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Technical know-how

Product manufacturers offer all kinds of support to their customers from technical helplines, to training, and trade loyalty schemes, but which of these really matter to installers?

Product manufacturers offer all kinds of support to their customers from technical helplines to training and trade loyalty schemes, but which of these really matter to installers? Resideo polled the industry to find out. Martin Wilson, sales director at Resideo, manufacturer of Honeywell Home heating controls - such as the smart home compatible Honeywell Home T6 series - explains more.

The range of support product manufacturers provide for installers has grown in recent years. Increased competition in the marketplace, more demand for choice and the significant influence of online communications and tools has seen installer assistance expand into many diverse areas.

From enhanced access to technical experts, convenient digital training aids, trade loyalty schemes and marketing advice, resources have been applied by manufacturers to ensure that they provide what they believe installers are seeking.

To confirm that such support approaches continue to be relevant, Resideo undertook research1 into what plumbers, electricians, heating and gas engineers thought about the topic of manufacturers’ support.

When asked what help they valued most, the survey respondents overwhelmingly pointed to the provision of technical expertise as their key requirement from manufacturers.

Nearly 80% said it was the area of most importance to them as they considered a relationship with a manufacturer. Training was the second most valued support area at just over 60%.

This insight underlines Resideo’s focus on providing a UK technical support service for UK installers that is efficient, accessible, and relevant. In addition, an ongoing training schedule that covers wider industry topics, or helps increase specific product knowledge, remains a key component of the company’s support package for installers.

Resideo’s highly experienced technical support team is well versed in dealing with questions from the trade and homeowners; whether it be correct heating controls and thermostat specification, installation best practice or even fault finding.

Here, we tackle three of most commonly asked questions:

Where’s the best place to position a room thermostat?

 The performance of all room thermostats is affected by the air flow measured around them. If it is poorly located, the air flow will not be representative of the rest of the room, and the temperature control will be adversely affected.

Avoid placing thermostats in a room with another major heat source such as an open fire, gas fire or cooker. Also make sure it is not fitted in an unheated room, in direct sunlight, or behind furniture or curtains. Do not forget that electrical appliances can emit heat, so avoid fitting thermostats near TVs for example.

It is recommended that room thermostats are located in the heated area (zone) requiring control where it has a free flow of air around it on wall at a height of about 1.2m.

For wireless thermostats, we recommend testing the signal strength prior to commencing any work to identify the best place to site the device. The room thermostat can be mounted on a wall or on the optional table stand, but the preferred height from the floor is at least 1.2m and it should not be mounted on a metal wall box. Ideally, there should also be a 30cm distance from any metal objects and at least 1 metre from any other piece of electrical equipment.

How does load compensation work?

Load compensation enables the ‘smart’ firing of the boiler just long enough to achieve the set temperature and no longer, increasing energy efficiency in the process.

A load compensation thermostat works by continuously measuring the room temperature and calculating a difference between measured and target temperature. When the difference is greater than 1.5 degrees C (known as outside proportional band) it fires the boiler continuously.

When the room temperature gets within 1.5 degrees C of the set point you have chosen on the room thermostat, the load compensation software in the thermostat comes into action. It performs a series of calculations where it calculates how long the boiler needs to be fired to reach and maintain the set temperature. The calculation is based on the previously learnt characteristics of the room in which the controller is placed and the current measured temperature.

Can I wirelessly control a domestic hot water system that includes an unvented cylinder?

Unvented cylinders rely on mains pressure to supply a balanced flow of hot water for showers and mixers. Previously, the only way to measure the hot water temperature was through an insertion sensor as part of an aquastat that is hardwired into the hot water time switch or two channel programmer.However, Resideo has an insertion sensor that can be wired into their wireless cylinder thermostat, offering the ability to install a wireless system and control the hot water temperature with a wireless time switch or two channel programmer.

Please note that these products must be installed along with the existing wired aquastat (that comes supplied with the cylinder). The wired aquastat needs to be retained to give high limit safety protection.

The insertion sensor can be installed alongside an RF2 pack for time and temperature control of room temperature and domestic hot water or linked to an evohome zoning control system for additional, smart benefits.

Continual development through training

As well as having the ability to quickly get to technical answers to ensure installations run smoothly, many tradespeople recognise the need to maintain and continually improve their own knowledge levels.

It can be a significant investment for busy professionals both in time and cost commitments. But for those looking to capitalise on business building opportunities in growing areas such as smart home technologies, the effort can be worthwhile.

As innovation and new product development moves the market forward, Resideo regularly hones its training courses to ensure that subjects remain up-to-date. However, the fundamentals are never forgotten. And whether it is sharpening up on the basics of control technology, or examining more specialist subjects for installers looking to expand their horizons, Resideo’s training focus has it covered.

Installers can choose what is best for them and access Youlearn – the company’s online training platform - via a simple and free registration process.

Face-to-face training from Resideo offers in-depth subject coverage around controls applications, whilst a range of online training courses cover specific products such as the Honeywell Home T6, T4 and evohome. Each course can be accessed from the comfort of the installer’s home.

The ability to benefit from in-house technical expertise and training services are the support areas most valued by hard-working installers. Therefore, manufacturers that can readily provide these will be making a positive contribution to ensuring industry-wide standards can continue to improve.