Wi-Fi Thermostats: Integration-Friendly Solution to Healthier Home Environment
From an indoor air quality standpoint, Wi-Fi thermostats like those from Aprilaire offer air purification, temperature, and humidity can all be managed from one app … or from a variety of third-party control systems.
Indoor air pollution continues to pose a huge health risk in today’s tightly built, energy-efficient homes, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranking it among the top five environmental dangers. According to EPA, the air inside a home can be two to five times more polluted than the worst outside air, due to harmful fumes emitted by building materials, dust and pet dander, and chemicals from cleaning products, among other sources.
Aprilaire has long understood the importance of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and has been a brand leader in the HVAC industry for more than 50 years. The company manufactures a complete line of IAQ solutions, including thermostats and controls, air purifiers, ventilation systems, and humidity control products. This extensive product portfolio and resume of success allows Aprilaire to help HVAC contractors and home systems integrators ensure that their customers can enjoy clean, healthy indoor air.
Meeting a Growing Consumer Demand
Recently, Aprilaire broadened the scope of its line of controls to include smart Wi-Fi thermostats, leveraging its years of expertise and experience in the HVAC and IAQ business to create a smart Wi-Fi Automation Thermostat embedded with sophisticated technology that actively monitors, manages, and controls all aspects of the indoor environment—not just the temperature. In addition to the control of a home’s heating and cooling system, the thermostat is able to manage a home’s ventilation, air purification, humidification, and dehumidification equipment, providing home systems integrators with a comprehensive solution for managing every aspect of a client’s home environment.
Also impressive, Aprilaire’s Wi-Fi Automation Thermostats accomplishes this extensive level of control without weaving in fancy form factors, elaborate and often finicky “learning” algorithms, or the addition of superfluous features to get the job done. Instead, Aprilaire draws on its years of experience in the indoor climate industry to create a thermostat that focuses on the basics—without all the bells and whistles to distract from its core competency—and to deliver a solution that the consumer market really needs and wants.
“We know through our long history in the home comfort industry what consumers are looking for, and they’re demanding with increasing frequency products that can manage more than just the temperature,” says automation sales manager Jon Fischer.
Adds Aprilaire marketing director Mike Rimrodt, “The availability of a thermostat that factors all of the important aspects of a home environment, like IAQ and humidity, gives home systems integrators the unique opportunity to differentiate their businesses and improve customer satisfaction.”
Differentiate Through IAQ Control
While air purifiers and ventilation systems have been available for years from Aprilaire, the company’s new Wi-Fi Automation Thermostat finally makes this equipment convenient to monitor and control. From the same Aprilaire smartphone/tablet app that can be used to set heating and cooling setpoints and schedules, homeowners can turn on and off IAQ equipment on the fly. This “Event-based” style of command includes the control of humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air cleaners, and ventilation systems. For example, after cooking a meal or painting a room, a user can quickly grab his or her phone, launch the app, and activate the ventilation system. Or, should an end-user see on the app’s 3-day report of the weather that the pollen count is expected to be high, he or she can tap the “allergy day” button on the smartphone screen to activate the home’s air purifier for a three-hour stint.
Precision Humidity Control
Humidity affects more than just a homeowner’s comfort level; it can have a real impact on the integrity of structural and decorative elements inside the home. Wood flooring, artwork, and other features can be affected, as can sensitive home electronic equipment, such as A/V components. Condensation can occur on windows when the humidity is out of whack, and mold and mildew may ensue. Improper humidity can even aggravate cold and flu symptoms.
That is why Aprilaire designed its Wi-Fi Automation Thermostat to work in concert with a home’s humidification equipment. With the use of an outdoor temperature sensor, and its internal humidity sensor, the thermostat is able to provide just the right amount of humidity, whether it’s 30 degrees or -30 degrees.
One Screen Tells the Whole Story
The ability to consolidate the management of air purity, humidity, ventilation, and heating and cooling equipment under one simple user interface provides home systems integrators with a very powerful product offering and consumers with an equally powerful home management tool. From one app on a smartphone, users can view the current settings of all equipment and make adjustments as necessary. In one fell swoop, consumers can create a comfortable, healthy, and efficient home atmosphere, while home systems integrators can broaden their portfolio of services to include technology that consumers are finding increasingly important, such as indoor air quality solutions.
Integration Capabilities Foster Sales Success
A uniform app to monitor and manage the entire spectrum of indoor environmental factors is convenient, but Aprilaire takes this a step further by engineering the Wi-Fi Automation Thermostat to be integrated easily with a variety of third-party control systems including those from Control4, Savant, Elan, Crestron, Vantage, RTI and others. Is it also compatible with non-Aprilaire brands of HVAC and IAQ equipment.
“Aprilaire integration is now simpler and provides greater value than ever before. Our Wi-Fi thermostats allows systems integrators to benefit from our years of experience in the HVAC industry by differentiating their business and improving customer satisfaction,” says Rimrodt. “Working with all major automation systems provides peace of mind to systems integrators that this is a product that they won’t have to change their control system in order to use.”
Another bonus for integrators and customers is that communication between the control system and the thermostat happens directly, not through the cloud as is the case with other brands of Wi-Fi thermostats which can cause a number of issues such as signal latency between the control system and the Aprilaire app.
Tech Support in a Sometimes Tricky HVAC World
The Aprilaire Wi-Fi Automation Thermostat has been engineered to work with most brands and types of heating and cooling, ventilation, and air quality equipment. While this lends convenience, it can also breed some confusion, as HVAC units differ vastly in how they connect to a thermostat. Technical support from a company that understands the inner workings of HVAC and IAQ products and systems, therefore, becomes a critical component to successful implementation of smart thermostats. The same can be said of integration of thermostats with home automation systems.
Technological innovation often requires back-end support for a highly successful and satisfactory implementation, and thanks to seasoned, knowledgeable, and easily accessible tech support, Aprilaire is able to ensure that its Wi-Fi Automation Thermostat lives up to it promise of succinct and simple management and control of all facets of a home’s indoor climate.
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Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
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