Heat Genius gives you unprecedented control over your heating system, so much so that you'll find yourself playing with the app every chance you get for the first few weeks, checking the temperature/occupancy charts and fiddling with the timer schedules accordingly.
The system isn't perfect. I had a few issues with the hub connection dropping out, and one day the dining room inexplicably showed a temperature of 61 degrees in the app. But Heat Genius has since rolled out a software update that improves the reporting of the Footprint mode, and gives you manual control of Whole House heating via a traditional wall-mounted thermostat. Unlike my old heating system, this new one is improving all the time.
Every so often you come across a new technology that significantly upgrades a particular experience. You know them when you use them – an MP3 player instead of a Walkman, TiVo instead of a VCR, the iPhone. You can add intelligent central heating systems like Heat Genius to that list. Don't underestimate how useful it is to be able to control your heating remotely; and, with its intelligent Footprint mode and smart plug support, Heat Genius moves into smart home territory.
After six months of testing, I've ditched the TRVs in favour of whole house heating as, with a young family, we seem to use all our rooms all the time. I like the idea of handing my heating over to an algorithm; but I also need to trust it, and I'm not sure that I trust the technology yet. There are too many failure points. In a traditional system, your heating is either on or off – here, there's a wireless controller and a boiler controller, plus radiator valves, IR room sensors and smart plugs.
A Heat Genius system is a pricey investment. A typical five-room setup (with a Heat Genius Hub, boiler controller, TRVs and PIR sensors) can cost over £700. The good news is that you don't need to spring for the full setup straight away. You can start with the basics, and add to it over time as and when you need more functionality. But even the starter configuration is streets ahead of any dumb heating controller you might currently have. It's not the sexiest of upgrades, but this is the future of home heating. It's genius.