The endless onslaught of companies demanding you pay them a subscription now extends to central heating! Hive Heating Plus is a premium service for Hive thermostat owners such as myself, which adds extra features to the smart thermostat. Is it worth £40 a year or £3.99 a month? No, not in my view. Here’s why.
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Hive Heating Plus: what you get
The list of new features you receive for subscribing to Hive Heating Plus is rather thin.
Take extended heating histories. These show how much you’ve used the heating over the past week and year, in addition to the day history view you see as standard. Then there’s the personalised budget tracker, which allows you to state how much you want to save on your heating and then charts your progress against your stated heating budget.
You apparently get ‘energy saving tips’ and ‘heating efficiency alerts’, but I don’t recall seeing any of these in the couple of months that I’ve been using the service. You also benefit from extended warranties on Hive products (such as radiator thermostats) and 10% discounts on Hive kit and local emergency callout services.
After a couple of months of usage, I’m not the least bit convinced Hive Heating Plus is worth the money.
The heating history charts are interesting and are neatly plotted against the weather for that day, so you can see if the heating was being used unnecessarily. But, as you can see from week view above, the heating tends to get used more when it’s colder. I didn’t need an app to tell me that.
And while it’s all well and good me telling Hive Heating Plus that I want to save 20% on my heating energy bills, it doesn’t help me achieve that goal. It just tells me how I’m performing against my nominal budget. If we have a cold few weeks, I imagine I will tip over budget. If it’s a mild winter, I will probably stay on track, but this has absolutely nothing to do with me paying Hive Heating Plus £3.99 a month. In fact, it’s just burning more money.
Granted, I’m on a fairly rudimentary Hive setup with no individual radiator controls. In fact, the most useful part of the whole deal might well be the 10% discount on the radiator thermostats that I’m thinking of investing in.
However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a smart heating system to give you historical data for free rather than demand a monthly subscription for it. The benefits of this subscription are so slight that it’s being cancelled the moment I’ve finished writing this article. Which is now.
Prologue: Even though you can order Hive Heating Plus through the app, you can’t cancel it there, nor on the company’s website. Instead you have to phone or write to the company, like it’s 1992.
Hive says: “In terms of customers being able to cancel their Hive Heating Plus subscription, we are currently looking at embedding this into the app or online for the future. At the moment, in order to cancel they can call us at 03332029614, or write to us. Full information on cancellations can be found in our T&Cs on the Hive website. Further developments on this will take place in Q2 of this year and customers will be able to access the cancel or pause feature through the ‘My Account’ section of their Hive Account.”