Earlier this month I reviewed our signature radiator, the Haverland RC Wave. This week it was the turn of the RC Wave’s precocious little sister – the Haverland SmartWave. Physically, the two radiators are identical, but behind the SmartWave’s identikit white exterior lies advanced heating control technology that the RC Wave can only dream of.
Equipped with state-of-the-art self-learning programming and Wifi-compatible control, the Haverland SmartWave is one of the most advanced electric radiators on the market. But what is self-learning technology? Does it work? Is the radiator easy to use, or too clever for its own good? I made it my mission to find out.
The Haverland SmartWave – Wi5 800w
First things first: what’s the difference between the RC Wave and the SmartWave? The best way to answer this question is by first checking off the ways in which the radiators are the same. For starters, the RC Wave and the SmartWave are, aesthetically, identical: they are both white, they sport the same streamlined design, and they are available in the same range of sizes. They both use dry thermal elements for fast and efficient heat up times. They are both suitable for wall mounted or freestanding installation. To avoid repeating myself, I’m not going to spend time in this review discussing these features: to get an idea of the SmartWave’s performance in these areas, have a look at the RC Wave review.
What makes the SmartWave unique is its sophisticated controls: its sensor mode, self-learning facilities and Wifi programming. These are the SmartWave’s defining features, and as such, these were the features I wanted to put to the test. With leave to work from home for a day, I drove away from the office with a SmartWave on the backseat and a SmartBox in my laptop bag – all ready for an exciting Wednesday getting to know our most ambitious electric radiator.
Before investigating any of the Wave’s more exciting features I wanted to get to grips with the basics. The SmartWave manual was invaluable throughout the entire process – methodical and easy to read, with a selection of unintentionally amusing diagrams to lighten the mood. Don’t be alarmed that it seems to be in Spanish: the manual includes a full set of instructions in four different languages, including English – just flick to page 28.
The Wave, as I understand it, has three modes – sensor, learning and manual. You can also run it in programming mode if you purchase the radiator with a SmartBox and download the Haverland app. Flicking between the modes is easy: simply press the arrow buttons simultaneously to cycle from sensor to learning to manual.
The Wave is equipped with three temperature settings: comfort, economy and anti-freeze. You can cycle between these settings when the radiator is in manual mode, where you can also adjust the temperature of each setting. The SmartWave control panel uses a (not very) complex code of coloured LEDs to indicate its current mode and temperature settings – see the excerpt from the manual opposite – but don’t worry too much about remembering these if you’ve purchased the radiator with a SmartBox. You can switch between modes and adjust temperature settings using the Haverland app, which is much easier, doesn’t require the manual, and you can do it from the comfort of your chair!
One of the SmartWave’s unique selling points is its infrared motion detector, located in the top corner of the control panel. When used in sensor mode, the radiator will switch on whenever the motion detector senses movement. That sounds like a recipe for developing a neurosis – the poor radiator anxiously switching off and on whenever you get up to make a cup of tea – but the reality is much more sensible. When the radiator first detects your presence, it will switch on in comfort mode. If you leave, the radiator will wait for 30 minutes before switching to economy mode. If you are still absent after 12 hours, it will switch to anti-freeze mode to conserve power.
I must admit I got this information from the manual and didn’t wait around all day to check what the radiator was doing after 12 hours. Testing the sensor mode was unexpectedly tricky – a bit like trying to prove that the light in your fridge goes out when the door’s shut. I ended up playing a contrived game of grandmother’s footsteps where I pointed the radiator away from my desk, waited 30 minutes for the radiator to switch to economy mode, and then jumped out into range again. The reward for my efforts was watching the comfort light duly switch on as I sprang into view – the sensor certainly seems to work.
I imagine this would be a useful mode to use on those days where you’re in and out of the house and want some level of heating without wasting energy heating on full all day. It would also be a useful mode to use when you go away on holiday. The radiators will use the minimum power necessary to prevent your pipes bursting while you’re away, but they’ll switch back on the instant you return.
The learning mode is the SmartWave’s pièce de résistance, its defining feature, the original heating control function pioneered by Haverland. The idea is that the SmartWave uses its motion sensor to monitor and learn your weekly routine, and then automatically creates a heating programme tailored to your needs. When you first switch the radiator to learning mode, it will simply heat whenever it senses your presence – just like the sensor mode. But while its heating, it’s also watching and learning, ready to anticipate your heating needs the following week.
Home from work at 6pm this Monday? Next Monday, the radiator will start warming up at 5:30. Busy in your home office from 9am-3pm every day? The radiator in your office will start heating up at 8:30 and will cool down at 3:30 – providing you’ve left the room. Always home late on a Thursday? The SmartWave will stay on anti-freeze mode until the half-hour before your expected return. The theory is, you use the minimum power to heat your home whilst ensuring your rooms are always comfortably warm whenever you need them – without having to spend hours programming your radiators.
That’s the idea anyway. But is it any good in practice?
I have to confess that at this point in my review I ran into trouble: a single day with the SmartWave really wasn’t enough time to test out the learning mode. I’d need weeks rather than days to check if the learning mode worked effectively, but the customer service team could only spare the radiator for a day. However, I did spend an afternoon chatting to Tom – our resident SmartWave expert – who talked me through some of the learning mode’s smarter features. I was concerned that the SmartWave was perhaps a bit too smart for its own good, and that a heating mode based around routine would be more of a hindrance than a help to households with changing weekly routines. Tom talked me through some of the finer details of the SmartWave’s programming designed to tackle this very problem – this is what I learned:
• By default, the SmartWave warms up half an hour in advance of when it expects you to return.
• It also switches on if it senses your presence – so will start warming up immediately if you get home early
• If you don’t arrive when expected, the SmartWave will wait for half an hour and then switch to economy mode. If you haven’t returned within a period of hours, the SmartWave will switch to anti-freeze.
• The amount of time the radiator waits before switching to anti-freeze mode can be toggled when you set the radiator’s time and date. If you set it to prioritise comfort, the SmartWave will switch to anti-freeze after 16 hours. If you set it to prioritise economy, it will only wait for 12 hours.
• If you go on holiday, you can save energy by switching to sensor mode. When you switch back to learning mode on your return, the radiator will return to the learned programme from the previous week – so the SmartWave won’t learn an unrepresentative week.
• If all else fails and you want more control over your heating, you can alter learned programmes using the SmartBox and Haverland app.
Controlling the SmartWave over the Internet
Wifi-controlled heating is all the rage at the moment, as the heating industry embraces The Internet of Things, and offers householders the opportunity to control their heating from anywhere in the world. You could be at work, on the bus, at the gym, or even on the other side of the world, says Haverland: all you need is a SmartBox, the Haverland app and a connection to Wifi, and you can take charge of your heating. The SmartBox is sold separately from the SmartWave, but you only need one for a whole houseful of radiators – and after testing out the Haverland app, I’d definitely say they are worth the investment for the ease and freedom of control they offer.
Setting up Wifi control
First step was to setup the SmartBox. This was ridiculously easy – all I had to do was plug the box into the back of the router and plug the power supply into the wall. The box was much smaller than expected, about the same size as my computer mouse. The hardest part of the whole process was fumbling around the back of the desk to find a spare socket.
The second step was to download the Haverland app and connect it to the SmartBox. Haverland have adapted apps to suit all major smartphone and tablet operating systems, and you can also run the app on your computer following this link: https://i2control.haverland.com. I tried both, and found they worked equally well.
Initial setup was a little confusing. My app store offered two Haverland apps, seemingly identical except in name. I choose the app called “Haverland Wifi Connect”, which did everything that I needed. Irritatingly, the initial stages of the app have not been translated from the Spanish. Once you’ve signed up and logged in, the app uses whichever language you select when you sign up – but until you’ve registered, you may find yourself, like me, struggling to enter your “Correo electrónico”, or scratching your head at error messages like: “Datos fuera de rango, comprueba el campo: pass”. Thank goodness for Google translate. I am assured this is something Haverland are working on, but in its current state it doesn’t make the setup process any easier.
Once you’re in, the app switches to English and everything runs smoothly. The app asks you to add a “house”. You can control as many properties as you like from the app, which is handy if you’re a landlord or in charge of holiday lettings. To set up a “house”, you need the SmartBox serial number, found on the bottom of the box. I recommend making a note of this number – it’s a long and forgettable stream of numbers and letters that it would be a nuisance to lose. The next step is to add your radiators. Contrary to the advice given on the app, the best way to do this is to press “search for devices” before holding down the arrow buttons on the SmartWave. The app found the radiator almost instantly.
Controlling your radiators using the Haverland app
Once the app is set up, it’s a joy to use – and that’s coming from a certified technophobe who had to borrow a smart phone to do this review! Once you’ve set up your radiators, you can click into each model to check on its status and make changes. You’re greeted with an eye-catching and intuitive control panel that displays a whole host of useful information: from the current temperature of the room, to the operating mode of the radiator, to the set temperature of your thermostat.
The app allows you to make just about any change you would want to make to your radiators. You can switch between comfort, economy and anti-freeze temperatures, or change the entire operating mode; you can adjust the temperature of each heating setting; you can lock and unlock the radiator, and switch it on and off; you can change the radiator’s name, restrict its energy usage and set your temperature preferences. When you make a change on the app, the radiator responds almost instantly. I found it extremely satisfying to click through the app and watch the radiator’s LEDs flash in response at the other side of the room.
Programming the SmartWave
Programming can be a bit of a fiddle with conventional electric radiators. With the SmartWave, it couldn’t have been easier. You don’t have to squint at a tiny screen, remember the significance of little flashing lines or repeat the entire thing if you make a mistake; with the Haverland app, you can see the whole week before you, with the temperature setting for each hourly interval signified by an unmistakable icon. To programme, all you have to do is set the temperature setting for each hour of the week: comfort, economy, anti-freeze or off. You do this by clicking on, say, the comfort icon, and then clicking on every hour of the week where you want comfort heating. Once you’ve made a programme, you can save time and effort by applying the programme to all the rest of your radiators – although you may wish to programme all your radiators separately to maximise energy savings.
When I first volunteered to review the SmartWave, I felt a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of smart functions I was compelled to investigate. In truth, I found myself doubting whether all those features were really necessary. When I got to work, however, not only did I find most of the functions very intuitive and easy to use, I also discovered that the beauty of the SmartWave is that it allows you to be just as involved with your heating as you would like. You can ignore the radiators entirely and still be safe in the knowledge that you’re using much less energy than you would with a conventional radiator. If you want to plug the radiators in and forget about them, you can use the learning mode. If you want precision control over your heating, you can purchase with a SmartBox and have fun with the Haverland app.
Having tried out the SmartWave, I would happily recommend the radiators to just about anyone to use just about anywhere – with three important exceptions:
1. I wouldn’t use the SmartWave in a bedroom. I like a cool room when I go to sleep, and wouldn’t want the SmartWave switching on every time I rolled over.
2. The SmartWave’s learning mode won’t be much help in a bathroom – unless your family are exceptionally, er, regular. It’s also not suitable for installing anywhere other than in Zone 3 of your bathroom, so I’d keep things simple and choose an electric towel rail for this space. It's also worth bearing in mind the suitability of any product you're intending to use in a bathroom. A product's IP rating is a helpful way of figuring this out - but, as a rule, we don't recommend any electric appliances for bathroom installation, unless it's a towel rail!
3. I wouldn’t recommend the SmartWave to homeowners with large dogs. The sensor will pick up their movements and will adjust your heating schedule to keep them cosy all night long – which your dogs may appreciate, but I’m sure you won’t when you look at your heating bills! However, this will not be a problem if you have smaller pets – cats, small dogs, rabbits, guinea, pigs, fish, you name it! – because the SmartWave will not pick up their movements.
The beauty of electric heating is the potential to mix and match, so why not bolster your fleet of SmartWaves with a towel rail in the bathroom and an RC Wave in the bedroom? After all, as I said before, they really do look identical…
For more information about SmartWave electric radiators check our SmartWave FAQs, or give our friendly sales team a call. Our expert customer service team are also on-hand throughout the week if you need any help setting up your SmartWave or SmartBox.