With 1.7 million households already owning a smart thermostat and a further 800,000 in the market to buy one, there is significant opportunity for heating engineers to grow their businesses by marketing themselves as ‘smart specialists’. Here, Vaughn Wiles, Technical Support Specialist at Resideo, maker of Honeywell Home heating controls, explains how investing in training is crucial to stay ahead of the game.
Finding the time to attend training can be a big commitment, especially amongst self-employed tradespeople, for whom time is money. However, the increasing popularity of smart technology means upskilling is crucial for any gas engineer looking to capitalise on this growing market.
With more smart thermostats to choose from than ever before – from multi-zoning connected controls, to more understated models with built-in automation – choosing the right product for the job can be a task in itself. Not only do engineers need to be able to get to grips with the range of smart thermostats on the market, but they also need to understand how they can give a customer greater control over their home comfort.
By brushing up on their smart know-how, engineers can capitalise on the opportunities available in this growing market. Possessing the right knowledge means they can add value for their customers, which can often be the difference between securing a job or not. What’s more, smart heating controls are just the beginning and the first rung on the ladder to fully connected homes, where even more business opportunities are available.
Inevitably, training requires some investment. However, understanding how smart thermostats can give a customer greater control over their heating will allow engineers to fit them with confidence. Not making time for it now is a false economy, as it may lead to missing out on work in the future.
Time to train
Manufacturers have developed online training portals so those who wish to learn new skills, without losing valuable work hours, can do so at their convenience. For example, Resideo offers various online training courses so that installers can learn about three of its flagship Honeywell Home products – T6, T4 and evohome – from the comfort of their own homes.
Heating engineers can simply register for free to gain access to Youlearn, the online training platform, whenever it suits them. The content is split into easily digestible chunks, with users able to track their completion as a percentage. Each course covers the product’s features and benefits, specification, installation, commissioning and tips for upgrading from an older model. The evohome online course also has enhanced technical information on issues such as setting up the Remote Gateway, when to consider automatic balancing and working with unvented cylinders.
Online training is a useful tool to help busy engineers learn new skills at their own pace. However, there is no substitute for a practical training course. Engineers can put the theory they learn into practice with the assistance of a highly skilled and experienced trainer on hand to answer any questions.
Split into three courses, Resideo’s face-to-face training focuses on standard, connected and multi-zoning controls, meaning there is a course for every level. The ‘Standard Installer’ course provides a useful introduction to the world of heating controls, covering everything from regulations, to system design, to product information. Delegates then put this theory into practice with a practical wiring session, to guide them through the basic steps of wiring various Honeywell Home non-connected devices.
The ‘Controls Applications’ course takes these principles and applies them to more complex systems. Engineers learn about the wider home automation market as well as the Honeywell Home connected product range: Single Zone, T4 and T6. As connected thermostats are one of the most popular smart devices, acquiring detailed knowledge via training will assist heating engineers in upselling them.
Finally, the evohome course provides attendees with a complete, hands-on tutorial on specifying, installing, commissioning and fault finding with this multi-zoning heating control, covering everything from testing wireless signal strength, to handing over to the customer.
Installing smart heating controls now requires a new set of skills and knowledge that can easily be obtained via professional training. For engineers who invest time in upskilling, the benefits will soon outweigh the costs of being left behind in a rapidly developing market.