EasyControl Smart TRV
Smart radiator valves, sometimes called smart radiator thermostats, take your smart home heating to the next level.
They can be programmed and controlled remotely through your smartphone, meaning you can control temperature of individual rooms. Pair them up with a smart thermostat and you can set up a heating schedule that runs completely by itself.
Manufacturers promise big savings on your heating bills, and, if used well, they are a more sustainable method of heating your house.
This guide breaks down everything you need to know so you can decide if there is a place in your home for smart radiator valves.
Many homes already have thermostatic radiator valves (or TRVs for short) on their radiators. They work by detecting the temperature of the room, and turn the radiator on or off depending on whether the room needs heating up or not.
Having TRVs installed on your radiators allows you to set the temperature in individual rooms. This makes it easier for you to keep rooms at a consistent and comfortable temperature and save on heating bills by only heating the rooms you need to.
The function of a smart radiator valve (or SRV for short) is exactly the same, but with these four key advantages:
Unlike a smart thermostat, you can install a SRV without needing the help of a professional. In most cases, you simply:
In order to use a manufacturer's smart radiator valve, you will need the manufacturer's connecting device. It's often called a bridge, or gateway.
This connecting device plugs into your broadband modem and allows your smart heating appliances to be controlled by your smartphone app.
If you already have a smart thermostat, you've more than likely got that manufacturer's connecting device already. If you're just starting out with smart heating, most manufacturers sell starter packs that include the connecting device, smart thermostat and/or smart radiator valves.
Most smart radiator valves only work with their manufacturer's smart thermostat and connecting device. So if you're buying 'off brand' it's worth checking its compatibility with any existing home heating setup you have.
Below are the three simplest heating setups. We show you what you can and can't do with them.
This is the set up a lot of homes will have. You can manually set the thermostat temperature, and it will turn the boiler on and off to maintain the temperature of the room it's placed in.
You can also set the temperature of each room using the thermostatic radiator valves. In the diagram below:
You would have to go to each room to manually change this. Because the valves can't communicate with the thermostat, the radiators will only heat up if the boiler is already turned on.
What you can do:
What you can't do:
As shown by the dotted line in the diagram below, you can use your smartphone to communicate wirelessly with your smart thermostat via a compatible connecting device.
This means you can remotely set the thermostat temperature, and it will turn the boiler on and off to maintain the temperature of the room it's placed in.
You can also set up heating schedules within the app to change the thermostat temperature throughout the day. In the diagram above, the thermostat is located in the living room. So you could set it to 18°C and also schedule this to change to 20°C between 7pm - 8pm, making it nice and cosy for you in the evening when you settle down in front of the TV.
You can set the temperature of each room using the thermostatic radiator valves. However, as seen on the diagram, the valves can't communicate with the smart thermostat or your smartphone, so you will have to change them manually.
What you can do:
What you cannot do:
As shown by the dotted line in the diagram below, you can use your smartphone to communicate wirelessly with your smart thermostat and also the smart radiator valves, via a compatible connecting device.
This means you can remotely set the thermostat and smart radiator valves temperatures. You can even set the exact temperature with smart radiator valves, instead of the 'rough' temperature as you do with thermostatic radiator valves.
All the smart radiator valves can communicate with the smart thermostat, meaning you can turn the boiler on and off by changing the settings of any of the heating devices. Out of our three home setups, this gives you the most complete control of your heating.
You can easily set up heating schedules. For example, the heating can be turned off in all the rooms but the office during the day, and then be turned on low in the bedrooms and higher in the living room during the evening.
This allows you to only have heating on when you need it, and in the rooms you need it – potentially saving money on heating bills.
What you can do:
What you can't do:
Ultimately, it depends what you want smart heating for to decide if it's worth getting. Smart radiator valves offer high levels of control, but that doesn't suit everyone.
Smart radiator valves are great if you want complete control and transparency over how much you're using your heating.
If you have a regular schedule, you may well benefit from being able to program a heating schedule.
Conversely, if you go away on holiday – or just a night out – you can easily turn the heating off to save money, then turn it back on when you're on your way back so you're greeted to a nice warm home.
However, if you don't own a smartphone or don't like using one, you're unlikely to get the full benefit out of a smart radiator valve.
Small spaces, such as a one-bed flat or bedsit, tend to only have one or two radiators. So buying smart radiator valves for such homes won't be of much benefit.
Yes, but probably not as much as manufacturers claim. If your home is poorly insulated, you'll make greater savings on your energy bills by improving your home insulation first. Smart heating can then shave off a few more pennies.
Most estimates on savings that can be made with smart home heating assume that, before you started using smart heating, you left your heating set to maintain a constant temperature during the day.
So if you already turn your heating off when you leave home, or don't have it on for long periods of the day, you're unlikely to save as much as the manufacturers claim.
Having said this, smart radiator valves allow for greater control than just a smart thermostat on its own – so having both and using them wisely will gift you more savings than if you just have a smart thermostat.
Wi-fi (or wireless) radiator valves and smart radiator valves are not the same thing.
Essentially, a wi-fi radiator valve is just a traditional TRV that you can adjust remotely.
This can be a good thing depending on what you're after. You don't need to purchase a smart thermostat or connecting device to start using a wi-fi radiator valve, meaning they're less of an upfront cost. If you want to dip your toes into the world of smart heating for the first time, wi-fi radiator valves could be an ideal first step.
It's also worth noting here that you can use smart radiator valves without a smart thermostat, but this setup would have the same limitations of wi-fi radiator valves.
Most smart radiator valves require a hub to communicate with your smart thermostat and your smartphone app.
If you don’t want a hub, there are options out there (like wi-fi radiator valves), but be aware that this comes with less functionality. So you won’t be able to communicate with your thermostat to bring the boiler on and off.
Manufacturers such as have radiator valves that detect when a person is in a room and only heats it whilst they are in the room. It doesn’t use wi-fi or a smartphone app, so it's potentially a great solution if you're less tech savvy and want a bit of automation to your home heating.