There was once a time – 2011 to be exact – when this home didn’t have heating.
It’s something we addressed pretty quickly after moving in and within about a month we’d added radiators to every room and a combi-boiler into the space which would one day become the kitchen.
Now let me tell you, having heating installed isn’t a pretty picture. You won’t find this process in an interiors magazine and there’s a very good reason for that. We’ve had to have every room re-plastered as a result of the destruction to our walls. But now, we have a house that is well-insulated with a seriously efficient heating system. Over time, we’ve come to find that it’s so efficient that we’re constantly turning it off and on – you’d think with the hot sweats it can give us that I was pregnant again! To avoid going from ice rink to tropical in a manner of minutes, Joe has been begging me to get the British Gas Hive Home system ever since it was launched to address our mad temperatures, but it sadly kept getting pushed down the ‘to-do’ list, whilst we prioritised a front door and flooring, etc. So you can imagine my luck, and the smile on his face, when we were offered the chance to review this system, to which I gladly obliged.
As some of you may have read, we’re parents now (yippee!) and I’ve been repeatedly told by health professionals that the house needs to be within a very specific temperature range to make sure baby is comfortable and safe, which Hive Home allows us to do. As Joe was so excited about this product, I’ll let him do the talking on what he thought. Take it away Joe…
The idea of the Hive is great. In a nutshell, you essentially control your heating through an app on your smartphone and can schedule the time and temperature that you want your heating set to, with the view that it will help to keep your house warm when you need it to be, and not when you don’t – therefore saving money on your heating bill.
I love gadgets, as Karen will tell you, and I’ve wanted to get my hands on this for a while.
Straight out of the box the installation took about 30 minutes from the British Gas engineer. The boiler clock was disconnected and a wired transmitter box was installed (shown above) which will interact with a wireless thermostat (shown below) – we’ve had ours placed in the hallway. Thankfully this is pretty sleek in design and so fitted in well with other hallway wall features such as the house alarm, smoke-detectors and PVC door.
Karen and I are both on Android and configuration for the Hive couldn’t have been easier. You download the app, login in with the details given by British Gas, and plugin this little box into your internet router.
The idea is that you can then control your central heating system from your phone or tablet. For us, we’ve set the heating to come on as we wake up and get home from work, and the for the rest of the time it’s automated to an anti-freeze setting to ensure your boiler never drops below -5 degrees. Pretty nifty.
All of this is music to my ears. If I could control the rest of my house through my phone, that would be ideal. If only we could add one of those fireplaces you see in the movies that are managed with the same remote as your tv. Now that would be awesome. We’ve had the Hive system installed for about a month now so feel like I can give a fair verdict of the system. Here are my views below.
– Creating schedules for your heating is really useful, and it helps you avoid racking up the heating bill. I’m terrible for having the heating on full whack but then opening all the doors to cool down. Karen says I’m “heating the street”- hopefully we won’t be as wasteful in the future.
– We recently left the heating on full when we visited our parents over Christmas. Once we remembered in a panic, we remembered our new system and it was a simple case of opening the app and turning off the heating. Remote control heating is pretty badass.
– The cost of the Hive is £199, which includes all parts and installation. At first, I thought that this was a little pricey, but on reflection after using the system and thinking about how much it would normally cost for installation of heating-related fixtures in general, I do think it’s really good value. And hopefully over time we’ll be saving more than that on our energy bills anyway.
– You don’t have to be with British Gas. We pushed it down our ‘to-do’ list because we weren’t sure if we fitted the eligibility (we’re with another provider). Turns out, it doesn’t matter who you’re with which I think is a smart move.
– The app is really user-friendly. I can’t stand apps with a poor interface which leaves you faffing around for hours. It looks clean and is so easy to use even Karen can work her way around it (she will kill me for that!)
– Make sure you’ve got a great internet connection. Generally we do, but during December our broadband has been really sporadic (I’m looking at you, Virgin!). Of course, this is not Hive’s fault but when this has happened, you can’t use the system remotely (because you control the boiler through your router). We accidently left the heating on full at one point (yes, again oops) and couldn’t turn it down because of this annoyance. The app came up with either an error message or said that our thermostat was unavailable. Of course, you can still manually alter your boiler, but if you get as frustrated as me when the internet down, then the last thing I want is to sweat into my new Christmas pyjamas on my way to the boiler.
Hey, it’s Karen again! I think Joe covered it all really. Overall, Hive Home is something we both love having in the house, and it’s not just great for the lazier of the nation. For those of us who enjoy coming home at the end of a long winter work day to a toasty house, the flexibility of it is invaluable, especially if you work inconsistent shifts and a regular boiler timer just won’t cut it. Just switch it on remotely on your way home from work. For me though, at this point in my life, its number 1 selling point is the accuracy with temperatures that you can set your house to. I’ve just had a baby (I know, I know, I keep going on about it!) and to keep her comfortable and safe the house needs to be between 16 and 20 degrees. Without it being spelled out to me, I’d never know if it was too hot or cold in her room. Being a first time mum, it just gives me one less thing to worry about and that is flippin’ awesome.
You can check out more information on Hive Home here.