Your HVAC system has a variety of different functions, all geared toward maintaining comfort in your home environment. There's the furnace, boiler or heat pump to keep you warm in the winter time, and on the other hand, there's the air conditioning system to help mitigate the summer heat. The ventilation system ties it all together, distributing treated air throughout your home while filtering out particles and pollutants to keep your indoor air quality at a high level. Despite the different functions, however, your HVAC gear works most effectively and efficiently as one integrated system, with each part working hand-in-hand with the others.

Breaking Down Communication Barriers

Depending on your setup, your heat and air conditioning may already function as one interactive system. Homes with forced air furnaces and central air conditioning, for example, already have all their HVAC gear tied together. On the other hand, some homes might do HVAC in bits and pieces, with perhaps an electric resistance heater, a mini-split air conditioner and a separate heat recovery ventilator.

Regardless of what your current heat and air conditioning setup looks like, you can gain efficiency by integrating it even further with smart technology. With a smart thermostat installed, your HVAC components can communicate with each other in order to expend the smallest amount of energy possible while still keeping you comfortable. The devices can talk to you, as well, providing a wealth of data that can inform you where you're using the most energy and inform you of the best opportunities to conserve. The bottom line – by integrating your systems, you can see a sizable reduction in your HVAC bills.

Saving Energy Saves Money

The more homeowners demand integrated systems, the more contractors and manufacturers will respond. “More contractors are becoming aware of controlling the flow of energy in homes because many homeowners are educated about how saving energy, saves money,” said Mike Branson, of the Rheem HVAC company, in an executive roundtable compiled by Contracting Business. “Homeowners are now, more than ever, interested in understanding the big picture – how can all the systems in my home or business influence the other?”

Other executives at the roundtable agreed that integrated systems are the wave of the future. “We also see 'whole-home energy and comfort solutions' continuing to be one of the ways many contractors will attempt to grow by expanding their business offering,” noted Bob Sharp of Emerson Climate Technology.

Don't Overlook the Little Things

And don't forget, there's more to a “systems approach” than just installing the latest in technology. Little things like insulation make a huge difference in your overall efficiency and need to be taken into account. “The benefits of a high-efficiency heating and cooling system can be diluted in a home with poor insulation values, leaky windows and doors and other conditions that contribute to loss of comfort,” pointed out Takeshi Ebisu of Goodman Global Group. When you think about a whole-house system, you truly need to consider the entire house.

If you are interested in taking an integrated systems approach to your heating and air conditioning setup, contact your local HVAC technician today for a consultation.