When it comes to your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, it’s time to get smart.
From maintenance reminders sent straight to your smartphone to remote controlled thermostats, cooling and heating your home has never been easier. These new smart home features aren’t just trendy and cool, either — they can save you both time and money and help your HVAC system last longer and work more efficiently.
David Kenyon, an HVAC expert at Sears, answers your burning questions about the coolest innovations that keep our homes comfortable in the summer and toasty warm in the winter.
Q: What are some of the best new features of smart HVAC systems?
A: Some of our systems are self-diagnostic.
It’s almost like the check engine light in your car. If something goes wrong, it does a self-diagnosis and tells the technicians what’s wrong. It benefits homeowners because it lessens the length of that service call — a technician doesn’t have to hunt around to figure out what the problem is.
Q: How else can smart systems save people money?
A: Some of the condensers with central air systems are modulating.
That means they scale themselves up or down as needed automatically, providing more BTUs when they are needed during the warmer portions of the day and fewer BTUs during less extreme portions of the day. The condensers use only as much energy as they need, saving people money on their energy bills.
Also, the best blower motors on the market today have variable speeds. Like the modulating condensers, they can scale up or down automatically, moving air more quickly when necessary and more slowly when it’s not. This has the effect of alleviating hot and cold spots while removing humidity and allergens more quietly and efficiently.
Q: Are some systems Wi-Fi enabled?
A: Yes. You can program and control your systems from anywhere in the world with your smartphone or other device.
You can turn down the temperature in your home while you’re at the office and bump it up when you’re coming home.
Q: Anything else a smart system can do for homeowners?
A: A smart HVAC system can remind you to change the filter and schedule annual HVAC maintenance, as well as provide energy tracking, enhanced humidity control and even weather forecasts.
Q: What if you have an older home without ductwork? What are your HVAC options?
A: Mini split HVAC systems are ideal for houses where ductwork isn’t an option.
They are wall mounted and zoneable, so each room can have its own temperature, based on your family’s preferences.
Q: What’s new with boilers?
A: The newer wall-mounted boilers have two combined functions: they can heat your home and your water.
The boiler automatically scales itself up or down when needed. These boilers are ideal for homes with radiators and baseboard heaters. And the brand-new ones have artificial intelligence to make them even more efficient.
Q: What’s the bottom line people should know about the newest HVAC systems?
A: Efficiencies in general are going up for heating and cooling units.
If you’ve got an older system, you may want to think about upgrading your HVAC system because of the amount you’ll save on your energy bills thanks to these highly efficient, smart systems.