This type of heating is often found in rural homes that don't have a gas or oil supply. Each panel heater is wired to the mains, most have an integrated thermostat that controls that particular panel. There is rarely a room or house thermostat to control the system as a whole. The systems are expensive to run, so any intelligent control that you can add will quickly save you money as well as making the system more convenient to use and monitor.
Types and Connections
There are two types of electrical connection used for panel heaters:
The Panel heater simply plugs into a wall socket (outlet), adding home automation control for this type is incredibly simple by using a Z-Wave Wall plug.
Each Panel is wired into a 'fused-spur' that provides power from the house's main power circuit, you can use a Z-Wave Relay/Switch (wired after the fused spur) to control power to the panel heater.
Add Home Automation to Control Your Panel Heating
Adding home automation to control this type of Electric Panel heating system is very easy straightforward. By adding a Z Wall Plug or Relay/Switch you have wireless control of each heating panel. You can decide when each one is active to ensure they are only used when they need to be - they are expensive to run, so the less time they are active the better. When they are active the in-built thermostat will control the temperature around that panel, however, these can be mistakenly set, so we also suggest using a Z-Wave Wireless Thermostat. The Thermostat will control the room's overall temperature, making sure it is comfortable and that all the panels work together in the most efficient manner.
Components - what they do
To add home automation control of your electric panel-based heating system, you only need to add three components (less if you already have a Z-Wave system). Below we explain the function of each component and our recommended products.
This is a simple Z-Wave On/Off Wall plug that allows you to wirelessly control the panel's power. There's also a version that measures the power consumed by the heating panel, so you know exactly how much it's costing you.
Combines On/Off control of the lamp as well as measuring its power consumption. Loads up to 2,400W.
Aeon Heavy Duty Switch
Provides On/Off control of the heating panel, up to 7Kw (40A) and measures its power consumption.
As you can see there are a variety of Z-Wave modules to choose from. We have a very good guide that can help you select the most suitable devices for your application - take a look at our Choosing a Z-Wave Module guide.
Wall Thermostats and Sensors
Communicates directly with the Wall Plug or Relay to control the heating panel depending on the room's ambient temperature and the 'set-point' temperature you've selected. You can change the thermostat's set-point temperature wirelessly, giving you complete control over your heating system.
Secure Wall Thermostat (SRT321)
Wall mounted thermostat controls the panels and can have it's set-point changed by the Z-Wave controller. All heating schedules will be run in the Z-Wave controller and the heating's On/Off periods controlled by changing the wall thermostat's set-point.
Secure Programmable 7-day Thermostat (SCS317)
Very similar to the Secure Wall Thermostat, except it has an integrated 7-day timer that enables it to run the heating based on schedules you program into the thermostat - it can have up to 6 temperature periods per day.
Danfoss Temperature Sensor
Wall mounted sensor sends temperature to Z-Wave controller so that you can use this to control the heating.
The controller enables you to add and configure devices to your Z-Wave system and run 'schedule scenes'. It also acts as a gateway allowing you to control the system from a smartphone even when you are away from home. In the case of heating, the controller will run the schedules to control when the heating is On/Off and at what temperature, it will also run the hot-water times.
Extremely flexible controller for Z-Wave, Z-Wave Plus and ZigBee systems.
Low cost, very capable Z-Wave controller for heating and complete home automation.
Fibaro Home Center 2 (HC2)
Flexible Z-Wave controller with an intuitive User Interface (UI), includes dedicated Heating 'panels' for easier schedule and control of your heating system and advanced LUA programming capabilities.
Fibaro Home Center Lite
Flexible Z-Wave controller with an intuitive User Interface (UI) and includes dedicated Heating 'panels' for easier schedule and control of your heating system.
Athom Homey Smart Hub
Homey is a versatile controller with a really easy-to-use interface (UI), supporting 7 wireless technologies (like zigbee and LightwaveRF) as well as Z-Wave.
Homeseer Gateways and Software
Homeseer offer the most advanced home automation software and gateways available. The HS3 software is available to run on a Windows PC and is also included in all the Homeseer hardware gateways.
Indigo is the advanced smart home Software for Mac OS X, compatible with hundreds of Z-Wave, INSTEON and other smart devices. Over 100 plugins to other devices make it the most powerful software solution available for Mac.
These guides and videos show how these various systems can be integrated with Vesternet's home automation products.