The British Gas Hive Active Heating system and Hive app give you control over your humble abode from the comfort of your smartphone. Here are some tips and tricks to maximise the convenience.
1) Download the app
You probably were told to download the Hive app when British Gas installed Hive in your home, but if not you should download it immediately (available on Android and iOS but not Windows Phone). Why? Because it allows you to remotely control everything you have connected, including Hive Active Heating and any sensors. Without the app, the following tips are redundant and the system is a bit, well, pointless.
2) Enable Geolocation
Within the Hive app under Settings is an option called Geolocation. Ensure you are connected to your home WiFi when activating the option so it knows exactly where your home is, then set a trigger area. Whenever you walk into this area the heating will switch on and aim for a temperature of your choosing.
When you leave the area, you can set an ‘away temperature’, which is the temperature Hive Active Heating will aim for in your absence. As low as 5 degrees C can be specified. The toggle at the top lets you switch Gelocation on and off, while the ‘reset location’ lets you delete the current home location in case you ever move home or start the process again.
3) Make use of Holiday mode
Also under Settings is Holiday mode, another useful function of the Hive app that lets you choose how hot (or cold) your home will be when you are away. This is useful if you want to keep your home warm in your absence, as opposed to switching the heating off entirely. You can set a departure and return date and an exact time, in addition to the temperature you want Hive Active Heating to keep your home at. Once set, you can hit ‘cancel’ to end it at any time in case your holiday is cut short.
4) Set Hive as a widget
For a quick look at what your Hive Active Heating system is up to, you can set it as a widget on Android phones. How you do this depends on the version of Android, but it should be a case of holding down on the home screen in a blank space until the option of ‘Widgets’ comes up. Now select the Hive widget, which comes in various sizes, and then drag the icon you want to where you need it. Boost can be set as well as a more generic overview of what Hive is up to.
5) Set Notifications
For anyone who is used to keeping a close eye on the old thermostat, Hive Notifications will ensure you are alerted to any changes. You can set a maximum temperature, which when achieved will send an email alert. Likewise, you can set a minimum temperature and get an email alert for that, too. A toggle called ‘Receive warnings’ lets you switch the alerts on or off.
6) Add another device
Bought a window sensor or the plug that lets you control when it turns on and off? Press the top right button, then click ‘Install devices’. Here you can either add a heating zone (you can have different temperatures for different parts of the house with Hive Active Heating Multizone) or add another device.
For installing a device, you will be taken through a series of on-screen instructions to get it setup. Once done, you can go back to settings and use the ‘Manage devices’ option or click the seven dots in the top left to see everything you have connected and make any adjustments to their respective settings.
7) Enable PIN Lock
In case you let others use your smartphone and you want to keep the app controls under lockdown, you can enable a PIN Lock. Go into settings, scroll down a bit until you see PIN Lock and then click it. At this point it will be set to off, so click the toggle button and come up with a PIN code comprised of numbers. Repeat it and voila, the app will require a PIN to use every time you open it.
8) Temporarily boost the heating
Whether you go into the hot water or heating menus (note: combi boilers won’t have separate options), both have a button with multiple circles in the centre of the left side. This button allows you to temporarily boost the heating. You can select the temperature, how long the boost lasts and choose to stop it at anytime. Hive Active Heating will ensure it reaches the desired temperature and stay there for as long as you specified.
9) Set a schedule
Within the hot water or heating menus is a tab in the top right called ‘Schedule’, which lets you set a very specific timing schedule for when the heating or water is heated. You can set every day of the week individually and time slots using the big ‘+’ button located at the bottom right. Once you have set specific times and temperatures for your Hive Active Heating system to adhere to, you can also select ‘Copy [day name] schedule’ to adopt the same template on other days more quickly. You can also reset a schedule here, too, if you want to start again. For things other than heating and water, you can use Hive Recipes.
10) Go Manual
For days when it is really cold and you just want maximum heat, you can go into the ‘Heating’ option and at the bottom is a tab called ‘Manual’. Click this and Hive Active Heating will ignore your schedule and heat your home to the temperature you choose and stay there indefinitely. Useful in emergencies but leaving the heating on at 22 degrees C could get pricey in the long run, especially if a household member likes to leave all the windows open.
The Hive Active Heating kit is available to buy for £249 and that includes the Hive Thermostat and the Hive Hub needed to control all sensors. The Hive app is a free download, while the sensors can be bought from the Hive shop.