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.
Hive app security blunder
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.”
Hive Heating Plus
Value for money
Hive Heating Plus Verdict
Interesting historical heating data and budget planning, but not enough to justify the price
- Clearly presented historical data
- Simple budget planning
- Has little or no effect on heating behaviour
- Should arguably be included for free
Thanks just what I concluded
Thanks- clear info.
Found your article via Google search after email from Hive. Interested in finding confirmation of my view that it offered next to nothing for £40. Part of their “offer” was to replace my controllers with a mini controller for only £59 each if I subscribe. Claimed that I could therefore save £110 pa. Almost funny !
Having had Hive over a year now and had the Hive Plus for the free trial, I wouldn’t pay for Hive Plus, the cost doesn’t justify the weakly analysed data it provides. It doesn’t know how much gas your boiler burns for the heating as part of that gas is heating the hot water and it can never know the volume of gas being burnt by the system anyway. So the cost data is completely erroneous! All Hive does, is measure temperature and so whether the thermostat is asking the boiler thermostat to heat the water in the circulatory system if required. It is only “Smart”, because Hive uses clever electronics to hold the set point more accurately than your old mechanical thermostat switch. So whilst the Hive thermostat is good as a smart (with a small s) thermostat, it is not able to give you real cost or cost control data. If you want to save money on heating, Hive won’t do that intrinsically, the only real way is to turn it down or off and/or insulate better, barring moving to a tropical climate! In conclusion, it is a reasonable smart thermostat, but no better or worse than Nest, Tado or the other lesser well known makes of smart thermostat.
It’s just another example of a company farming your data and selling it back to you. Do not support this behavior. I’m sure as part of GDPR you can probably request this data for free from them.
Thanks so much. Not going ahead with Plus. Problem is thermostat at 21 and heating at 22
I got hive plus free for a year. I asked it to show me my gas usage for the week in £’s. It said I had used £50.68. That was higher than I expected so I compared it agains LOOP (a free service that actually uses your smart meter readings) and the real cost was £30.43. The hive app was reporting my cost 60% higher than what it was actually costing!
Smart meters and al the peripherals can assist in cutting bills. However, unless you want to spend endless hours on analysing when you are heating etc. they are just nice to have worry beads. We are home all day working from home so require heat on from getting up to going to bed. It’s common sense to switch off lights, turn down radiators in rooms not used and shut doors. We have turned down the Hive thermostat 1 degree and tweaked the times when heat for water and rooms comes on a little. We always use the holiday mode when going away. Not much more you can do other than get a thicker fleece to wear in doors. Certainly, do not need a paid for app for any of the above.
Excellent and useful review Barry, not to mention witty. I had a laugh and saved £40.
This is the main concern I have. When I bought this system 8 years ago I was not told that to access information, that is collected from my house, I would need to pay! There should be an option to turn off data collection.
Here is a tip for Hive. Our boiler is situated in the downstairs shower room in the extension, if I go in there to watch football whilst the other half is watching soaps, I can hear when the boiler is on. It is scheduled to heat the house between 4.30 and 9pm. Recently I have noticed that the boiler fires up before the schedule ends. Hive drops to 16 degrees at 9pm. So last night it fired up at 20.59 and shut off at 21.00 as it should. What a waste of gas. I could have overridden and kept the heating on, but the house was warm enough.
So as this is supposed to be a smart thermostat, why does it not think for itself? “I wont be able to heat the house to required temp in 1 minute/5 minutes/15 minutes” or whatever and not come on, or send a message via the app to alert the user and ask if heating is required
I agree with your findings. However we have an annex we rent out that uses the same boiler as the main house. Both annex and house pipework is zoned and controlled separately from their own hive hubs. With the data provide from hive heating plus and my smart meter I can more accurately charge for the heating.