Seen Hive advertised on TV recently and wondering what it’s all about? Our researcher had it installed in her home to find out how the smart heating control and app works – and whether it’s likely to save you money on energy bills.
Hive is a smart heating system that allows you to control your heating and hot water remotely via a smartphone app. British Gas, which sells it, claims Hive can save you up to £150 a year on your gas bills, as it allows you to exercise more control over when your heating is and isn’t on.
But how easy is it to use Hive, and can it really make a significant difference to your heating bill? Find out what our researcher thought by reading our Hive first look review.
We’ll also be sharing our thoughts on Nest, a rival product, later in the year.
How much does Hive cost?
Anyone can buy Hive, regardless of their energy supplier. The upfront cost of £199 buys you a wireless thermostat, a hub that plugs into your broadband router, a receiver which is placed close to your boiler, and an app that works on iOS and Android. The price also includes installation by a British Gas engineer.
British Gas is currently offering Hive free to customers who sign up for its ‘Fix & Control August 2015 with Hive Active Heating’ fixed-rate tariff. However, before signing up, check whether this will really save you money in the long run: there are other tariffs out there that will work out more than £199 cheaper than this tariff for some users, so it might be cheaper to buy Hive and switch to the cheapest energy deal on the market separately.
To find the best gas, electricity or dual fuel energy package for you, compare tariffs with Which? Switch.
Smart meters and energy monitors
Keeping an eye on your electricity usage is an alternative way of cutting your bills and is cheaper than buying a system like Hive. Energy monitors are easy-to-use gadgets that give you an estimate of the amount of electricity you’re using in real time.
They tend to cost around £40 but some energy suppliers will give you one for free. Most energy monitors will show you your real-time electricity usage in units of energy used (kWh), monetary cost or carbon emissions, and you can use this data to help you cut your bills. Some energy monitors will also let you set targets or alarms to alert you when you’ve used a certain amount of electricity.
Interested? Find out more with our energy monitor reviews.