very simple to use and did exactly what I’d hoped it would. The only problem I had was by trying to over-complicate things. I tried to manually pair the valves myself because I didn’t realise that they arrive already set up, so all I actually had to do was plug it in and turn it on! Oops.

Any final remarks?

We’re very pleased overall. The system meets the complex demands of our young family without needing us to make any effort. And thanks to the painted valves, it really looks the part, too!

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