Considering smart heating? Here are your current options
Clever heating systems have really come into their own over the last couple of years, with several solutions already available to allow you to control your heating using your smartphone, and more and more companies entering the market and after a slice of the pie.
The systems that exist all look to make it simpler and easier to control your home heating whether you're out and about or on the sofa, and many have the aim of eventually helping you to save money.
Anything that can help save money on heating bills while letting us get a bit geeky at the same time is always a winner so here are a round-up of the some of the heating apps and services available now in the UK and how they could help you save a few pennies.
Honeywell's Evohome is a wireless-connected heating system that will let you control individual radiators and therefore specific rooms. It connects to your boiler and your existing radiators and you will be able to control the entire heating system through a central console or smartphone app.
Evohome allows you to control up to 12 zones and within those zones you can control each radiator down to a set degree in temperature, but you can also set the same temperature throughout the entire house if you prefer.
There are a number of preset settings that give you the option to reduce the entire house by a few degrees or override the system entirely. Honeywell also offers a Single Zone Thermostat that has smartphone control but not individual room control like the Evohome system. Both systems are compatible with IFTTT, so you can set up a recipe such as turn your heating off when the sun is out.
PRICE: Honeywell's Evohome will cost you £249 for the Evohome Connected Pack and the radiator zone kits are sold separately for £77 each from Honeywell.
READ: Honeywell Evohome review
Tado can be retrofitted to your current heating set-up and it uses a cloud-based heating app to let you control your heating from your smartphone. The Tado 2.0 system also brings home control in the form of a small square control unit with LED lights that displays the current temperature, plus it also allows you to add a second zone, which the original Tado didn't offer.
Tado tracks your smartphone's location so it knows when you have left the house and when you will be returning and it uses what the company calls "model predictive control". This technology is designed to pull in a number of data points to calculate when you are on your return home, what the weather is like outside and what temperature you have requested for when you return.
Tado will then get your house ready for you in time for when you step through the door by measuring the weather forecast, time it will take you to get home and how fast your house heats up.
PRICE: The Tado 2.0 intelligent thermostat costs £199 from Tado, or you can rent it for £4.99 a month for 12 months, followed by £7.99 a month thereafter.
READ: Tado review
Nest was created by Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, both previous Apple employees, and it's known as the learning thermostat for its ability to learn how you use it and set up a heating schedule accordingly.
Over a couple of weeks, Nest will learn when you like to have the heating on, for how long and at what temperature. Eventually it will pick up patterns such as the time period where people leave the house on a Tuesday, your lie-in on a Saturday and an empty house every other Friday. Nest connects to your Wi-Fi to enable it to know online weather forecasts and there is a 150-degree sensor on board to allow it to detect if anyone is home.
The UK version also offers a feature called True Radiant that aims to reduce temperature swings and starts heating early so you get the temperature you want when you want it. Like Honeywell's offerings, Nest is also compatible with IFTTT so you have a variety of customisation options.
PRICE: The Nest Learning Thermostat will cost £179, or £249 with a professional installation (which is recommended) and you can buy it direct from Nest.
British Gas Hive Active Heating
British Gas offers Hive Active Heating, which replaces your existing controllers with a wireless system and connection to your broadband. Once you have had it installed by a British Gas installer, you will be able to control heating and hot water using the free iOS or Android app as well as via the website. It means, like the others, if you want to check the temperature at home and increase it from the supermarket then you can.
You can set alerts to let you know when your house has changed temperature and the system comes with a modern-looking thermostat that you can use to change your settings or set schedules when you are at home so you don't always need to use your smart device. It also allows you to set six different time zones on any given day.
The Hive system is not dependent on British Gas supplying your energy so you can still buy it even if you have a different supplier.
PRICE: British Gas Hive Active Heating will cost British Gas customers £149 and £199 including installation for everyone else, with both options available from British Gas.
Climote is another system that allows you to remotely control your heating and hot water from wherever you are to make sure you always come home to a nice and toasty house.
The company teamed up with ScottishPower in August last year to offer all the utility company's users smart climate control and it claims installation will take just 30 minutes. The installer will demonstrate how to control your system using the hub, app, online and SMS services.
The Climote HUB replaces your existing timer and transforms it into a digital interface and you'll be able to turn your heating and hot water on or off, as well as set schedules using the Android or iOS app, as well as online or even by sending a text message.
PRICE: €399 from Climote.
Netatmo Thermostat for Smartphone by Starck
It certainly doesn't have the catchiest name out of all the smart heating options on this list but the Netatmo Thermostat for Smartphone by Starck offers the same remote access as others available and it claims to be the perfect balance between functionality and design.
You can control and monitor your heating anytime and anywhere using the app and after you have answered a few initial questions at setup, the company claims it will adapt to your lifestyle by observing your habits to create a program based on them.
Temperature can be adjusted on the Starck-designed thermostat itself or through your smart device and you'll also be able to find out your energy consumption but that's pretty much as far as it goes. It's prime purpose is to save you money but it doesn't offer quite as many functions as its competitors.
PRICE: £199 with installation from EDF Energy.
Neo by Heatmiser
Neo by Heatmiser has been designed with the retrofit and the new-build market in mind and like the others, it aims to allow you to control your heating from your smartphone. The neoApp is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone and it offers a host of connected features, such as the ability to hold a certain temperature for several hours in a selected number of rooms.
For those with everchanging schedules, there is a profile feature that will let you store a set of comfort level settings in advance that you can then apply to the system as and when your schedule changes.
Like the Honeywell system, Neo uses a mesh network to send data back to the neoHub which you've plugged into your broadband router, so it is ideal for larger homes where ordinary RF Thermostats would possibly have a problem. From the ground up, Neo was designed with multi-zones in mind, so additional neoStats' can be added for total zone control.
PRICE: Neo by Heatmiser prices start from £199 at Heatmister.
Like the others, Heat Genuis allows you to control your heating from anywhere using your mobile, laptop or tablet and similar to Nest, it will learn when you use your rooms and what your schedule is to turn your heating on when you need it.
Each room can be controlled separately, like you can do with Honeywell's Evohome, and you can set up each room to only warm up to the temperature you want it, plus you can also schedule your hot water using the app. Additionally, Heat Genius offers smart plugs so you can turn your electronic devices on or off using the app and it has plans to bring underfloor heating control too.
There are four modes including Off, Timer, Footprint and Override. The Timer option offers a weekly timer that gives you full control of when the heating is on, in which room, and to what temperature, while the Footprint mode turns your heating on or off based on when you were previously in a room using information from the Heat Genius motion sensor.
PRICE: System dependant. You can create your system on the Heat Genius website after answering a few questions about your home and current system.