Written by Mascha

Advice on thermostats

You're going to buy a new thermostat, but wondering which one to chose. Even more important: which thermostat is compatible with your type of heating? There are different types of thermostats. You can for instance choose from clock thermostats, room thermostats, and smart thermostats. Which functions you need, depends mostly on your personal preferences. The question is whether your wishes can be combined with the available options. We'll help you choose the thermostat that suits you best.

1. Which thermostat is suitable for my heating system?

There are different types of heating systems: district heating or a boiler. Both types work in different ways, but they are controlled in the same way; both by a thermostat. We'll gladly explain to you which thermostat is suitable for which type of heating system.

District heating

We've created a simple overview of thermostats suitable for controlling your district heating. That way, you can always be sure that your chosen thermostat will be compatible. Note: Are you currently not controlling your district heating with a thermostat? In that case it isn't possible to connect a new thermostat to your district heating, unless you connect a district heating controller to your district heating. It's connected to the supply pipe of the district heating. That means you do have the option of controlling your district heating with a thermostat.

Boiler

When it comes to boilers, the choice for a new thermostat is a little more complicated. First ask yourself this important question. What kind of boiler do I have? Not every thermostat is compatible with every boiler. There are certain thermostats that are suitable for all boilers, the so-called on/off thermostats. There are also thermostats that are only suitable for modulating boilers; modulating thermostats. Below, we'll explain the biggest differences between both thermostats.

Thermostats for all boilers vs. thermostats for modulating boilers.

When talking about a thermostat that's suitable for all types of boilers, people always mean on/off thermostats. That's a safe choice. On the other hand, if you have a modulating boiler, you of course want to make optimal use of the modulating function. In order to explain the principle of an on/off and a modulating thermostat in simple terms, we compare them to a stoplight below.

On/off thermostats vs. modulating thermostats

On/off thermostat

On/off thermostat

A stoplight has 3 colors: red, orange, and green. On/off thermostats only have the colors red and green; the thermostate will only turn the boiler on or off. There's no middle way. Every time there's a new request for heat, the boiler will burn at full capacity, using a lot of power. Once the desired room temperature has been reached, the thermostat will turn off the boiler.

Comparing this to a car, it's easy to see that this type of thermostat uses a lot more energy. After all, the car is moving from stoplight to stoplight at full throttle each time. It always gets a red light and has to stop. Next, it turns green and it pulls up pedal to the metal again. This consumes a lot of fuel. An on/off boiler also uses a lot of power in a similar way. The advantage of an on/off thermostat is that it fits on any type of boiler. The disadvantage is that a modulating boiler will lose its modulating function if it's connected to an on/off thermostat.

  • An on/off thermostat fits on any type of boiler.
  • A modulating boiler with an on/off boiler loses its modulating functions.
Modulating thermostats

Modulating thermostats

Compared to an on/off boiler, a modulating boiler does offer a middle way. If we use the stoplight metaphor again, that would be the color orange. The modulating thermostat heats the water in the boiler to a certain level. Each time the room temperature drops and the thermostat sends a new request for to the boiler, the boiler uses the previously heated water to heat the space. That means the boiler doesn't switch off and on each time, but is set to a constant, 'steady' pace, maintaining the level of heat.

Compared to a car, it's easy to see that this type of thermostat uses far less energy. The car is driving at a steady 50 kilometers per hourand makes all the (orange) stoplights, which means it doesn't have to stop. If you're certain you have a modulating boiler, you only need to consider the language your boiler uses to communicate. Modulating thermostats and modulating boilers have to speak the same language in order to be able to work together. This language is also called the protocol. The product pages of the different modulating thermostats clearly indicate via which protocol the thermostat communicates.

  • A modulating thermostat is good for the environment and for your energy bill.
  • A modulating thermostat only works on modulating boilers using the same protocol.

Floor heating

Floor heating is possible for both district heating and boilers. Do you want your thermostat to also control your floor heating? Carefully check the thermostat's specifications to see if it's suitable.

2. What should my thermostat be able to do?

Have you found out which thermostats are suitable for your heating system? Now, it's time to determine what you want your thermostat to be able to do. After all, not all thermostat offer the same functions. In order to find your perfect thermostat, we'll ask you a few questions below.

Do you only want to adjust the temperature?

Honeywell thermostat

In that case, opt for a room thermostat. A room thermostat is a standard thermostat. It's used to control the warmth in your house or at the office by setting the desired temperature. The room thermostate will than make your heat source supplies heat to the radiators or floor heating.

  • A room thermostat is easy to operate.
  • It's not possible to set a desired time.

Do you want to configure heating programs for your heating system?

Nefit thermostat

In that case, choose a clock thermostat. A clock thermostat gives you the option of setting different programs. You can, for instance, determine from which time and on which days the heating will switch itself on. That way, you can ensure your living room is nice and warm by the time you wake up, or that you return to a lovely warm home after a long day at work.

  • You set your own heating program.
  • You won't have the option to control the thermostat with a smartphone.

Want to control your thermostat remotely?

Nest thermostat

In that case, choose a smart thermostat. Are you wrapping things up and work and looking forward to getting back to a nice and warm home? Just take out your smartphone and set the thermostat to the right level. If you decide to get a drink on your way home, you can just as easily turn the thermostat back down. In addition to your smartphone, you can also use a laptop, tablet, or smartwatch.

  • You control your thermostat remotely via the app on your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch.
  • In order to optimally control a smart thermostat, you need a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch nodig.

3. What other features are optional for thermostats?

Wireless

A wireless thermostat can be placed anywhere you want it in your house. It often turns out that the original spot for the thermostat didn't make that much sense. For instance, it might be next to a door or in a place where the sun shines on it all day. If you have a wireless thermostat, you can put a so-called RF module on the original thermostat connection. This is then continuously connected to the thermostat. That leaves you free to hang or place the thermostat anywhere you want in your house.

OpenTherm

OpenTherm is the standard language for modulating boilers and thermostats. There are also boilers that speak a brand-specific language. That means these boilers can only communicate and be combined with a thermostat of the same brand as the boiler. If your boiler communicates via OpenTherm, it can talk to thermostats that also communicate via OpenTherm, regardless of the brand. That gives you more freedom to choose.

Self-learning

A self-learning thermostat learns from you by monitoring your settings. After a few weeks, the thermostat will have connected enough data, and it adjusts the settings itself. If you regularly come home around the same time, the self-learning thermostat will know at what time the house should be warm after a while. When you're not home, the thermostat will switch off the heat source. That saves money for you.


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