Hive home heating review

This is my review of the “Hive” home heating system, which allows you to control you heating from your phone.

Hive is a new-ish central heating cntorl system which incorporates internet connectivity, which means you can control your heating and hot water from anywhere in the world.

We replaced out old Potterton EP2000/EP2002 system because of these reasons:

  • Too little control over schedules. The water and heating could be set to once or twice, but if you wanted the water one once and the heating on twice yo had to be creative with the schedules.
  • The thermostat had far too much mechanical hysteresis, meaning that the heating stayed on for too long after getting hot, and stay off for too long when cooling down.

The Hive system has three components – you get a new base unit (next to the boiler), a new whizz-bang electronic thermostat and controller, and a “hub” to connect them to the internet. You can use the system without the hub but you cannot then use your mobile phone to control it.

These are the things that you should be aware of when considering purchasing Hive.

  • You can have six schedules for hot water and six for heating, and they don’t have to overlap in any way.
  • The thermostat and base unit talk wirelessly but not via your home wifi, therefore even when you’re at home you still need to use the hub and the internet to control things with your phone.  Not a problem, except if your ADSL goes down.
  • Your mobile phone can report back to HQ your approximate position, reminding you to turn off/on the heating if the temperature is set too high/low and you depart/return.
  • Sometimes you do not get an alert about leaving/returning until you’re already home, although this might be only if you have GPS and mobile data turned off (i.e. the system only knows you’re home when you connect to the home WiFi – not really Hive’s fault).
  • The hub doesn’t use wifi to talk to your ADSL router, it has to be hard-wired by an ethernet cable.
  • The schedules for heating and water are quite coarse, only 15-minute blocks can be used.  I’d prefer 5-minute blocks. 
  • The app for Android is quite slow, and you can only edit some settings and use some features (even though not relevant to the hub such as your PIN or the Help files) if you’re connected to the home hub.