Honeywell evohome - the Sweet-spot for Heating Control

David Bell |

Honeywell Connected Heating at Vesternet

I've been looking forward to announcing our partnership with Honeywell for sometime. So finally - Vesternet now sell and support the full Honeywell Connected and evohome heating product range. This covers single-zone and multi-zoned heating as well as underfloor heating systems. In my view it is the absolute best solution for multi-zoned heating available today.

Why Honeywell?

Firstly, Honeywell has been a world recognised leader in domestic and industrial heating solutions for more than half a century - take a look at your current heating timer and I can almost guarantee it will be Honeywell. So it's fair to say they know a bit about heating. When they released their Connected and evohome heating solutions it was clear they had looked at the market and delivered a system that met peoples needs and capabilities. When we met with them in March, I was totally sold on the system - I fitted evohome in my house within a couple of weeks and have had it on test ever since (more of that later).

This brings me to the second reason. One of the most common requests and aims of people is to bring home automation to their heating system, in particular multi-zoned radiator systems where you can achieve great savings by controlling each room in an intelligent manner. The problem has always been that other home automation products such as Z-Wave or LightwaveRF are either too complex or don't really do true multi-zone, where each zone can independently control the boiler and request heat. Most of the time you need to create complex scenes (usually in code) to handle this - it's simply beyond the capabilities of most people. And that's where the Honeywell systems hit the sweet-spot for all types of heating.

Honeywell Products

Whether you want simple control of a single zone system from a smartphone or tablet, or if you want complete multi-zone control of an existing heating system - Honeywell has a solution for you. The evohome is the only multi-zone system I've considered installing, and I know a lot about this stuff!

The Honeywell range breaks down into two distinct ranges. Connected, allows simple smartphone and wireless control of a single-zone system where as evohome, allows you to control singe-zone, multi-zone or underfloor heating. The beauty of the evohome system is that it can be controlled from the touch screen evohome controller or from a smartphone/tablet - making it very family and kid friendly.

Rather than listing the different products on this post, I have included links to our new heating guide that explain just what Honeywell can do and how it helps you save money by making your heating more efficient.

Single-Zone Connected Thermostat

The Honeywell Connected Thermostats allow you to have wireless control of your heating. The thermostat can be positioned anywhere in the house allowing you to control the heating manually or from your smartphone, tablet or computer. This solution can only control heating (not hot water).

evohome Single-Zone

Honeywell evohome gives you superb wireless control of your heating and hot water systems. The evohome controller puts complete control at your finger-tips and you can control the system from a phone or tablet wherever you are.

evohome Multi-Zone

The multi-zone evohome system allows you to split your existing radiator heating system into separate zones, allowing you to control exactly which rooms are heated and when. Plus it can control your hot water as well. evohome is the best multi-zoned heating system available today, you can easily and quickly add sophisticated control to your heating in an afternoon - no messy installation and no complex programming.

evohome in use

So much for the tech specs, what's it like in real use?

As I said at the beginning, evohome is the only system I've even considered installing in my home to add multi-zone control. I know a lot about this stuff, and knew how hard using Z-Wave would be. When I met Honeywell, I was sold on evohome's simplicity - so much so, that so as soon as I had finished the meeting, I was on the phone getting the first products shipped for me to install and test.

I've installed it into 8 zones with 12 TRVs at the moment, this only took a couple hours to install and configure, including setting all schedules for each zone. On other systems, after a couple of hours, you'd probably have all the components hooked and kind of working, but you wouldn't have even started looking at programming the scenes to control it!

In operation, the system looks after itself - it's actually best to stop thinking about it and leave it to do its thing. Each zone can be set to different temperatures throughout the day - most are set to a low temp so as not to waste heat. So for example, normally the whole house is heated in the morning. But now just the bedrooms and kitchen are heated - the lounge and dinning room are off in the morning. In the evening the lounge and kitchen are heated and the bedrooms come on later to warm them before going to bed.

Each Radiator Controller (TRV) can be set to a particular temperature, it reports back what the room temp is to the controller. You can have multiple TRVs in one room combined as a single zone - which makes sense as you want the room operating as a single zone. Then when the zone needs heat, the controller tells the boiler to turn on and the hot water only goes to that zone and not to the others as the other TRVs will be off. This means that each zone can call for heat independently of all other zones - which is exactly what you want from a multi-zone system. If you want to override this, you can adjust the TRV's knob and that will then tell the boiler what to do, or you can press that zone on the controller and tell it to over-ride the temp. You can also use the Connected thermostats as wall mounted thermostats for manual control if you prefer.

What's the catch?

So far, after two months of living with evohome I don't see any issues. Honeywell use their own 'Rameses II' wireless system, this was jointly developed with NASA and gives rock solid connections. I guess the only issue is that the Honeywell systems don't interface with other systems such as LightwaveRF or Z-Wave, so you would have two systems running in the house - one for lighting and one for heating. But you will have the best system controlling each section. My point here is that you get a dedicated heating system that is focused on doing multi-zone very well. It is easy to set up and no programming or complex systems to configure. In reality I can't see any negatives in having two systems. The heating system would rarely need accessing via a phone or tablet - when it does, it doesn't really matter if it's a different app than the lights. The lights you will probably want to use the app quite often.

Having said that, the Honeywell system isn't entirely closed. They have just launched an IFTTT channel so you can control it based on your location - great for turning the heating on automatically when you are a certain distance from home. And other criteria. And, we're working with Honeywell on an API that could allow evohome to be controlled from 3rd party systems (in the meantime a google search will turn up some current workarounds).

Anything Else New?

Funny you should say that. Today we're not just announcing the whole Honeywell range, we're also announcing the NEW evohome controller - this was only just released an hour ago!.

This "Generation 3" controller has all the same features as the existing version - colour touchscreen LCD and wireless control of up to 12 heating zones etc. But it also includes integrated Wi-Fi connectivity - no need for a separate mobile gateway, the kit also includes the boiler relay, so you have everything you need to get control of your heating. The best heating solution just got better and even easier to install and use.

When's it Available?

It's here, in stock and ready to ship - Honeywell Connected and Honeywell evohome, so you can order now and have it tomorrow. We have a range of Honeywell Heating Guides to show how to use it in various systems and we have Application Notes showing how to wire it in your heating system. Plus we know how it works, so you can always ask us.

Any questions - you know where I am.


About the Author

David Bell is the founder of Vesternet. As a contributing author on popular smart home topics including Z-Wave & Zigbee, he’s been cited in a multitude of popular websites, forums & articles over the past 10 years and continues to publish regularly on Vesternet.

With over 25 years in business, and 15 years in home automation, he also heads up all of Vesternet’s commercial initiatives throughout various online channels as an expert in sales, marketing & growth strategies.