Last week we created an article on how to transform your home into a smart home thanks to the purchasing of some very nifty gadgets and their associated apps. With each of those devices we covered we also wanted to talk through how they work, and how you can control them, starting off with how to install the much popular Hive heating system that can control your central heating system.
As we touched on last week to install this device you may require the skills of a trained gas engineer if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, and whether you purchase the Hive direct from British Gas or through a 3rd party retailer such as Amazon you should get the option to pay for installation.
Getting the Hive System Installed
We got our Hive installed a few years ago now and decided we would pay for an engineer to come out and do the job. I’m great around computers and the Internet, less so around gas boilers!
We actually purchased from Amazon in a Black Friday deal and as part of the purchase process you can pick whether to pay for just the device or buy Hive with installation. If you chose installation you usually get an email to follow where you can follow a link to booking in a slot with an engineer. With this option they will bring the Hive and all the necessary components with them on the day of fitting, so don’t wait at your front door expecting a parcel. We waited around 10 – 14 days and the engineer arrived, fitted it with ease and then gave us a walk-through on how to use the thermostat and then how to use the app.
Using the Hive Thermostat
The thermostat works like a normal thermostat but it’s just digital. The thermostat comes with a Hive Receiver, which attaches to your boiler’s circuits (this is where the engineer comes in and works his magic). This receiver then relays the thermostat’s instructions to it, and the boiler’s temperature back to the thermostat.
On the thermostat there is a dial that you can use to scroll up or down to change the heating setting. By pressing the dial in you then get to access a few more settings (similar to the app which we touch on further down).
- Turn your heating up and down
- Turn your hot water on or off (only if you have a separate hot water tank)
- Boost your heating for a certain period of time
- Setup a schedule for your heating throughout the week
Install Hive Heating and Using the App
The app is great for really getting into the ins and outs of the Hive and what it can do and comes free on Google Play and the Apple Store.
You can even link up your home lighting system to the Hive app, and control your lights separately to the heating using a Hive compatible bulb. We did this initially but then after a year we ended up buying a colour changing light bulb for the kids, that wasn’t compatible with Hive (we had another app and could control it through Alexa using a Skill).
So within the app you have 3 main functions, Control, Schedule, and Actions.
Under control you can see the current temperature of the house, the current temperature setting (what you want the heating to reach), and a boost function which will boost the heating for certain duration.
Under the schedule option you can really get into detail on how your Hive works. You will see a day range across the top followed by a schedule of time and temperatures throughout each day that you set start and end times to. The app will have a default schedule built in that you can edit as you see fit. Each day can follow the same pattern or you can alter the pattern depending on your lifestyle and when you are at home or out.
The final tab is actions which will help you control the heating automatically depending on whether the temperature in your house gets too hot or too cold. You can set a temperature threshold of when the heating should kick in automatically if the temperature falls below, let’s say 15 degrees (which is great during the night time in Winter).
Controlling Hive with Alexa
To be able to get Alexa to communicate with the Hive receiver you will need to install Hive as a skill in your Alexa app.
The best part of any Smart device in our house is that it can be controlled by Alexa, and as we have 4 Alexa’s we can pretty much control the central heating from anywhere in the house.
For example, we have a hot tub outside, and an Alexa next to it. If it happens to be a rather chilly night in the Winter we can ask Alexa to turn the heating up for when we go inside, or ask Alexa what the current heating temperature is at. This works for when you are in bed and forget to turn the heating down at night or when you want to get up in the morning.
The other beauty of Alexa, is that we have an Alexa Auto in the car so if we went out (which is not all that often at present!) and forget to turn the heating off, we can ask Alexa in the car to turn off the heating, or set it to a specific temperature.
The only thing Alexa can’t do is edit or set any new schedules, that has to be done within the app, but Alexa is great for real-time changes.
Hope you enjoyed my article on how to install Hive heating, and sync and control it with Alexa.