Frost protection and Internet outage

 I have just learned that the tado system I have installed is totally reliant on the internet. We are very rural and the internet is frequently going down for a day or more.

I can work around that manually when I am home but I am away (as is everyone else in the house) frequently in the winter for up to a few weeks at a time.

My concern is that if we are all away and this happens what will prevent the pipework in the house from freezing? If I set the Mon-Sun to a continuous 5 degrees C am I right in assuming that the heating will not come on if the temperature drops below 5 degC if the internet is down?

I had assumed that the thermostats would have as much protection as my old manual system which could be set to 5 deg when we went away.

I am not concerned if the internet goes down that the house cannot be brought up to temperature before I return home but I am not prepared to run the risk of pipes freezing.

My system uses a thermal store heated by a gas boiler supplying UFH. Individual rooms have a tado wired T/S back to the UFH controller.

Could the community confirm whether I am wrong in my assumption that the heating will not function in this mode if the internet goes down and we are away?



  • @Mudmouse Where the heating system is at risk of freezing, you should have physically wired frost protection and not rely entirely on the internet. Our system boiler is in an unheated cupboard off the garage. It has a wired frost stat and low limit pipe stat.

  • Montage
    Montage ✭✭✭

    I wouldn’t leave the system without some form of old fashioned frost stat. Check what your can do boiler first.

  • Thanks for your comments however my concern is not for the boiler as that is indoors and has built-in frost protection - it is more the rest of the house plumbing if the heating does not cut in due to an internet outage.

    I do not think that putting a frost stat alongside every tado T/S is acceptable and one, therefore, has to question whether the product is fit for purpose.

  • cbd20
    cbd20 | Moderator

    @Mudmouse my understanding is that if the internet goes down the tado devices maintain their "current state" but you lose all scheduling and obviously remote access.

    So if your current schedule was set to frost protection, then that is the state they will operate in until either manually overridden physically on the devices or the internet is restored. So theoretically if the temperature ever did drop that low it should still fire up the boiler.

    It's probably worth you doing a test to confirm though when at home e.g set a target temp a degree or two above the current temperature, then pull the ethernet cable from the bridge. Monitor what happens for an hour or so. Theoretically the system should continue to maintain the last temp, so tado should fire the boiler on and off to keep that temp. If it either leaves the boiler firing indefinitely causing a temperature overshoot or doesn't fire the boiler at all and the temperature drops, then my assumption is wrong.

  • johnnyp78
    johnnyp78 ✭✭✭
    edited January 10
    I thought the current state meant either on or off. So if the heating was on when it loses Internet connection, it stays on, but it it was off then it stays off. Hopefully you’re right on this.
  • cbd20
    cbd20 | Moderator

    @johnnyp78 Yes my assumption is based on the distinction between the two primary failure conditions that I believe tado has:

    Failure condition 1: Loss of internet connectivity/ server connection failure. Devices still maintain local connectivity to the bridge. In this circumstance I believe the tado devices "know" only their current set temperature and the measured room temperature. They can still communicate with the zone controller via the bridge and thus are capable of maintaining set temperature. You can manually adjust the temperature on different devices in this situation which further reinforces my thinking that it is capable of maintaining a set temperature much like a "dumb" thermostat.

    Failure condition 2: range connection issue/ loss of device connectivity to the bridge. In this situation the zone controller device is no longer able to receive information from one or more temperature sensors/ thermostats. Therefore its only option is to maintain its last state - i.e permanently on or permanently off. This can only be manually overridden by the button on top of the extension kit/ wireless receiver to cycle between permanently on or off until the connection to the bridge is restored.

    Like I say though, it is an assumption on my part how the first condition works. The experiment I suggested above should prove it one way or the other though.

  • I think that it's either ON or OFF.......that's fully ON or fully OFF
  • @Mudmouse whatever the Tado system frost protection provides … you need to consider physical frost protection for your situation. That may be just be a single frost stat and/or pipe stat in the coldest locations. A physical frost stat for every Tado trv would be an unnecessary step for me. HTH.

  • I have tried to leave a genuine factual comment on here for over a day, regularly reposting it but it appears I must now be on the naughty list since it will not post, saying once "approved" it will appear!!!!

  • Oh that one worked so will try again:-

    Thanks guys, I contacted tado customer support and they said that although manual control of the thermostat is possible when the internet connection is lost the system freezes (!!!!) in the last setting of the controls.

    That means no control by the system whatsoever - if it was on at the time of outage the heating will continue indefinitely until the internet and connection is restored or it will stay permanently off without any switching whatsoever. Basically, if you are not there to manually adjust it will do nothing to change itself. ie they are not thermostats at all they are just thermometers with a switch that tado controls from their servers.

    @wateroakley one thermostat by itself would not work as due to the shape and size of my place turning on one zone would have little effect on the rest of the house (I have 15 zones) with insulation between each room so heat transfer would be minimal.

    @cbd20 I will nevertheless try what you suggest re testing it to make absolutely certain but i am not holding out any hope - will let you know.

  • Oh well, do not know what happened there???

    Anyway, I have decided to return the whole package as I can't live with the risk of losing basic frost protection and the inconvenience of a heating system that is totally reliant on not having an internet outage.

  • Montage
    Montage ✭✭✭

    Sounds sensible. A heating engineer should be able to provide you with a system for the job.

  • Hi @Montage I am a retired heating engineer!!!!!

    What I'm not is fluent with smart control technology.

    I think I have now identified the perfect system - it just took a whole lot of research and knowing what questions to ask. I had no idea when I bought the tado system that it had a control system that totally relied on the internet to switch the system on and off. Technically they are in breach of the trade description act to describe it as a thermostat.

  • cbd20
    cbd20 | Moderator

    @Mudmouse thanks for the update, very interesting and would confirm other people's thoughts on it and would indicate my assumption was wrong.

    Have to say I'm a little surprised though. I switched broadband provider last winter and during the transfer period I was without internet for a few hours one morning. The heating didn't come on in the morning as it remained in its low overnight setback temperature (no access to schedule so was essentially off). However, I then went round and manually set the radiator thermostats to the temp I wanted in each room. Each valve only opened if their room temperature was actually lower than the temperature I set, which means the valves were definitely doing a local check on the temperature differential. The boiler also only fired up when I turned the first one above the current room temperature, which means again the system locally must be able to determine the trigger point.

    On that basis I cannot see how, if they're not doing it already, why they can't at least allow the system locally to maintain the last known set temperature and hence the reason why I assumed they already were.

  • @Mudmouse just a suggestion for the frost protection, obviously not going to help with the overall lack of control without internet. Next to your wiring centre you could put a number of rail mount relays in an enclosure connected to a single frost stat. With the output of each relay connected to S/L input for each zone in the wiring centre. Extra expense, but an entirely non-software solution that should be reliable and easy to test.

  • @Mudmouse … thinking again … the TRVs lift off easily for battery changes … could you put in one physical frost stat? Then, before you go away for a longer period, remove the Tado TRVs from the valve and leave them in the room? If it gets cold enough indoors to initiate the frost protection: a) the internet connected TRV should know and call for heat; or b) if the internet is off, the physical frost stat would call for heat. In both a) and b) you’d be heating the rads in all the rooms until frost risk passes. When you’re home, simply refit the TRVs. Just a thought …

  • @cbd20 I think you are right that you can manually cause the heating to come on by increasing the set point however I do not think it will control the temperature and you would have to turn it down manually also. Customer service lead me to believe that it will only control the temperature if you have an internet connection.

  • @GrilledCheese2 I had thought of doing just that but the cost and hassle for something that should have been provided as part of the product rankles with me.

  • @wateroakley I have underfloor heating so no TRV's.