Review: Remote Heating Control From British Gas

As the writer of a reasonably well read technology blog, you may expect that I’ve stuffed We Got Served Towers with a host of home technology. It’s fair to say that there’s the odd bit of kit knocking around, but I’ve yet to delve into the realms of home automation. Too complicated, too many competing standards, too expensive, manufacturers I’ve never heard of – in short, too risky.

But, then up pops British Gas with a product called Remote Heating Control – along with their smart meters, British Gas are seeking to bring home automation to households across the UK with a £199 (£229 for those new to British Gas) wireless heating control installation. Pay your money, book the installation and an engineer will come around and do the heavy lifting for you – two hours later, you’ll be switching your heating on and off, up and down on your PC, smartphone and tablet. I’ll have a bit of that.



As usual, a morning or afternoon slot is available for your installation. My installer, a friendly chap called Nick Flatley arrived on time, armed with the Remote Heating Control kit, consisting of a small hub that plugs into your router, a wireless thermostat that can be used to manage your heating manually and  a controller box that is wired up in an appropriate place (in my case, in the airing cupboard).


First off, Nick had a good look around to understand the vagaries of our heating system – having built an extension last year and replaced the boiler, some of our plumbing and wiring had been moved around a little. No problems found, though, fortunately. Once he’d assessed where he needed to locate the controller box, Nick quickly connected the network hub to the router and powered it on (you’ll need a spare electrical socket and a free ethernet port on your router), then popped upstairs to wire in the controller.

Installation of the Remote Heating Control system means that your existing thermostat (In my case, a 1980s dial thermostat, strangely located upstairs by the house builder) becomes redundant. The control can be left in place but it’ll be disconnected. Your boiler controls stay in place, and there’s no change to your hot water controls – they’ll still be managed by your boiler controls and timer, however, once the Remote Heating Controller is installed, you simply switch your boiler heating control to Continuous, and the new controllers take it from there. When I say “you”, I mean “the installer” – everything is set up for you during installation so you won’t need to figure out what switches to throw.

Once the controller was wired in, and batteries dropped into the wireless thermostat, it was time to get the remote control up and running. From a user perspective, Remote Heating Control is set up and managed using your web browser, meaning that you can control your heating using a PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone – inside your home and out. Once you’ve purchased the service, you’ll be emailed an account name (your email address) and temporary password to register on the British Gas myHome portal.

British Gas myHome 2013-06-06 11-55-24


Configuration is fabulously quick and easy – log in, and you’ll be asked to enter the code printed on the bottom of your hub. That registers the hub with the service, to ensure that your remote commands are sent to your heating system rather than your next door neighbour’s!

Installation : Hub ID 2013-06-06 11-56-46


Once registered, you’re invited to set up your heating timer – this works exactly like a conventional heating timer, with one/off settings for mornings and evenings, with the ability to configure different settings for weekdays and weekends. You can also set the target temperature for each of these slots.

Set up : Timings 2013-06-06 12-22-24



  1. Not long before the energy companies start using these technologies to help themselves with load smoothing – i.e “excuse me I’ll just turn down your thermostat temporarily if you don’t mind as we can’t supply enough energy to everyone at this time”. Probably coerced with some financial incentive or otherwise for allowing them to do so. After all your thermostat is now connected to their web portal 🙂

      1. Actually I thought Karam had an interesting idea – 10% off your gas bill if you agree to allow BG to drop your temperature by 2 degrees when they need to. That seems like a plausible billing strategy to me, and this sort of device enables it easily.

      2. Interesting definition of trolling. Don’t know why you’re rebuking me for highlighting to your readership a potentially insidious, depending on your viewpoint, aspect of this particular technology and an awareness of possibly where the utilities might be heading next.

          1. How do you know who other posters work for? Besides which my comments on this topic are to do with my genuine concern about where this might all be heading – I don’t want to be penalised by my utility company for not installing their equipment and allowing them to fiddle with my thermostat. In case other people are wondering – I am from IDRATEK LTD, However in our niche I don’t really consider the BG product as competition – Its a different class of technology altogether so people considering proper home automation would not generally be considering the BG product and vice versa. Certainly I have a vested interest in home automation technology driven by my passion for it, but in this case It has little to do with my personal view on possible utility company strategy.

  2. Hi Terry,
    I looked into this before and dismissed this. I am using a Z-Wave system for Home Automation, but have yet to add the Central Heating to the system, the advantages of the system I use, also has individual thermostats for each radiator and will shut that radiator off if it detects that the windows have been opened.
    Lets just say British Gas and a few of the other companies need to start playing catch up. Besides alot of people that are into Home Automation like to manage their systems themselves.
    Have a look at the Z-Wave Suppliers in the UK, along with Zigbee and Lightwave, you will now see that some with add-ons can easily talk to each other.

    1. Hey Mike – yes, for sure, there’ll be people like yourself that have the expertise to dig into the various technologies and build out a kick ass system! I guess the interesting thing for me here is about a large brand like BG taking home automation out to the masses – they’ll always be behind the curve from an early adopter standpoint, but something simple and easy that updated my 30 year old thermostat was a big win 🙂

  3. An interesting side effect is British Gas now inform you when your server / network goes down and comes back up. In both instances you get an email from British Gas telling you they have lost / restored connection.

  4. Been using this for a few months. However today (29June) the entire British Gas system is down. No info from them. No email alerts. Twitter response is ‘we’re working on it’ but no useful info. With the British Gas server down you can’t even adjust the thermostat from your home thermometer…. Heating disabled by their server crash, very worrying

  5. After 2 British Gas visits to install Hive the answer is I would need to spend more money as my 2 year old boiler isn’t comparable without a wiring change – My boiler is a Valiant EcoTec Plus and as I have a Valiant VR65 control box it’s a non-starter. Very frustrating, 2 visits in 2 weeks, 2 days off work and the engineer is now saying a further and now chargeable visit is needed. No thanks – I’ll have my £200 back. British Gas/Hive team – please invest in a few modern boilers and test compatibility in your time not mine.

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