It’s one of the fastest growing app markets – software for controlling our energy use. Apple’s got in on the act via a former employee while huge energy providers such as British Gas also want a share of the pie. Here are four of the best central heating apps out now:
British Gas is one of the big utility providers to jump onto the Smart phone heating market with their Hive Active Heating system. The Smart phone activity control was launched in September last year and was designed to replace their previous system with a wireless and broadband version.
Once installed in your home it’s possible to control your heating via the company’s app on your Smart phone. It allows you to monitor and set the heating and hot water and alerts you to any change in these. You’ll also be able to set frost protection in your home from the office or while out shopping etc. The system costs £199 to install and it doesn’t matter whether British Gas is your provider or not.
A system which differs from the other Smart phone apps, Tado tracks the user rather than their heating ie it is aware when you’ve left home and lowers the temperature accordingly. Then, when you return it’ll increase the heat. The system works by monitoring the Smart phone’s location. This system also checks the weather forecast so it knows what to expect if there’s a cold night ie it has to turn the heating on earlier than usual. The opposite is true if a sunny day is forecast.
Launched in the UK in January this year, Honeywell’s Evohome links to your homes boiler and radiators and allows you to control them via a clever Smart phone app. It allows you to control the heating in 12 individual zones of your home. The system even allows the user to alter the temperature of just one radiator at a time, rather than having to switch on all radiators in a particular room. The system retails at around £249. Radiator zone kits cost £77.
It’s been available in the US for some time but now Google’s Nest is about to become available to UK consumers as well – at the beginning of April 2014 – for the price of £299 (including installation). It will work with both Apple and Android phones and tablets.
Like the others, the app allows the user to change temperatures, adjust schedules and check previous energy usage. It also updates itself when attached to wi-fi. It’s a bit like Tado in that it monitors the individual’s comings and goings rather than the house itself. This system certainly has high credentials – the company was formed by former iPhone developer Tony Fadell.