Carolina Climate Control Blog: Archive for the ‘Smart Thermostats’ Category

Planning A Vacation Away From The Lowcountry? Here’s The AC Setting You Should Use

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

Roughly 6 out of every 10 Americans took a vacation during 2017. At the same time, about 75% of all of the homes in the United States have air conditioners.

This means that many Americans are facing the same question every year: what AC setting should I use while I’m on vacation?

Your first instinct might be to simply turn your AC unit off so that you can save energy and money while you aren’t in the home. Actually, though, this is probably the wrong choice unless you live in an incredibly mild and dry climate.

What’s the right AC setting when you’re away on vacation, then? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.


Vacation AC Setting: Why Do You Need to Use AC When You’re on Vacation?

While it might be obvious to you why you would want to leave the heat on if you last for a vacation in the winter, it might not be so obvious why you would keep the air conditioning on during a summer vacation. One of the things that your AC does during the summer is that it helps to reduce the level of humidity in the air. Here are some of the issues that can occur if you completely turn your AC off when you leave the house for an extended period of time.


Mildew and Mold Growth

If you turn your AC off before a vacation, you might come home to find some unpleasant musty scents in the air. This is because your air conditioning helps to dehumidify the air in your home in addition to keeping your home cool. If the humidity gets about 50% in your house, there is a good chance you will start to see mildew and mold growth.

Mold and mildew can grow on all kinds of surfaces, including carpet, insulation, wood, and food.


Electronics Damage

If the humidity levels indoors exceed 60%, it is possible that some of the components of your electronic devices could start to malfunction or breakdown. Considering that, for many of us, we have invested quite a bit into our electronics, it makes sense to protect them even when you aren’t home.


Structural Damage

Indoor humidity can also cause structural damage. This includes warped wood flooring, peeling paint, splitting or cracking plaster, and swelling doors and window frames.


AC Setting For Pets While You're On Vacation


Lastly, if you are leaving a pet at home, you’ll want to make sure to leave the thermostat on a comfortable AC setting. It is possible that you will need to set it for a lower temperature than you would if you did not have pets in the house. You’ll want to check with your veterinarian about what the most comfortable temperature would be for your pets while you are away.


What AC Setting Should I Use While I’m on Vacation?

It can be incredibly tempting to just turn your AC off when you go on vacation. Why wouldn’t you want to save some money on your cooling bill when the house is empty? However, as discussed above, you will not want to expose your home too high levels of humidity or heat while you are gone.

As a general rule, you should not set the indoor temperature setting to any higher than 84° when you are away during the summer and the outdoor temperature is in the 90s. This will help you to save some money on your cooling bill while also ensuring that your home is not damaged by humidity and extreme heat.

Before you leave your home, you can close the curtains in order to help reduce the strain on your AC unit. This can help to keep your home cooler by blocking the afternoon sun.

You’ll also want to make sure that your thermostat fan is set to “auto” rather than “on.” If you simply leave the fan on, it means that it will run constantly. This means that you will likely spend more money than you want to on your cooling bill while you are on vacation. By leaving it on auto, your air conditioner will no to only run when it needs to, which can help you save money and conserve energy.


Which Types of Thermostats Are Best For When You’re on Vacation?

One of the benefits of having a thermostat with Wi-Fi is that you can check and adjust the temperature remotely. This means that if you left in a rush and were not able to program your thermostat, you can do so while you are on vacation. This also allows you to check and make sure that a house sister didn’t make any unnecessary adjustments to the indoor temperature setting.

Are you wondering if it’s worth it to upgrade to a smart/Wi-Fi thermostat this year? Check out our article on the topic here.


Is It Time For You to Get a New Thermostat?

Having a thermostat you can control remotely is a great way to never have to worry when you’re away on vacation. Whether you’re worried that you forgot to change the AC setting or you want to check up on where your house sitter is keeping the thermostat, you don’t have to worry and wonder anymore.

These thermostats come with a number of convenient features. For one, these thermostats gather usage data to start programming themselves around your habits so that you always have a comfortable AC setting in the summer and a cozy house in the winter!

Is it time for you to get a smart thermostat? If so, contact us to get a free estimate today!

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3 Reasons To Upgrade To A Smart/WiFi Thermostat In 2021

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

When digital thermostats debuted in the 1980s, there were a lot of buttons and directions involved to program them to cool the house the way you wanted.

As a result, most people never bothered to try. (This was the era of the blinking VCR clock, after all.) Thirty years later, they still weren’t trying as only about 12 percent report ever programming their systems.

So, it’s understandable if you’ve been putting off a thermostat upgrade because a smart thermostat sounds a little intimidating. Fortunately, the wifi thermostat has evolved a lot in the past decade, becoming much easier to use and the hub of a smart home.

Adding one to your Lowcountry home allows you to take the most advantage of the efficiency of your HVAC system. Here are just a few of the benefits of a smart thermostat to consider if you plan to upgrade.


1. Convenience Features

Set-and-forget worked okay in the first programmable versions as long as your schedule was consistent time-wise. But as our lives have become less predictable, a smart thermostat has evolved to learn your preferences and set a flexible schedule for you.

It usually takes a week’s worth of usage data for a smart system to start programming itself around your habits. It learns your schedule as well as temperature preferences to determine when to run the system.

Remote sensors in different rooms allow you to balance hot and cold areas of the house. Because the thermostat connects to sensors around the house, it doesn’t make temp decisions solely based on the air in the vicinity of the control. Some sensors can even be set to tell if someone’s in the room or if it can go ahead and turn the air off in that room.

You can also take advantage of geofencing, which is when the app on your phone lets the system know you’re on your way home. The smart thermostat can be set to wait to adjust temperatures until it gets that notification to minimize the amount of time it runs the heat or AC.

We love the Trane ComfortLink II as a great example of how a smart thermostat can accomplish all this. The ComfortLink can detect temperature and humidity and adjust the compressor and fan speeds in real-time. You stay comfortable without having to get involved.

Given time, your thermostat will be programming itself and you can go back to forgetting about it.


2. Remote Control

By definition, programmable thermostats are smart, but to get the most out of them, you need to make sure you get one that’s WiFi-enabled. That’s the difference between a smart vs WiFi thermostat, although you’ll see the terms used interchangeably.

Smart means the thermostat can learn over time to adjust to your habits, while WiFi has the additional benefit of allowing you to connect remotely to control it through an app. This remote control is one of the biggest benefits of a smart home.

As your thermostat learns your patterns, it might know that you always come home late on Tuesdays. If your regular schedule changes and you’ll be home earlier, you can use the app to change the temperature manually so the house is comfortable by the time you arrive.

Smart thermostats increasingly come with direct connections to a smart home hub like Alexa or Google Assistant. This allows you to request temperature changes with verbal commands. You can have the system warm-up your studio space so it’s cozy when you’re ready to work.

Our example Trane ComfortLink II can even serve as your smart home hub through the built-in Nexia Bridge. You can use it to remotely monitor and control the temperature on a zone-by-zone basis with your phone, tablet, or computer.

With a WiFi link as part of your system, you can control it from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.


3. Money-Saving Insights

We all love saving money, and it tends to be a big factor in why our clients upgrade their HVAC to more efficient systems. After all, the average home spends half of its energy bills just on heating and cooling. Adding in a smart thermostat improves your ability to heat and cool efficiently.

That’s where the smart part comes into play because saving money and using less energy is all about figuring out when to make adjustments. And with sensors and zones, the system can even decide where makes the most sense.

Most smart thermostats can log equipment use and temperature data to let you track and manage energy usage. Some can be set to send you reminders for service or air filter changes.
All of these are great for helping you estimate future energy costs and see how efficiently your equipment is operating. This means you’ll also see if it suddenly stops being so efficient.

The Trane ComfortLink II provides diagnostic data through the Nexia Diagnostics system and dashboard. Not only will it highlight any issues, but it can also alert us here at Carolina Climate Control so we can schedule a visit to check on it before anything breaks, and you’re left sweating.


Get a Smart Thermostat Upgrade

Today’s smart thermostat learns your preferences and anticipates your needs while managing your HVAC to deliver the most energy efficiency. It handles everything for you for maximum convenience while still allowing you complete control no matter where you are.

If you’d like to upgrade your thermostat in 2021, give us a call to talk about the Trane ComfortLink or other smart thermostat. Our Charleston customers find it a great way to optimize the performance of their systems and one of the best smart home devices to invest in.

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HVAC Reviews: Trane ComfortLink™ II XL1050 Smart Thermostat

Monday, January 27th, 2020

We’re living in an age of advanced interconnectivity when it comes to household electronics.

The wave of Internet of Things (IoT) device applications have touched nearly every aspect of our daily lives. From wireless home security systems to automated lighting & switches, to smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo, our ability to connect and control our lives is ever increasing.

Not to be left out of this connected age, Trane’s ComfortLink™ II XL1050 throws the HVAC industry’s hat into the smart home device lineup.

As you’ll see below, the XL1050 is one of the most advanced thermostats out on the market and gives homeowners and their local HVAC companies a whole new level of connectivity and control like never before.

What Exactly Is A “Smart” Thermostat?

While we’ve detailed the differences between analog vs. digital type thermostats, you may not know the difference between a digital vs. smart thermostat.

The primary difference between a digital thermostat and a smart thermostat lies in its ability to “learn” and adjust settings based on its inputs. While a regular digital thermostat may have advanced features like programmable schedules, it still heavily relies on user input for normal operation.

A smart thermostat does everything a digital thermostat does programmatically, but takes it to another level by tracking, measuring and adjusting its settings — automatically — to optimize the performance of your home’s heating and air conditioning system.

Essentially, all smart thermostats are digital thermostats but not all digital thermostats are smart thermostats.

How the XL1050 “learns” to optimize performance is by tracking and analyzing data from your home’s HVAC system operation. The system also works with variable speed systems like Trane’s XV20i Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps to optimize temperature and humidity by adjusting compressor & fan speeds — in real-time.

These real-time adjustments ensure not only extremely efficient system operation, but also provide you the most comfortable, reliable air conditions possible.

Next Level, Real-Time Diagnostics

Since the XL1050 receives all of your system’s performance data in real-time for performance optimization, it can also use that data to diagnose any potential issues your system may be have — also in real-time.

This diagnostic data is provided via the Nexia Diagnostics system and dashboard. This diagnostic dashboard can then be used by your local heating and air contractor (with your permission, of course) to assess your system’s health and notify you of any potential issues you may be having.

This data allows your HVAC company to know everything about your system before making any service calls. That means the service call time can be reduced, and also helps avoid any repeat visits to get your system back working again — both of which save you time & money on system maintenance & repairs.

Your Remote Access Smart Home Hub

The XL1050 comes with a built-in Nexia Bridge, making it a quick, plug & play smart home hub for more than just your heating and air conditioning controls.

Using Z-Wave wireless communication technology, you can connect up to 200 different types of smart home devices to your XL1050 that include lights, door locks, smart speakers like Google Home and many, many more.

All of these devices can be controlled via your Nexia app. While controlling your HVAC system comes free with the installation of the XL1050, adding additional smart home devices may require a modestly-priced monthly service subscription. Be sure to ask your local Trane dealer about subscription details.

Large, Full Color 7-Inch Touchscreen Display

For those of you that still like to operate things manually at your physical thermostat device, the XL1050 has you covered — and then some.

It’s large, 7-Inch full color touchscreen display allows you to do everything from small temperature adjustments to quickly viewing things like outdoor temperature, indoor humidity and even air cleaner settings.

You can even set a screen lock on your XL1050 that helps ensure other people don’t make any unwanted changes to your comfort settings.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to choosing a thermostat for your Lowcountry home, there are few options on the market that can beat the Trane ComfortLink™ II XL1050 in features & usability.

At Carolina Climate Control, we’ve installed several of these in Charleston homes and can say that homeowners are always wildly impressed with both the Nexia app/system and the money it potentially saves them via performance optimization.

So if you’re looking at getting an air conditioning replacement here this winter — or anytime this year for that matter — be sure to ask about installing the XL1050; you won’t be disappointed.

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What Is A Smart Thermostat?

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

We all know the importance and role that thermostats play in our everyday lives, whether that be for your home’s HVAC system or your commercial heating and air.

They control the temperature and humidity by adjusting the operation of the HVAC system for whatever area or space they’re in. The temperature is set, the thermostat monitors the current temperature of the room or space and sends the on or off signal to the heating or air conditioning until the temperature reaches the set level.

It’s a pretty simple invention that dates back to the 1600’s and is an integral — if not undervalued — device of our time.

Even though the concept of the function of the thermostat has changed little since its early beginnings, the technology used to carry out that function surely has.

The Pre-Connectivity Era: Analog & Digital Thermostats

In the pre-internet connected era, two types of thermostats were most abundant: analog and digital.

Analog thermostats relied mostly on mechanical means to sense temperature, often using the expansion and contraction of a two metal strips that would then trigger a mechanical on/off switch depending on their position.

Digital thermostats on the other hand, use no moving parts to detect temperature; rather they rely on semiconductor (electronic) sensors that can improve the accuracy of detection. These models also have other electronics within them that allow for programmed settings, such as turning on/off at specific times of the day for example.

While the analog models are still hanging around in some areas, digital thermostats have all but replaced them due to their more advanced functionality.

Internet-Connected Thermostats

In the age of internet-connected devices, or the Internet of Things (IoT) era as many people refer to it, perhaps one of the first “non-computer” home devices ever to connect to the internet were thermostats.

This added connectivity allowed users to control and operate their home’s HVAC system by connecting through the internet, often through a web or app interface on their computers or mobile devices.

This useful connection, however, is not necessarily what makes a thermostat “smart thermostat”.

Smart Thermostats: Next Level Connected Thermostats

What makes an internet-connected thermostat a “smart” thermostat is it’s ability to store and analyze data about your home’s HVAC operation, give you real-time energy usage and offer automated ways to make your system more efficient.

Instead of simply manually programming your HVAC system to operate during the times when you’re away, by connected your thermostat with your home security system for example, it automatically turn on/off based on when you activate or deactivate your alarm system. Since this event-based and not time-based, it will never perform actions if you’re not home, allowing for a more flexible schedule and improved operational efficiency.

Smart thermostats also can be setup to send you reminders for things like tune-ups, air filter changes and notify you and your local HVAC company if there may be an issue with your system.

These added features allow you to always know the state of your system and help extend the lifespan of it by catching issues early before they cause a major breakdown.

With smart thermostats, connecting-to and monitoring your home or commercial heating and air system is easier than ever, leaving you more time to do things you like rather than worrying about your HVAC system.

If you haven’t thought about integrating a smart thermostat before, hopefully after reading this you have a better understanding of the different types of thermostats out there and how a smart thermostat can help lower your stress levels when it comes to your HVAC system.

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A Wifi Thermostat Review: Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Honeywell

Monday, January 12th, 2015

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