review

Ecostrad iQ Review Wifi Ceramic Radiator With Open Window Detection

Monday, October 19, 2020

According to the movie "The Martian" the best type of heater is a Radioisotope heater unit powered by a decaying radioactive isotope, which is superior technology not yet stocked by Amazon! Radioisotope thermoelectric technology may, indeed, be the future for electrical power generation but for now, we have to content ourselves with power plant-generated electricity!
All electric heaters do pretty much the same thing with the main difference being how the heat is distributed. Electric heaters can either use natural convection, forced convention (fan assisted), radiant/radiation or a combination like the Ecostrad iQ Wifi ceramic radiator, which is natural convection radiator than produces a lot of radiant heat.
The Ecostrad iQ Wifi ceramic radiator is constructed similarly to a central heating radiator with a box-like metal enclosure that integrates six heating panels (front-facing and back-facing) and a fin-like tubing system, which runs from the bottom up. The heating panels have a large rectangular shape with a small gap separating each panel to allow air to pass-through.
The included three metal brackets and hardware (screws and plugs) allow you to mount the Ecostrad iQ Wifi ceramic radiator on a wall. The radiator can be placed on the ground free standing via feet support that you buy separately.
Without feet support, the Ecostrad iQ Wifi ceramic radiator has to be wall-mounted, which is a straightforward DIY job. The wall brackets provide a couple of inches of separation between the wall and the radiator.
Wall mounted heaters are notorious for ghosting marks, which are black marks that develop on the wall above the heater. This is caused by dirt (i.e dust particles) in the air and a damp/cold wall when heated air from the heater travels up, alongside the wall. The built-up of these soot marks is slow and depends largely on the humidity inside the room and the construction of the wall. Because the Ecostrad iQ is a ceramic radiator and not a heater the risk of black marking is much reduced because the heat is better distributed around the unit rather than having one very hot spot and the empty shell that convector heaters have to direct air (and burnt dust) upwards through the grill. 
Aside from the ceramic heating element, the Ecostrad iQ Wifi ceramic radiator integrates a Wifi chip module and a large touchscreen display located on the right corner that shows a digital temperature reading. The panel display measures 55mm x 55mm and integrates four touch sensitive buttons, which make a loud beep sound when activated. The buttons are pressure sensitive so, they a similar actuation to a touch screen monitor.
The lowest temperature you can manually set the Ecostrad iQ radiator is 7 degrees Celsius and the highest is 30 degrees Celsius. The screen display is backlit so, it can easily be viewed at night or in a dark room. From the display panel, you will also be able to enable key functions such as Wifi functionality. When enabled, you will see a Wifi icon flashing on the top right corner of the screen. The Wifi icon is not to be confused with the sensor mode icon, which looks similar. 
The Ecostrad iQ sensor mode consists of a 5.8GHz motion sensor (doppler radar type), which can detect motion within a 6 meter range in direct path. This type of sensor works similar to a 5.8GHz microwave radar sensor but doesn't register all around movement and cannot detect motion through doors or glass windows. The change in heating is triggered when the motion sensor is not triggered for a set amount of time, and this change is not an instant drop – instead the temperature steadily drops before switching down through the modes to finally rest in anti-freeze mode. When the sensor is triggered, the radiator quickly ascends through these modes to be back to full comfort heating capacity within minutes.
The Ecostrad iQ Wifi function is compatible with two mobile apps - the Smart Life app and the Tuya app - both available on Google Play Store and App Store. As far as which app is better, they're both equally good since they're both practically the same. The Smart Life app is a re-branded version made by Tuya who also owns the Smart Life app.
Once you download and run the app on your phone and activate Wifi mode on the radiator, you are able to pair the Ecostrad iQ radiator to any phone as long as the phone's Wifi connection uses 2.4Ghz radio band. You can manually or automatically pair the radiator, using the "Auto Scan" function which automatically detects the radiator within a few seconds, allowing to connect and access the app's main screen.
The Smart Life app default screen shows set temperature reading and current temperature of the room, which is registered by the thermostat embedded inside the radiator. The thermostat is accurate to within half a degree (0.5C). From the app, you can switch between working modes, set weekly programming and enable useful features such as temperature compensation, which lets you manually tune the thermostat temperature to be on par with an external temperature reader.
Another useful feature you get with the Ecostrad iQ radiator is open window detection, which automatically cuts-off power to the Ecostrad iQ radiator when a constant temperature drop is detected. The open window feature comes handy specially when you are at work and have scheduled the radiator to turn on automatically and someone happens to open the window for a short while. The open window feature works well and can be adjusted from 60 minutes to 90 minutes to instruct the radiator to resume heating, which is handy so, you don't have to turn the radiator back on manually.
The Ecostrad iQ radiator has an IPX0 rating, which means it is not water resistant at all. That said, the radiator can be installed in a bathroom, as long as it is hardwired into a fused spur in “outside” or Zone 3 areas in the bathroom. It is generally not recommended to be fitted in bathrooms because of the likelihood people will hang towels on it. By the way, adding a fused spur is not the same as adding a new light fitting or socket. A fused spur actually requires a new cable and socket run from an existing socket on the ring main, which is not as straightforward. 
The Ecostrad iQ Wifi radiator can be turned off from the touch-display but this only puts the radiator in standby/sleep mode, which is needed in order for the radiator to remember stored settings. This is because the Ecostrad iQ uses a volatile on-board memory, which works like computer RAM memory. Fortunately, the Ecostrad iQ on-board memory can save stored settings for 2 hours (after being powered off from the main), which is handy in the event of a power cut. 
If you do need to power off the unit completely, there is a mechanical power switch located on the back of the unit. The power switch is made of plastic but it's enclosed by heat-resistant rubber. Not far from the power off switch, you will also find the 1.5 meter long power cord (H05RN-F rubber flexible cable), which has been routed from the bottom corner of the radiator.
There are a total of 10 functions built-in to the Ecostrad iQ Wifi radiator all of which are displayed on the touchscreen via their respective icon. These include 3 working modes (Comfort, Eco and Anti-freeze), Timer function, Sensor mode, Pilot wire mode (not supported by this model), Heating on, Wifi mode, Open Window mode and Keypad lock, which locks the touch display.
out with the old, in with the new
The touch control functionality works well and, while it doesn't feel as responsive as pressing a mechanical switch or turning a dial, you can swipe on the screen, which makes switching back and forth between modes easier. Also, the touch display does turn off after a few seconds, which saves energy and makes the radiator unlit. To wake the display, you simply hold down on the touchscreen for a few seconds.
Being a class 2 electrical appliance, the Ecostrad iQ Wifi radiator is double insulated with at least two layers of insulation protection, which does not require an earth connection like class 1 electrical appliances. 
Employers who use electronic appliances in an office know that they have to carry out PAT testing on all electrical equipment, including portable heaters; hence why most office electrical equipment tends to be class 2 rated. This is because it is cheaper to carry out a class 2 PAT check than a class 1, which also requires checking the external wiring in the building. Class 2 appliances are also a lot safer than class 1 appliances, which is super preferred in the workplace.
As far power consumption, Ecostrad has a handy tool on their website that calculates a rough estimate of the minimum wattage needed to heat a room, according to its size (square footage). The Ecostrad iQ radiator comes in 5 wattage versions: 1000W, 1500W, 1800W, 2000W and the 500W model pictured on this review, which measures 43cm tall, 57cm wide and 8cm thick.
Regardless of the working mode (i.e. eco, comfort), the Ecostrad iQ radiator always draws the full wattage; hence you cannot manually decrease wattage. In economy (eco) mode, the temperature is set between 7 degrees and 18 degrees. Comfort mode temperature is between 19 degrees and 30 degrees.
The Ecostrad iQ ceramic core retains very well the heat generated. When running the Ecostrad iQ radiator at 30 degrees, the surface temperature of the radiator's front panels is 73 degrees. After the radiator is turned off for 30 minutes, the surface temperature drops to approx. 53 degrees, which is still enough radiant heat to keep you warm. The key to ceramic radiators is that they don't use a regular heating coil element. Instead, they use a heating wire embedded inside a ceramic dry stone element. If you have small children, it's worth knowing that the front panels of the Ecostrad iQ do get hot to the touch similarly to an oil-filled heater or gas central heating radiator. See user manual.
Like most heaters, the Ecostrad iQ does make the air drier, which may not be suitable for nursery/ baby rooms or anyone with sensitive eyes. The benefits of ceramic heaters is that it reduces issues with damp in the walls and ceilings in a room.The Ecostrad iQ produces a lot of radiant heat, which feels instantly warm if you sit near it.Total weight of the radiator is 10kg. 
A heater with a fan does spread the heat around much better but does generate noise. Oil filled radiators are also able to deliver heat after being turned off. That said, oil-filled radiators are slower to heat up than ceramic radiators, which can also produce heat for longer when cooling down. You can buy the Ecostrad iQ radiator from Electric Radiators Direct

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