First Hand Experience of Hive Smart Controls
Over the years I have fitted various smart control brands, including Nest, Tado, Hive in addition to manufacturer specific controls. My personal favourite, the one I recommend and the one I have in my own house, is Hive.
Aesthetically I think Nest looks the best. The Nest thermostat requires hard-wiring, so a power cable has to be run to the thermostat. For me this ruins the look of the nest, unless it's possible to run the cables where they're not exposed.
The Nest app is slick, looks great and has a 4.5 star rating on the App Store. However, it was recently announced by Google that they are going to discontinue support for Nest.
The Tado looks OK. It's quite quirky to look at, and has an '8-bit' style interface. It was specifically designed to work with smart radiator valves but lacks support for additional devices.
Hive brings all these features together, and more. The set up looks great, and the thermostat does not require an unsightly cable to power it, as it runs on batteries. It has a receiver that connects to the boiler and a hub which connects to your wi-fi router.
The app is ok. It's functional but not as slick as the Nest.
However, where Hive really trumps its rivals is how it brings together various smart features all under one umbrella. Cameras, door sensors, plugs and light bulbs as well as smart radiator valves makes Hive to 'go to' for any smart home enthusiast.
I tend to use the app to control most of the devices, but occasionally I ask Alexa to turn things, on/off, up/down. Generally everything is set up with timers. For example, my kids have nightlights (controlled by Hive plugs) which come on when its time for bed, then switch off at a time I'm sure they'll be asleep. They come on in the morning at 7:00...when they're allowed to get up! Previously these lights were on throughout the night.
My landing, hallway and living-room all have smart bulb. These are all set with timers and come on and off when it's dark, and dim later in to the night before turning off. My main living room light switches off around 18:00 and two side lamps come on immediately to replace it. This changes the lighting to a warm, cosy mood.
I've recently added the smart radiator valves to the mix. These too have been set up with specific times and temperatures, tailored to the day of the week as each day is different in our house. Hive has a feature called "Heat on Demand". This allows a radiator valve to override the main thermostat and switch the heating on. I've enabled this feature on all of my valves, making each room its own thermostat. In addition I have created a few groups of thermostats which enables me to boost heating to specific parts of the house.
A typical day starts off with my living room and kitchen heating. These are my largest rooms and they can take a while to heat up. Being the only radiators that are on at this time of day means they get the full flow from the boiler. Around 6:30 our bedroom radiators switch on, giving them enough time to warm the rooms for when we throw off the duvets. As the bedrooms don't need to be 'warm warm' these radiators switch off shortly afterwards.
All the heating turns off before we leave the house. When my partner works from home she can activate the heating just in the room she's in...whichever one she chooses.
We have a utility room that we use for clothes washing and drying. I've elected for the radiator in this room to be permanently off, and only boosted when we are drying clothes.
In the evenings the bedrooms follow a similar routine as the morning, taking the chill off before bedtime.
All combined gas usage is bound to diminish. As we have a smart meter I have taken note of the monthly readings from previous years to compare going forward.
Hive is a great addition to every home...smart or not. Once the thermostat is professionally installed each additional parts are easy to add. Smart valves and bulbs literally screw in to place. They're easy to use, via home assistant, app, or directly using them. I fully recommend Hive as a step towards lower energy consumption.
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