Hive Heating Control (Review)

This post is written by Mr. TBaM who has a keen interest in the working of the Hive!

When we bought our house ten years, one of our first purchases was a new boiler. Fitted by a local engineer, he also gave us the simplest thermostatic control system possible: a temperature dial in the hallway and a 24-hour timer on the boiler itself. The times we need the heating on vary through the week, so we ended up having to leave the boiler switched on from 7am to 11pm and only making alterations using the dial. Coming home to a warm house at the end of a winter’s day meant setting the thermostat before leaving for work, and ignoring the wasted heat in the intervening hours

I’ve been looking at a few solutions recently, so when we were offered the chance to try out the British Gas ‘Hive’ system it seemed like it would be the perfect opportunity to make a significant saving on our gas bill.

The installation itself went smoothly; the British Gas engineer arrived on time (although smelling of cigarette smoke; not a welcome odour in our house) and even though he admitted he’d not fitted one in six months it was a simple process that took around 2 hours, leaving us with a small Hive hub directly connected to our ADSL router, a receiver hidden away next to the boiler and a standalone Hive controller mounted in the same position as our old thermostat.

Hive Heating Control

Our old thermostat, the new one, and the receiver attached to the boiler.

The controller is the most visible of the physical boxes, and in comparison to its obvious competitor Nest it isn’t the prettiest on the market, but in our case we’re significantly more likely to use the Hive web and mobile apps. These allow up to five time periods per day to be defined and the required temperature for each, so now in our case we can have the temperature drop just before we leave in the morning, then rise again just in time for us to get home.

Hive Heating Control

For the times when we may be home early, the mobile app has a very simple “advance to next event” button that can switch the heating on ready. The app is even capable of alerting the user if the device it’s on is a certain distance away from the home and the heating is left on, although sensibly it doesn’t adjust it for you just in case there are others who still need to stay warm.

A few weeks after the fitting we drove off for a week’s holiday. Fifty miles from home we remembered the heating; in our rush out of the house we had forgotten to adjust the thermostat. Normally we’d have had to phone a friend or relative asking them to pop round, or pay for an entire week’s gas heating an unoccupied house.

This time, we used Hive.

We received this product courtesy of Legal & General, our opinion is honest and unbiased.

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