Smart homes are yet another reminder that the future is here. A few years ago, could you have imagined that you could control nearly every aspect of your home—from your cooling and heating system, to lighting and security measures, to even your washing machine—from your mobile device?

Not only are smart homes a technological wonder, but they can also be more eco-friendly and cheaper to maintain. While convenience is a large part of the market for smart home technology, many of these devices are meant to reduce energy costs—after paying up-front installation fees, if applicable.

Let’s take a closer look at smart home technology for heating and cooling, and how this futuristic technology can help you save money and be more comfortable in your home.

A Brief History of Smart Homes

In essence, smart home technology allows a homeowner to control and monitor connected home devices from smartphone apps or other devices. The first contemporary smart home products became available to consumers in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but they’ve become much more widespread in the past few years.

Smart homes aren’t just for controlling your home security system anymore. Popular forms of smart home technology include:

  • HVAC systems
  • Smoke/CO detectors
  • Home energy use monitors
  • Door locks
  • Window blinds
  • Appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers
  • Doorbell cameras
  • Sprinkler controllers
  • Robotic lawnmowers

Benefits of Smart HVAC

As a homeowner, you’re likely looking for ways to save money on your routine household expenses. A smart HVAC system can be a great way to do this. The benefits of installing a smart HVAC system include:

Cost savings: The US Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling costs account for nearly half of each homeowner’s monthly power bill. In general, just your air conditioning uses about 6 percent of all electricity consumed in the US. Unfortunately, much of the energy used to heat or cool buildings is wasted due to leaky ducts, clogged filters, and inefficient operating schedules. A smart HVAC system can put an end to some of this waste. Many smart HVAC systems are designed to make the most out of available energy by finding ways to not spend energy when you don’t need it.

Increased comfort: Since smart heating and cooling systems allow you to better control the temperature of each room, you’ll feel more comfortable in your home. For couples who have different temperature preferences, a zoned heating and cooling system can help quell thermostat arguments. Additionally, some smart HVAC systems include features that allow you to control the humidity and air quality in your home, which can have a significant impact on your health.

Convenience: With a smart HVAC system, you’ll never have to come home to a house that’s too hot or too cold. With a simple app on your smartphone or tablet, you have the power to change your home’s HVAC settings anywhere, anytime. These are a great feature to have whenever you’re away from home, as you can monitor your home from virtually anywhere.

Reduced environmental impact: Finding more efficient ways to operate your heating and cooling systems helps reduce the use of excess energy and lessens the amount of carbon emissions and harmful chemicals that are released.

Increased home value: Like any improvements to your home, a properly installed smart HVAC system can boost resale value. These days, more folks are conscious of energy efficiency and environmental responsibility, so a smart heating and cooling system can increase your home’s desirability—and your asking price.

Costs and Considerations

The cost of a smart HVAC system can vary greatly, and it depends on what type of system you’d like to purchase. Smart thermometers typically cost between $200-$300, while replacing your entire HVAC system with an energy-efficient, zone-controlled system can cost several thousand dollars.

A caveat to consider for smart HVAC systems is that their benefits are largely dependent on your home. For example, if you own an older home with drafty single-pane windows and poor insulation, don’t expect a smart HVAC to vastly improve your energy consumption.

Also, be sure to research the features that come with the smart HVAC system you’re considering. For your system to be the most beneficial, you must determine which settings and features you should use based on your home size, temperature preferences, and other factors.

Before deciding on a smart HVAC, it’s important to consult with an experienced HVAC contractor. They can help you determine how much you’ll save if you install a new system.