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Peter Reid – Case Study

PETER REID

CASE STUDY

SOLIHULL

Peter Reid chose the Genius Hub to control the new underfloor heating installed by JK floorheting. When looking for controls for his new kitchen underfloor heating he decided at the same time to make all of the radiators in the rest of his home smart too.

Here is our interview with Peter in this home, and some of the technical details and conversation that didn’t make it into the final cut of the video. See this link for a video on more about his installation: https://bit.ly/2XxXzu3

Why choose underfloor heating when the rest of your rooms have radiators?
This is a big new room in the house, so heating had to be taken seriously. I didn’t want radiators on the walls as that would have changed the look in the room. We thought about electric underfloor heating, but this would have been too expensive to run. Water based underfloor heating is about 1/3 of the cost to run compared to electric underfloor heating.

The builder said wet underfloor heating would raise the floor by 25mm, the tiler said that we need to have all of the floors at the same level on the ground floor, so initially we thought that wet underfloor heating could not work. We knew it was cheaper to go for the wet underfloor than an electric system and the cost would be about 2/3rd the price to install, so we really wanted a wet system.

As the cost of an electric system was going to be greater, the cost of running it greater still, we didn’t want that in such a large room. JK was the only one offering a system that doesn’t change the floor level. We wanted the floors to be the same level in the new and old part of the house.

I researched the building physics, and the new floor has excellent thermal properties and the existing floors do not. Scientific studies show that you lose 2/3 of the heat from the edges of the floor slab, and not the underneath. All bar one of the edges of the floor slab butt up to the house. The heat loss through the base is 10-15%, and therefore I was not concerned about there not being insulation under the heating loops installed by JK.

When it came to the installation this was all done between 10am to 5pm. I couldn’t fault JK professionally. They turned up when they said they would and came back to me quickly on any questions I had.

We run the underfloor temperature at 35ºC and that’s been fine. The tiler said to start the temperature low and then work up, which is what we did and there have been no problems whatsoever.

Why did you choose Genius Hub as the controls package?
This was clearly going to be the smart way to run the heating. Using an app to run part of the heating at different times is the obvious thing to do and we can even bring in the electric immersion heater for the hot water if we want to, and you can control it all from the phone.

We heard about Genius Hub from JK, we looked at the other options, and liked the tie up with JK, making the install much more straightforward. We also liked how you can use the smart sensors to learn when some of the rooms are used. Bringing them on when they are occupied – this seemed really clever.

Before Genius Hub we just had a standard heating system you could set the day of the week and that was about it, it brought the whole house on at once. I used to turn the system on and off a couple of times a day. One thermostat upstairs, bringing it all on that’s it.

Now, instead of having the whole house on we can schedule it so the bedrooms come on first and then the kitchen later, and in the evenings bedrooms come on later so we are only heating what we’re using.

Once JK was finished and the Genius Hub had arrived, we were left with an underfloor heating manifold and all we had to do was run a pipe from the manifold to the boiler and add in a zone valve in the hot water cupboard. It only took a couple of hours to rewire the box and the electrics. We fitted the Genius Hub ourselves, as we had the electricians on site doing other work. It did look a little complicated to start with given the wiring diagram and also looking at the wiring diagram for our boiler, but we worked through it and it took 2-3 hours. It ended up being pretty easy to incorporate a new zone valve for the underfloor heating and getting it all talking to the boiler.

After the wiring was done the rest of the GH was very straight forward. It was all boxed and labelled for each room, so all the Genius Hub kit could go straight into the rooms – everything was very clear and all preprogrammed and prelabeled. WIth the app that was already there too, all of the rooms that we’d purchased radiators for were already set up on the app for us. All we had to do was screw the radiator valves onto the radiators, all the instructions were straightforward and it only took a minute for each valve.

Then we started looking at the app and that is really intuitive. Once you have set up the heating schedule for a room how you like it, you can easily copy the setup from one room to another. We decided to go for all of the products and we have valves on all radiators, it controls the underfloor heating and also the hot water, and even if the boiler fails we can use the Genius Hub to control the electric immersion element in the hot water tank as a backup.

It was easy to set up and we’re running it on the automatic timer schedule for some rooms, and in the main rooms with the sensors we are making the rooms smarter by using the automatic occupancy sense mode. The great thing is that you have the ability to refine and also finely adjust when you are using the rooms from a touch of a button in the app.

The Genius Hub is very simple to use on the phone or the iPad and using the app we can run the system remotely and override the hot water when we are on our way home from holiday, or override for an hour if it needs a boost when we have guests over. It is easy and simple to program, the kids understand it better than us most likely.

Logic would say that we’re making savings as we are only heating the parts of the house that we’re using and the bedrooms tend to be a lot more comfortable now. Before some rooms were cooking and some were freezing. With the electronic valves the rooms tend to stay at a more uniform temperature unless of course you turn that room off, and then it’s nice walking into a cooler room when you’ve turned it off knowing how much energy it’s saving you. It’s a very clever way to control your home, and with the room sensors we know it is responding to us using the rooms at different times of the day.

Conclusion

We’ve found that the underfloor heating is more comfortable and the warmth is coming through really well. Now with the underfloor heating, my wife has said it was the best thing that we did to this house. If we leave doors open then the individual rooms warm up and you don’t have to worry about heat going into other rooms as much as the rooms with radiators.

The Genius Hub gives us one app to run all components of the heating in your home. Wet radiators, wet or electric underfloor heating, hot water, even your backup inmersion hot water. You can override things and change things all very quickly and easily from the app. Some of the other systems are cheaper, but they are not as clever. It’s all worked fantastically well and we’re really pleased with it all.

Request your free Genius Hub survey here!

Take a look at other case studies and how our customers are saving 30% off their heating bills.

Visit JK Floorheating

JK floorheating provides innovative underfloor heating solutions with a revolutionary installation method.
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James Loden – Underfloor heating

JAMES LODEN

CASE STUDY

Jamie  Loden spent 14 years in the Army and now works for Barclays Bank, currently in their operations and technology division, having previously spent 7 years heading up operations in Africa, where he was involved with their digital app products. Jamie enjoys running and recently completed the London Marathon in under 4 hours. When Jamie, his wife Sarah, 3 children and 4 dogs, returned to the UK they looked for a property, a family home that would suit their lifestyleie

They found and purchased a property that had only one previous owner. It was built in 1989 and had had no alterations made since. Downstairs was the original open fireplace providing the only heat, while upstairs had electric night storage heaters. 

This was not sufficient or efficient and was expensive to run, so everything was removed as part of an extensive renovation. This included under-floor heating (UFH) to the lower level, new radiators upstairs, new hot water system, triple glazing and heating controls to control the UFH and upstairs heating.

Why Underfloor Heating?
Jamie did not want radiators occupying the wall space – especially as there were none to start with and he knew UFH was an option. He started looking into it to understand how it works.

He had watched Grand Designs, but they could not dig up all of the floors as required. Also, there were lots of horror stories about digging up floors. They could have chosen another system that uses microbore pipe in concrete, but having to raise the floor level was also not possible in their case and would have resulted in slow warm-up times and lack of responsiveness.

Further research on renovation and trade websites led to them finding JK Floor Heating (JK). Their website had many pictures of the same type of house as his, so Jamie could see they had experience with his problem. JK had a strong presence in Europe, but were relatively new in the UK, however, they offered a new revolutionary UFH system that did not need floors to be dug up or raised. The pipes would be cut into the existing floor, then covered with the new floor covering.

Jamie sent off a set of floor plans and they returned a quote and offered to conduct a site visit to do a cut test – all free of charge. While at the house, JK staff listened to what the family wanted from the system and explained what would happen and how it would work. However, the flooring company expressed concern about putting flooring directly against the pipes of the UFH, with only glue between the pipes and the wood. A letter from JK confirming that it was a low-temperature system overcame these concerns. 

UFH was slightly more expensive, but taking into account the cost of putting in radiators downstairs instead, the additional benefits of UFH outweighed the minimal increase in cost. The enthusiasm and detailed information provided during the site visit helped Jamie take the decision to go ahead with the installation. He was confident that they knew what they were doing.

Which heating controls?
Adding a state-of-the-art  system was a necessity to achieve energy efficiencies, improve the running costs and to ensure that the family had control over the UFH system and the upstairs radiators. JK had a recognised partner for controls, so this was an obvious starting point. Genius Hub offers automatic room-by-room heating control at an affordable price, controllable through a simple app.

Jamie looked at comparative reviews, which were good and other reviews were excellent, so he had no concerns about the system that Genius Hub could provide. He had looked into alternative control systems, but having the UFH pipes much closer to the surface meant that the heating is much more responsive and therefore perfect for the Genius Hub occupancy detection control.

Genius Hub offered complete control of the whole house at room level, which was important for the family. The property is detached and a number of rooms have two external walls, so are quite different in the way they behave. Two bedrooms and the dining room face North. These require a higher level of heat.

The family dogs use a utility room to dry out after wet or winter walks, so they need the room control to raise the temperature in response to the extra demand. Jamie told us, “The overall trend in home automation is moving away from one central room thermostat, so zoning was the only way to go”.

What about the installer process?
The full scope of the renovation project took 11 weeks. The installation of the UFH system fitted in well and the installation team were at the property twice. They worked efficiently and professionally and the process was extremely unobtrusive. The manifold under the stairs had no impact on space or aesthetics and the second one, in the utility room, is housed alongside a standard boiler. Jamie told us that this has been a “retrofit with no compromises on the floor height and the issues around the doors”. The system was installed and ready to use straight away.

Jamie used his own boiler engineers to install the Genius Hub system. They looked at the parts and decided they would do it. They did find it to be harder than anticipated, having not installed a Genius Hub system before, but the installation manual was clear and there are plenty of online help videos. Jamie told us that on the one occasion they used the phone tech support, the service provided was “second to none”. The successful installation led to Jamie’s boiler engineers being taken on-board as part of Genius Hub Pro-Installers team.

Conclusion?
Responsiveness of the UFH was an important factor. Being able to raise and lower the temperature in specific rooms was key. In winter, there was a requirement to raise the temperature in the study at certain times. Jamie told us that the room that the dogs use is “phenomenally responsive”. People had told him that he would wait two hours to feel the difference when demanding more heat, but in reality it is more like 10-15 minutes with the tiled floors.

Installation of the Genius Hub is quick, easy and causes no disruption because it creates its own wireless network. Fixed wireless repeaters ensure the connection is rock-solid. He states, “You cannot go back once you have zonal control”, adding “Think of life before mobile phones, where there were only landlines – that is the difference. Initially people said that mobile phones would never catch on!”

Jamie and his family are happy with the outcomes of installing both the UFH and Genius Hub and have been making recommendations to friends.

Book your free Genius Hub survey here!

Take a look at other case studies and how our customers are saving 30% off their heating bills.

Visit JK Floorheating

JK floorheating provides innovative underfloor heating solutions with a revolutionary installation method.
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Castrads – Interview with technical director Adam Baylis

Castrad_and_Genius Hub
Castrad_and_Genius Hub

CASTRADS - ADAM BAYLIS

CASE STUDY

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. 

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.

Was there anything to be 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!

niva chrome angled trv niva smart valve

What did 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 the Genius Hub energy saving?
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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Mr. Roe

Hay Family Home
Hay Family Home

MR. ROE

CASE STUDY

DURHAM

Mr Roe, his wife and parents live in a lovely rural home near Durham, in Northeast England. It was built in the 1750s. Fireplaces originally provided heat throughout the house, as you can see from the 12 chimneys along the roofline. Fires were lit in the rooms as necessary. Now, the house is heated by an LPG-fired boiler, but heating the entire 6000 sq. ft property is very expensive. Roe was looking for a way to heat their home that had the individual room control of the original fireplaces, with the convenience of central heating. The Genius Hub provided the ideal solution.

Why switch to smart heating?
“For me, the decision to get smart heating was primarily an economic one. Smart heating provides an intelligent way of controlling the house, without overheating or under heating individual rooms. With smart heating, you only heat rooms when you use them. I admit there was also the ‘cool factor’ of being able to use my phone to control each room from anywhere. I was definitely attracted to the ‘zoned’ systems that control each radiator. It’s much more convenient than having to go throughout the house to turn radiators off when the rooms are not being used. You really need do that in a home this size; otherwise would cost a fortune to heat!”

Why did you choose the Genius Hub?
“I looked at some comparison reviews of smart systems, including Honeywell, Nest and Tado. In those reviews, people glowed about The Genius Hub. They were incredibly effusive and said that The Genius Hub was the most capable system on the market. No other system on the market had as many features, or was as flexible, as The Genius Hub. The other systems limited the number of zones we could control and lacked the automatic footprint mode. Also, the other products were “clunky” with bulky valves or controllers that wouldn’t fit into our home. For larger houses, there is simply no other system that can do as much as The Genius Hub.”

Were there any concerns?
“Yes, I was worried that as The Genius Hub is a wireless system, it wouldn’t work well in our house. We can’t get our cordless phone to work across the house even with two range extenders, so we were worried about the range of the signal. I spoke to the Genius home technical team and they assured me that it would be fine, as each radiator valve and smart plug repeats the signal, and they’d installed it in large homes before without any problem. We went ahead with it, and it does indeed work perfectly well; there’s a strong signal everywhere.”.

What were your first impressions of the Genius Hub?
“Before ordering, I rang up with a number of questions about the installation. The guys on the phone were incredibly helpful and talked me through the configuration of the system. In one room we have 6 radiators, but the team sorted it all out, so I knew exactly what to order. We bought it through the website and then liaised with the local installer. When the kit arrived, it was already labelled and configured, so the components just needed to be installed. It was very easy; I didn’t need to do anything. The installer did experiment a bit with positioning the smart plugs, to find the locations that gave the strongest network signal. But apart from that, it was completely straightforward. I loved that I could let the Genius home technicians log into my system, so they could give us remote support if we needed it. More importantly, though, it just worked!”

Has Genius Hub lived up to your expectations?
“Yes, absolutely. It’s given us the control we need so that we can easily stay comfortable without wasting money. I also particularly like how it looks in our home. The Genius Hub is clean, white and smart, which fits in very well in all of the rooms, even the more formal rooms. For example, there is not much to see on the radiator valves, they are very discreet. The room sensors are much smaller than we expected – we thought that they would be the same size as security sensors but actually they are tiny, so no one notices them. The other systems look utterly dated and very poor in comparison. Another thing that’s great about The Genius Hub is the ability to chop and change; moving radiator valves from one zone to another was easy to do. We did that because we realised that we didn’t need control of one room that we had bought a valve and room sensor for. We easily moved the valve and room sensor to another room and then assigned it to a new room on the app.”

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David Hay

Hay Family
Hay Family

DAVID HAY

CASE STUDY

YORKSHIRE

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 David choose Genius Hub?
With their heating bill through the roof, David was on the hunt for solutions. Many of the options or 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, 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 ones 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.”

What was the main concern?
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 was 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 does David use the Genius Hub system?
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 to the app and boost the rooms when we plan to use them. I always use 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 the 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!”

Is the Genius Hub energy 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 payback! 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 is 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 Hub 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!”

Book your free Genius Hub survey here!

Take a look at other case studies and how our customers are saving 30% off their heating bills.