Debuging ​your heating system

  • Marta 

When your heating has an errors

How to dream about new features for your heating system

By Marta Gal

As a programmer, a tech geek and ecological gal, I really love the idea of Internet of things. 

Andy Standford Clark, a British information technology research engineer, influenced the whole Internet world back in 2005 with his tweets his house was sending. Andys smart house communicated not only about the electricity, water, heating usages, it also sent tweets to Twitter and it was shared publicly. Instantly I  fell in love with the idea of a super smart house. 

A promisse for the future

Back in 2005, when Andys houses tweeted about energy usage, I did not had any desire to own or rent a house. I was renting an apartment in Germany and it was already quite expansive to have huge costs for a heating. I was happy that I do not have bigger space, as this would require o lot of costs for heating and would be bad for the environment in the same time. When I heard about the passive house technology, the vision for the future was complete.  A passive house technology, combined with an intelligent geothermal heating system, communicating over device the energy usage. Nothing better for the climate.

What is geothermal heating? 

What is a passive house

 
German-style passive houses (Passivhaus) rely on very high levels of thermal insulation (super-insulation) and air-tightness, and high-performance windows. They do need large heating systems because airtightness and super-insulation standards can reduce heat loss to very low levels.

A Dream comes true 

In 2012, I got pregnant. Together with my husband, we decided to make a plan for the future for the family. Little babies need a warm nest, but it should not be bad for the climate. We decided to acquire a passive house with geothermal heating pump, as this was the best ecological solution we could find on the market. We made it happen. Drill of 30 meters to the earth to reach it resources has been made. A geothermal heating pump has been installed.  With the first error of the pump in 2014, I noticed our solution is not that smart yet. The technical service guy needed to come several times with his computer to log into the electrical computerised system of the heating pump. My main question has been:

How does that come that the service has a device and we, as clients don’t?
The service guy answered; In Holland, we deliver this to the clients. Here in Belgium, we don’t do this YET. 

5 years later – The Error handling story 

Now in 2019 when the pump got an error, there has been no information other then you can feel it on your skin – it is getting cold.  We still did not had any device which would show more information about what is going on inside of our geothermal heating pump.

But this time, in cold winter with temperatures in Belgium under 0, this is a new event for us. We are cold. From 2013, we lived comfortably in 23 – 24 degrees warm house – with minimal heating costs. In summer on the other hand, the intelligent system of the heating pump cooled our house down to desirable 23 degrees automatically. This is a very welcomed aspect in times of global warming together with the fact that the heating of the house and heating of the water do not produce any CO2.

The problem and the Technical analyses

This thermostat is the only monitor we received with the installation of the heating pump. The options of this element are very limitless. Till today, the cable from the wall has unknown function.

4 days ago, it went cold. The little thermometer, our only device where we can see something about our Heat pump, on the wall only shows ERROR 32. That’s it.

We called the Ittho Daaderop service number. First available appointment would be in 10  days. You watch the calendar with worries. Freezing temperatures seems to go on. A passive house cools down slowly. On the first day in went 1 degree less. On the second day, another 2. Then, when your children have running nouse constantly, you decide, you need to get alternative electrical heating down from the roof and heat with that. That is costly but it works. With a little ECO modus, we can keep the house on 20,5 degrees.

Another problem which is much bigger is, that also the water for shower is not heated. So on some days, I really can not wash now my children. Ou, wait a moment, I could heat water with cooking it.

today every Client is an Internet User

From THE USER AND CLIENT PERSPECTIVE, the problem is, that here in Belgium, we have no control over our heat pump. There was no monitor and neither some software delivered with the Heat pump motherboard where we could see and manually troubleshot the heating system. This can be a huge and costly problem once the heat pump is out of guaranty. We also do not see any such an Internet of things monitor on the Belgian Heat Pump Company Web site. On the other hand, when we look at the Dutch company web site of the same company, thehave this monitor available for the clients from the Netherlands. Nowadays, every client is an internet user, systems need to deliver monitors and give the possibility to track usage of every resource taken, next to excellent troubleshooting service.

Our open question remains, why has this – in Holland at the market – Heat pump monitor has not been delivered to the Belgian market. That seems to be a much bigger problem for me than the fact of some error. The error will be solved, the customer support will come sooner or later and fix it. But we need to have the same available gadgets here in Belgium which they enjoy already also from 2013 in Holland. It can not be that a heat pump from 2013 sold to a market of Holland does come with more important monitors than in Market of Belgium. 

Troubleshooting the Pump

Since the technical support arrives in some days and the forecast it showing freezing temperatures, we need to still be able to somehow figure out alone, how to not get cold. We need to manually watch the little funny thermometer at the wall and wait till it has the same error, this can happen 5-7 times per day. Then, we need to restart the heat pump – it means to unplug it from electricity and put the plug back. In the computer world we call it, let it crash. Then it maximum warm up till 20.5 degrees, but the cold is getting from the floor. The water cannot be warmed up for a taking a shower purpose. We need to use cattle and cook water to have water to wash. We use additional electrical heat machine – which can be costly when it run over several hours. 

Dreaming about AR Scenario

 
We are in the year 2018 when the world of tech is showing us all the great innovation like AR – which would in this scenario help. One possbile  AR  – Augmented reality scenario could be:
1. An error of the heating pump will trigger a notification to the client
2. THE CLIENT would start a video chat session with the technical support through mobile device Augmented Reality app
3. The technical assistant could explain in the AR session with a kind of pointer, where could be the problem. This could be done in sharing the monitor for both client and assistant.
4. If this session would not help, the tech assistant would set up an appointment with the client

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