Clever heating systems seem to be all the rage at the moment, with British Gas, Honeywell and Tado all announcing their respective offerings, looking to make it simpler and easier to control your home heating.
More the merrier we say, especially given that energy companies seem to be announcing price hikes left, right and centre so anything that can help save money on heating bills while letting us get a bit geeky at the same time is always a winner.
Here is a round-up of the four heating apps and services available now in the UK or coming in the near future.
British Gas Hive Active Heating
Hive Active Heating is available to now and will cost you £199 including installation. It will replace existing controllers with a wireless system and connection to your broadband and once you have had it installed by a British Gas installer, you will be able to control heating and hot water using the app or via the website.
You'll know what the current temperature of your house is and you can set alerts to let you know when your house has changed temperature, as well as turning the heating off or hot water on remotely.
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.
Tado launches in the UK the first week of November and will cost you £249 for the clever little number.
You will be able to retrofit it to your current heating set-up and it uses a cloud-based heating app to let you control your heating from your smartphone.
There is a clever twist with Tado though: this system will actually track your smartphone's location so it knows when you have left the house and when you will be returning.
The system uses what Tado calls "model predictive control" 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.
It is a whole house solution with a central located thermostat determining the temperature, which means you won't be able to control individual rooms.
Honeywell's Evohome is wireless-connected heating system which will let you control individual radiators and therefore specific rooms.
Evohome will connect to your boiler and existing radiators and you will be able to control the entire heating system through a central console or smartphone app.
You can control up to 12 zones and within those zones you can also control each radiator down to a set degree in temperature, but if you want the same temperature throughout the entire house, you can do this too.
Plus, there are also a number of preset settings, which give you the option to reduce the entire house by a few degrees or override the system entirely.
The bad news here is you will have to wait until January 2014 for the Evohome to come to market. It will cost you £249 for the Evohome Connected Pack and the radiator zone kits will be sold separately for £77 each so you can choose how many zones you want.
Finally we have Nest which isn’t available in the UK…yet. The company is currently working on bringing the Nest system to this side of the pond after its popularity in the US.
Nest was created by Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, both previous Apple employees, and has been dubbed the learning thermostat for it's ability to learn how you use it and set up a heating schedule accordingly.
Over a couple of weeks, it 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 is connected to Wi-Fi to enable it to know online weather forecasts and it has a 150-degree sensor so it knows if anyone is home. Hopefully we will see it hit UK shores soon.
Neo by Heatmiser
Neo by Heatmiser is set for launch in January 2014 and has been designed with the retrofit and the new-build market in mind, with the aim, like the others, of allowing more people to control their heating from their smartphone.
The neoApp will be available on iOS and Android and promises a host of connected features. For example, via the app, you will be able to hold a certain temperature for several hours in a selected number of rooms in your home. You can also switch the whole home heating in to Away mode that will protect your home against frost damage. And for those with everchanging schedules, the profile feature will let you store in advance a set of comfort level settings 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 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. Handy.
Prices start from £199.