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Getting ready for winter - Controls and Frost Protection

Fitting a control to your central heating and domestic hot water system will increase the efficiency. Heating controls provide a more comfortable living environment and help to minimise fuel costs. It is a legal requirement in the UK that all newly installed boilers must have a minimum ErP efficiency of 92% and all installations must have time and temperature controls fitted, if they aren't already present and working correctly.

Different control types

There are many different kinds of heating and hot water controls available today. From simple plug-in timers that tell your boiler when to switch on and off, to internet connected controls that fully modulate your heating system and can be controlled on the go from a smart phone or tablet. Vaillant offer a wide variety of controls including:

Types of controls

Plug-in timer
Plug-in programmer
Room thermostat
Programmable room thermostat
Internet connected controls

Plug-in timer

Plug-in analogue timers are simple devices, which allow you to set the specific times you would like your central heating to come on and off over a 24-hour period. The times that you input will typically be repeated each day. The Vaillant plug-in timer is the timeSWITCH 150.

Plug-in programmer

Plug-in programmers are simple digital timers, which allow you to set the specific times you would like your central heating to be on. If you have a plug-in programmer, you can set up different times to heat up your hot water cylinder. Plug in timers are typically designed to perfectly suit your lifestyle, offering multiple time periods per day and the ability to customise each day individually. The Vaillant plug-in programmer is the timeSWITCH 160.

Room thermostat

Room thermostats are mechanical or digital devices that monitor indoor air temperature and allow you to set a temperature level you are comfortable with. Typically, these simple room thermostats are only fitted to boilers and when the room temperature drops below your set level the thermostat will activate your boiler. Once the required room temperature is reached, it will deactivate your boiler. The Vaillant mechanical room thermostat is the VRT 15, and the digital thermostat is the VRT 50.

Programmable room thermostat

Programmable room thermostats combine the functionality of a plug-in timer and room thermostat; they offer you the ability to set the specific times you would like your central heating to be on at a specific temperature as well as separate specific times to heat up your hot water cylinder. Vaillant manufactures two different programmable room thermostats; VRT 350 and VRC 700.

Internet connected controls

Internet connected controls, as the name suggests, are heating controls that have the ability to be connected to the internet; allowing you control over your heating system from anywhere in the world via your smart phone. These controllers vary in functionality, some are simple room thermostats, some are programmable. They all have one thing in common though, they can be controlled via an app. Vaillant currently offers one internet connected control; the vSMART.

Load Compensation and Weather Compensation

Load Compensation - Enhanced load compensation is a feature that automatically adjusts the temperature of the water leaving the boiler and entering the heating system (radiators or underfloor heating).

It works with a room thermostat to determine the amount of energy needed to reach the desired temperature.

When only a small increase is required to meet the set temperature, the boiler will work at a reduced output to use the minimum amount of energy needed.

So, not only is your home at the perfect temperature for maximum comfort, this feature saves money and energy, as well as improving the lifetime of the boiler.

Weather Compensation - The weather compensation feature on Vaillant’s smart controls uses weather forecast data to understand the outside temperature. It then adjusts the heat going to the radiators or underfloor heating system for optimum efficiency.

When the outside weather temperature is forecast to drop, a Vaillant smart control will increase the temperature going to your heating system to ensure it reaches the temperature set for optimum comfort. Likewise, when the temperature is forecast to rise, the weather compensation feature reduces the output of the boiler to ensure it is operating with maximum efficiency.

The VRC 700 and VRC 700f can work more accurately, as it can be fitted with an outside sensor. This sensor ensures the weather compensation feature is using live data for ultimate heating comfort and efficiency.

All of these smart controls learn the thermal behaviour of the building and use weather compensation to ensure that when you want 21°C, you get it automatically.

Frost Protection

Frost protection is a feature of our boilers which prevent, at low temperatures, the water in the boiler from freezing. This prevents damage to the boiler. Typically, across our boiler ranges the frost protection system operates the boiler pump as soon as the heating circuit water temperature falls below 12 degrees centigrade. The pump stops as soon as the temperature of this water reaches 15 degrees centigrade. If the heating system falls below 3 degrees centigrade, the burner ignites.

This two-stage frost protection feature is only active when the boiler is switched on. The boiler alone cannot ensure the installation is protected against frost. A separate thermostat may be necessary to control the temperature of the system.

The frost protection feature can vary amongst our appliances so for more information please refer to your installer, or find one here.

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