The Future of HVAC Systems: Smart Thermostats

Today’s world is an era where smartphones link us to almost every part of our existence — and this trend looks set to continue. This revolution in technology also extends to the manner in which we regulate indoor temperature. Consequently, the humble thermostat, that has been a standard feature in properties for years has evolved considerably.

Modern control systems or thermostats can provide a wide variety of features, via a smartphone. These gadgets make it simple to align your home comforts with your lifestyle. However, is this clever, new home tech compatible with your present cooling and heating system?

In all likelihood, your present cooling and heating system was designed for one purpose — to cool or heat your property. It might not have been made to interact with the different models of control tech available today. Based on what HVAC system you have in your property, it could be that just a particular control system or thermostat controls the system’s functionality. Typically, it depends on the kind of system that was fitted and the wires (or missing wires) between the thermostat and the system.

What an HVAC System Consists of

Cooling and heating equipment take a number of forms (e.g., gas furnace, heat pump, air handler, and air conditioner, etc.), with a range of different features. To ensure that your thermostat is able to control the equipment features properly, it needs to engage with the HVAC system’s operational modes.

For instance:

  • If there is a heat pump in your property, the control system or thermostat ought to have the ability to operate the auxiliary heat feature. If it’s gas furnace specific, you might be unable to control this feature.
  • A variable or two-step speed system might only operate at one speed if the control system or thermostat is not compatible with two-step wiring.
  • A double fuel system that consists of a heat pump and gas furnace ought to be linked to a control system or thermostat that can house the particular heating points.
  • In most cases, if your system is of the multi-step or variable speed variety or one that is intended for specific parts of your property, you might need to fit a sophisticated thermostat that can communicate with these kinds of systems. Obviously, if you are unsure about which kind of system you have in your property, it is wise to seek the help of a technician.

Voltage and Wires

Although you should use a certified professional to deal with any wires in your property, understanding the basic principles of thermostat voltage and wiring will help you better understand the advice from your contractor. Lots of sophisticated thermostats come with features, like property automation options, that have to be powered constantly by a C wire (common wire).

The C wire sends a steady stream of power to the thermostat it is linked to. If your property’s existing set up does not feature a dedicated common wire, you might have to hire a certified HVAC engineer to install the necessary wiring for sophisticated control systems or thermostats.

These days, the most popular thermostat models use wiring with low voltage. Usually, these wires are extremely thin, like the wiring used for phone jacks and doorbells. Low voltage control systems or thermostats are often used to link to:

Traditional gas-powered air furnaces

  • Multi-step or one-step heat pump delivering cooling and heating
  • Electrical central air-con units that have forced air ductwork
  • Certain control systems or thermostats that use line voltage, fuelled by a regular 240 volt or 120-volt circuit. Normally, these are thick wires, similar to those used inside light switches or wall outlets. Mainly, these types of devices are used for electrical resistance heating units, like in-wall heaters and electric baseboard heaters.

To identify the particular set up in your property, speak to a certified HVAC engineer.

Features of low Energy HVAC Systems

If you intend to update your HVAC system equipment from a one-step to an efficient variable-speed or two-step system, your present control system or thermostat might not be made to house the extra energy-efficient elements.

Perhaps you are thinking, “What is an equipment ‘step’?” This is the answer:

One step: Your cooling or heating unit runs at full capacity until it achieves your desired indoor temperature, then it switches off.
Two-steps: Your cooling or heating unit can run at full capacity and lower speeds, based on demand.
Multi-step or variable-speed: Your unit provides different output levels to meet demand.

Do not overlook the energy-efficient advantages of your new unit, just because the equipment isn’t connected to the thermostat properly. Based on the unit installed, you might have to buy a coordinating control system or thermostat. To make sure you are receiving the most benefit from new cooling and heating equipment, speak to a certified engineer about the latest cooling and heating equipment and thermostat compatibility.

Technological Developments in HVAC Systems

In the past, standard premium HVAC units restricted homeowners to a particular, and often costly, smart control system or thermostat. Nonetheless, instead of depending on the thermostat’s communicating technology, creative manufacturers are starting to include this clever technology in the circuitry of the central cooling and heating systems. This inbuilt technology might actively evolve and make regular adjustments automatically, as required, to the cooling and heating system depending on the homeowner’s instructions.

This new sophisticated technology gives homeowners the chance to stick with their existing one step thermostat, or pick from a broad selection of control systems or thermostats available for sale.

A certified HVAC dealer can evaluate your indoor equipment and identify which control system or thermostat best suits your requirements.