Ten frequently asked questions about smart heating

Close-up front view of Hive Thermostat on a thermostat stand sitting on a brown wooden sideboard with orange bowl in the background

If you’re thinking about buying a smart heating system, or just want to learn more about it, these frequently asked questions might help.

1. What is smart heating?

Smart heating is the general term for a heating system you can control remotely. At the heart of smart heating is a smart thermostat. This thermostat is connected to your home heating system like a normal thermostat – but then is also connected to your smartphone via the Internet. This means you can adjust your heating on your smartphone wherever you are: at work, at the train station or on the sofa.

2. What are the advantages of smart heating over just using the timer on my existing boiler?

A run-of-the-mill timer is great if you have the same schedule every single day. But life isn’t always that predictable. What happens if you decide to go to the gym after work? Or the weather gets a bit warmer? All the while, your boiler is happily heating your home unnecessarily – which isn’t good for your bank balance and not that great for the environment either.

With smart heating there are lots more options for managing your heating, from controlling the heat in your home to receiving reminders if you’ve left it on. You can also use something like Hive Actions to link your smart thermostat to other devices in your home, which is a great way to get your home working seamlessly around you. For instance, you can link your smart thermostat to a motion sensor. Then if having a quiet night-in, the sensor will pick this up and the heating will continue to run until you’ve left the room.

3. Will smart heating work with my existing boiler?

The chances are smart thermostats will work with your existing boiler and radiators. So the only thing you need to change is your thermostat and then you’re good to go.

4. How easy is smart heating installation?

In short, really easy. Most smart heating systems come with the option to pay a little extra to have it installed by a fully trained engineer. This usually takes around an hour. Alternatively, if you’re partial to a spot of DIY then you can install it yourself.

5. Does a smart thermostat replace both my smart heating and hot water controls?

Yes: if you’ve got a hot water tank then a smart thermostat can control that too.

6. Is it possible to use a smart thermostat for underfloor heating?

Absolutely, and it can even help to increase the efficiency of your underfloor heating too. A common complaint with this type of heating is its sluggish performance but smart underfloor heating can detect how long your heating system needs to warm your home and then adjust the schedule accordingly.

7. Can smart heating save me money?

Yes. Having instant access to your heating and hot water means it’s rarely on when you don’t need it. Many smart thermostats come with Geo-location so it knows if you’ve gone out and left the heating on. It can then send you a reminder to turn it off.

8. Do I always need to use the app to control my smart heating?

Not if you don’t want to. What’s great about smart thermostats is the freedom they give you to control your heating in lots of different ways. Most brands will work with virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant – simply ask them to change the temperature. Lots of smart heating controls in the UK also have what’s known as a learning heating system. This knows when you are using certain parts of your home and adjusts the temperature accordingly. And when you’re standing right next to the thermostat, you can always use that too.

9. Does a smart thermostat allow me to control the heating in different parts of the house?

With Hive Multizone you can create up to three different heating zones in your house; with separate receivers and thermostats for each zone. It can be really useful if your house is split over a number of floors, or for those times when not everyone is at home.

Another option is to use smart radiator valves to set up zoned heating.

10. What’s the best smart heating system?

Well you’ve come to the wrong place if you’re looking for an unbiased answer as clearly we think our Hive thermostats are the best! But in all seriousness, it pays to spend time looking at review sites, such as Which?, to make sure your smart heating system will give you exactly what you want and nothing that you don’t.

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