Advanced heating controls

I built a heating system in my house with Home Assistant in mind - so there’s no controllers, thermostats, etc, other than HA.
While in theory every bit and piece of my heating hardware works with HA, im struggling with putting some logic behind it to control it automatically.
Heating consists of:

  • boiler - fully controlled and monitored through eBUS
  • normal radiators - controlled by Zwave TRVs
  • underfloor heating, pump and actuators controlled by Zwave relays
  • trench radiator - has valve and 3-step fan controlled by Zwave relays

I can control each of those devices manually through Home Assistant, but im struggling to tie all ends and have them work automatically in an energy saving way.

Has anyone tried to automatize such complex heating system using HomeAssistant?

I know the feeling of having some new hardware but then agonizing how to best actually automate it!

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend creating all of your heaters (and corresponding temp sensors) as generic thermostats. This will allow you to use all of home assistants built in climate services. Take a look here:

This will make it very clean to control the heating with minimal code on your end. It will also put you on the same page as other people creating hvac automations, and give you a nice ui for the standard front end or lovelace.

My apologies if none of this is new to you. It sounds like a very cool setup so let me know what you end up doing. :slightly_smiling_face:

Once you’ve done that, Roschi has created a super powerful scheduling app called schedy that might be of interest to you. Its predecessor was designed just for thermostats but schedy can be used for all different types of devices.

While I admire that you’re willing to try all control through HA, I think you should also keep in mind the possible downsides of doing it that way.

Smart thermostats have algorithms which account for different types of heating systems. For example, a hydronic heating system (hot water in radiators or in-floor) can be slow to get up to heat, compared to electric radiators or forced-air. Many smart thermostats can learn this and adjust the schedule automatically. I’m not sure that there’s an equivalent thermostat control available for Home Assistant right now.

I’m not saying it won’t work… I’m just saying, you’re results might be slightly different than having smart thermostats and then interfacing those with HA.

Good luck! I’m curious to hear how it works out!

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I do like my nests, but realistically the best thing about them is their presence detection. Regarding time-to-temp prediction, it’s really only helpful in the morning because me and my wife’s coming and goings throughout the day is highly unpredictable, but our wake up time is predictable. I think that if one’s use of time to temp is as limited as mine, a learning thermostat is overkill.

But, maybe @dinth can develop a native home assistant learning thermostat module for all of us. :grin:

I agree with you. I’ve designed my home automation system so that it binds together independent systems. If the HA system fails, the independent systems continue to perform their purpose-built tasks (alarm panel continues to monitor security, thermostat continues to manage HVAC, etc).

Although centralizing all control into HA can offer greater flexibility, it also creates a central point of failure. It now becomes imperative to make that centralized system highly resistant to failures (or at least fault-tolerant). It’s usually no hardship to lose automatic control of lighting but the loss of control over HVAC might result in (worst case) property damage.

Last but not least, duplicating all of the functionality found in the average so-called “smart” thermostat is not trivial. There needs to be a very special use-case (perhaps a very complex HVAC system) to justify re-inventing all that functionality. Having said that, this community consists of many clever HA hobbyists so more power to them for tackling these tougher tasks.

The thing is that, as far as I know, there’s no ready made system which could efficiently control such complex heating system. Definitely thermostats like Nest or Hive couldnt do even half of it. Maybe companies like Vaillant do have such advanced controllers would could control my system, but I bet that installing and setting them up would be as complicated as setting up HA.

I am trying to come up with a solution that will control my in floor warm water heat. I have a system now that monitors the outside temperature and adjusts the water temp accordingly. If the outside gets colder then the water is hotter (to a max temp). My issue is the actual formula and where the acutal math is performed. Could I use an esp32 as my controller ( Temp sensors, and relays) and have the math done within the ESP? And use the HA to monitor what the ESP is doing? Probably would need to have some variable inputs to the ESP from the HA. Is this possible??