At the start of this year, I reviewed the Heat Genius smart central heating system, and I loved it. At the time, it offered the best control for heating your entire house than any other product on the market due to the integration of smart radiator valves.
It did have its quirks, though. The app was ugly and complex in comparison to big names companies likes Nest and Hive.
Since then the competition has upped the ante. In particular, Tado has introduced smart radiator valves to their range making them much more competitive regarding features. There are also several new brands coming to the market, some of which also include smart radiator valves.
Thankfully Heat Genius haven’t rested on their laurels, during the year they have redeveloped all their software and introduced new hardware. All of which I have been reviewing the last couple of weeks.
The first major change is the rebranding of Heat Genius to Genius Home. The comes with some nice new branding and a new website. Not really any use to the end consumer, but it does look a bit more professional.
More importantly is the app to control the heating has been completely revamped both in terms of looks and a lot of the functionality. What was a very ugly app is now clean and simple. Granted, it still isn’t as nice as Tado, or a lot of other apps on my phone. There are no fancy graphics or anything. It is just a lot of smooth, clean lines that is relatively straightforward to navigate.
As well as the shiny new look and app. Genius Home have revamped most of their hardware. This includes:
- The Genius Hub – the brains of the system
- The radiator valves
- Room Thermostat
- The addition of an electric switch to control hot water immersion heaters, electric space heaters, or circulation pumps.
As well as being able to control electric space heaters, you can still control under floor heating with a single channel receiver that is available, but my old house doesn’t have underfloor heating, so I have not reviewed it.
As with all smart home heating systems, it is advisable to have an engineer install the main control unit to the boiler, though you can do it yourself if you want, and if you are good at these things, it is not too complex.
Thankfully my controller was already installed from my previous review, and I just had to set up all the new additional hardware. Previously Alasdair from Genius home did everything for me, and when it came down to tweaking the hardware settings myself later in the year, I found that the Genius system was quite difficult to work with.
Alasdair came back from the installation again this time round, but with a brief demo, I set up most of the system myself. I am glad to tell you that it is really quite simple.
Adding smart TRVs to old radiators was surprisingly simple, and Genius have made it easier with the App, which now has a Doctor section which will walk you through the installation of new devices. The app does a great job of this. I am rubbish at DIY, but it turns out you more or less just have to twist the old TRV off, screw the Genius TRV on and press a button, and it mounts itself properly. I was sure I would get water everywhere when I did this with the similar Devolo system, but TRVs don’t have direct contact with the water, so there is little to no chance of having a massive plumbing disaster.
Once physically added the valve and paired it with the Genius system, you just need to assign it to your room.
Overall it probably took about 5 minutes per device, and once you have added one, all the rest are extremely simple to add.
Two of the main hardware upgrades have been the TRVs themselves, and the new room thermostats. The TRV looks the same. apart from some new branding, but they now report back to the system the room temperature, which apparently, they didn’t before, and they now allow you to manually override the room temperature.
This means any room with a new TRV does not need a thermostat, and if you are cold and want to heat the room you are in you can manually select the temperature on the valve, and it will tell the system to warm that radiator. Overall, this is a great improvement.
The room thermostat is completely new too. The old one was very ugly confusing to use and I just never used it. The new one has a large LCD display showing the room temperature and allows you to easily override the room settings by pressing up / down to the desired heat.
By default, all the override settings are for 1 hour, but you can change this in the App.
The hub itself has also had a complete overall; the old hub was ugly and clunky; the new one is much more streamlined. It also has a proper wall bracket, as well as battery backup and I have been told it is WiFi compatible, but for the time being this is disabled. The entire system is backwards compatible, so any old hardware you have will work fine, and new software features that are released should work on your old hardware.