The Future of Heating Your Home

One inevitability in life is the continued advancement of technology.

So many of the things we take for granted every day would have seemed like science fiction at the turn of the century. These changes extend into almost every aspect of our lives, including our home comfort systems.

Here are some of the ways in which the future of heating your home could change in the next ten years.

Smart Thermostats

Yes, we already have these, but they will continue to become even more precise and useful. The programming possibilities of the current smart thermostats are already an immense help at reducing the cost of heating and cooling your home. The fact that you can do this while not even being on your property is a further convenience.

However, a new generation of models also allow you to remotely control other types of HVAC equipment in your home. Imagine also being able to operate your humidifier and dehumidifier using a smartphone? At the moment, you are not likely to find such extras on a mid-priced thermostat, but it is only a matter of time before that technology becomes standard. All-in-one control systems like Apple’s HomeKit are so tempting to high-end consumers, the push to expand the abilities of such products could soon result in further HVAC applications no one has considered possible yet.

Solar Power

Some of us already have solar panels installed on our roof, but experts agree that we are still in the early days of just what this energy source can do. Already companies are coming up with panels that are far less conspicuous and require much less room.

The quest for efficient “green buildings” has led to several exciting innovations. With the increasing ability to embed solar cells in unusual places (including windows!), that means an even greater way to generate power. Could you run a whole HVAC system using just the solar power your home collects? It could well be possible in the years to come.

Self-Cleaning Ducts

It is important to periodically have your ducts cleaned because blockages affect both air flow and quality. It’s not too difficult or expensive to have professionals perform this service, but wouldn’t it be great if the ducts just did it themselves? Self-cleaning ducts would be especially helpful in places like hospitals and seniors’ homes, which are not only concerned with environmental comfort, but also with preserving hygienic conditions and air quality.

Companies from Australia and Italy are collaborating on ducts that would use an antimicrobial duct solution with self-cleaning nanostructured coating. The inspiration for this comes from the self-cleaning lotus leaf, which always remains clean, no matter how dirty the environment. It is quite feasible to believe that should this technology prove successful, home applications could be right around the corner.

Other Possibilities

The thought behind the Internet of Things is that if something can be connected to the web, it will be. Many people will find this daunting, but once the savings and convenience become apparent, and the tech learning curve reduces, these worries will be forgotten. As with everything, early adopters pay more, but in nearly all cases, once a technology is established it soon leads to price reductions.

Wouldn’t it be great to not only control your furnace from afar, but also have it alert you when the filter needs changing? Or advise when a breakdown has occurred, thus allowing you to immediately book a service call? It’s exciting to think about what the future could hold for the average homeowner in the years to come.

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5 Products to Turn Your Home Smart!

By now, you’ve probably heard the buzz about technology that can turn your home ‘smart’. But what is it that makes these devices so smart?

Man using a smart thermostat app on his mobile phone.

A smart home device is one you can control with a remote, smartphone, tablet or even your own voice. Wireless connectivity has become a feature in everything from appliances to home heating and cooling systems.

Need help getting started? These five easy-to-use products can turn your home smart — and save energy while they’re at it!

1. Smart Thermostat

Gone are the days when thermostats were only meant for turning the temperature up or down. Smart thermostats come with many cool and convenient features, along with user-friendly controls anyone can learn to use.

Like programmable thermostats, you can program a smart thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically at set times. However, with a smart thermostat, you can do it wirelessly using a smartphone or other device. This means you can adjust the temperature from anywhere in the home, while you’re at work or school, or even while on vacation!

Some high-tech models of smart thermostats can learn about your habits and adjust the temperature automatically. The popular ecobee3 smart WiFi thermostat, for example, uses wireless sensors to read the temperature in different rooms.

2. Smart Speakers / Smart Home Assistants

The latest crop of smart speakers do more than just play music. Smart speakers can serve as a central ‘hub’ for various smart devices, letting you control everything from thermostats to smart TVs with the sound of your voice. Products like the Amazon Echo and Google Home also come with a virtual assistant able to keep track of your schedule, shopping list, and other useful bits of information.

Manufacturers are increasingly designing smart home devices to work with smart speakers right out of the box. However, not all devices are compatible with the various smart speakers on the market, so it’s important to do your research before you invest in one. If you already own a smart home device, be sure to opt for a hub able to speak its language.

3. Smart Water Sensors

If you’ve ever had a pipe burst in the winter, you know how important it is to catch leaks early on. Trouble is, an old-fashioned leak detector is only useful if someone’s around to hear the alarm!

Fortunately, manufacturers have patched this flaw with smart water sensors. Smart home water sensors are battery-powered leak detectors that include wireless technology, allowing them to connect with smart speakers and other devices. If the sensor detects water, it can instantly send an alert to your computer or smartphone.

Like a smart thermostat, smart water sensors give homeowners more control over the home while they’re away. This peace of mind is more than worth the modest price tag!

4. Smart Shades and Blinds

You may not realize it, but windows have a big impact on the temperature inside your home. The sun’s rays bump up the temperature in the summer, and in the winter, warm air can escape through a poorly-sealed window.

A simple way to control the amount of heat entering or exiting through the windows is to install heavy curtains or blinds. Unfortunately, we tend to leave them in one position most of the time. This makes automated smart shades and blinds a great choice for energy-conscious homeowners. You can also combine smart shades and blinds with a smart thermostat for even bigger energy savings!

5. Smart Light Bulbs

Remember The Clapper? It seems we have always been looking for ways to control the lights without flicking a switch. Smart light bulbs are the next big leap in this technology, allowing you to turn the lights on or off from afar with the use of a smartphone or smart speaker.

Smart lights are more expensive than traditional bulbs, especially if you plan to convert the entire house, but they also use less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs.


Image: Prykhodo