The situation is that a friend wants to remotely turn a boiler on and
off that's 3 floors down in the basement. Possibly an ordinary wireless
stat would work but, if it doesn't because of obstructions etc, there
seem to be ways of sending your boiler an SMS message or totally
controlling it from your IPhone. Sounds crazy but, alone in a flat with
a baby, it's not that easy to nip up and down the stairs. Anyone got any
experience with this sort of stuff?
On Mon, 16 May 2011 16:17:47 +0100, stuart noble wrote:
Why do they want to turn the boiler on and off? A heating control system
that can do that for them whilst maintaining the desired temperature at
set times? A Honeywell CM927 (or 921 for a 1-day version) wireless
programmable thermostat might fit the bill. The progstat controller bit
then goes in the flat and the relay unit in the basement beside the
Actually this is a Victorian conversion with wooden floors, but there
may be other other obstructions I'm not aware of.
Having one boiler for 8 privately owned flats is slightly crazy in this
day and age, and will no doubt be changed if the majority can agree, but
an interim solution for next winter is what is needed.
On Tue, 17 May 2011 08:40:19 +0100, stuart noble wrote:
Er they don't really want to turn the boiler on/off surely? What
about the other seven tenants?
The obvious solution is a zone valve on the heating feed from the
boiler in the flat controlled by the flats thermostat. It's not quite
that simple as the bolier should be turned fully off when there is no
call for heat from any of the flats to prevent it cycling on the
bypass (required if all the flats can shutdown).
This shared boiler must be a billing nightmare as well.
The other tenants are single, and out all day, so may not take kindly to
the whole place being heated during the day. Some kind of excess fuel
supplement on the service charge is envisaged, but I dread to think what
that might amount to. The couple in question are hoping to sell up and
move during the summer but obviously they can't depend on that going to
That sounds like a good solution if there are separate feeds for each
flat. However, this was a very early conversion and I wouldn't be
confident on that score. I'll certainly tell them to get that checked out.
Strangely enough, no. Gas is included in the annual service charge, and
has been only modestly increased in recent years because apparently the
building is on some kind of industrial rate. I don't know the details,
but it must have been beneficial for the management to have stuck with
it for this long.
On Tue, 17 May 2011 12:30:16 +0100, stuart noble wrote:
There might not be a pair of pipes from the boiler to each flat but
there may be a common riser that has a single feed T'd from it for
The costs of installing individual boilers and associated gas pipes
and meters, possibly needing an uprated supply etc I would expect to
be quite high. If the gas is a bit cheaper and most tennants have
similar use profiles then it probably does make sense to stick with
this "odd" system.
If there is some form of flow/return pipe work for each flat one
could install a couple of temp sensors and a flow meter and measure
the amount of energy each flat consumes and then divvy the bill
Ah, that's interesting. So presumably, whatever pipework there is, the
feed would be easily accessible from inside each flat, so it should be a
relatively non-invasive process to install individual controls. That
arrangement would appear to benefit all the flats, and would probably
pay for itself quite quickly.
Many thanks for the suggestions.
On Tue, 17 May 2011 13:47:57 +0100, The Natural Philosopher wrote:
But be aware that the block of flats might have 3 phase supply. The
block of 14 individual flats I used to live in has a 3 phase incomer
that was then split to indivifual single phase meters for each flat
and another single phse meter for communal areas.
So "live" in one flat might a different "live" in another... Ideally
the mains for the time switch, stat, valve etc in each flat is fed
from the main heating system isolator so some one working on it
doesn't get a surprise from one of the "or" lines coming from a flat.
Then fit an isolator where that boiler mains feed enters each flat so
those parts can be worked on without having to switch off the entire
system. Oh don't forget that you need to switch the "or" wire as well
so that doesn't come live from another flat...
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