Is It Worth Investing in a Smart HVAC System?
From kettles to microwaves to washing machines, many appliances and systems we use daily are getting a smart makeover. Therefore, it's unsurprising that you can also upgrade your heating and cooling system to a smart one.
You're probably already familiar with smart thermostats. However, a smart HVAC system requires upgrading your furnace, AC unit and even your vents. Let's explore how smart HVAC systems work and whether they're worth the money.
Smart HVAC systems create a network that controls your home's heating and cooling units to suit your requirements as closely as possible. The main parts of a smart HVAC system are:
- Smart AC unit
- Smart furnace
- Smart vents
- Smart thermostats
- Motion sensors
Each room has a sensor, thermostat and smart vent. When the sensor detects movement inside the room, it opens or closes the smart vent depending on temperature data from the thermostat. Therefore, it heats or cools the rooms you use frequently without wasting energy on rarely used spaces, such as basements or laundry rooms.
However, a smart HVAC system won't leave the rest of your home at an uncomfortable temperature. Many systems allow you to set a baseline temperature so that you don't notice a significant difference when you move between areas.
Another feature of smart HVAC systems is that you can control them from an app on your smartphone or another handheld device, even when you're away from home. Some systems even have built-in weather monitors that detect local conditions and adjust your heating and cooling system accordingly.
Many homeowners install an entire smart HVAC system. The advantage of investing in a complete system is that the units communicate with each other, enabling zoned heating and cooling with relatively little effort. However, this option isn't affordable for everyone.
Installing a smart air conditioner or smart furnace is an alternative to upgrading your entire system. These units allow you to control your AC or furnace from a mobile app. However, they won't provide the same zoning capabilities unless you install them alongside smart vents and smart thermostats.
The Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota estimates that installing a smart HVAC system costs around $1,000 (CAD 1,300) more than a regular HVAC system. Most homeowners spend between $5,000 and $10,000 (CAD 6,650 and CAD 13,300) on a new HVAC system without smart capabilities. Therefore, you should expect to pay between $6,000 and $11,000 (CAD 8,000 and CAD 14,600) for a smart HVAC system.
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A smart HVAC system can be more convenient than a regular system because it lets you customize your home's temperature without manually adjusting your thermostat or radiators. Remote access also lets you turn on your heating and cooling system while you're out so that you won't come home to a swelteringly hot or freezing cold house.
Smart systems can also reduce energy waste by responding to your habits and movements, potentially saving you money on heating or cooling areas you don't use much. Other benefits of smart HVAC systems may include:
- Reduced environmental impact
- Increased home value
- Customized settings for different family members
Whether installing a smart HVAC system is worth it depends on several factors, including your current energy usage, your local climate and the condition of your existing system. IndyStar estimates that upgrading to a smart HVAC system could reduce your energy bills by between 10% and 12%.
Investing in a smart HVAC system could make sense if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions because you likely spend more on heating and cooling. However, it may not be such a worthwhile investment if you live in a milder climate.
Newer HVAC systems are typically more efficient, so it's probably not worth replacing a recently installed HVAC system with a smart version. However, it could be worth considering if your current system is nearing the end of its lifespan, expensive to run or no longer functioning effectively.
All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.
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