Worcester Bosch launched a new boiler controller in late September 2014, and the first production versions became available late last week (October 24th).
Naturally, we wanted to be one of the first installers to get our hands on one, as did two of our customers. So we managed to fit two, one in Caterham Surrey, and the other in nearby Reigate.
The Caterham job was for a forward thinking customer, who ordered his boiler system a few months ago and hearing about the impending new release, said ‘I’ll have that’. We took out an old floorstanding Potterton Kingfisher II, together with a water tank, hot water cylinder and on old set of controls, and replaced it all with a Worcester Bosch 34CDi Classic combination boiler.
We bricked up the old flue aperture and fitted the new unit higher up the wall, which involved drilling through an old boiler brick chimney flue. This turned out to be a bit of a nightmare, as someone had decided to insulate the flue liner with kiln dried sand, which flowed out of the new hole. We then cut into the liner and that is where the real fun started, as massive amounts of soot went everywhere, luckily mostly outside. This was picked up by the wind and went all over the driveway, turned Ricky’s van black and made our clients car considerably blacker than normal. After washing the area down, and our customer’s car*, work resumed.
The new boiler was fitted into position and the Worcester WAVE installed.
To be honest there were problems connecting the WAVE to the WiFi, because it would not recognise the WiFi passwords. This was resolved by our customer, who found that the 802.11n signal from his Virgin router was incompatible in some way, changed to an earlier 802.11g standard and then it worked.
Interestingly, our other installation in Reigate (Worcester 42Cdi Classic Combi) used the WAVE and this connected immediately to an 802.11n network, also from a Virgin router! However, Virgin were due to upgrade this router to a newer type this week so that might cause a problem, we shall see.
So what does the WAVE do, and why would you want one?
Well firstly, it replaces a simple thermostat and addresses the whole house as one heating entity, so it is most certainly not a premium tool to divide the house into separately controlled zones, like the Honeywell Evohome. It is more comparable to a conventional WiFi thermostat, such as a Heatmiser or a Nest.
Unlike the Nests, Hives and Heatmisers et al, the Worcester WAVE has full access to all the internal electronics of the boiler itself. It is only currently available as a wired thermostat, and therefore needs a two wire link up from the boiler. The data link to the boiler allows it to be driven by WAVE and all sorts of clever functions enabled, specifically weather compensation.
Weather Compensation is a term used to describe the modulation of the power output of the boiler according to the heat loss of the house. By knowing the outside temperature in the garden, (WAVE gets the climate data from your internet) the boiler can make a very accurate stab at optimising the minimum water temperature needed inside the radiators. This saves a considerable amount of normally wasted energy (even in a high efficiency boiler) because the boiler enjoys the improved thermal efficiency of being in full condensing mode whenever technically feasible.
No other controller can do this with a Bosch domestic boiler – other than the Worcester Bosch FW100, which is an older design using an external weather sensor – because the interface to the boiler ‘brain’ isn’t available to any third parties.
The WAVE iPhone and Android app allows the smartphone user to programme times and temperatures for heating; it also allows hot water control too on Worcester Combination boilers and some other Worcester system boilers.
There are gas usage charts, which give indications of relative gas consumption for heating and hot water. These are far more accurate than the ‘finger in the air’ information provided by the generic other stats because the WAVE knows when the boiler has been running at full power and at partial power.
All in all it is a fantastic tool. If you have a relatively recent Worcester boiler with one heating zone it is definitely worth a look. The first tranche have already sold out!
*car washing is not usually part of our contract