This post describes my experience of using the Bosch EasyControl smart room thermostat with smart radiator controllers. Although it will probably be of no interest to anyone who visits my site for it’s photographic content, I hope it will prove useful to people thinking about specifically purchasing the Bosch EasyControl unit or another smart room stat.
Bosch EasyControl System
The Bosch EasyControl system is a modern replacement for the standard central heating timer and combines the job of room thermostat with a multi-timer controller. It has a nice touch screen display and modern look, although to carry out the majority of functions you use a smart phone app connected to the controller rather than the actual controller itself.
The unit is quite expensive at about £250, although we had it fitted as part of a complete boiler replacement so in a sense the cost got lost amongst the other costs in the system. The reason we went for the EasyControl rather than another smart controller was it’s ability to control smart radiator thermostats and set up individual room control.
Since I work at home and for a lot of the week I’m the only person in the house, we decided that when we had the boiler replaced recently we wanted to go for a system which allowed us to control the temperature of individual rooms. With our old boiler, most of the winter all the rooms were heated because it was quite involved to go into each room and turn the stat down, and then go back and turn each one up again when people arrived home.
With the Bosch EasyControl you connect bluetooth thermostatic radiator valves to the controller and give them each an individual name (typically the name of the room the radiator is situated in) and then you can set up individual timer programs to control each room.
The thermostatic radiator valves are powered by a couple of AA batteries and have a small LCD panel on the front which displays the temperature, and push buttons on the top to allow the temperature to be overridden locally.
To control the whole system, as I said above, you use an app on your smart phone which connects to the Controller and allows you to set individual temperatures for the named rooms.
Although it’s possible to put smart valves on all the radiators in the house, in our system, we didn’t do that. For a start it would be more expensive (the smart controllers are about £35 each) and anyway some rooms like the bathroom and the hallway would normally be kept warm all the time.
So we ended up with smart controllers in the bedrooms, office, lounge and dining room and used the main EasyControl to set the temperature of the radiators in the house which don’t have smart controllers.
Initial Problems and Solutions.
This section explains some of the problems we had with the system and how I fixed them – hopefully this will be useful to other users who experience similar issues. I should just point out that the issues we had were really only teething problems and it’s possible that the handbook for the EasyControl could cover them – obviously I didn’t read it!
When I first set up the Programs to control the individual radiators I grouped a lot of the rooms together in one program and then added individual programs for exceptions to the main program. Although this seemed to be fine, after a while we had rooms which weren’t heating when they should and other rooms which remained hot when the program suggested they should be cold.
I found the solution to that problem was to make sure that there is only ever one program which controls any individual radiator.
It’s possible to have multiple radiators controlled via one program – this is show in the image to the left where we have the Lounge and the Dining room radiators controlled and that works fine. What you mustn’t do is have another program which also controls one of the rooms in this program.
In the end I just set up a named program for each room i.e. ‘Office Program’ controls the ‘Office’ radiator and set up the individual start and stop times for that room.
The other problem we found was that the boiler was on all night. We were expecting our gas consumption to be much reduced because we replaced a 20 year old Potterton boiler with a new Bosch System boiler but we found it had actually gone up. After carefully going through all the different options in the smart app, I discovered that the frost protection was set to 15°C, so the boiler was running overnight when the temperature outside had dropped to freezing.
Once those issues had been sorted we’ve found the EasyControl system to be both reliable and economical.
Update 19 Jan 2020:
It might be useful to any potential users of this system to know the following information which we have worked out after using the system for a while.
For several months I’d been concerned that the boiler kept turning on at 3:15 in the morning. I’d checked on the App and it was always the Living Room which had initiated the boiler, with a set temperature of 23°C even though the time program for the Living room was set to the night time temperature of 15°C. After a lot of experimentation I discovered that the programs are not setting the boiler start up time – they are setting the time that you want the room to be at the temperature you have set. So in this case the program said, ‘Set the Living Room to be 23°C at 5:30’ (yes I know it’s early, I’ve been conditioned to get up early ever since I did an OU degree and used to study at that time). The boiler then turns itself on at a time it thinks is necessary in order to meet that condition. Once you understand that it makes sense, but when you think you are setting boiler on / off times it seems perplexing.
One other annoying issue I would point out is that the system has no option to boost the hot water for a set time like an hour. On several occasions I’ve had to switch the system to hot water by permanently selecting it and then forgotten to switch it back to timed.
I’d also point out that when we bought the system it was advertised as being ‘Alexa compatible’. It was only after we bought the system that we found the ‘Alexa compatibility’ is a future option which, a year later, we are still waiting for.