The Cozy finally allows you to tame your radiator, smartphone app included. Radiator heat: Welcome to the connected home. Read more
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on March 5, 2014.
About this project
Pledge for a Cozy - Get it before next heating season!
There is a LOT of technology and research behind the Cozy - 3 years of research, development, and testing. 1000's of hours of real-world data. Hundreds of happy beta testers! The Cozy that you receive will look amazing, fit your radiator, is easy to setup, and will keep your home comfortable. Bonus: you'll be doing the environment a favor.
See it in Action! (Time-Lapse Video):
What is the COZY?
The Cozy is essentially a NEST thermostat for your radiator. The Cozy is placed on your radiator, and connects to the internet through your wifi connection. You connect to the Cozy through our free app on your smartphone to program times, set temperatures, and even activate vacation settings.
Place the Cozy over your radiator, plug it in, and set your perfect apartment temperature: never have to sweat, freeze, play with radiator knobs or micro-manage your windows in the winter again.
Why buy one?
This is your chance to get one of the first Cozy systems available to the public, and perhaps more importantly to play a big part in helping us get through design, prototyping, sourcing, and manufacturing! Why buy one? Because you want to:
- Be comfortable in your own home
- Control and set temperatures from your cellphone
- Stop fiddling with windows and valves
- Help stop the energy waste of steam heat
- Support a start-up company with big plans to fix steam heat
Your support will make all the difference in the development of the Cozy!
How easy is it to setup?
Very easy! The entire setup takes less than 10 minutes.
Our fan unit sits next to the radiator and the air-hose snaps onto the top of the radiator. Then, simply place the enclosure over your radiator, and you're done!
To connect the Cozy to your phone, link the Cozy to your router, download the Cozy app, follow the instructions, and you're all set to go.
The Cozy comes in a number of sizes, and we'll send you the right system to fit on your radiator (we'll ask you what size near the end of the summer).
How does the Cozy work?
The Cozy has a thermally insulating decorative cover that fits over your radiator to trap the heat inside. Simply slide the Cozy over your radiator, plug it in, and sensors on the outside of the Cozy constantly measure the temperature in your room. Then, the Cozy’s integrated fans push the appropriate amount of heat out into the room to comfortably maintain your desired temperature.
The Cozy connects to the internet through your Wi-Fi connection so that you can control it via your smartphone from anywhere. You can set temperature, program night or day setbacks, or even enable a vacation setting if you want to.
Will the Cozy fit on my radiator?
If you have a standalone radiator that looks something like this image below, then YES:
We guarantee that one will fit your size of radiator! Radiators come in many different shapes and sizes. Part of our design process involves creating a cover with an adjustable size so that we can fit any size radiator. We will ultimately have a few different sizes for the Cozy (like Small, Medium, and Large).
Installation of the Cozy is as easy as placing the Cozy over your Radiator and plugging it in. There is no plumbing, screws, or hex wrenches required. Our amazing designer is making sure that the process is as painless as possible, and we're excited to share the process with you as we refine the design. To get you the correct size Cozy, we will be contacting you for your radiator measurements in late summer.
Please note that the Cozy requires electricity and needs to plug into a standard wall outlet. Included in each Cozy package is a special 10ft long wall adapter that, in the vast majority of installations, is sufficient to reach an outlet.
This is a Cozy installed on a radiator:
The Cozy is going to change the way you view your home radiators, turning them into beautiful, functional conversation pieces, and reclaiming usable floor space, all while keeping you comfortable in your own home.
WHY DOES MY RADIATOR OVERHEAT IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Your radiator is not broken or defective. The problem actually has to do with how steam heat works.
Buildings with steam heat warm apartments or rooms by boiling water in the basement, which produces hot steam. The steam then travels through pipes and into all of the radiators in the building. This hot steam then heats the radiator, which heats your room. Sounds simple, right?
Here’s where the problem comes in. As the steam travels from your building’s boiler to the radiators throughout the building, the radiators that are nearest to the boiler are the first to heat up, and the last to turn off. So those apartments tend to get much more heat than the ones farthest from the boiler. Then, add in the fact that rooms are often different sizes, and that some may be draftier or have leakier windows than others, and you get very uneven heating across the whole building.
So why does it seem that radiators only have two temperature settings: hot, and really hot? Certainly building owners don’t want cold tenants, but why are they seemingly OK with hot tenants? As it turns out, it’s the law in most cities that landlords must maintain a minimum temperature for all tenants, so landlords do their best to obey the law, but end up overheating many of their apartments.
Since steam heat became popular over a hundred years ago, the best solution for people in overheated apartments has been to open their windows in the winter...until now!
So - how well does it work?
See for yourself:
This graph shows two days of temperatures in the founder's apartment, one before the installation the Cozy, and one afterwards. The ups and downs in temperature are the typical ups and downs that occur when the boiler turns on and off, and the circles point out the 6am blast of heat that we're all so familiar with on both days.
Note that the day before installation of the Cozy, the temperature in the apartment ranged from 70F to 84F - a 14 degree swing - and afterwards it ranged from 68F to 75F - a 7 degree swing. The Cozy cut the temperature variation in half, and lowered the average temperature to a much more comfortable range, keeping the apartment right around a set-point of 74F, even during that 6am blast of heat. And it's been like this ever since - Paradise!
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING THE COZY?
Some apartments can reach up to 95 degrees due to overheating. The Cozy keeps apartments at a comfortable temperature without you having to do a thing. No more opening an closing windows and valves. No more sweating and freezing. It's amazing that we've lived like this for so long!
When you install the Radiator Labs Cozy on your radiator, you gain complete control over the temperature in your apartment. Just tell the Cozy how warm you want your room to be, and it will work to not only keep your space at the right temperature, but it will learn about how your building and apartment heats up and adapt!
Additionally, by controlling the temperature in your living space and not opening windows, you’ll be doing your part in helping address what is actually a big environmental problem. Each steam radiator wastes the equivalent of 20 gallons of oil a year. Add that up over a city like New York - that's a lot of oil!
Each Radiator Labs Cozy is outfitted with a Wi-Fi chip that keeps you connected to your radiator through our free Cozy App, which will be available for iPhone and Android. With the app, you'll be able to control the thermostat, set timers and vacation settings, and receive user-defined text alerts, from pretty much anywhere.
Current technology in steam-heated buildings is highly inefficient, with up to 30% of heat energy wasted due to overheating. By distributing the heat more effectively through the building, Radiator Labs Cozys can reduce this waste, saving money and resources. We estimate that New York City could save almost $2 billion a year by eliminating steam overheating.
Boilers used for steam-heated buildings are among the largest sources of air pollution. In contrast to air conditioning, where power comes from a distant power plant, fuel used for heating is burned right in your building! In New York City alone, more than 1 billion gallons of heating oil is burned each year. Shockingly, 1% of all the buildings in New York City produce a whopping 86% of all soot pollution (according to nyc.gov). By controlling the temperature in your living space and not opening windows, you’ll be doing your part in helping address this big environmental problem.
Radiator Labs Team:
Our team is composed of Professors, PhDs, Engineers, Business experts, authors and even students. A diverse group of all-stars from a number of different fields.
- Dr. Marshall Cox, Founder and CEO, PhD in Electrical Engineering, BS and MA in Materials Science
- Professor John Kymissis, Founder and Advisor, Professor in Electrical Engineering at Columbia University
- Meg Sutton, Data Scientist, expert in climate data analysis and alternate energy strategies as a means of climate change mitigation.
- Rigers Qeraj, Engineer, BS in Electrical Engineering from City College
- Nick Wong, Designer and Engineer, BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cooper Union
- Derek Keinow, Product and Marketing Advisor, MBA from Wharton, expert in e-commerce
- Vince Nero, Bachelor in Music from Manhattan School of Music, Community Manager
- Dan Holohan, Technical Advisor, pre-eminant expert in Steam Heating systems, author of 16 books and hundreds of articles, operator of www.heatinghelp.com
- Thomas Bencivengo, Business Advisor, Partner at Synapse Capital and expert in building systems and rehabilitation
- David Wechsler, Commercialization Advisor, expert in early stage company formation and growth and energy efficiency commercialization
WHAT PROGRESS HAVE WE MADE TO DATE?
We’ve been working on the Radiator Labs Cozy for over two years, and have beta-tested the system in about 300 apartments. We’ve honed our temperature measurements systems, communication protocols, and heat transfer dynamics over this time to ensure that the system we’re producing can meet the need of any overheated apartment, big or small.
Below, you can see some of the components that go into our early prototypes (Note that the existing system uses a mesh networking protocol called ZigBee, whereas the consumer product we're going to develop will be designed to use Wi-Fi):
With our custom board, shown above, we can send and receive data and commands, change set-points, control up to two fans, measure up to 3 separate inputs (including temperature), and even program the microprocessor to adapt to the heating dynamics of the room it's serving.
The picture above shows you our current generation hardware module. This system includes our custom PCB, fans, and temperature sensors. One of the neat things that we've done, which you can see attached above the hardware module, is to use a non-contact infrared thermometer to measure room temperature. This means that we can measure the temperature of your room right from the radiator - without a long cord routed to an interior wall thermometer. Progress!
You can watch us building all of these systems in our main Kickstarter video - all of our work was done in Brooklyn, NY.
UNIVERSITY BETA TEST
We are currently installing and gathering data on Radiator Cozys in over 250 units in NYU and Columbia University dormitories for a whole-building beta test. This test allows us to develop our temperature control algorithms to maximize both the energy efficiency of the unit and user comfort. Users in the dormitories will be able to control the temperature set points of their rooms, and will provide feedback on unit function and features. In addition to engineered temperature comfort, by installing in every unit of a dormitory building, Radiator Labs is able to significantly reduce the amount of time the building’s central boiler is on, and the total number of boiler firings.
This picture below shows our current generation radiator cover. The Cozy that we're developing for you is going to go through a design overhaul - to make it beautiful, easy to install, and WIFI enabled.
The graph below represents sample temperature readings in one of our test installations of the Cozy. As you can see, the Cozy makes the temperature inside the apartment much more comfortable and consistent. While this data shows just two apartments, the entire building that we retrofitted showed similar results. The Cozy really does fix all overheating problems!
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
We need your help to fund the first large production run on our new consumer design. The funds we collect through this campaign will allow us to do the following:
DESIGN (March - June 2014)
We're with an amazingly talented product designer to update the beta version of the Cozy. During this process, we're focusing on:
- Developing a beautiful design that looks great in any home
- Ease of installation for any consumer
- Ability to fit any size of radiator
- Materials for mass production that meet the most stringent safety and fire codes
SYSTEM (March - June 2014)
We're also going to enhance our electronics and controls. Based on our beta-testing in Universities, we will optimize our system for consumer use. We're going to make the Cozy:
- WI-FI accessible via the Radiator Labs smartphone app
- FCC and UL Certified
- Durable (the radiator environment is not a friendly one!)
PRODUCTION (July - September 2014)
We're working to create a robust supply chain to produce large quantities of the Cozy. We will:
- Source materials globally that meet our strict quality and safety standards
- Manufacture and assemble the product right here in the USA
APP DEVELOPMENT (March - September 2014)
We're also looking forward to creating an easy-to-use Radiator Labs App for iPhone and Android that will feature:
- Thermostatic control for one (or all) of your Cozy units
- Timers to alter temperature settings at specific times
- Vacation settings so you can change temperature when you're away
- Text alerts to notify you if the temperature in your apartment goes above or below a range you set
DELIVERY (October 2014)
We will ship your Radiator Labs Cozy to you by the end of October 2014, just in time for next winter!
We believe that the Radiator Labs Cozy is not only great for consumers, but will also generate significant benefits for the environment, and create jobs right here in America. With your support, we can make our product widely available to all. Thank you so much for your support, and for taking the time to learn about our product!
Risks and challenges
TECHNICAL RISK: In any product development project there is the chance that the product will not come together, functionally, in time for delivery. This risk, for the Radiator Labs Cozy, is negligible. We've been building these systems for over two years, and have designed, manufactured, and installed hundreds of units and collected thousands of hours of real-world data. Our design iterations for the next generation Cozy will be made in conjunction with professional designers and engineers, with an eye towards design for manufacturing and reliable supply chain. We are very confident in our ability to build a highly functional, beautiful system for you.
PRODUCTION RISK: One of the significant issues run into by many hardware Kickstarter projects is delivery delay. In light of this, and with our experience designing and successfully delivering, on-time, over 400 units covering three distinct designs, Radiator Labs has settled on a 6-month delivery timeframe that gets a next-generation Cozy in supporters hands by October 2014, before the heating season. This long window allows us ample time to design, prototype, manufacture and deliver our products. As with our technical confidence, we are equally confident that we will deliver these systems on-time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
If your radiator gets so hot that you can’t touch it comfortably, it’s likely a steam radiator. This question may be moot, however - if your apartment get’s uncomfortably hot and has radiators, the Cozy will make you more comfortable.
I've got a hot water radiator system in my house. The radiators look like the ones in your descriptions but the system works on hot water circulation rather than steam. Will your product work for me?
Both steam and hot water radiators can be effectively controlled by the Cozy. We mention steam in particular because steam is where you find the most overheating. If you have a hot water radiator, and you have problems with overheating in that space, the Cozy will solve your problem as well.
Absolutely NOT, although we understand why you might think that. Once the air inside the Cozy reaches a certain point (the temperature of the steam in the radiator, around 100C/212 degrees F), it cannot keep getting hotter because no more heat will transfer from the radiator (thanks, thermodynamics!).
Think of this simple analogy: if you leave a cold beverage sitting on your counter, it will warm up, but not ever get warmer than the air temperature in the room.
The radiator can't set the Cozy on fire, but, like anything, there is always the risk of fire from external ignition (e.g. dropping a lit cigarette on the unit). Our enclosure materials are designed to meet the CAL 133 fire resistance standard - the strictest in the nation!
Yes, somewhat. The hissing noise you hear is the steam escaping from your radiator through a release valve. If that valve is inside the Cozy, then the hissing will be muted. Only replacing a leaky air valve will eliminate hissing.
This is actually a complex question. By virtue of eliminating overheating in your living space, and allowing you to keep your windows closed, the Cozy saves a significant amount of energy from being wasted from your home (energy equivalent of up to 20 gallons of #2 oil per year per radiator). To save this fuel, however, the boiler in your building has to turn off slightly earlier, which we cannot guarantee will happen. So the answer is both YES and NO - but rest assured, we are working very hard to make this answer a firm 'yes' in the future.
Probably not, unless you pay for your own steam, or pay for a portion of your building’s steam heat via your maintenance bill.
Probably not. The clanging noise is a systemic problem with the building’s steam pipes.
Yes, the cozy needs to be plugged into a standard 3-prong 110v outlet. We include a 10 foot cord, which is long enough to reach an outlet in the vast majority of rooms.
WE CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT THE COZY WILL FIT UNDER A DECORATIVE COVER!
BUT! It probably will - though It might require some elbow grease.
If you are set on keeping your decorative radiator cover it's possible that you'll still be able to use the Cozy, but we CANNOT guarantee that the Cozy will fit underneath. Compatibility is contingent on there being enough space inside of your decorative enclosure to put the Cozy cover, so if it's very tight inside, it's unlikely that the Cozy will fit. Our fan system will always have to be outside of this enclosure, however, so unless there is room for our air pipe to access the inside, installation will require cutting access.
If you are not necessarily married to your decorative housing, I think you'll find that the designer Cozy we deliver to you will be a beautiful addition to your household, and that you won't miss your old decorative cover at all!
A thermostatic radiator valve, aka TRV or Danfoss valve, is a valve that opens and closes in response to room temperature. So, when your room is hot, the valve closes and steam should not be able to enter your radiator. Unfortunately, these systems have met with mixed success in steam heating systems, have been known to suffer from reliability issues, and in most cases require a plumber for installation. It’s very hard to control steam!
- (30 days)