You count on your Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system to keep your home comfortable no matter how extreme the weather gets, but that comfort comes at a price. American households spend about $24 billion each year on air conditioning alone. Fortunately, smart technology is providing new opportunities to get more bang for your buck.
The newest HVAC systems can connect directly to the Internet, giving homeowners the power to control them from virtually anywhere in the world. This provides an unprecedented level of control to homeowners, who can remotely micro-manage their home climate control to save money via a smartphone and/or tablet. It also makes it possible for some people to downgrade the size of their HVAC systems, creating even more opportunity for long-term savings.
It's common for homes to have HVAC systems that are larger and more powerful than they need to be. Home builders sometimes factor this in because over-sized systems can heat or cool homes very quickly. If a homeowner's habit is to adjust the thermostat before leaving home for several hours, it won't take as long to return the home to a comfortable temperature later.
But there are two downsides to this. The first, obviously, is that larger systems use more energy and drive up utility bills. The second is that over-sized air conditioners can cool homes so quickly they cycle on and off rapidly, and this makes it more difficult to control humidity levels.
With remote access to your home thermostat, however, you can adjust the temperature before you even begin your return trip home. That way, you can enjoy a more efficient HVAC system without sacrificing comfort with just a little forward thinking.
Smart home technology is constantly developing, and the most advanced homes can already learn the schedules and habits of their occupants. The HVAC systems of tomorrow will know when you return from work or school and can switch to cost-saving temperatures when nobody's home.
This technology will eventually be fully integrated into the electrical grid, allowing home HVAC systems to understand time-of-day price fluctuations in the utility market and make adjustments accordingly. But for smartphone users who want the ultimate control over their thermostats, that technology has already arrived.