Smart air conditioner: everything you need to know about this new smart system

Shutters, lighting, heating: now almost every object in the home can be connected and/or smart... and your air conditioner is no exception! Although not everyone knows about them yet, smart air conditioners have found their place in the world of the smart home. But what can they do that a traditional system can’t? How do you operate them for best results? And once you start shopping, there’s a list of things to consider: BTU rating, type of unit (window mounted or portable design), size, price... But don’t feel daunted by all this new technology! You’ll find the answers you seek in our article.

What is smart air conditioning?

What are the differences between smart air conditioners and conventional air conditioners?

While the temperature and cooling power of conventional air conditioners are regulated by a remote control, smart air conditioners use wifi. More precisely, they are controlled using a dedicated smartphone app. You can also manage them using a voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, if your system is compatible with this new technology.

Installation: how can you make your air conditioning smart?

Buy a smart air conditioner that already has connectivity

More and more manufacturers are selling units that already include wifi connectivity and work with a smartphone app. These smart air conditioners are installed in the same way as conventional air conditioners.

Upgrade your conventional air conditioner to a smart system

What can you do when you already own an air conditioner but it’s not a smart model? You could buy a whole new system but that would be a big investment... especially since if your air conditioner isn’t obsolete yet, it would be a shame to have to part with it so soon.

The best option is to buy an air conditioning controller! Controllers allow you to upgrade your existing unit from a conventional system to a smart one.

With Netatmo, you can make any model of AC unit or air-to-air heat pump installed in your home smart. We've developed a unique process that makes pairing with our app easy and automatic. All AC units with an infrared controller and a screen displaying all the settings are compatible.

What are the benefits of a smart air conditioner?

Remote control of your air conditioner

Being able to manage your air conditioner remotely is a real advantage. Whether you’re at home, at work or out and about, with a smart air conditioner you can control the amount of cool air (or heating in the case of a reverse cycle system) in a room, at any time and from anywhere.

Your smart air conditioner adapts to your habits

A smart air conditioner can be programmed to fit your schedule and habits and those of your household. Do you come home every day around 7pm? Your unit will turn on ahead of your arrival. The same applies if you always leave the house at the same time: the device will automatically turn off. So these units can save you energy and money. What if something unexpected happens? Like we say, you can rely on the remote control technology that’s an added advantage of these products.

Comfort guaranteed

A smart air conditioner provides an optimal level of comfort by precisely adjusting the temperature as well as the airflow in the rooms of your home, according to your preferences and perceptions. If you have a reverse cycle system, you can add even more comfort by enjoying heat in winter and cool air in summer.

Preventive maintenance

If anything isn’t working properly, smart air conditioners can detect it by themselves. This allows you to anticipate any malfunctions, avoid the discomfort of being without cool air (or heating), and even reduce the cost of repairs that can really add up.

Smart air conditioning and energy savings

One of the major benefits of smart air conditioning is that it helps you save energy. By collecting and linking the various data in your environment (temperature, humidity, air quality...), a smart air conditioner accurately and intelligently regulates its own power and the amount of cool air or heat it provides to each room in the home. This regulation allows you to optimise the energy consumption of your air conditioner, so you’ll save money on your energy bills. These are clever and flexible devices: they adapt to your lifestyle and you can control them remotely. By only turning on when you’re at home, your smart air conditioner will consume less energy, save you money and be more efficient.

With the built-in geolocation feature, the Smart Controller detects your comings and goings. Choose to automatically turn off your AC when you leave and turn it back on when you return so you can enjoy the perfect temperature. Save energy without even noticing!

How much does a smart air conditioner cost?

Before you buy a smart air conditioner, you need to decide on your budget for the purchase. Obviously the price will depend on several criteria: do you want a monobloc or split air conditioning system? Do you prefer a unit that already offers connectivity, or an air conditioning controller so you can upgrade your conventional air conditioner to a smart air conditioner? The unit’s BTU rating is another factor to take into account. A BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a rating used to determine the heating or in the case of an air conditioner the cooling capacity of an appliance. Smart air conditioners are usually window AC units (fitted in or under a window) although portable models are also available. Window air conditioners typically have a cooling capacity ranging from 5,000 to 12,500 BTU. As a general rule, an air conditioner needs 20 BTU for each square foot of living space. Portable smart air conditioners are usually less powerful. The larger the room you want to cool, the higher the BTU should be, so don't forget to check the BTU rating when comparing products.

For devices that are already smart, you should expect to pay between £3,500 to £4,500, as you have consider the price of the unit as well as installation. Most of the time, you’ll be given an estimate.

An air conditioning controller is a more affordable option: controllers cost from about £90 to £260. This is an ideal option if you already own an air conditioner but want a quick and less expensive installation.