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What heating control is right for my home?

There are a variety of different types of central heating controls available, giving you lots of options to ensure convenient, efficient and straightforward management of the heating in your home.

In this article, we're going to look at the different types of heating controls, the features of each system, and how to choose the best heating controls for your home.

We're going to look at the following topics:

What are heating controls?

Types of heating controls

What are the best heating controls?

How to upgrade heating controls

What are heating controls?

As the name suggests, heating controls allow you to change the settings on your central heating system. While thermostats have been used for a long time, automatically turning your boiler on or off based on the ambient temperature inside your home, heating control systems offer more versatility.

They differ from thermostats in that they enable you to set the exact time, temperature and schedule for your boiler, and many systems can even be adjusted remotely for added convenience. This makes it easier to ensure that your home is at the desired temperature as and when required, and allows you to take charge of your home’s energy bills.

Types of heating controls

There are many different types of central heating controls available for your home. Let's take a look at them in turn and discuss the specifics of each system.

Manual heating controls

Manual heating controls are the cheapest, simplest and therefore least customisable type of central heating controls. They may be as basic as a simple on-off switch, or may include a thermostat to measure the temperature in your home. The thermostat is manually set to the desired temperature and automatically switches the boiler on or off to achieve the right level of heat.

Room thermostat controls

Similar to manual home heating controls, room thermostats allow you to manage the temperature within individual rooms, so you can provide more heat to the colder rooms in your house, and avoid wasting energy heating rooms that you don't use.

This is often achieved using thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), which can be set individually to control the level of heat that is given out by each radiator in your home. Wireless heating controls use thermostats that are connected to the boiler via a Wi-Fi signal, monitoring the temperature of each room and automatically adjusting the radiators accordingly.

Programmable heating controls

Programmable heating control systems use a timer and allow you to choose when your central heating comes on and when it switches off. This automatic system ensures that your home is warm when it needs to be, without you having to manually change the settings. Many modern programmable systems allow you to set specific schedules for different days of the week, and may include a built-in holiday mode.

Programmable controls are available on both digital and analogue systems. Digital controls use buttons and a numerical display, and may also include a remote control. Analogue controls use a mechanical dial or timer, which is set by hand directly on the boiler unit.

By adhering to a set schedule, programmable controls allow you to save money and avoid wasting energy when there’s nobody home. However, programmable controls require you to input and update your schedule as necessary. You will therefore need to manually adjust your settings year round.

Discover our range of traditional thermostats here.

Smart heating controls

Smart home heating controls work similarly to programmable controls, with the added benefit of allowing you to connect your central heating system to other smart devices, such as your smartphone, Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit. This gives you the ability to control your heating remotely, or use voice commands for convenient management of the temperature in your home.

The flexibility of adjusting your settings through a variety of devices makes it easier to take complete control of your home's temperature, and allows you to save energy and reduce your bills. Your heating won't be running all day if you forget to turn it off before leaving for work, or you can switch it on before you get home to make sure the house is nice and warm when you arrive. Some smart home heating controls are even able to learn and adapt to your heating requirements, automatically adjusting to various external stimuli without you having to lift a finger.

Creating a fully integrated smart system is one of the more expensive options for central heating controls. It’s also worth noting that this type of control requires a stable internet connection for the boiler to communicate with the radiators throughout your home, which may not be suitable for all properties.

Glow-worm's smart controls include MiSet, MiGo Select, MiGo and the Climastat Select. To make our heating control even smarter, pairing it with the MiGo Link interent gateway allows you to have a fully integrated smart home system it works in harmony with Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit.

Weather compensation devices

Weather compensation devices are particular types of central heating controls that take the weather into account when managing your home’s heating. If you use an app to control your heating, this type of system uses internet weather data that automatically adjusts your home's central heating settings in relation to the current weather conditions.

When the weather is hot, your boiler won't need to work as hard to bring the ambient temperature of your home up to the required level, while sub-zero temperatures will have the opposite effect. By compensating for the weather, this type of heating control helps to save you money on your heating bills and reduce your carbon emissions. The MiGo and MiGo Select have weather compensation capabilities.

What are the best heating controls?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which is the best home heating control, as there are many different factors involved in the decision.

To help you weigh up the options, here are some of the considerations that you might want to take into account when choosing the right system for your home.

If you want ultimate control over your heating, opting for internet-based thermostat that works using on your Wi-Fi network will be the best option. You will be able to control your heating from just about anywhere at your own convenience.

If your house does not have a strong or reliable internet connection, smart thermostat controls are likely not suitable. Your installer can advise you on whether your internet speed and stability is suitable for a smart control. If it isn’t, you may wish to upgrade your internet, allowing you to modernise your home's heating system and take advantage of smart digital controls.

If you want to update your heating controls but not your boiler, it's important to make sure that the option you choose is suitable for your current system. Some older models may not be suitable for use with digital systems, so you would have to replace your boiler before being able to upgrade to wireless heating controls. We recommend that you buy a heating control that is made by the same manufacturer as it will be the most efficient set up. If you have a Glow-worm boiler, it would be best to buy a Glow-worm control as all our products work are compatible with each other.

The size of your home is a key factor when deciding what type of heating control to install. For example, automated systems may be preferable for large properties, allowing a homeowner to ensure a comfortable temperature in each room without manual effort, while fully integrated smart controls may be too expensive for smaller homes where a manual system would be perfectly adequate.

Ultimately, the type of heating control that’s right for you depends on your own personal preferences. Younger people may lean towards digital controls, allowing them to connect their home into a smart system. For older people, the decision may come down to ease of use, choosing something that is simple to operate and doesn't require a lot of setup.

How to upgrade heating controls

To find out which type of heating control is the most suitable for you, speak to your local Glow-worm installer, who will be able to advise you.

In most situations, new central heating controls can be connected to your existing system easily. In cases where your chosen device is not compatible with your existing boiler, your engineer will advise you on whether it's worth upgrading your entire boiler and heating system, or suggest alternatives that meet your needs.

If you'd like to discuss the different types of heating controls available for your home, get in touch with Glow-worm today. Our expert team is on hand to support you and help you to choose the most suitable heating control system for your home.