Smart systems for heat pumps

Different projects and end users will have different definitions of what makes a clever control system for their heat pump. There are those for whom the simplest and most intuitive of manual controls represent the ideal. And at the other end of the scale there are users who want a system that can automatically refine its own performance based on the data that it collects. Stiebel Eltron caters for the whole spectrum of needs and in this article I’m going to review the available options.

1.  First up is not actually the control fitted on the machine itself (more on that next). Our FE7 remote control is an interface that any user can engage with. This little box is the most basic of up and down dial controls to adjust set room temperatures. A second dial allows you to select which mode you are adjusting (night time, day time, or set back temperatures). That’s it. For customers who just want to know that they can make the room a degree or two warmer or cooler at will, this is the ideal solution..
2.    The controls supplied with our heat pumps as standard are actually already quite smart. All our new machines are now fitted with a WPM3. Having said that this controller has been recently re-designed with an easy to use Ipod-type interface and better graphic display to make it simpler to use. This controller offers a wealth of functionality. For example, during Installation it can (and should) be set with weather-compensation enabled – the colder it gets outside the hotter the water is heated in your system to compensate for heat loss and ensure rapid response times.

3.    The next level of of control is to link the heat pump to a customer’s home network. Stiebel Eltron’s Internet Service Gateway (ISG) does just this. The ISG is a small server that connects to your heat pump heating and hot water system. It acts both to store data (doesn’t store data) and to provide a remote interface into the system through which you can access this data and control your system. Once linked to your home network you can then access the system through any PC or device with a standard browser. You can even configure mobile access through your smartphone. This allows users to control the settings on their heat pumps from wherever they are. They can also review performance data at any time, seeing exactly how their heating and hot water systems are working.  The main point is that the interface is easy to use and big – link to demo…

The second level of ISG service is access to Service World Pro. We are currently providing the first two years of the Service World Pro as standard with all ISG installations in the UK. This service not only connects your ISG to a customer’s home network, but also connects it to the Stiebel Eltron ISG server, and allows them to grant access to the system to third parties. The benefits of this are:
•    Installers can remotely monitor the live system and tune the performance exactly to the needs of the customer
•    The system is able to alert us and the installer if there is an error code. This means that, during the product’s standard warranty period, not only will all repairs and parts be free, but that we will be actively vigilant in maintaining the system, and be able to fix any teething problems, often before a customer even knows there is one.

4.  For homes which already have an advanced home management system from KNX we have a downloadable add-on to the ISG that gives you visibility of your heat pump through the KNX interface, allowing you to keep just one interface for the whole house.

5.   ISG plus is an additional level of control for customers who also have a solar PV array on the roof. This module helps to ensure that energy from your PV array is always used in the most efficient and cost-effective way, using it on site whenever possible. ISG plus connects to the PV controls so that when the sun is shining the system uses this energy to heat water storage tanks for the most efficient use of that energy.

6.  And, finally, we have the EMI, again for those customers with the additional element of PV in their heating system. This component connects to SMA smart home manager, a home management system for Solar PV arrays. The EMI comes with four Bluetooth plug sockets that learn about the cycle times of the appliances plugged into them. It checks the weather forecast and schedules the switching on of the appliances according to when the sun is going to shine. So if, for example, it knows that your heat pump will cycle for 3hrs to heat a tank of hot water for your return home after work, it might see a slot of sunshine forecast from 1-3pm and decide to bring forward the cycle to that point rather than wait to start until 3pm (knowing as it also does how long it can expect the tank to maintain a sufficiently hot temperature and calculating that this will fall within those parameters)

So, as you can see there is a control system to suit every customer, system and budget. Please do contact us to discuss your requirements.