Best thermostat+valves system

Hi there,
I’ve been looking for a thermostat to substitute my old dumb one.
Since I want to control the temperature of each room in my house, I need smart valves too.

Now I’m not sure which one to choose between Netatmo and Tado.
Which is better in your opinion, either for HA integration and native app/functions?
Are both brand valves capable to turn on the heating if just one room is cold?

Thank you all!

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After some more research, I’ve found two possible solutions, but I need some help in finding out pro&cons and possible issues before buying the wrong stuff.

Context
My house has two floors, Poroton cellular clay blocks for walls, concrete for floors.
Just one central “dumb” thermostat at the ground floor in the main room.
House is heated by hot waters radiators; the main room has many radiators.

Goal
a. Control the temperature of every single room independently
b. Turn on the heater also for a single room needs, also if the thermostat sees the right temperature in its room

Solution 1
No central thermostat at all; instead, a Secure SSR303.
On each radiator, a Fibaro valve or a Devolo valve

Pros:

  • I could control the temperature of every radiator and turn on the heater when one needs it (am I right)?
  • Costs less

Cons:

  • I’d need to use HA to trigger the SSR303, thus missing heating if WiFi is down or if having any problem with the server (is there any way to control SSR303 directly from a valve?)
  • I’d lose some feature like energy saving and optimizations: just turn on/off from HA, no adaptive triggering based on my house insulation
  • I’d have to buy lots of valves just to start, in order to reach the farthest radiators with Z-Wave network

Solution 2
Netatmo thermostat + Netatmo valves

Pros

  • Less job to do
  • Automatic heating starting also if just one room is cold (am I right?)
  • No WiFi nor HA server dependent: works also without connectivity
  • Consumptions optimization

Cons

  • Costs more
  • Doesn’t have range extenders (what if a radiator is too far away?)

Can anyone clear out my doubts or confirm that my two solutions are feasible?

Hi! I am figuring out pretty similar thing right now.
The way I see now - use relay to turn on and off the boiler and then using z-wave valves to manage every single room. But I did not really understand yout second solution. Could you say, how are you going to inseart thermostat? Is it going to control valves on every room, or is it for boiler? I did not find nice way to change thermostat in boiler, unfortunately.

Hi Argo,
since I’m not a native, maybe I didn’t use the right words to indicate the different components; sorry, I’m trying hard to improve it…
I have a boiler that controls hot water for baths and radiators (two different circuits, clearly), the thermostat can only turn on the radiators circuit; by now, just with an on/off behavior and a little of hysteresis.

As far as I know, the Netatmo thermostat can seamlessly substitute my dumb one and the Netatmo valves can ask the thermostat to turn on the boiler then, since other valves are closed, the boiler will heat water only for that single valve.
But… maybe I’m wrong, so I’m here also to know more about Netatmo system and if it works as I understood.

I am not native too, so I am sorry too:)
Here is what I want to understand for myself. How do you control boiler? Can you do that from Home Assistant?
I know only how to turn on and off, do you have more control?

I’m probably not being helpful in your decision-making process, but Honeywell also seems to have a highly-regarded system for thermostat + valves: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/honeywell-evohome

Also, from what I’ve seen there is no multi-valve system that is 100% supported by HA, just some basic development here & there (there’s a Netatmo valve development thread which seems to not have achieved full functionality yet).

In my opinion, you should get a system that currently works well outside HA (with Google Assistant/Alexa support, maybe), in the idea that it will later also be fully supported by HA.

I have a Netatmo thermostat and am preparing to get the valves and from what I’ve seen, at least within the Netatmo app and Google Home, you can ask “set room X to 24 degrees” and it will turn on the boiler, leave the other valves closed and heat room X.

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I went with a dirt-cheap electro-thermic valve actuator and a Sonoff TH in combination with generic thermostat component.

Currently in POC phase in my hobby room but seems to work well for now. No real manual control, however. Just can turn it on and off manually on the sonoff to either heat or not.

Nice. Do you maybe have a link to one of those electrothermic valves?

@Argo: I don’t know how much we can do from HA to date; I’ve seen there’s a component for Netatmo and that Netatmo exposes WebAPI to manage the system.
In both solutions (custom Z-Wave and Netatmo) I’d hope to be able to:

  • set the temperature of each valve from HA or manually from the valve itself (a guest should not access HA)
  • the valve should be able to call for hot water, through HA (MQTT/Z-Wave/whatever) or directly through the thermostat (proprietary/z-wave/whatever)
    (If through HA, I’ll need to turn on the thermostat when a valve set temperature differs from the read value, anyway, with this solution I’d miss the optimization algorithms or have to develop one by my own)

@johnflorin Thank you for Evohome solution, didn’t know about it, and for confirmation on Netatmo too.
I read that the Evohome doesn’t have an extender component, this is my first concern with Netatmo too: I have some far radiator, with walls and floor along the path…

What I can confirm in the case of the Netatmo thermostat is that their proprietary radio between the boiler unit and the sensor/controller works with full signal throughout the length of my house (2 walls, ~15m)…I only have one level though, so no idea how it would work on different floors.

Sure, here you go: https://www.ebay.de/itm/Stellantrieb-stromlos-geschlossen-thermal-actuator-Fu-bodenheizung-230V-nc-834/280763901554 (German).

It states to be for floor heating but my radiators use the same valves. Be aware that there are others around, too (especially in older installations).

In my case I simply switch it on (open the valve) through a the sonoff.
I think the price (<20€ with the sonoff and a power cord) is definitely fair compared to proprietary solutions.

Basically, you could build your own controller to provide manual setting of target temperature on the device (e.g. with OLED and tactile switch). You’d probably need something else than a Sonoff though as you might need more GPIOs.

Let me know in case you want to follow up on building a more sophisticated solution!

This is my plan currently also. I just need a way of triggering the boiler when I need it. Once I work that out I will start purchasing, we can do it for around £24 per radiator this way, would still look quite neat, and no batteries to worry about!

I’ve planned on using standard sonoff basic instead and room temp/humidity sensors (xiaomi) to work out the temperature of the room, I have concerns that they won’t update oftem enough for me though (I’ve heard they only update every 20mins)…

The bonus of doing it this way is I plan to make an automation so that if I press the Sonoff button manually, turn on the heating for an hour, but only enable that room (unless I press other rooms also) that way I can still use radiators to dry clothes.

My only sticking point so far is that the wife still wants to be able to control the heating via the thermostat downstairs manually if needed.
So I would need to change my dumb wireless RF thermostat for a smarter (hopefully cheap) wireless thermostat and boiler relay…(that HASS can over-ride if I press the button on the radiators)

To add further confusion, there is also the Drayton Wiser system which is a more affordable version that my Brother in law has. Seems pretty robust for the price of it, although havent tried the component for it obviously as it’s not in my house!

Ok, so far I can identify these solutions; ordered ASC by price they are:

  1. Generic MQTT
    Thermostat: none/distributed
    Valves: generic thermal actuators + Sonoff TH
    Cost avg: ~20€/valve
    Pros: no cloud, open protocol, network range extendable
    Cons: no manual set from valve, wifi dependent
    HA integration: with good configuration, can do pretty anything
    Note: no batteries but wired valves (pro/con)

  2. Generic Z-Wave
    Thermostat: none/distributed
    Valves: any z-wave (note: Danfoss are missing temperature feedback)
    Cost avg: 50-80€/valve
    Pros: no cloud, manual set from valve, open protocol, network range extendable, no wifi dependent, energy saving (for some brands)
    Cons: batteries, good Z-Wave mesh needed, Z-Wave seems to be a PITA
    HA integration: with good configuration, can do pretty anything depending on the components brand

  3. Netatmo
    Thermostat: proprietary
    Valves: proprietary
    Cost avg: ~170€ (thermostat) + ~80€/valve
    Pros: manual set from valve, no wifi dependent, energy saving, easy setup
    Cons: network range not extendable, cloud, brand dependent
    HA integration: netatmo2 component seems dead by now, anyway Netatmo API are available

  4. Evohome
    Thermostat: proprietary
    Valves: proprietary
    Cost avg: ~260€ (control unit+relay) + ~70€/valve
    Pros: manual set from valve, no wifi dependent, energy saving, easy setup
    Cons: network range not extendable, cloud, brand dependent
    HA integration: component seems live and working

Solution 1 is not suitable for me due to the wired valves and the lot of components involved: 2 per radiator (valve+sonoff).
I need to manual set directly from the radiator, a good looking appeal (got a wife) and a solid secure valve (got children). Also, an energy-saving feature is a nice-to-have.
Anyway, good to know there are wired valves: didn’t know about them and maybe I’ll need them in a mixed solution for unreachable rooms (as a plan B).

Solution 4 is too expensive to have a valid ROI from this expense (I already have “dumb” thermostatic valves).

Solution 3 is good but seems not well integrated into HA. I’m a developer, but not a Python one, so giving a look at the code would be possible but not really quick.
@johnflorin: what if you have two Netatmo valves in the same room? Does the system consider this (room name, valves setpoint…)?

Solution 2 could be my way, I think, also to not have brand dependencies.
But I’ve read a Z-Wave net is sometimes hard to configure.
Can someone confirm Z-Wave difficulties?

Thank you @Coedy, I’ll have a look at Drayton Wiser systems to check if they’re suitable for my country (and easy to repair/replace).

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From what I’ve seen the Netatmo UI allows you to set any device to any room, so if you have 2 valves in a room it’s up to you whether you want to group them or have them act independently.

As for Z-Wave, I’m running a 30+ device setup in HA and although there are the occasional hiccups when modifying functionality or adding new devices, it is pretty much rock-solid the rest of the time.

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Update: unfortunately, my first choice (Z-Wave Fibaro valves) doesn’t have any boiler control relay.

From what I’ve understood lurking their forum, in some countries, boilers are “always on”, keeping the radiator’s water at a fixed temperature; when a radiator valve is opened, the water temperature drops down and the boiler has to warm it.
Is at this kind of setup that they’re thinking of.
But where I live, it’s not legal to have an always-on boiler: you have to turn it on only on demand depending on internal temperature. Furthermore, my boiler would break down if I’d keep it heating water with all valved closed.

I also cannot simply get the rooms current temperature and confront against the valves set value to control the boiler with a remote relay: the valves have a smart behavior to optimize energy saving, so they could close water flow before reaching the set temperature.

I’ve seen I’m not the only one having this concern.
Hell, if they wouldn’t miss just a stupid valves-controlled relay for the boiler, they could sell a lot more devices in many other countries…

I think Netatmo will be the winner…

EDIT: I forgot to mention that Tado has started implementing a subscription policy.
By now it’s only for new users and for some functions already covered by HA or IFTTT (like geofencing), but this is a scaring move to me…

Hi guys. Very interesting topic.

Does netatmo support opentherm protocol? It seems no.

What if we use first or second solution proposed by @Guybrush, and use thermostat with OpenTherm which support not proprietary external valves.

Also we’d use OpenTherm gateway, and external valves we like (Z-wave, wired etc) and do all automation on HA?

Also with this solution - several heating sources is supported, for example, Electric and Gas boiler can be triggered depend on price/limit/time/other

Yesterday I found a really good offer for a Tado thermostat and ordered it.
Valves has temperature, humidity and light sensors.
I found Netatmo has a really bad customer post-selling support but I’d have bought if I hadn’t found this offer.
Also, Netatmo doesn’t support OpenTherm.

Anyway, I’d like to keep checking other solutions.
I like the idea of Z-Wave valves (and I really like Fibaro valves), but the main problem is that you’d lose the ability to adapt heating usage on your specific house.
You should implement a smart stateful algorithm that uses previous “heating sessions” to adapt to the next one (maybe it would be a good component for HA, but I can only develop in C dialects).
Fibaro valves already implement this logic but they don’t tell you when they’re closing, nor how much they’re opened, and you cannot leave an old boiler turned on with all valves closed.

Maybe if lots of people post on Fibaro forum…
(there are already requests to have a boiler-control feature)

Good point about implementing HA component.

Maybe is better to use esphomelib platform for this? (https://esphomelib.com/)

As I know, Tado needs active internet connection, so if connection is absent, you can’t use it even in HA.