How smart technology is shaping plumbing and heating

JG Underfloor Heating Controls situated in a kitchen

Smart technology is a term we’re all familiar with, but it doesn’t only apply to the latest phone, watch or television. Today, advancements in technology are positively impacting our homes, contributing to the creation of smart buildings that place sustainability at their core.

The drive towards a more sustainable future is driven largely by government targets, including an ambition to achieve net zero by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels). With emissions from households accounting for 26% of the UK’s total emissions, homes have a major role to play in achieving net zero. This is highlighted in the government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, which makes the requirement for greener buildings a core pillar, subsequently placing a focus on green technologies in reducing widespread reliance on fossil fuels.

When it comes to reducing household emissions, the role of plumbing and heating is undisputed. That’s because 17% of the UK’s total emissions can be attributed to home heating, representing more than half of the emissions generated by homes.

Let’s take a look at some of the smart plumbing solutions and heating technologies that are supporting the transition to smarter and more sustainable homes.

Underpinning efficiency with smart plumbing

Smart plumbing and heating solutions are already playing a significant role in today’s landscape, both in terms of the fixtures and fittings seen by users, and the elements hidden behind the walls. As well as improving everyday functionality and efficiency, these technologies and solutions can lead to greater cost effectiveness and lengthen the lifespan of systems.

Systems like the MultiSafe Leak Detector from Reliance Valves represent the first wave of truly smart plumbing devices for use in domestic applications. The smart system is connected to the entire property’s plumbing infrastructure, making it possible to identify leaks as they occur. When a leak is detected, the system shuts off an inbuilt isolation valve to the area, preventing further water wastage and potential damage. An email or text alert is also sent to the homeowner or building owner, providing greater peace of mind especially when away from home.

Complementing the core leak detection system, the optional MultiSafe Floor Leak Sensor can also be installed in areas where there is a greater risk of leaks, such as in utility rooms or under baths, to give properties and their contents extra protection from water damage.

When this smart sensor detects water on the floor, a low room temperature, or excessive levels of humidity, it will give out a warning signal to alert the home or building owner. As the floor sensor can be connected to Wi-Fi, alerts can also be sent by email or text message.

Reliance Valves MultiSafe product shot

Getting smarter with underfloor heating

Underfloor heating (UFH) is one of the fastest-growing trends within plumbing and heating today, with systems now becoming commonplace in homes – alongside innovations like heat pumps. While UFH immediately drives energy savings by operating at a much lower temperature than traditional radiator systems, smart technology is able to make UFH even more effective.

Smart controls for UFH systems, including JG Underfloor Heating Controls, enable home and building owners to control the temperature in different rooms. In contrast to radiator systems, which are typically controlled by a single thermostat that covers the whole property, UFH smart controls enable different rooms – or zones – to be controlled individually. In practice, this allows UFH to underpin comfort throughout a property while reducing energy consumption and, in turn, running costs.

What do installers need to know?

Smart technology is quickly becoming more commonplace in the world of plumbing and heating, enhancing the operation of systems and driving efficiency throughout individual properties.

For installers, understanding how these smart systems work and the applications in which they can deliver the best results, is essential – both in terms of contributing towards sustainability targets, but also in future proofing their skillsets. By keeping up to speed with the latest smart heating and plumbing technology, installers can continue to be a source of expertise for their customers and maximise the potential on every job.

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Eric Winter

EMEA Director of Product Development [Valves]

About the author

I've had the privilege of being a part of the RWC family for an incredible 25 years.

I joined the company in a technical support role and steadily progressed to become the Technical Director. Throughout my tenure, I've spearheaded the introduction of market-leading products that have revolutionised the industry.

In addition to product innovation, I am a member of WG14 working group, as part of the TC 164 technical committee, which is responsible for revising European and British valve standards. This multifaceted experience has equipped me with a deep understanding of the industry, positioning me as a trusted expert in my field.