I might have jumped the shark and purchased my ZigBee TRV way too early. The buyer’s remorse came when Shelly released their WiFi-connected TRV, now is Aqara releasing ZigBee TRV with Matter support (when the specification is released). Have I made a terrible purchase decision for my upcoming DIY Smart Heating project upgrade? That’s potentially 11 reasons to regret my hasty decision.
I have a total of 11 radiators waiting for the plumber to give me a quote on the valve re-fit. Unfortunately, my radiator valves are so old, that even adapters included in the box won’t fix it. While I wait, I can play with Aqara TRV and see if I should let the buyer’s remorse settle or if I’d be completely ok with the ones from Moes.
The box comes with an Aqara TRV and a couple of adapters to fit different valve fittings (RA/RAV/RAWL) these are the most common ones, so if your system is younger than 30 years old, chances are you have the correct type already installed.
The thermostat alone is pretty nice. A white cylinder that takes two AA batteries which according to Aqara product specification should last approx a year. The actual usage will vary depending on how often you use Aqara TRV and how hard it is to press the pin down on your valves. It uses ZigBee 3.0 to connect so you’ll need one of the Aqara Hubs or ZigBee-equipped IP Cameras to use it.
Aqara TRV has a controlling ring that you can twist and press to select options, setpoints and access settings. A dedicated LCD display is bright and easy to read. It will display setpoint, modes as well as your current temperature in ℃ and ℉. It’s nice to use the ring to quickly adjust the setpoint on your radiator, but most of the time, the Aqara app will be used to control and program the temperature.
Aqara TRV pairs in seconds. The only thing I’d change is the pairing instructions. When the button is pressed for 10 seconds, the ring light will flash and you have to do this when Aqara TRV shows the F1 setting on its display.
Once paired, you will be prompted to go through calibration – the device will learn open/close positions on your valve. In operation, the valve is very quiet and it would have to be very quiet to hear it running, especially since the full actuation takes about 4 seconds.
What’s surprising, Aqara TRV has no temperature calibration settings. You can’t apply offset to the internal sensor however the app will notify you if it thinks that the TRV temperature and the room temperature are not the same. It does make it easy to add an external temperature sensor (Aqara TVOC or Temp & Humidity sensor) and use it as a reference instead. I’m not sure if Aqara TRV has a clever AI trying to figure out the offsets without human interaction or if this is something that will be added in the future.
The sensor is very responsive and big temperature changes trigger full valve opening while changes near the setpoint allow TRV to partially open or close the flow to your radiator moderating the temperature better.
Extra functions include a child lock, which you can also apply via TRV, schedules and automation. As the TRV connects to Aqara skill it’s directly available as a thermostat device using Alexa or Google Home. You can use supported voice commands to set setpoints or turn them off altogether.
More advanced features bring open window detection and separate antifreeze settings to trigger the heating when the temperature is too low and the heating had been turned off to prevent damage to the building. Anyone with multiple radiators per room can couple TRVs together and use them as one device – also handy.
Aqara TRV comes with a really easy-to-use scheduling interface, and while day cut-off hours can be changed, you cannot add more than 3 heating periods to your day. It would be nice to have support for more. It’s one of the better schedule implementations I have seen on TRVs.
One of the cool things that you could do with Aqara TRV and Aqara G3H is to use facial recognition to trigger temperature changes in your room. Imagine getting a boost to your office/bedroom heating as soon as you walk into the house while other areas are kept at lower temperatures awaiting their corresponding “owners” to arrive home. Not a bad way to save a penny on heating if you live in a palace of several bedrooms! 😁
ZigBee2MQTT and NodeRED?
As this is a new device, it’s not supported in ZigBee2MQTT just yet. I would expect the support to roll out soon, but I will play a bit in NodeRED to see if I can come up with a makeshift converter for my Aqara TRV. It pairs without any issues and shows up as:
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Looking at the latest Aqara releases it’s hard not to be excited about the ZigBee support now and Matter support in the future. It gives you reasons to invest in your smart devices without waiting for Matter to finally release the official specification. As usual with Aqara, you will pay a bit extra for having your device future-proof – Aqara TRV is set to cost £54.99 at launch. I have 11 radiators to re-fit, and the final bill would be eyewatering! Let me know if you are looking at smart TRVs as well in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈 – See the transparency note for details.