Gas Wall Heater Retrofitting Smart Recommendations

Hi HA Community, I’m a first time poster, apologies for any mistakes.

I’m trying to automate my gas wall heater, and I need some guidance on where to get started.

I’ve taken a few photos of the heater for reference:

What hardware would I need, if it possible? Ideally, I will be able to control the heater over WiFi with HA though MQTT or API’s.

I have smart thermometers around the house integrated with HA, so the solution would only need to turn on and off the heater, nothing else.

I’ve flashed Tasmota on some smart lights, so I’m pretty confident with that.

I’ve observed the gas is controlled with the analogue dial, and it has different levels of how much gas it pumps depending on how far the dial is turned. The gas is not pumped until I reach the 6th point. I’m not sure how effective the thermostat is, as the room will continue to heat, but I’ve not observed it turning off or changing when it gets too hot.

It’s not as simple as cutting the mains power to the unit with a smart power switch. If the power to the main unit is turned off, and the temperature dial is still on, it will cut the gas and pilot light, and I will need to relight the pilot. I believe this is a safety feature to prevent the unit from overheating.

Do I need a certified electrician / gas plumber to do the convert, or is it something I can do myself? I live in Victoria, Australia.

A slightly different model:

Personally, I’d be very wary fiddling with something like this. If I were 100% certain that the thermostat control is a simple bimetallic switch, I might install a relay (ESPHome device would be my preference) in series, with the existing thermostat set to the maximum temperature you’re comfortable with as a backup safety in case the new device fails whilst on.

Sounds from your description like the thermostat isn’t even working properly, though: maybe replace that first?

Disclaimer: I have no idea what you’re allowed to do in Australia.

Thanks for attachment, its very similar to the heater. It’s mentions about cutting the power and the pilot light stays lit, but I believe that’s when the heater is turned off (dial is all the way to the left).

I believe the dial directly controls the flow of gas. When I cut the power, the only thing that stops is the fan, I can still hear the gas flowing. When I re-read the wiring diagram, it mentions the thermostat is a “fan thermostat”, and it only controls the speed of the fan.

So my next question is about recommendations on how to spin the dial?
I was thinking of getting a stepper motor, and some how push them together like cogs, and spin the dial? Have you seen any diy’s on how to do this?