Smart Vents: A Smart Addition to Your HVAC
Energy saving is of paramount importance in this day and age, with every trick from the book being utilized to lower electricity consumption around the house. With the advent of technology, smart appliances & gadgets are increasingly incorporated into our homes to save energy and increase comfort & convenience. Smart HVAC vents are one such innovation that enables us to tailor our HVAC system to our needs and utilize it as and when required.
Smart vents control and regulate your room temperature precisely by controlling the airflow coming through your HVAC ducts. They can either cut off the airflow completely or let it all come in, as per the cooling and heating needs. With smart vents, you not only eliminate cold and hot spots in your home but also control your room air conditioning using your smartphone from anywhere in the world.
Let’s see how smart vents work and the benefits they provide.
What Is a Smart Vent?
Smart vents are automatic vents that can regulate airflow from your HVAC system into the rooms. They can be controlled either through pre-programmed schedules or by an automated decision process by the smart vent system itself.
On the other hand, you can control an old-fashioned vent manually to achieve precise HVAC control. When an HVAC system is in use, cool or heated air travels through the vents and conditions the room. These manual vents need to be opened or closed by hand. Due to this, many users generally tend to ignore the operation of these vents and keep them open throughout the year. This can lead to unwanted cooling and heating of the room, hence, resulting in energy wastage.
Moreover, to use this vent, you have to be actually physically present within the room. If you are in the lounge downstairs and want to close the vent upstairs, you’ll have to go and close it yourself. On the other hand, with a smart vent, you can just tap a few buttons on your smartphone from your couch.
It utilizes sensors to detect the presence of people in the room and input from a mobile app to decide when to open or close a vent. The sensors can either be motion sensors, or proximity sensors, placed within the vent itself or strategically in the room.
What Does a Smart Vent Do?
With a smart vent system installed, you can accurately control the temperature in each and every room of your home and ensure the ideal room temperature. If you want your room to be cooler but do not want the temperature in another room to change, you can use the smart vent to redirect the air from the other room and keep it at the same temperature.
This sort of system is especially useful when you are in a two-story house or want to create zones within your home, allowing individual cooling for your rooms.
With the help of motion or proximity sensors, the vent can close by itself when the room becomes unoccupied, making sure that no energy is wasted.
Advantages of Smart Vents
The primary advantage of a smart vent is the precise cooling and heating in your home. You do not have to tolerate extreme temperatures in any one room while another is at a comfortable temperature setting. Some other advantages of a smart vent system include:
- They are quick and easy to install and do not require alterations to your HVAC system.
- Smart HVAC vents can automatically position themselves to either allow or impede airflow into the room.
- You do not need to manually adjust your vents anymore. Apart from being a hassle, the manual process can also be dangerous if your vents are high up in the ceiling or in a tight spot.
- If they are connected to a proximity or motion sensor, they can automatically turn off once there is no one in the room, saving you on energy bills.
- With selective cooling and heating only in desired areas of your home, you can save on energy costs.
- With a smartphone app, you can automate your air conditioning. You can have schedules for your smart vents and turn them on or off at specific times of the day.
- With a smartphone app, control your smart vents from anywhere in the world at any time. All you need is an internet connection, and you are good to go. This is especially useful if you have pets or children at home.
- A smart vent system can provide you with detailed usage reports and history, allowing you to make better decisions going into the future regarding your HVAC usage.
Disadvantages of Smart HVAC Vents
Although smart vents do provide added comfort and convenience, there are also a few drawbacks associated with them. Let’s look at them below:
- A requirement with a smart vent is to get a smart thermostat. Not just any thermostat but one that works with the smart vent and also with your existing thermostat. One thermostat controls your HVAC system, the other controls the smart vents. This is an additional cost.
- Having two thermostats, one for the smart vent and one for the HVAC, can create problems within the system. If many of your vents are closed but the HVAC is still running at full power, it can create a backdraft and potentially damage the HVAC unit.
- They can potentially reduce the total cross-sectional area of the duct. Motors, levers, actuators all take up space within the vent and can lead to reduced airflow.
To minimize the disadvantages and take the full benefits, it’s advisable to limit them to a few rooms in your home.
Difference Between Smart Vents and Zoned Heating & Cooling
A smart vent might seem much like a zoned HVAC system, but there are a few main differences. A zoned system converts your home into distinct areas, the temperatures of which can be controlled individually. There can be multiple rooms or spaces within one zone. With an intelligent, connected vent, you can only control individual rooms, not multiple at the same time.
Moreover, with a zoned HVAC system, you can turn down the power on your HVAC system and control it directly. This is not possible with a smart vent system, which controls only the vents and not the HVAC unit itself.
Zoned HVAC systems can be more expensive and can be more complicated to install.
What Other Gadgets Do You Need With Smart Vents?
A smart HVAC vent is a useful device, but you often need other components to ensure the complete smart home experience.
A smart thermostat is perhaps the first one on the list. It can seamlessly integrate with the smart vent and control the HVAC system itself. This gives you greater control over your HVAC needs and more energy savings.
If you do not want to go for a smart thermostat, then a temperature sensor can do the job as well. It can be connected to the smart vent and indicate when to open and when to close, depending on if it is too cold or too hot in the room. The sensor can be located either on the vent itself or at another location in the room.
Motion or proximity sensors can detect the presence of people in the room. These are usually placed at a corner of the room, giving a good field of view. As soon as someone comes inside the room, the vent open by itself and let cool or warm air in.
You can connect Smart home assistants, like the Google Home or Amazon Alexa to these smart vents. They allow you to control multiple smart home appliances at once, even with voice controls.
How Can You Save With Smart Air Vents?
Depending on how you use smart vents, they greatly help you save energy on cooling and heating costs. The amount that you save depends on the specific use case. This can include the size of your room, duration of usage, size of an HVAC system, and much more.
They mainly prevent wastage of energy by limiting airflow to areas of your home that are not in use. By flowing air exactly where required, you will receive the desired level of cooling at a much lower cost. With smart features such as scheduling, your vents can switch on or off as desired. This will allow you to keep your rooms at an even temperature rather than blasting your air conditioning all day long.
Now that you have a better understanding of intelligent vent systems, it is time to embrace the technology. List down your requirements and get yourself a smart vent to bring you comfort and convenience in your life.