If you’ve got an Ideal brand boiler from mid-2019 onwards or are considering buying one, you could get the Ideal Halo Combi Wi-Fi flexible heating control system.
The Halo Combi Wi-Fi is a wireless, programmable room thermostat – essentially, it’s a smart heating system that’ll give you more control over your heating and a more convenient way of managing it.
The Halo Combi costs from £144-£180 plus installation, depending on where you buy it. What you’ll get is a Smart Interface that plugs directly into your boiler and wirelessly communicates with your Halo control.
The system also comes in a non-connected form: the Halo Combi RF. This is also a wireless, programmable room thermostat but it doesn't have any smart functionality, so you can't control your heating via an app or access features such as geolocation.
Installation and set-up
The makers hope that what sets the Halo Wi-Fi apart from other systems is that it's extremely straightforward – at every step of the way.
That means it’s easy for the installer to set up, which should only take a matter of minutes, and it’s easy to use from that point on. It’s a plug and pair system, so there’s no need for a separate Wi-Fi gateway.
When developing the product, the designers brought in people with all levels of tech comfort to test it out and made changes based on their feedback to ensure that it's as intuitive and simple to use as possible.
This should mean that all members of the family can use it and that it's more appealing to people who've so far resisted smart heating as they worry it'll be too complicated.
There’s even a Halo Combi channel on YouTube, featuring how-to guides and troubleshooting videos on everything from how to set heating schedules to how to bleed your radiators.
As I don’t have a compatible boiler, I couldn’t take the system for a test run as we do with the smart heating systems we review but I’ve been able to examine the products and I've chatted to the head of product development.
In terms of the product design and quality and the methods they’ve used to make it user-friendly, we're impressed with the system.
Using the Halo Combi
Once the system is installed, the smart thermostat can be wall-mounted or set on a desktop or table with a supplied fixture. It’s a pretty attractive design – sleek and minimalist. More importantly, it’s easy to read and intuitive to control, with a large colour screen and both a temperature dial and buttons.
Features of the Halo Combi
As you’d expect, you can control your heating remotely, from the Halo smartphone app. This means you can turn down your heating if you’re out and running late so you're not heating an empty house, or turn it up if the weather changes and you don’t want to come home to a cold home. You can also set heating schedules via the app.
You also have the option of turning on geolocation, so that when the last member of your household leaves your home, the heating will switch off and turn back on when you return.
However, Halo does not have open window detection, as some smart heating systems do.
It does have another feature that should prove extremely useful to users: fault notification. If something goes wrong with your boiler, not only will you get an alert and be able to see the problem, but the information will also be sent to Ideal Boilers’ customer service centre.
This means that when you ring customer service, they’ll be able to see what the problem is and give you the best advice. If you need an engineer to come out and fix your boiler, they'll be aware of the issue before they arrive and should be equipped to sort it out.
Halo is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant voice control.
You can find out more from the Ideal Boilers website.
Will Halo save you money?
This is the big question when considering a smart heating system. The answer is that it depends a lot on how you use your heating at the moment.
If you currently leave your heating on all the time and don’t use energy saving measures, you’ll probably recoup the cost of smart heating within a couple of years and make savings after that point.
However, this depends on how much your heating system costs and to what extent you can make the most of its features. You can find out more in our article: Can smart heating save you money?
To see all of the smart heating systems we've reviewed and recommend, check out our round up of the best smart thermostats we've tested.