A traditional central heating system is usually connected to a single thermostat in the living room and thermostatically controlled heating units in other rooms. This classical approach has certain disadvantages compared to a modern zone-heating system: zone-heating not only has a positive influence on ease of use and comfort, but on energy consumption as well.
Traditional central heating
The thermostat in the living room enables you to set the desired room temperature. In most cases, this is done in time units that switch between comfort temperature and a lower, night-time temperature. The latter are used when leaving the house or going to bed.
In all other rooms, the user can set the thermostat control on the individual heating unit (from position 1 to 5) to get the desired temperature. The boiler will not be activated before the thermostat in the living room indicates there is a heating demand (room temperature is lower than the required temperature).
When there is no heating demand in the living room, the other rooms will not heat up. In other words, the bedrooms and office are not heated when it is warm enough in the living room. This can happen when a fireplace is lit in the living room, or when the room is heated by sunlight shining through the windows. If you work at home in a separate office space, you will have to heat the entire living room in order to have it warm enough in the office.
Opt for zone-heating
In the case of zone-heating, every room has its own hot water circuit, controlled by an electronic valve or a small pump. Every room is equipped with its own heat sensor and some push buttons (possibly with a display panel) to increase or lower the room temperature. Every user can now set the temperature he or she wants for a single particular room, independently from the (lack of) heating demand in the other rooms. People working at home can heat up their office without having to heat the rest of the home. That will save you quite a lot on your energy bill.
Connecting the heating system to an Integrated Home System (IHS), will not only open up possibilities for local control, but for central control as well. For instance, adding a display panel in the living room will enable you to consult the current and desired room temperature. This central display panel will also enable you to increase or lower the temperature in each room remotely. Handy when you are planning on using the bathroom later on. In that case, you no longer have to enter the bathroom first to turn on the heating locally.
In addition, it is possible to have coordinating controls. When the last person to leave the house pushes the all-off button, not only will the lights go out, the heating will also automatically be set to the lower 'absence' position. If you should come home earlier than planned, you can switch on the heating in the room of your choice beforehand remotely by using your smartphone or tablet from wherever you happen to be.
Nurseries and children’s bedrooms
Nurseries and children’s bedrooms are used differently to the parents’ bedroom. They are often not only used for sleeping, but also serve as living rooms where the kids can play or study. Thanks to zone-heating, these rooms can be heated when occupied without having to heat the other rooms.
In a traditional heating system with thermostatically controlled individual units, you have to pass through the entire home in order to manually set each heating unit to the comfort or night position (especially with small children). That is no longer the case with IHS-connected zone-heating. This system enables you to lower the temperature in your children’s bedroom from your comfortable couch in front of the TV using your smartphone. In any case, zone-heating is well worth considering since you will only use energy when necessary.