Our service engineer Andy Probert – talks about taking heat pump control to the next level with Easytron
I’ve seen technically functional installations of our heat pumps where a third-party control has been bolted on to a system to pull heat out of a buffer, bypassing the heat pump’s on board controls. This has always struck me as a huge waste; like buying a top of the range car and instead of using all the clever integrated sound system and satellite navigation, putting a radio on the dashboard and relying on local traffic news. These systems work, and for the end consumer they offer some running cost improvements on what they had before, but there is the potential so much more efficiency to be won, and a much better control available for the end user. Yes, takes a little time to learn about the integrated controls on a heat pump; but leaving a consumer with a different set of controls for hot water and heating is a potential source time-draining of support calls too; not to mention leaving a customer with a less satisfying experience of the system.”
Easytron excited me from the start because it offers a new layer of integrated control and efficiency, particularly when installed with underfloor heating.
For example, there is a temptation to set the heat curves on new systems conservatively high to ensure that any slightly colder areas of a property are covered. I recently visited an installation without Easytron. The heat curve of the whole 240 square metre house had to be raised because one north facing room was cold. Tinkering with systems like this to achieve the best balance of comfort and efficiency does entail additional support time, which most installers are not going to be compensated and find it hard to justify, even if they know the end user is not sufficiently technical to do it themselves. When paired with underfloor emitters, Easytron takes over work involved in setting heat curves, by continually using feedback from the sensors to tell the heat pump how to adjust the curve for maximum efficiency. Moreover, it learns the heat requirements of each room individually and can leave just the minimum number of valves open to keep flow to cooler areas of the house, once other areas are up to temperature.
This is a perfect win/win of more efficiency without extra human input, leading to a better end-user experience in terms of comfort and lower costs. But this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefits these fully integrated controls offer. Other benefits of Easytron include:
• Easytron reduces compressor restarts. Stopping and starting the compressor fully is inefficient. The intelligent control maintains the system at minimum flow once heat demand has been met; keeping the property to temperature with a trickle of heat, rather than cycling on and off – a far more energy efficient approach.
• Installing Easytron means the system comes already set up for cooling. No extra kit is needed. If the customer has PV then you can easily run the cooling off user generated electricity for effectively free cooling.
• Being able to control different zones is particularly useful for properties with Air B&B annexes or granny flats. Rooms in these areas can be set to suit the needs of different households with different heat needs or patterns of behaviour.
• The app-based control really impresses end customers with its ease of use. It offers a real step up in functionality and usability over traditional heating systems. For example, the clever holiday mode not only allows you to tell the system when you are on holiday and what minimum temperature to maintain, it takes note of your return date and will use what it has learned about how quickly your home heats, to turn on the heating again at exactly the right time in advance to hit your target comfort temperatures for your return. And of course – those dates can be changed remotely if your plans change.
I’m an advocate for using Easytron on all properties with more than 2 or 3 rooms. If you need any more reasons to consider it, we find that it is essentially cost neutral compared to “normal” underfloor controls because the wireless installation means no wiring costs.