Installation of the Drayton Wiser Heat Hub, which is the main control unit of the system, was so much easier than I expected. Drayton are using an industry standard backplate – the same as is used for the Hive controller, so there were plenty of resources online to help me – as well as the included user manual.
First step was to turn off the boiler and then switch off the mains by isolating the fuse for that circuit (and checking the boiler didn’t turn back on if I flicked the switch). Then I took photos of how the boiler was currently wired and unscrewed the existing unit from the wall.
When I took the BDR91 faceplate off the wall I noticed that the second L wire was wired directly to A. This made me 90% sure of which of the options in the instruction manual I needed to follow, but a quick google of BDR91A to Hive wiring confirmed this for me.
In my instance N on the BDR went to N on the new face place, one L went to the only L on Drayton’s plate and the brown wire joined the L to position 1. The black wire then went from C to position 3. This basically means we’re taking the Live feed from the boiler and feeding it to the controller on position 1. The controller then switches position 3 on and off with the live power, making a complete circuit. I have a combi-boiler so there’s no other feeds for hot water or multiple zone heating to worry about.
With the plate on the wall and wired in, all that was left to do was cut a small notch out so that the wire didn’t foul the Heat Hub and then slot the Heat Hub in place. Installation took well under an hour, setting up the app took about as long.
The app setup process should be simple. The Heat Hub creates it’s own wireless access point, you connect your phone to the access point and then follow the instructions in the app. I found it quite troublesome as my phone kept dropping off the network. Maybe my phone didn’t like that it couldn’t access the internet? I don’t know. Eventually though, I managed to get logged in and signed up. The app itself is really well designed and I’ve have very few issues with it. Sometimes it doesn’t show the room information, but fully closing the app and opening it again solves the issue every time.
The app has the ability to set the schedule, boost the temperature for half, one, two or three hours, set to away mode (which keeps the temperature to a set level until you say you’re back home), set the temperature for the rest of the schedule period and a few other tasks. Other than being location aware (this is on their roadmap) the app has absolutely everything you could want from a smart thermostat. The app talks directly to the Heat Hub too, so should their servers go down or Drayton withdraw support for the service completely you can carry on using the app inside your own home. This is a huge bonus in my books.
The only negative is that you can only have one account allocated to your Heat Hub, so you need to share the username and password with anybody else in your house that want to use the app to control the heating. There’s always the cute little thermostat to set the temperature and give it a quick boost if you’re not keen on sharing login details. Again, Drayton have said that multi-user support is on their roadmap.
We’ve been living with the thermostat for about a month now and it’s been great. Especially setting the temperature to be slightly cooler in the mornings than the evening so you don’t wake up in a sweat, something that was an issue at our last house with a simple time and manual thermostat.
The next step is to buy a few radiator TRVs as upstairs doesn’t get as warm as downstairs in the morning so the bathroom is a bit chilly. Then I’ll link it to my home automation setup so it can be on a tablet and I can manage the temperature, lighting and music centrally.