This is a review based on 4 years of use of the product. This is a product that has changed the way I heat my home, for the better, however there is a lot of hyperbole around the product online and in the adverts. So what follows are my own honest thoughts.
I have had my Hive install for nearly 5 years. I had the professional install and believe that this is required as there was channeling out of the wall for the controllers to be linked to there boiler and removal of cabling from the original thermostats.
I have zoned heating in my house, so have two thermostats, one downstairs controlling the downstairs heating and one upstairs controlling the upstairs heating and the hot water. For clarity here, we live in a 5 year old house, that was purchased new. The boiler is a condensing boiler and requires the hot water to be put on for an hour or two each day, rather than having instant hot water. Having the hot water on for an hour gives us enough hot water for two showers, doing the dishes and even a bath.
Over the years I have had a fair number of frustrations with the product and the service, however there have been improvements. For example when we first took Hive, you did not have the ability to create multiple accounts, so I had to log in on my wife’s phone for her to be able to control the heating remotely. This however has been addressed.
I do not pay for the enhanced service (Hive Live), as I feel it is largely a waste of money. There website is awful to use when it comes to making payments and seeing what you are subscribed too, although in fairness to them they have redesigned recently and it is better. I did subscribe and subsequently cancelled the subscription, later decided to reactivate it and Hive attempted to take several pounds (into the 100s!) for the lapsed payments. I promptly got the charges reversed and have never attempted to resubscribe again! While you do get a few added benefits, including 10% off and free delivery from their website, there are little other benefit as SMS alerts are what you get via push notifications anyway, the only real benefit is the ongoing warranty, but not enough to make me part with £36 a year.
We did get a Hive Leak Sensor free from British Gas as we were a home care customer, again you need a subscription after 12 months. You cannot find how much this is online, only the £3.99 price for device and subscription. The site and app, tell me to call customer service, again the effort vs the reward he isn’t great. When I did have the leak plan, I didn’t find the reports into water usage to be particularly accurate and largely didn’t notice when the plan expired!
In terms of how we use Hive, it has changed the way we heat our house. We no longer have the heating on a timer. It is easy to do online or in the app, however for us it isn’t necessary as we solely use the boost feature. The ability to turn the heating on in the morning depending on how cold it is, from the comfort of your bed is the best feature by far. Having the ability to switch the heating on remotely is again worth its wait in gold. It has been really handy coming home from abroad for example and the house has been empty for a week or two.
There are some small annoyances that need to be addressed. For example when you leave the house and hit the geofence distance specified by Hive you get a notification on your device asking you “are you heading out, your heating is on” – while the reminder is really useful if you have forgotten to turn the heating off, I would expect it to be smarter in this day and age. For example, I still get the notification when I leave the house, but my wife is at home and she has the Hive app on her phone. Surely it wouldn’t be too hard to code the app to check this and not alert if a registered device is still within the geofence area.
Another is with the quality of the software release by Hive, sometimes they release something and it breaks Hive, simple as that. Shouldn’t happen but the support forums are littered with examples. Most recently they broke voice support on Alexa for several days and I’ve also noticed lately that the quick actions breaks in the app, and the only way to resolve is delete the action and re-set it up.
On the hole it is great for being able to switch the heating on and off remotely, but does this save you the £100s on your energy that the advert makes out.. not too sure. If I was going to get a system installed I would investigate in more detail alternatives such as Nest.