Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

Posted on
Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:02 pm
mat offline
Posts: 671
Joined: Nov 25, 2010
Location: Cambridgeshire - UK

Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

As the title says, I'm just replacing a boiler and thermostat, and wondered how you are finding evohome?

I have two boxed nests ready to install as I didn't believe evohome was compatible with my home (two boilers). I have subsequently had a chat with them and understand it now is (or always was).

How reliable are you finding the system both on its own and with indigo?

its a reasonably large investment, so welcome you comments.

cheers


Mat

mini 10.11.6

Posted on
Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:16 am
MartinG offline
Posts: 43
Joined: Aug 19, 2016

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

We had evohome installed when we refurbished the house about 2 years ago. The only issue we had is that the controller needs to be centrally located is it doesn't have the range to reach diagonally across the house (~20m, 4 walls). I'm only now having to replace radiator valve batteries, but other than that it has been flawless.

As for Indigo integration, I use it 'read only' - I like to have my 'vital systems' operating independently. So I capture status like room temperatures, boiler activity etc and using that to trigger actions (eg automatically turning off secondary HW circulation pump to save energy if water temperature drops, usually when we're away for a few days). That has also been mostly fine - there are occasionally error messages when the plugin can't reach the Honeywell server, but they self-correct eventually.

I'd buy it again.

Posted on
Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:43 am
mat offline
Posts: 671
Joined: Nov 25, 2010
Location: Cambridgeshire - UK

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

Thanks Martin, I've ordered a signal test kit to see if will work as we have very think brick walls.

Great to hear you are happy. Nice to have a forum thats trustworthy, rather than relying on online reviews! :)

mini 10.11.6

Posted on
Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:37 am
neilk offline
Posts: 125
Joined: Jul 13, 2015
Location: Reading, UK

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

I would agree, my preference is to have the heating operate separately with a "fail safe" option and then apply schedule changes, reporting etc via Indigo and it works really well. The plugin is excellent and allows you to vary settings based on any logic you may use around presence (my wife working from home, the study needs to be warmer), triggers based on the alarm state etc giving you more granularity than you can get from Evohome alone (which is actually pretty good). I had no issues with signal propagation, but my controller is centrally located and most zones are underfloor from the manifold, that it is very close too. Battery life is fine for the sensors, and they notify you and fail gracefully.

I would install it again, also a very active forum on https://www.automatedhome.co.uk/vbullet ... ng-Control that is essentially an Evohome forum with participation from Honeywell and some of their stockists, as well as experienced users. I recommend using the separate wireless thermostats rather than relying on the radiator valve ones as well, as they give a much more stable and accurate representation of the room temperature. They also look the part and save bending down to do the overrides wherever the rad valve is.

I even have a second gateway for an outbuilding (as I ran out of zones, and it has electric heating which at the time wasn't supported by Evohome and fired the gas boiler when only electric heat was needed) and that also works with the plugin, a stat and a gateway.

It can be a bit fiddly to install, and some of the advice around pairing, proximity of devices, time between steps may be necessary but in my case it just worked.

I agree every so often the Honeywell external connection fails but it restores gracefully and Evohome does not require the connection to operate. I only know because of the notifications it has never caused me a problem. Very intermittently the plugin stops updating (it hasn't happened for a while) and I suspect it was a symptom of local network issues (I had Sonos plugin issues at the time as well) and a plugin restart addresses it.

Let me know if you want more.

Neil

Posted on
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:05 am
mat offline
Posts: 671
Joined: Nov 25, 2010
Location: Cambridgeshire - UK

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

Neil, thanks for the detailed reply - I think, subject to range, it looks like the system for me. Thanks for your time.

mini 10.11.6

Posted on
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:24 am
CliveS offline
Posts: 344
Joined: Jan 10, 2016
Location: Medomsley, County Durham, UK

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

I have evohome on all my radiators (except the kitchen towel rail) and use Indigo to control the rads 24/7/365. I never even look at the control box now.

I set the temp for every hour for every radiator, everything goes to 12c when we set away to true, Alexa and Siri will set temperature if and when instructed and I use Weather Underground to boost or reduce my fixed 24 hour settings when it gets very warm or artic cold.

When we have guests their bedroom and bathroom are set to guest mode, all I do is set a date and time variable, the same for when we go to Oz for a month each December, it just sets the whole house to 12c the day we leave and restores the day we return.

Battery life is between 1 -2 years and as stated the only downside is Honeywell seem unable to keep their server up 100% and the odd red warnings appear in the log, I just ignore them now. I have had a few occurrences where the HTML code from a web page is dumped in the log, again I just ignore it and EV Loc: seems to be permanently red in Devices but once again I ignore it as everything just works.

It took me months to code the above in Python but it does all we need and the best bit is the Boss can override it by the radiator valves as she is not into Indigo/Siri/Alexa (well until the next hours update resets it :wink: )

CliveS

Indigo 7.2.0 : Mac mini Server (Mid 2011) : MacOS Sierra 10.12.6

Posted on
Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:00 pm
siclark offline
Posts: 526
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
Location: UK

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

I'm waiting for Heatmiser to update their mains wired TRV to a battery remote one to compete with evohome. Can't understand why they haven't. I had to go that route as have rads and electirc towel rails as well as wet and electric UFH and only Heatmiser could do them all at the time. It's fantastic and works as a mesh so great signal through the house, just no TRV for individual room control.
I have a couple of zwave TRVs to turn off rooms but not quite the same.
And agree entirely with all above. Heating should work independently of indigo with indigo doing reporting and overrides.



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Posted on
Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:07 pm
mat offline
Posts: 671
Joined: Nov 25, 2010
Location: Cambridgeshire - UK

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

Thanks Guys, you all have me convinced - I've booked a test kit to check out the range - victorian walls!

mini 10.11.6

Posted on
Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:08 pm
mat offline
Posts: 671
Joined: Nov 25, 2010
Location: Cambridgeshire - UK

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

Thanks Guys,

Big box arrived at 5pm.

Box unpacked at 8pm

Installed by 11pm - RTFI's!

Plugin operatonal "for monitoring" at present 11.15pm

Looking forward to the temperature dropping now!

mini 10.11.6

Posted on
Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:02 pm
IndigoSam offline
Posts: 134
Joined: Apr 14, 2013

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

siclark wrote:
I'm waiting for Heatmiser to update their mains wired TRV to a battery remote one to compete with evohome. Can't understand why they haven't. I had to go that route as have rads and electirc towel rails as well as wet and electric UFH and only Heatmiser could do them all at the time. It's fantastic and works as a mesh so great signal through the house, just no TRV for individual room control.


I’m curious about what you mean here. I want to go the other way, have wired TRVs. I have a few Stella Zs and I’m having to change batteries every 4-5 months, some of the rads are in awkward places.

Went I looked at Heatmiser, or indeed any electric actuators, they always seem to be for UFH, not radiators. Or they are for rads, but the wiring controllers are for UFH with, maybe, one rad zone.

I feel I’m missing something. Are you saying you have some wired TRVs?

I’ve seen a few on/off wired radiator TRVs and even a few modulating versions, but I’m at a loss what they are hooked up to for control.

Sam

Posted on
Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:07 pm
siclark offline
Posts: 526
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
Location: UK

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

I’m thankfully getting better life out of my Popp TRVs than that and the locations are easy to change, although I do have issues on a danfoss with it losing connection after a battery change.

I'm sure I saw a TRV on their site before but can't see it now. Maybe I confused it with the Heatmiser thermal actuator which has an M30 valve. It says it's for underfloor but it's the right thread size for trv as well.

Also this https://www.heatingcontrolsonline.co.uk ... p-396.html

And this

Underfloor Heating Thermal Actuator https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00O9X859M/ ... 1BbPJ5YSM7

Suggests some actuators can be used on TRVs?

They are just simple on/off switches so need mains and a zwave relay module to control? I'm even wondering if a surface mounted patress box next to the trv for the module and a mains cable to that from a nearby outlet would work/be allowed? Better obviously to run the mains inside wall or underfloor.
Issue then is you still need to work out how to call heat from boiler if that is the only rad that needs it. I'm planning to use triggers to sense this and cause the controlling neostat to boost temp for an hour.

This guy sounds like he is doing it properly, all back to boiler, but will need more wires run (although cheaper than pipes!)

https://www.automatedhome.co.uk/vbullet ... tat-system

Along with multiple wet and electric ufh zones, I do have 3 radiator zones controlled by neostat as each floor of house is on their own loop and so has valves controlling water flow to them. Issue is I want to be able to control bedrooms individually.


The support guys at Heatmiser are great. Give them a call and ask.




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Posted on
Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:21 am
siclark offline
Posts: 526
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
Location: UK

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

Actually the more I think about this the more I'm tempted to try. Especially if we can set them up with autolog's new TRV plugin!

Would give instant response and could them be setup to use a remote temperature sensor using pibeacon for instance.

Just depends how neatly the wiring could be done and if it passes wife's approval and electrical regs.




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Posted on
Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:37 pm
jrcitizen offline
Posts: 14
Joined: Jan 04, 2017

Re: Considering evohome - i'd welcome your views please

I'm a bit mixed on Evohome.

Two plus years ago I was looking for a solution that would let me control my heating both as part of a home automation system as well as independently. At the time I was not impressed with the Z-Wave TRV's available. Of the thermostats I saw, the few Z-wave devices I saw were pretty ugly, and I wanted to avoid a system that was reliant on cloud services to work (I don't mind having cloud as an option, but wanted something that could run fully locally). I wanted to control the boiler, heating, electric underfloor heating, andI struggled to find good solutions. Many of the wifi-enabled thermostats were totally reliant on cloud, so that ruled them out.

After reading a lot of reviews, I decided to go with an Evohome. I found a local installer in the UK who was a top chap at this - he communicated regularly, provided a detailed breakdown of costs (parts + labour), and he offered to come over and look through the property to confirm he could do the job as proposed. He was great before, during, and post installation (and I still use him for other plumbing needs).

The installation was relatively painless. In the two years since, the batteries have lasted about two years, and the system performs as expected when used on its own. I have never had an issue with the hot water programming.

But there are some frustrations.

I have a few BDR91 Wireless Relay Boxes installed to help cover the range. However, I still periodically get TRV's that lose their connection back with the hub, meaning they don't turn on/off at the set schedule. This is not a distance issue – the BDR91's are sometimes just a couple feet away in an open space from the TRV's.

Another user pointed out that they have their heating controlled exclusively through Indigo. I would agree that you either have to control fully either through the Evohome system, or through Indigo – but not use both. Too often I had conflicts of one overriding the other, and it not only became a pain, but ran up heating bills.

Setting schedules on the Evohome control panel is a pain in the arse. The scheduling options are not that great - you have to set each TRV one-by-one, day by day. While you can copy schedules from one day to another on a single TRV, you cannot copy schedules between TRV's. While this is largely a case of set-and-forget, I dread having to make any programmed changes.

Within the Evohome environment, you cannot create groups. While you can with the Evohome Alexa plug-in, it is frustrating that you cannot have a group that sync's across devices (the hub, Alexa, and the API).

Honeywell's online systems are ok, but not great. There have been a number of occasions where their system went offline. The API that is used by the plugin relies on their cloud platform being up, so if this isn't working right, it impacts how your Indigo automations work. On a couple occasions I have had to contact their support - once where erroneous devices appeared tied to my hub, and once when Alexa wouldn't sync correctly. Though on both occasions they fixed the issue, in both cases it took over a week to resolve, and in both cases it was due to problem on their backend. It does feel as though support and a robust cloud enviroment are not given high priority by Honeywell.

Finally, I find the idea that the room temperature is set by the TRV itself quite frustrating. The issue is that being right next to the radiator, the temperature will always be warmer. I tried - unsuccessfully - to have another thermostat in one room and use this to override the Evohome TRV in setting the temperature, but the only way to do this would be to remove all the schedules for that room and try to have Indigo fully configure this. While you can purchase separate Honeywell thermostats to measure temperature in the room, they are quite big; if I need to have something to read temperature, I would prefer it is small and as close to invisible as possible. Honeywell does not provide such an option.

For the moment, I have disabled the Indigo Evohome plugin as it was causing too much conflict.

Would I buy evohome again? Not so sure. Its not horrible, but in hindsight, I am not sure it was the right fit for me. Now that there are better Z-wave TRV and thermostats in the market, I would probably be inclined to go the Z-wave route this time around. As I already have the investment in Evohome, I don't want to rip it out, but if after this year I can't get it to work as intended, I may explore that option.

At some point, I will make another attempt at getting this right. I will start by removing all control from Indigo and going back to the beginning, then removing the Evohome schedule from two rooms, and then starting anew setting up Indigo to control those two rooms. If that works, I will play with expanding this further. I am not looking forward to the investment of time it appears will be required to make this work as I would like.

In short - I would say the Evohome is great when a) you have basic set schedules, b) you have no desire to set schedules from other platforms (such as Indigo), and c) when you don't want to have "scheduled manipulations" (such as variable temperatures by room based on specific conditions, nuances such as working from home, etc.). If you do have those requirements, though feasible, it will take a lot of coding to make work. With so many Z-wave options out there, it seems that a better option these days may be to use native Z-wave TRV's and thermostats, and instead of investing the effort in coding the Evohome, spend the time on making Indigo perform your schedules as you prefer. The benefit would be that you are not only investing time in making the heating aspect work, but you can tie it in with other capabilities too. Moreover, if you already have a robust Z-wave network, then having more devices (such as TRV's) will only strengthen that network.

Finally - some of my experiences of trial and error may not be correct. If anyone has other opinions on my frustrations above (including workarounds), do please share – both for my benefit and for those interested in the platform.

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