What Is a Smart Home? Spotlight on Connected HVAC Technologies

hvac smarthome

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A “smart home” designed to save its owners money, time and energy. Sounds pretty futuristic, right?

What is a smart home exactly? The Internet of Things (IoT) makes smart homes possible. The IoT is a tech term that refers to a network of internet-connected devices. So, a “smart home” basically describes a house that has Wifi-enabled, interconnected appliances and electronics, such as furnaces and thermostats, that can be controlled remotely via a smartphone or computer.1

Students in HVAC training may want to build their knowledge base of this seemingly growing trend.

What Is Smart Home Technology in HVAC?

Smart home technology in HVAC involves having system components with connectivity to an internet network. While this list is not comprehensive, here are a few examples of smart HVAC technologies in use today.2

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats are capable of automatically adjusting the temperature setting according to data harvested from the cloud about the weather, motion sensors that detect when you are home and other technology. They can enable an HVAC system to use energy in the most optimal ways.2

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Smart Humidifiers

Smart humidifiers could work much in the same way as smart thermostats by collecting information about humidity levels within the home or from an online weather source. With this information, the unit may automatically adjust the function settings to keep the humidity levels at a stable level in the house.2

Environmental Sensor Technology

An HVAC system suddenly breaking down can be a huge problem for customers, especially in the dead of winter or the scorching heat of summer. Environmental sensor technology could help prevent unexpected system malfunctions. These sensors monitor the components of the HVAC system, such as the ducts or condenser unit. When something abnormal is detected, the sensors could send an alert to the property owner and HVAC technician.2

Smart HVAC Vents

Smart HVAC vents make it possible to directly control the airflow going through each vent in the house. These smart vents have integrated sensors to detect things like whether anyone is in the room, what the humidity level is and even the air quality. The sensors can use this information to adjust the vents automatically to create a more comfortable environment.2

How to Make a Smart Home

Every smart home may be different due to the fact that property owners may implement varying smart devices to accommodate their own desires.

However, when it comes to how to make your home a smart home, the basic concept is a house that has connected appliances and devices that can be controlled remotely. A few general things required to make a smart home include the following:3

  • Lights, appliances and thermostats that can be connected and controlled via the internet.
  • Smart HVAC technologies and equipment.
  • Either hardwired or wireless internet.
  • Devices connected to the internet to communicate with each other and the home automation system.
  • Some type of smart home automation program that acts as a central access point, such as an app on a smartphone or tablet or a program on a laptop.3

What Role Could HVAC Technicians Play in Smart Homes?

hvac technician installing smart thermostat

With the demand for smart homes growing, collaboration between the HVAC/R and the IoT industries is predicted to become the norm in the coming 20 years. The potential ways in which the IoT can fit into the world of HVAC services are innumerable.4

This means HVAC technicians could play a vital role in smart homes as time goes on and more customers need help. And, technicians with the skills to install and use smart home devices for heating and cooling may serve clients with these technologies.4

Smart Homes: The Latest HVAC Industry Trend

Smart technologies are increasingly playing a role in how we stay comfortable at home, and, in turn, how HVAC technicians service our heating and cooling equipment.4 But smart homes are a relatively new trend, showing just how big of an influence technology can have on the ever-changing HVAC industry.

Additional Sources

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