A smart home is one that has a thermostat, cameras, and other devices and appliances that are connected to a wireless network. They can be remotely operated and turn on and off based on your habits and location to your home.
Smart homes—internet-connected sensors work seamlessly together—are supposed to make your life more convenient.
Think of how your smart phone has changed the way you work. Similarly, if a home could be smart, it would significantly enhance the way you live.
But, what is a “smart” HVAC system? Does it live up to the hype?
Current HVAC Features
- Heating and cooling makes up around half of the energy use in the average U.S. home (Energy Department).
- HVAC equipment demands regular maintenance, once in the fall for heating and again in the spring for air conditioning.
- The reason we have an HVAC system is to ensure that the environment inside the home is ideal.
- HVAC alone can cost more than all other home appliances combined. It is by far the most expensive appliance in the home.
As you can see, HVAC is critical to comfortable living. However, it is also a system that demands constant attention and consumes a lot of energy.
HVAC systems break down more frequently than most other home appliances, especially when the weather outside is not ideal. However, most of these issues can be fixed with regular maintenance from an HVAC repair contractor.
You can also help reduce HVAC costs with air sealing and insulation.
Older HVAC systems lack the technology necessary to provide the same comfort and energy efficiency of smart HVAC systems.
Connected Systems and Smart Upgrades
The key to making the HVAC system smart is the main concept of “connected systems.”
There are a number of systems that can connect to the home HVAC and contribute to a smart home, such as:
For instance, take the case of the thermostat. What if the thermostat automatically changes the temperature based on data it collects from the cloud, motion sensors, and other technology?
The HVAC system could connect to some sort of an online weather service, which would allow the thermostat to choose the perfect temperature. By dynamically adjusting temperature, the HVAC system will consume the appropriate amount of energy.
When set manually, the HVAC is normally consuming too much or too little energy. With a smart thermostat connected to it, the HVAC system will consume optimal amounts of energy, reducing energy bills.
Humidifiers could work the same way, collecting humidity information electronically and adjusting accordingly.
Smart thermostats are great, but they can’t tell you about the condition of your HVAC system. Another point raised about HVAC systems is how they seem to break down very often, usually without warning.
With environmental sensor technology, the HVAC system—including the ducts and individual components—could send you warnings about possible malfunctions or abnormal activity within the equipment.
This would notify you when you need to get your HVAC fixed before it completely breaks down, resulting in cost and time savings. With their predictive abilities, smart HVAC systems could eliminate HVAC breakdowns completely.
Sensors would also be able to notify you of routine maintenance, such as filter replacements and professional tune-ups.
Additionally, smart sensors can tell you important information regarding the unit’s efficiency, such as leaking air ducts or faulty ventilation systems.
Wearable Technology and Remote Communication
Basically, a smart HVAC system will learn your comfort and lifestyle preferences, automatically adjusting itself for maximum comfort and energy savings.
By having these systems connected, it would make for much more enjoyable living. These connected systems will communicate the same way apps on smart phones communicate with one another.
You will be able to monitor, manage, and change thermostat settings from your smartphone or computer.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will be built into the software that runs on these connected systems. With wider adoption, these APIs would become standardized and easy to use.
With any smart system, there are bound to be concerns about privacy and data safety. We’ve seen the pushback as more and more security flaws are uncovered.
But information security experts are fighting back. Encryption technology is available to ensure that the communication is secure. This technology is already doing wonders for smart phones and can be applied to do the same great things for your HVAC system.
The HVAC system is a prime choice of equipment that could easily become the backbone for a smart home. The positives and benefits of these state-of-the-art systems far outweigh current issues like frequent HVAC repairs, and we’re eagerly looking forward to what can be made of these wonderful home appliances. It’s just the beginning.
When it’s time to upgrade to a smart HVAC system, make the smart decision and call the experts at American HVAC Inc.