What’s Standing Between You and a Smart Home?
Like all homeowners, you like to think of yourself as being a master of your domain who’s good at running a household. Sure, your significant other might disagree with you, but even they can’t deny that you’re doing your best in your own way.
Unfortunately, your good intentions have been falling short more often than not lately, and you really don’t want to admit that you’re out of your depth. Could home automation technologies help you do more with less and save face? Here’s how your HVAC systems might decide whether you can build a smart home.
Home Automation Basics
Home automation, also known as domotics, refers to any number of systems and methods that people use to manage common tasks around the house. For instance, simple forms of automation may include thermostats that let you program your own temperature settings for different days. Or, you might add timers to a lamp or electric kettle so that things are bright, bubbling and ready by the time you wake up.
In many cases, people who talk about home automation are referring to devices that integrate different systems with home features. The most modern control systems commonly include features like WiFi, Bluetooth or other forms of connectivity. Add a web interface or app, and you can control your home from your phone or tablet.
Even the most basic household can incorporate simple domotics, but what if you want to go above and beyond? When you’re trying to control major appliances, such as HVAC systems, the higher voltages, potentially dangerous fuel supplies and different operating standards involved make it wise to do your research first.
Luckily, you don’t need a master’s degree in robotics to know whether your HVAC device is a fit for domotics. For instance, smart thermostats like Nest devices publish compatibility lists and instructions that let you check whether your HVAC is compatible by performing a basic visual inspection.
What determines whether a smart thermostat is compatible with your HVAC appliance? Although it varies by device and setup, there are a few common characteristics to look out for:
- Voltage: Smart devices typically use the same low DC voltages that computers and phones do, such as 3.3V, 5V or 12V. They might not work with systems that send high AC voltages to thermostats, such as the 120V or 240V potentials found in most utility circuits.
- Wiring: There are many ways to wire a circuit. Your smart thermostat and HVAC system wiring should be a perfect match. If they’re not, you need to hire a professional installer.
- Fuel type: Some smart thermostats can’t control certain types of fuel heaters, like those that run on biomass, wood chips or coal.
Is home automation in your future? To find out and get more great HVAC tips, visit us online.