Our Smart Family Home

#AD. Having a family gets expensive and it can be frustrating when things get wasted. Half-eaten meals, toilet rolls accidentally dropped in the bowl, and lights being left on in empty rooms – these costs all add up. We are fighting back though, with the help of Hive and their smart home gadgets. I am on a mission to save energy, money and my sanity.

3 children playing in front of a radiator with a hive heating thermostat valve, 2 are playing with a wooden train track and one is reading a book
We use Hive heating to make our house warm only when needed saving us money


Making Small Changes to Make our Home Smarter with Hive


Saving money and energy is important to me, but the changes need to make our life easier too and that’s exactly what Hive does. When we moved home five years ago, we got Hive Active Heating and soon afterwards we got Hive Active Lights (which are 80% more energy efficient than traditional bulbs) in a couple of rooms. We use them with both the Hive app on our phones and Alexa. My younger children have grown up thinking it’s totally normal to ask “Alexa, turn the bedroom light on” whereas I still feel like it’s something from the future. Since we started using Hive, they have brought out lots more products, so I thought it was time we looked out how else we could make our lives easier and save energy too.


How To Create A Smart Home


To use Hive, you need Hive Hub that connects to the internet; this allows you to control all your Hive devices from heating to window sensors to lighting. You don’t have to do it all at once if your budget doesn’t allow for it and, other than the Active Heating, you can set it all up yourself so choose what you think will work best for you. 


Hive Active Heating


Hive heating makes a huge difference to us because, although we can control it via the Thermostat , the app is so easy to use. We can choose exactly what times we want it to be on, what temperatures we want it to heat to and we can boost it or turn it off from anywhere. Chilly start? Boost the heating up from the comfort of your bed. Gone away on holiday and realised you left the heating on? No problem, it can be turned off via the app from anywhere with internet access. Having so much control must have saved us a huge amount of money over the last 5 years (an estimated £120 a year), but more than that, it gives us the convenience of having the heating on exactly when we need it.


Hive Radiator Valves


We’ve just embarked on the next stage in tailoring our heating to our needs by using Hive Radiator Valves. Just like normal heating controls the Hive Thermostat lets you have your heating on, off and adjust the temperature it heats too, but to control the individual room temperatures you need to manually turn the radiators up and down. The Hive Radiator Valve takes away the need for this manual action, allowing you to control radiators individually and remotely. You don’t even need to have a Hive Thermostat to use it, it will work with most radiators and you can easily install it yourself.


I have initially put the Hive Radiator Valve in my daughters’ bedroom, because there are three of us home while my daughters are at school and we need the heating on, but their room doesn’t need to be heated during the day. We are now thinking about where else we can add the valves to adapt our heating schedule and avoid heating empty rooms.


The contents of the Hive Radiator Valve Box includes adaptors to fit on different types of radiators
The Hive Radiator Valve has everything you need in the box to attach it yourself

A close up of the hive radiator valve on a radiator set to heat to 20 degrees c
The smart radiator valve lets you set schedules for individual radiators


Door and Window Sensors


The Hive Window or Door Sensor can be used to let you know when windows are open or closed, but you can get really creative with these sensors if you want too. E.g. you have it on a window and tell it to turn the heating off when the window is opened or you can ask it to turn on a light when a door opens in the dark. You don’t have to have it on an external door or window, you can have it on an internal door or cupboard giving you great control over your whole house. These really are a game changer when used with other Hive products and they have the potential to really save energy and make life easier. 


The contents of Hive Window or Door Sensor which allows you to set rules to control your smart home
Hive Window or Door Sensors can go on windows, external or internal doors


Making Hive Work for a Family


G and I have the Hive app on our phones making it easy to control everything, but of course our children don’t have access to phones and they still want to turn lights on and off. Handily Hive works with Alexa (and Google Assistant and Apple Home Kit) so they can use voice control for the lights. We have four Alexa’s around our house so you are never far away from one and they make it really easy to change the lighting, whether you want to turn it on, off, dim it or change the colour. In the morning, when I turn the light on in our bedroom, I ask Alexa to turn the light to 5% so it comes on at a low level; in the evenings, when I’m trying to get my children ready for sleep, I can dim the light or change it to red (which is meant to encourage sleep). I can even change the lights from a white more natural light to a warmer yellow light.

 

Children in pyjamas one with headphones on one in front of a play kitchen. A Hive thermostat is visible on the wall
Hive helps us to save energy by making our family home smarter


Tips to Make Your Hive Smart Home Work Better


-You can set up groups for devices – e.g. if you put all your smart bulbs in a group, when you go out you can ask Alexa to turn off all your lights in one command or turn them all off on your app with one tap under “Quick Actions”

-If you don’t like turning off all the lights downstairs and then heading to bed in the dark, you don’t have to because you can easily turn them off once in bed from the app

-In winter, if you are out for the day, you can turn the heating off before you leave and pop it back on when you are on the way home to save heating an empty house all day

-Set the lights on to an automatic schedule when you are on holiday, so it looks like the house still has people living in it


Hive have  up to 30% off their products from 16th to 30th November for Black Friday so now is a great time to get started on your smart home.


***Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with Hive, but all thoughts are my own ***

1 comment

  1. Great post! We've just installed Hive lights and they're a game changer! We're definitely going to look into getting the window and door sensors after reading this!

    ReplyDelete