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British Gas Smart Meters

 

 

British Gas Remote Heating Control Review

Looking to get greater control over your home heating? We're trying out the new British Gas Remote Heating Control service that lets you take control of your boiler over the Internet.

 

What is Remote Heating Control?

British Gas LogoIt's a system that allows you to take greater control of your central heating. Key benefits are:

  • Control your heating via the Internet or a smartphone

  • Set-up daily schedules to make most efficient use of your home heating

  • Monitor temperature and adjust the thermostat as needed

  • Control your heating by SMS text message, and get alerts

  • Automatic frost prevention

Here at FrequencyCast, we were given the opportunity to look behind the scenes at British Gas to find out more about their products, and as a result, we've had their Remote Heating Contol system installed in one of our homes as part of the British Gas"Don't Take Our Word For It" campaign. Here are our findings so far.

British Gas Smart Homes

 

Getting Remote Heating Control Installed:

Installation of the system requires a visit from a British Gas engineer. This isn't something you can do yourself. The installation involves the following:

  • Connection of a small adapter to your home broadband router (connected by Ethernet cable)
  • Replacement of your existing thermostat with a wireless thermostat
  • Installation and connection of a wireless receiver box next to your boiler

We've put together a whole page, and a video, on how the installation process works. See Installing British Gas Remote Heating Control

Remote Heating Control Installation: Our Video

 

 

 

Using Remote Heating Control

Once the system has been set up, you need to set up a heating schedule, and this is where the system comes into its own. No more fiddling with a boiler's timer settings, or playing with complicated programming on a heating panel - you programme up from the comfort of a web browser.

On-screen Heating Schedule Management
British Gas Remote Heating Control - Setting a Heating Schedule

As you'll see from the above screenshot, the screen for setting up a schedule is pretty straightforward. Here, we're looking at a week. Using on-screen sliders, you decide what temperature you want the house to be throughout a 24 hour period. Here's what our home is set to:

  Night (Frosty protection) Waking up Daytime (Away) Evening
Monday to Friday 11pm to 6:30am : 7°C 6:30 to 8:30am: 20°C 8:30am to 5pm: 16°C 5pm to 11pm: 20°C
Weekends 11pm to 8am : 7°C 6:30 to 8:30am: 20°C 8:30am to 5pm: 16°C 5pm to 11pm: 20°C

 

We've been playing around with the schedule, and at the moment, the above settings seem to be working out. The beauty of the system is you're able to look at recent indoor and outdoor temperatures to make tweaks - and you can override the system from any web browser or your smartphone if there's a sudden cold snap.

The on-screen history screen is very handy too, giving you instant access to today's temperatures, as well as yesterday, last week and last month. Ours has data right the way back to installation in July.

On-screen History
British Gas Remote Heating Control - On-screen History

 

Smartphone control

British Gas Smartphone AppAs mentioned above, you can control the system from a web browser, but we much prefer using a smartphone. There is a free app available from British Gas for both Apple iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, and it works a treat.

The 'My Home' app has two main tabs, "Heating" and "Temperature":

Heating is the active part of the application. You can see (and alter) whether the heating is "on", "off" or in "auto". The thermometer graphic shows current temperature, with a sliding vertical 'target' bar, which can be used to crank up the heating, or drop it down. A handy way to override the default settings for one-off on-demand changes.

The Temperature screen tells you the current temperature at your thermostat, and also outside (based on a local weather forecast (based on postcode), not an outdoor sensor. You also get an indoor temperature reading for today, and last week.

Making any kind of change via the application causes the app to send a command over-the-air to the controller at home. In practise, this takes from around 10 seconds to a minute to do, but of course it takes a while for your radiators once fired up to raise the temperature at the thermostat to the required target.

British Gas Remote Heating Control App
Taking control with the free British Gas Remote Heating Control app on an iPhone

 

Those without a smartphone will be pleased to know that the system can also be controlled via standard basic SMS text messages.

The final extra you get with British Gas Remote Heating Control comes in the form of alerts - you can set the system to let you know when a temperature goes above or below a certain temperature. Our system will send an email alert when the temperature drops below 5°C or goes above 28°C

Remote Heating Control Alerts
Alert management on British Gas Remote Heating Control

 

 

Remote Heating Control Questions

If you have any questions about Remote Home Heating, please get in touch and we'll try to answer them, based on our experiences.

Q. Does Remote Heating Control handle hot water?

No. The British Gas Remote Heating Control system is a replacement for a home's thermostat control of your heating. The system only handles radiators and room heat, and not heating of the water that comes from your hot water taps. Boilers generally handle hot water and radiators separately, and the Remote Heating Control system is all about room temperature.

Q. Do you know of any cheaper alternatives to the British Gas remote control heating system? I do like the idea of it, but at 229 to non-BG customers it's fairly pricey. (Andy Nicholls)

Sorry, but as far as I know, there's no system out there like Remote Heating Control on the market at a lower price. There are wireless control systems, but not ones that can be controlled over the Internet.

 

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