Heating, venting, and air conditioning: the primary responsibility of your HVAC system. With HVAC also comes air filtration and humidity control, but the main purpose is to push warm and cool air into various rooms of our home via ductless mini splits or central air systems (LINK ARTICLE).
Yet, as technology changes, so do HVAC systems. Today, there is a trend of automation in our everyday lives. “Alexa, play the 90s top 100.” We have robot vacuums, lights that turn on before we get home, and doorbells for us to communicate with delivery drivers while out of state. Why wouldn’t the HVAC industry be included in the fast automation trends?
Smart homes have the incredible capability to make our busy lives more manageable. From technology detecting problems with the HVAC system itself, controlling humidity, or simply opening and closing blinds, we can make our homes as energy-efficient as we desire.
But it’s one thing to walk up to a unit and program in what you would like it to do versus adjusting a home system while on vacation. Through smartphone apps, working with our HVAC systems is a convenience unthought of a decade ago.
Weather is unpredictable, and units break. When a heatwave drops to the 60s while you’re out of town, smartphone apps let you adjust your home temperature accordingly. If you get an alert of an issue, instead of hoping for the best, you can shut your system off remotely. The ability to save energy and keep your home safe from anywhere is unmeasurable.
Why risk something as important as your home? Instead, check out the advantages of smartphones. It’s time to consider joining the world of smart homes.
The Rise of Smart Homes and Home Automation
Daily life these days is a lot to keep up with. Many homes have occupants working multiple jobs or running to numerous activities. This over-committedness means we as a society have much less time to do the never-ending upkeep of a home.
Smart homes are the answer to this problem. With lighting, security, cameras, vacuums, lawnmowers, entertainment, and HVAC systems on our phones, computers, and tablets, our homes are customized for their occupants and unique needs. The various systems work to learn our patterns, making the upkeep even less of a burden. Homeowners feel less taxed by not needing to remember daily chores, and smart systems extend the life of appliances by notifying them of issues before a breakdown.
The benefits of automation
We live in a world of constant movement. Simple tasks often are pushed aside to save time for juggling schedules and jobs. Automation takes this worry away from you. You control your home while out of the house.
Upgrading to automation delivers enormous benefits, and the convenience factor cannot be understated. Stay on top of your home’s lights, ovens, vacuuming, security systems, HVAC system, and even coffee maker from your phone!
When you keep within a product line, you may even be able to use the same app to control each device. Choose what smart upgrades work for your home: a single robotic vacuum cleaner, multiple units, or even a fully connected system. Then, customize it to your needs.
Automated security systems make your home safe when you are away… and not just from break-ins. If there is a fire or carbon monoxide detection, your security system can call the fire department. Feeling secure in your home isn’t limited to just these factors either! With automated HVAC systems, a breakdown or potential problem that could snowball can trigger your system to send an alert both to you and your HVAC company.
With remote control functions and cell phone alerts, energy efficiency and overall savings are substantial. We can program blinds to open and close to harness the sun’s power without using our furnace. On top of that, we can use automation to set temperature controls based on our habits, such as when we leave for work or sleep. Get ready for lower monthly bills and longevity of your appliances and systems.
Controlling HVAC Systems with a Smartphone
Do you remember the days of The Clapper? We could lay in bed and clap our hands to turn off the lights. How far we have come!
Today, we still have the power to control our systems with the house of our hands, but to a level never imagined with The Clapper. Instead of standing up to physically adjust our thermostat or clapping loudly at night, we simply need to pick up our phones. We likely already are scrolling through them while drifting off to sleep. Let the device work for you, saving you time and money, while ensuring maintenance is a scheduled focus.
Today’s smart appliances and home systems work off an app. Depending on the app, you can be notified of maintenance issues, system failures, and potential dangers. We don’t live in a predictable world. Smart technology and apps allow us to work within our limitations. Consequently, we save electricity and money… all from the power of an app.
How does the technology for smartphone-based apps work?
Generally, smart apps need a WiFi connection to connect to the internet. Depending on the app’s requirements, you could even use Bluetooth. Some systems work with Alexa or Google Assistant.
WiFi for smart homes
When setting up your smart home, it is imperative to have a strong WiFi connection. If your network is spotty or unreliable, your home is at risk. For example, if you have a smart HVAC system and your WiFi is out, your home cannot adjust to the occupancy or needs of the system. Likewise, if WiFi connects your home security and is constantly dropping, your home is in jeopardy of not being monitored. Check the specifications of a smart system before purchasing to ensure it will work with your WiFi.
Mobile Apps for smart homes
Generally, smart homes require a mobile app. Sometimes, the company allows the use of an internet browser to control your home. You need to ensure you have a strong WiFi connection and a smartphone with enough storage and updated technology to handle the system. As updates roll out, you must update them on your phone to stay compatible.
Smart home platforms and voice assistants
With the advent of Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, smart homes are increasingly common. You are hard-pressed not to hear, “Alexa – turn off the hall light.” “Alexa, play Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden.” One day, we will ask Alexa to fix a bowl of cereal or cut the celery.
Your HVAC system can adjust your thermostat easily by asking the heat to be turned up or down. This convenience is lovely when leaving the home, going on vacation, or even getting out of bed. When you fall asleep in the warmth, but the temperature drops overnight, leaving you shivering, you just have to ask for Alexa’s help, and a toasty home is yours.
Benefits and Features of Smartphone-Based HVAC Control
There is no denying that smart homes, in any capacity, make life easier. From accessibility to energy savings, smartphone-controlled HVAC systems take our ease of home management to another level.
When a weather alert announces temperatures are dropping to freezing, and your heat isn’t on yet, the panic is understandable. Should a problem with your HVAC system occur during your vacation, you could come home to discomfort and a potential breakdown. Not the relaxation you were hoping for. Accessibility means you can adjust temperatures and get notifications of any issues. You can turn your system on and off and adjust the temperature at home or across the country.
Because smart HVAC systems detect the homeowners’ patterns, they adjust the home’s temperature accordingly. For example, if you fall asleep from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., you can set your HVAC system through your smartphone to be slightly uncomfortable while you sleep. Then, if you leave for vacation and forget to adjust your thermostat, you can set your thermometer through your smartphone to be on vacation mode. Finally, should you have a needed repair – the alert sent to your home allows you to schedule a repair before a minor problem snowballs into a big one.
Depending on your system, you may be able to monitor your filters, usage, and even watch for alerts on potential coil freezes or other issues. When you cannot monitor your HVAC system in person, you can catch problems from anywhere… even when relaxing on a family trip.
Considerations and Challenges
As with most technological improvements, challenges come with them. It isn’t all rainbows and butterflies – sometimes, we have growing pains or frustration amid incredible capabilities. The best way to navigate them is to be aware ahead of time.
Challenges and limitations of smartphone-based HVAC control
The most apparent challenge comes with the inability of smart homes to function amidst a power outage. Smart HVAC systems rely on sending information through WiFi. When the power goes out, or a storm causes spotty reception, this directly impacts the information you receive from your HVAC system. Aside from weather, app updates may be incompatible with your current smartphone or software. Depending on the newness of your system and phone, you may need to purchase a new phone to connect to your HVAC system.
Security and Privacy
Anytime you connect using WiFi or log in to a website, you risk exposing your personal information to hackers. Luckily, there are methods in place to prevent this from happening. You can protect yourself by using encryption, changing up your passwords, and using a blend of upper and lower case, numbers, and symbols. Two-step authentication is another way to prevent security breaches. Finally, do not share your login information with untrusted sources.
Tips and Guidelines for selecting HVAC systems and smartphones
- Select HVAC systems that work with smartphone-based apps
- Investigate the reviews of the company and its HVAC system
- Weigh the unique features of the apps and HVAC system
- Review the remote capabilities of the app
- Determine if the system seems user-friendly and intuitive
- Ask about the compatibility of the system with your current phone
Setting Up Smartphone Control for HVAC Systems
Although each system and phone will be unique in its own right, there are some standard steps for setting up smartphone controls for your HVAC system.
Check the compatibility of your smartphone with the HVAC system and vice versa. Read reviews and ratings on different systems to see what current users say about the app and the ease of setup. It is helpful if you have time to research versus making an impulsive decision. Start early to give yourself time to explore features, capabilities, alerts, specs, and customization options.
Connect to the smartphone app
Once you pick your HVAC system, connect it to your smartphone. Your instruction manual will detail which app to download. Be aware of false apps attempting to lure unsuspected users to download and share their information. The company’s website should also help you determine the appropriate app. Then, simply download the app and follow the instructions. Be prepared to access your home WiFi and enter login information.
Configure settings and preferences
How you customize your HVAC system depends on the system you purchase. Each app differs from the next, but there should be clear instructions on how to set each up. Generally, this is done through the app itself. If you get stuck, check out YouTube. Often, users create videos of their experience in setting up a system. Also, manufacturers of HVAC systems understand not all users are tech-savvy and sometimes go the extra mile to create a setup video for their customers. Look for “settings” through a settings menu or gear app. The home page may also take you through a tour or have buttons for the various functions.
Common issues during setup
The most common issue is improper app installation during the download or a missed step during the setup. Many apps let you uninstall and reinstall, fixing the error during the second setup. Check with the instructions to ensure this is okay before uninstalling the app. Another common issue is a wiring connection or poor WiFi. Finally, if your system requires an updated version of the app, you may need to update your phone’s system. If none of these solutions work, contact the company for help with your app.
The new tomorrow – smartphone controls
Although it may seem like an episode of The Jetsons, today’s world is increasingly dependent on smart homes. The technology to control our HVAC system from afar leads to energy savings, lower monthly bills, and troubleshooting technology.
At Leckron’s, we understand your time is your most important resource. Instead of spending unnecessary time remembering to lower and raise the temperature and stay on top of all the maintenance – we can help take stress off. Our technicians work with families, listening to their needs and matching them with a system.
Because we understand HVAC systems run high in the price department, we work with you on financing options, specials, and rebates. Don’t count out the savings smart homes can offer because of the fear of the upfront costs. We know how to help that become a reality.
We are a first time customer of Leckron’s Comfort Solutions. Every aspect of the experience was excellent — from the initial phone call, to the tech, the timeliness and the professional manner with all communication. We’ll definitely be a repeat customer and would highly recommend them.We are a first time customer of Leckron’s Comfort Solutions. Every aspect of the experience was excellent — from the initial phone call, to the tech, the timeliness and the professional manner with all communication. We’ll definitely be a repeat customer and would highly recommend them. – David B., Customer
Contact Leckron’s today to speak with a trained technician on your home’s smart capabilities. We look forward to helping you realize how easy HVAC systems can be when paired with today’s technology. Give us a call today!