Elderly lady with central heating control image

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC) has published some new online practical advice on heating controls that can help disabled and older people find easy-to-use controls that also have money-saving features.

Conducting a series of tests with members of its consumer panel, the RiDC has identified 11 easy-to-use controls. Ten people from the panel panel tested the controls including people with dexterity difficulties, cognitive impairments and blind and partially sighted users.

The controls were scored on accessibility features, such as: Can they be used hands-free? Is the device compatible with a smart speaker or home hub? Are voice commands available? Have they got good large clear displays or good colour contrast? Are there tactile features? And, overall, how simple do users find the controls?

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The products tested included:

  • two thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). A TRV is attached to radiators to set the desired temperature
  • two programmable thermostats, which control the temperature and timing
  • three manual room thermostats which can be attached to the wall
  • four smart programmable thermostats to use with a smartphone app

According to the RiDC’s findings, the top 11 accessible heating controls for elderly and disabled people are:

  • Honeywell Evohome HR92UK Radiator Controller
  • Myson Impaired Dexterity TRV Head
  • Honeywell Home Single Zone Connected Thermostat
  • Drayton Digistat + IRF RF710 Wireless Room Thermostat
  • Myson MRT1 Mechanical Room Thermostat (braille version)
  • Danfoss TPOne Programmable Room Thermostat
  • Glow-worm Climapro 2 RF Control
  • Honeywell Evohome WIFI Connected Smart Controller
  • Honeywell Lyric T6 Smart Thermostat
  • Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation
  • Hive Active Heating Smart Thermostat 3rd Generation

An RiDC consumer panel member said: “As a blind person, the heating controls research provided me with an opportunity to test as well as learn more about the various heating control devices and thermostats currently available on the market.”

You can read the RiDC’s full guidance and advice on accessible central heating controls via: https://www.ridc.org.uk/features-reviews/home/central-heating         

The published guidance comes as recent research reveals that life costs more for disabled people and their families, spending more on essential goods and services such as heating. According to the RiDC, over half of disabled adults have worried about paying their energy bills.

In addition, the charity notes that there are 4.1 million households with a disabled person which spend over £1,500 a year on energy. In contrast, research from Scope shows that the average UK household spends around £1,200 a year.

The BEAMA asserts that having the right central heating controls can help people save money.

New smartphone technology now offers people greater control of their heating and the possibility of saving money, says the RiDC. Many people want to know about how easy the heating controls are to use before they buy and this independent research from RiDC can enable people to make a more informed choice.

RiDC is a UK charity providing independent research with disabled and older consumers.

The RiDC consumer panel consists of over 1,500 disabled and older people of all ages throughout the UK, who provide RiDC with its collective wisdom to review, compare and rate products and services.

To learn more about website accessibility, visit: https://yoyodesign.com/accessibility-resource/

For more information about home insulation for elderly people, including how to deal with isolation and loneliness, visit: https://www.buildingmaterials.co.uk/resources/insulation-guide-elderly/

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