Controlling room temperature with Netatmo "occupancy detection" and IFTTT

Thanks to the addition of Heatmiser range to the online automation service IF (formerly IFTTT - "if this then that") it's now possible to control room temperature using inputs from your other IFTTT-friendly IOT devices. In my case, Netatmo weather station. 

In my house, heating for every room is individually controlled by a Heatmiser Neo thermostat, each running an individualised programme of temperature gradients throughout the day, tailored to each room. During the summer most of these are just on standby, meaning in practice unless the room drops below 12 degrees C, the heating will never come on.  

My child's room is the exception, because we don't want him to ever get too cold, and some days he naps in the afternoon; so his thermostat is always active. So far so good. Except when you open the windows, perhaps for fresh air during the day, and it turns cloudy, the temperature drops and the heating comes on and heats the great outdoors. 

Finally, I have a solution which does not involve adding sensors to the Windows.  

The first step is to use Netatmo indoor station as an occupancy detector. Over the last year I've charted the correlation between occupancy and CO2 levels and in general found that an occupied room tends to read >500ppm CO2 and unoccupied room is below that. Of course if you open the window the CO2 level drops to almost zero very rapidly. So, this basic threshold measure can be used as a simple detection of empty room and/or wIndows open.  

IFTTT recipes to control Heatmiser thermostats based on occupancy (CO2) 

IFTTT recipes to control Heatmiser thermostats based on occupancy (CO2) 

 

Of course, you might ask what happens if the windows are open while the room is occupied. Good question - but in our case it never happens; our child is young, so for safety when he is using the room we always have the widows locked shut. 

This simple trigger forms the basis of the input to an IFTTT recipe which controls the Heatmiser thermostat in the same room. If the CO2 levels drop (room empty or Windows open) then the thermostat is set to 'standby' (this stops it following its daily program) and if CO2 rises again ( = occupied) the standby mode is deactivated and the normal program continues to run. 

This way we hope to avoid those costly mistakes where we have opened the windows and forgotten to adjust the thermostat; or unnecessarily heated an unoccupied room.  

For the future we can explore whether outdoor temperature, wind speed and rainfall can be used to optimise performance of the indoor heating.   

Into the Great Wide Open

I haven't written much during the first year of bambino's life, so this post comes a bit out of the blue. But then we're about to embark on a big new chapter (more later) so maybe now's the right time to start filling in the blanks.

You can't possibly encapsulate over 12 months of parenthood in one short posting, but this post is about this weekend, which was magical.  

After months of threatening, last weekend our wee man finally decided to start letting go of daddy's hand and begin walking solo. Tentatively at first. Of course.

But by this weekend his confidence, and the weather, was good enough for him to go it alone on the green outdoors. This was firstly significant for the fact we are leaving, so I'm pleased he got chance to use the green. I'd always known when I moved here it would  be a brilliant place for kids, so in fact a part of me is a little sad we'll be leaving it behind. 

trying to get up a run

trying to get up a run

But secondly this was significant because it was also quite emotional. As a developmental step, our wee baba is now capable of being independent outdoors - that's a pretty big deal. And quite amazing to see him take his first few exploratory steps in the great wide open; and absolutely loving it to boot... Soaking up the fresh air and the crunch of ripe grass underfoot with excitement and abandon.

If he loves the outdoors, he's going to love what's coming..

I Save money when I shower with two natty watery gadgets

If your shower runs at mains pressure or close to it, it's quite possible that you can reduce its pressure without detriment to its cleaning potential and how it feels. Indeed, if your shower is like mine, it might actually be painful to stand under at high pressure.  It seems that most modern houses comes with thermal store hot water systems which allow hot water to be delivered to the house at mains pressure, without little regard to what is actually comfortable or what is economic and eco-friendly.

Since I have the luxury of two showers I have installed two different devices, one in each as follows:

Eaga Shower Smart (get one free)

A small pressure-reducing insert that goes inline with the shower hose.

The Eaga shower smart prevents the unnecessary waste of water without loss of comfort. It creates a constant flow of 7.7 litres per minute, giving a full even jet with less fluctuation in water flow. Water temperature can be more constant - because sudden changes in pressure have a much smaller influence on the temperature. 

For a 2 person household, the Eaga ShowerSmart could save more than 12000 litres of water per year, as well as all the associated energy costs that go with heating it. 

At the time of writing Eaga are running a promotion for a free showersmart.

Oxygenics BodySpa shower head

If you want the dual benefits of economy AND a spa-like experience when you shower, then try the Oygenics BodySpa shower head. The entire oxygenics range not only reduces pressure and flow but at the same time sucks in oxygen and mixes is the with the water, giving an incredible refreshing shower sensation without any feeling of loss of pressure.

I have one fitted in my main shower and have tested that it does indeed reduce the flow (easily done by filling a bag with a line marked for 5 seconds or so) yet it feels wonderful to shower under. And it looks great too. The single orifice design of Oxygenics® showerheads coupled with internal components made of non-stick Delrin® are no match against common "shower cloggers." There isn't a calcium deposit or sediment that will stand in the way.