I finally decided to find out what life is like with a Hive system to control our water and heating. It’s pretty decent and very easy to sort out. As I am in the UK and have a contract with British Gas, they offered us an entire system for £150 as our existing timing clock broke. So, what do you get and how is it all set up. Let’s start in the airing cupboard where our old clock was buried deep inside on a wall – near impossible to read and adjust.

That is replaced by a non-descript white box with a few green lights. One shows the box is getting power, one to let you know the hot water is on, the third, heating. Two emergency over-ride buttons are below those in case the rest of the Hive system goes down. If everything works well, you will never see that box again.

Moving on. There is a hub that needs internet connection. It is not wireless and needs to be plugged into a modem, switch, or as I have it, a range extender. Once plugged in and it powers up, ignore that one too. So far so good. Now to the meat of the system.

This is a control box that is wireless and powered by four AA batteries. The control box, hub and box in the airing cupboard all come pre-matched, so they talk to each other once powered up. Now, finally you come into the equation. Install the Hive app on your chosen device, set up an account, log in, and you are done. You will need the hub reference number on the back. Key that in during the app setup, and away you go.

The thermostat can be placed anywhere. Our old mechanical one was in the dining room, and in winter if I had people round, the room would warm up, the old thermostat thought it was summer again and shut everything down. So with a portable thermostat, you can place it anywhere and maintain temperature control with the app.

What you do on the app or thermostat, will sync within a few seconds on the other. Here you can set heating temperatures. The water temperature is still controlled by whatever is on your hot water tank. Using the app or thermostat you can set schedules, operate a boost for up to six hours on both water and heat and switch it off as well.

As this is all internet operated, you can turn it on and off from wherever you are using the app. There are some other frills on the app ‘dashboard’ with seven slots for seven smart items you can control, like lights, or sockets, that sort of thing. So your home and can cosy and have the lights on with the television already playing when you get in.

We have not had the system in for long, so things may go wrong or may all go right. Keep an eye on this page for any notable updates.

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Chris Murphy

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