Ducted air-conditioning is the latest home appliance to embrace technology, with more brands incorporating apps and Wi-Fi control.
Local air-conditioning designer and manufacturer, Advantage Air, is at the forefront of this application of air.
“These apps turn every smartphone or tablet in your home into a remote control,” explains Advantage Air C.E.O. David Devoy. “They allow you to adjust the airflow, open and close zones, set timers, even turn the entire system off. After all, if you’re lazing on the couch watching TV, or tucked up in bed, you don’t want anything to disturb your comfort.”
Given the proliferation of smartphone and tablet ownership in Australia, aircon apps mean every member of the family has their own remote control. Providing the air-conditioning system zones every room independently, everyone is able to personalise the airflow to their own room. This makes for a more comfortable (and peaceful) home as there are no more ‘turn it up, turn it down’ battles. As anyone who has worked in an open plan office knows, one person’s idea of the perfect temperature, is another’s sauna and yet another’s freezer. More control equals less arguments.
Chill pills: The benefits of air-conditioning with tablet control.
While there are a few systems with app control, Advantage Air has taken touchscreen technology a step further by creating an air-conditioning system with it’s own built-in tablet control. Their MyAir Series 4 colour touchscreen doubles as an Android tablet that can be loaded with your favourite Internet browser and home apps. Its central location makes it perfect as the home hub for keeping track of everyone’s calendar, doing the online grocery shop, playing music or even checking recipes.
If you have kids who always abscond with the iPad, and only return it when the battery is 100% drained, having a tablet that is wired to one spot and never needs recharging will ensure you don’t lose your cool.
In keeping with this multi-tasking approach to appliances, the MyAir control panel is fully integrated with the outdoor compressor, so there’s no need for an additional control pad on the wall.
Where is technology heading next?
Given there is now an aircon system with tablet control, surely Siri-style voice activated air-conditioning can’t be too far away?
In the meantime, you’ll have to content yourself with intuitive motion sensors that automatically reduce airflow to empty rooms to save energy. This is another Advantage Air first, as they continue their quest to make air-conditioning more intuitive and thoughtful.
The sensors work on the same principle as your outdoor light motion sensors. However instead of looking out for your safety, they look out for your hip pocket. If they detect a room has been empty for 10 minutes, they automatically reduce airflow by 10%. If a room is still empty after 20 minutes, they drop airflow, and running costs, by 20%. As soon as someone walks back into the room, the airflow returns to the original level. Your body doesn’t register the slight change in temperature but your energy bill does.
Even if your system doesn’t have motion sensors, there are several ways you can minimise running costs. The most effective is to only run the air-conditioning in the rooms you are using. Obviously the more zones a system has, the more control you have. For optimum control, look for a system that zones each room individually. Systems that clump several rooms together in one zone may initially be a little cheaper, but can turn out to be a false economy due to higher running costs.
The other big energy saving tip is not to over-condition rooms. Again, the more control you have over airflow the better, so look for system that lets you adjust the airflow from 10% to 100% output. Combine these features with a smartphone app that lets you see which rooms are receiving air and how much, and you’ll have a system that keeps both you and your energy bills perfectly comfortable.