Have you made New Year’s Resolutions that relate to your house and home? If saving money on household bills and gaining more control over them is on your list, then here’s one brilliant way in which you could achieve both.
The Hive Active Heating System from British Gas offers a clever way to take control of your home heating and make it work more efficiently for you.
Hive utilises state of the art technology and simple to use products to allow you to control your hot water and heating so that you only use and pay for what you need. What’s more, thanks to a nifty smartphone app, you can control your heating and hot water wherever you are. In our opinion, this is one of the best aspects of it.
You don’t have to have any vastly expensive equipment installed and neither is it a lengthy, time-consuming or disruptive job to have done. Hive retails for a one-off fee of £199, which includes professional installation by a British Gas engineer and free downloadable apps.
It works with your existing heating system and is compatible with whichever company currently supplies your heating (you don’t need to be a British Gas customer, or have energy supplied by them to have Hive).
The system is apparently compatible with 99% of the gas boilers in the UK. Our boiler is in old age and in need of replacing soon, so we were encouraged that even our old one was suitable for working with Hive.
One other key requirement is that you have a broadband connection at home and space in your router to connect the Hive hub (but if you don’t, you can easily buy an extension port to create additional HDMI sockets).
Our Hive experience
The system consists of three main components – a wireless thermostat, a receiver and a hub:
This is what our controls looked like before:
And here they are after:
As you can see, it’s a compact and well designed system. The wireless thermostat can be installed anywhere, but it made sense to us to have it positioned where the old thermostat was to cover the mark made on the wall by the old controls. However, you don’t have to have it wall mounted if you don’t want to.
The little flap of paper sticking up at the back is a handy information leaflet (the design of this is great too, as it compactly slides down the back of the thermostat so you can keep it close by – no more losing of the instruction booklet!). The heating can still be controlled manually from the thermostat when needs be, but it seems easier by far to mainly use the app.
It took around 30 to 40 minutes for our old controls to be removed and the new system to be installed. This included the time spent explaining how everything worked and setting up the app for the first time.
The engineer was really helpful and didn’t leave until he was sure everything was clear and we’d tried out the app and the manual controls.
The Hive app
The iOS and Android apps are free, quick and easy to download. Plus, they’re easy to set up too. The engineer will guide you through the process of setting up for the first time and will advise on the initial password to use.
The app can be used across as many devices as you want – on mobile phones, tablets, on computer or online – giving you multiple methods of control. Plus, if it’s not convenient to use the app, you can also control it by SMS text message.
We’re pleased at how clear and easy to use the app is. When you log in, it shows you at a glance what the current temperature in your home is and what the outside temperature is.
A simple scheduling system allows you to plan out how you’d like your heating and hot water each day – when you’d like your heating and hot water to come on and go off. If you want to keep things simple, you can. The schedule can be swiftly set to be the same each day.
But if there are days when you’re off work, work from home or don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, you can set your controls to meet your needs. Of course, you could do this on most old style boiler controls too, but it tended to be time-consuming and fiddly to alter.
With Hive on the other hand, it’s super quick. What’s more, if you change your mind about your settings or fancy turning the heat up, it’s very easy to do so. No need to move yourself away from the comfort of your sofa or snug bed…just whip out your phone and up the temperature.
Ways that Hive will come in useful
Prior to having Hive installed, we’ve had several occasions where we’ve been on holiday and turned off the heating completely. Then it’s turned cold and we’ve worried about our pipes freezing. Occasionally we’ve even had to ask a friend to go and turn our heating on for us.
With Hive, these worries will be a thing of the past. We can turn the heating off before we go away, but if the weather changes or we change our mind, we can simply control it ourselves from our mobile phone. Simples.
As a bonus, we can even set Hive to alert us when the temperature at home falls below a certain level. So even if home heating issues haven’t crossed our mind, we’ll be alerted and can prevent any problems.
The Fresh Design verdict on Hive
Although we’ve only been using it a short time, we’re really impressed with Hive.
It’s a well produced and designed system and perfect for working in harmony with smartphones and modern technology. We’ve become more aware of the exact temperature in our home and outside, and it’s definitely given us more control over our heating.
It’s very useful to be able to control our hot water too. We’ve already cut down on the frequency in which our hot water comes on and the boost function will be useful when we unexpectedly need extra hot water, for example when guests are staying and more people are having baths or showers.
In the long run, having Hive will hopefully help us to cut down on our heating bills. British Gas say it’s possible to save in the region of £150 a year by only heating your home when you need to, which would be a considerable and worthy saving.
Since having Hive installed and mentioning it to various people, we’ve come across others using it too and we’ve not heard a bad word said about it. In terms of technological product developments, British Gas seem to be onto a winner with Hive.
We’d definitely recommend Hive to anyone wants more control over their home heating, so visit Hive Home to find out more for yourself or purchase the system.
***Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hive in association with Nuffnang. We were supplied with a Hive system to review, but all views and opinions are our own.***