Want smartphone-controlled heating? Here are some of your options
Clever heating systems have really come into their own recently, with a number of solutions already available and developing as both Honeywell and Tado have announced new thermostats this week, the former of which will allow you to talk to it when it launches in a couple of weeks.
The systems currently available all look to make it simpler and easier to control your home heating whether you're out and about or on the sofa in a bid to help you eventually save money, and the more the merrier we say, especially with rising energy prices.
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.
Tado arrived in the UK in November last year but the company recently announced the second-generation version of the system - Tado 2.0.
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, while the new 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.
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 new Tado intelligent thermostat goes on sale in the UK in the next couple of weeks and will cost £199 from Tado.
READ: Tado review
Nest finally arrived in the UK in April this year following its popularity in the US when it launched in November 2011. It was created by Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, both previous Apple employees, and is 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 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 brings with it a new 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.
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.
Honeywell's Evohome is wireless-connected heating system which will let you control individual radiators and therefore specific rooms. It connects to your boiler along with 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 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.
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 but if that isn't to convince you Honeywell is for you, then you could wait a couple of weeks when a voice-controlled thermostat is set to hit the shops, or until next year when the company is planning to launch the Lyric intelligent thermostat that will complement the Evohome offering.
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
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 so 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 but 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.
The Hive system is not dependent on British Gas supplying your energy either 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.
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 promises a host of connected features, such as the ability to hold a certain temperature for several hours in a selected number of rooms, or switch the whole home heating in to Away mode that will protect your home against frost damage.
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 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.