Home Automation – Fun With The House Part 5

We have a panel heater in an outbuilding, it’s a garden games room so we keep the frost off and turn it up when we want to use the room. I fitted a so-called ‘smart heater’ which has remote control of its settings via Alexa etc but it used a WiFi signal for its control – this was paired with an app on the mobile phone and via servers in Chin most likely, allowed control remotely.

It’s a reasonable heater but the signal was very unreliable and disconnects every couple of days, this meant having to go out to the room, put the heater back in ‘pairing mode’ then going through the re-connect process every time – not very smart at all.

Something better was needed so I added one of these…..

It’s a Temperature/Humidity sensor and used ZigBee as its connection method, if you remember from earlier, almost all of our smart stuff is ZigBee now. It’s a great little device and the signal has no problem reaching the house network. That means we could now read the temperature in the outbuilding, adding a ZigBee smart socket means we can control the panel heater on & off without using the useless WiFi app & signal.

Some simple coding in Home Assistant gives us a basic thermostat action and so far it seems to be extremely workable, controlling the temerature to withing 1 degree Centigrade.

As the panel heater is a known power usage of 2kW – it was then a simple matter of adding some maths and a reading in Home Assistant to show us the cost of running the heater – smart. It’s just a calculation based on the time the heater spends turned on each cycle plus our known cost per kWh of electricity. This only works for devices where the power usage is fixed though.


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