Electric Fireplace Control

project_fireplace

(Rob DeMillo) #1

Hi folks -

I’ve decided that I want to put an electric fireplace into my master bedroom - both for the heating aspect as well as the aesthetic aspect. Ideally, I’d like to find a unit that is easily controllable from smartthings, but that seems to be almost impossible. As far as I can tell, not a single one is z-wave or zigbee out of the box… and all of them (I think) are difficult to control from a simple on/off command to a smartthings-ready outlet.

I’m looking at the 50 inch Dimplex Ignite http://www.electricfireplacesdirect.com/products-accessories/built-in-electric-fireplaces/dimplex-ignite-xl-50-in-electric-fireplace-XLF50

Before I pull the trigger and just order it knowing I’ll never get it connected to smartthings, has anyone had any luck with these sorts of appliances?


(Allan) #2

If the unit has a simple “switch” to turn it on and off (dry contact) you can use something like a GoControl fixture module (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ER6MH22/). But I don’t see that listed, just that it has a remote control. Now with that said if its remote is IR or something that can be learned by a Harmony Hub or something like that you could combine that with SmartThings to turn it on and off.


(Ray) #3

The biggest problem with this type of heater is the fan delay. Even with the heater off. The fan will continue to run for a few minutes so cutting main power to the whole unit is not the correct way and hard on the heater elements. The best way is to research on the remote and harmony as stated above by @vseven.


(Mark) #4

That’s probably intentional on the part of the manufacturers of these types of fireplaces.

There are a few that can be controlled by a smartphone app but they connect with Bluetooth. The limited range ensures that the user is physically present when turning the fireplace on/off and could presumably respond to any potentially dangerous situation.


(Anthony Genovese) #5

Check out the Zmote, that’s what I’m using.


(Rob DeMillo) #6

thank you everyone - I appreciate the feedback.

The zmote looks great - and harmony is a good suggestion - but I suspect that this remote is RF


(Mike Breault) #7

i wish controlling harmony devices was made easier todo. I’m aware of KUKU Harmony but, its a royal pain without a computer running 24/7


(Rob DeMillo) #8

I have the Dimplex fireplace being installed this week - I’m going to try and figure out some sort of z-wave to Dimplex control system once it’s in place. I’ll keep people abreast of my progress.

I purchased the Dimplex because none of the electric fireplaces have z-wave or zigbee control nodes…I’m assuming for safety reasons - so it didn’t really matter which fireplace I bought…and I really liked the other feature set of the dimplex… so, we’ll see.


(Allan) #9

Like I said, see if there is a manual override switch and case the remote dies. If there is then there is your dry contact to turn the thing on and off.


(Rob DeMillo) #10

Hi Allan -

Yes, I will do that. However it looks like it’s a double switch system… I will need to experiment.

  • R

(Ernie) #11

I have a fireplace with a remote as the only means of control. I just recently got the Bond device to be able to turn the fireplace on and off. Fireplaces are not officially supported yet (coming in 2018) but you can “trick it” into thinking the remote is for a ceiling fan. I plan to only use the Bond control for emergencies and I monitor the fireplace with temperature sensors and a camera.


(Rob DeMillo) #12

This is great, Ernie - thanks for the tip. Question: do you have an IR or RF remote? It looks like the Bond works with both.

I assume there’s a way to get at the Bond with Smartthings?

  • Rob

(Ernie) #13

I have only used rf remotes with the Bond. As for connecting with Smartthings, the Bond has an Ifttt channel for simple on/commands. I use this with ceiling fans. I am hesitant to connect the fireplace with Smartthings as I am concerned that it my turn the fireplace on or off at an inappropriate time.
Please read the warning below about fireplaces and Smartthings. See the 10th post by @JDRoberts.


(Rob DeMillo) #14

Thanks for all this Ernie - this might just match my use case, perfect.

I have a gas fireplace on the first floor that has a dry contact z-wave switch attached - it works perfectly, and I have a couple of lines of protection from both smartthings and IFTTT to shut it off if it’s been on too long, so I will do something similar with the Bond.

If it has IFTTT support, then I can do something similar to what I do on the first floor. (The electric fireplace has an “auto off after 2 hours” feature anyway.) I’m excited to try this.

One question, how does the bond work? I’m assuming you put it in search mode and then hit the on/off control on the RF remote and it finds it and memorizes it? Does it cover a wide range of RF frequencies? Thanks again for the help.

Rob


(Ernie) #15

The pairing process is exactly as you mentioned. I don’t know the exact frequencies it covers but it it supposed to connect with ceiling fans, fireplaces, air conditioners and garage door openers so it must cover the most popular rf frequencies used by those devices.


(Rob DeMillo) #16

This is excellent Ernie - saves me building something myself. Thank you - surprised I never heard of this before. I’ll pick one up in the next few weeks and let you know how it goes.

  • Rob

(Rob DeMillo) #17

So the dimplex fireplace is great, but I was wrong in my assumption that it was an RF remote, it’s an IR remote (much to my surprise).

I do not want to use a harmony hub for a number of reasons. @agenovese820 suggested using a zmote. I like the looks of it and I think it will do the job. Anthony, I’d love to h around about your experience with the zmote and your fireplace. Did you write your own smartthings app for it?


(Anthony Genovese) #19

No I don’t know how to write smart apps. I used the community created one and device handler.


(Rob DeMillo) #20

Just as a follow up here, I did break down and get a second harmony hub. It controls all the features of the Dimplex fireplace, including the ones that are difficult to get to on the supplied remote - such as: flame effect but no heat.

It is line of sight, of course, which I was trying to avoid - and is stateless. So if you turn the unit on with the harmony, do not turn it off with the remote… The harmony will not be aware you did that and still think the unit is operating.

It connects to smartthings now the same way any other harmony controlled device does - either thru the harmony smartapp or via IFTTT. Thru IFTTT I can access the unit via voice with Google Home, which was the point of this exercise in the first place.

The only bad part about this connection is really nobody’s fault other than Dimplex’s: the colors on the Flames are not discreetly addressable, you reach them on the remote by essentially clicking a cycle through button and then you stop the cycle on the color that you want the flame to be. This of course means that I cannot simply tell Google home to change the fireplace from Orange to red, I have to cycle through the colors to get what I want. I suspect that was some clever programming I can get around this problem, but I’m too lazy to do that. It’s good enough but I can just turn the unit on and off with voice