What new year resolutions have you made? New year for me this year is a repeat of last year, and a promise to try to do new things. To take control of my life, and to get out there and have fun with my family.
Have you heard of Hive Home? Hive is an award-winning kit, which can be purchased from British Gas that gives you the ability to control your heating and hot water remotely. I’d written about how Hive works earlier in the year actually, I was so impressed I did a little more investigating as to whether we should install it in our home. Luckily British Gas then asked me if I would like to test out the system and installation service, so here are my thoughts:
The kit contains three things, a thermostat, a hub and a receiver. Hive works with your existing hot water and heating system, and you don’t even need to be with British Gas. Our boiler is an old one, that has been practicality rebuilt with new parts inside, so though it works, the ‘hub’ where we controlled our heating was an awful yellowed plastic and the door that covered it, had long since been lost. Also our thermostat was definitely not accurate, it was a very old school dial style, and wasn’t regulating the temperature well. If our heating was on it was so hot, it felt like the heating was on maximum…tropical heat, but if not and we needed to keep it at a constant temperature (say 18 degrees) whilst either I am at home working or even at the weekend, it didn’t seem to kick in as the house dropped in temperature. A nightmare as the temperature plummets in winter.
So for me, this would not only be cool way of controlling my heating remotely, but would actually help with the thermostat problem too as well as renewing two things in my home, that really were suffering with age.
The cost of Hive, including the installation (worth £80) is £199, and this is a one-off charge.
Much more modern than my old school thermostat
On the day of installation our gas engineer arrived, and explained what he would be doing. It takes around 1 hour to install, and you do need to make sure you have a few things in place before it can be fitted, you receive a phone call to confirm all of this when you make the appointment. I must admit ours took a little longer, but we were chatting a lot, about all of the pros of installing the system. Our engineer was so enthusiastic about Hive! He explained to us, that he had the system too in his home, and he couldn’t recommend it enough. He told us he was installing lots of Hive systems, that they sold themselves, and he thought that it had so many other applications it could be used for too. He especially thought it was a fantastic tool for people who were visually impaired, as you can use an iPad, to make the app larger, and therefore easier to read.
It’s great to meet someone who actually has a working knowledge of what they are installing, he was a fantastic advocate for the Hive brand.
He changed the thermostat to the one pictured above, as you can see there’s a handy pocket where instructions can be stored. This can be used to schedule heating and hot water throughout the week, as well as boosting the heating or hot water if needed. To be able to control your water you do need to have a hot water tank. Every day can be different if you need it to be. It so easy to use, once you’ve done it a couple of times. It also includes automatic frost protection to help avoid frozen pipes, something we didn’t have before. He also replaced the controls of our boiler system with a receiver. This was so much neater and smaller than the controls we had before. The receiver enables your thermostat and boiler to communicate with each other. Both of these were done easily, and no mess was left!
Finally he fitted a hub into a spare port of the broadband router, this is important as using this, the thermostat can then connect to the internet and be controlled remotely. All we needed to do was download the (free) app to our phones, logging into the account so we could use the Hive system when we were out and about.
I am so delighted with the system, so far we have scheduled heating and hot water for everyday, with it changing at the weekends. When we popped out last Saturday, we did an hour boost (on Tall Dads phone) on the heating and hot water, as we unexpectedly needed to get back, and wanted the girls to have their baths early before bedtime. With Hive, no longer is a long leisurely bubble bath interrupted when you run out of hot water, as using your phone (it’s completely normal to keep your phone with you when you have a bath isn’t it?) you can activate the handy hot water one hour boost function.
Using the app on you phone is very intuitive, and has lots of other features – Geolocation (operates through the Hive iOS and Android app) this allows your phone to alert you when you’ve gone out and left your heating on, or lets you know if you haven’t got the heating on, and you are nearing home.
You simply set the distance away from your home and the temperature you’d like the house to be. You can even not use the app and control Hive via text message if you need to.
It’s such a great system, and we are both really impressed, the remote feature is very handy and has been used lots so far. I can see that this could be used also for lights and other electrical devises as time goes on too, I wonder if British Gas have this in the pipeline? I think in the long run we should definitely save money having Hive, they give an estimate of £150 per year which is great news! As now we have a working thermostat, I think it might even be more than that for us. I will update this post though, with a comparison of this and the previous winters payment to see if this is the case.
So what do you think, is this a system you would like to try? We are loving being in control of our heating and hot water, and its the perfect solution for us. If you are thinking of trying it too, here is where to buy the kit, and more detailed information HERE.
This post was sponsored by Hive Home, coordinated by Nuffnang