Z-Wave Heated Towel Rail

Heated towel switch
The objective of this project is simple. We currently have a heated towel rail / radiator in our bathroom. As well as being part of the main (gas) central heating system, it has a 300W electric heater that is provides independent control. This is something we want to add in our next house as the central heating doesn't come on in the summer but, we still need to dry our towels. We would also like something similar in the kitchen to dry tea-towels. This project is not really about technology. It is more about finding the right inputs and decision logic to make the towel rail operate at the right times.

We have a PIR sensor in the bathroom which is also used for occupancy detection. Whilst we can control lighting based on occupancy and the twilight sensor, we can't see a way to use it to usefully control the heated towel rail. The towel rail takes a while to warm up and cool down, so ideally we would like it to come on sometime (~20 minutes) before we walk into the bathroom. It doesn't react quickly enough to dry or warm a towel when occupancy is detected. It will also take a while to dry a damp towel, so it is going to need to stay on sometime after the towel has been used (the exact time will be determined through testing). We also can't simply use the last detected occupancy to trigger the towel rail because the bathroom might have been used without someone using the shower or bath.

Our best guess at the moment is that we need to switch on the towel rail at predicted times (say 7am each weekday and 8am at the weekends) for about 30 minutes to warm the towels. We also think we need a manual capacitive switch to trigger towel drying once the bathroom or shower has been used and the heater will then switch off after a preset time (say 60 minutes).

Fused heated towel switch
The electric towel rail heater switch is situated outside of the bathroom on the wall just outside the bathroom door. What we need to complete this project is a Z-Wave module that fits within a single wall box and ideally, also presents a manual switch for manual control or over-ride. Behind this switch is a 45mm deep wall box but, it is very full of wires.

Fibaro FGS211 switch module
Our first Z-Wave project showed us that the Fibaro FGS 211 switch/relay module is the ideal device to help us solve this problem. It allows the heating element to be controlled by both the manual switch and via the Z-Wave network.

Summary

This project is on hold whilst we look at wired solutions as part of our smart bathroom project.

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