A Heathier Home with Smart Thermostats

July 13, 2018

Contaminants inside your house can cause indoor air pollution; smart thermostats can help clear the air.

For decades, Los Angeles residents have been dealing with poor outdoor air quality, but did you know that the air inside homes is often more polluted than the air outside? Such conditions affect not only your health, but the integrity of your home furnishings.

According to Environmental Protection Agency, 96 percent of homes are victim to at least one type of indoor air quality (IAQ) issue. The offending IAQ problem could be tiny dust particles and pollen to cleaning chemicals and paint fumes. When ignored, these contaminants can build up and aggravate allergies, asthma, and cause other health problems. Although poor indoor quality is pervasive among households, many homeowners aren’t even aware of the problem or understand how to prevent it.

Here’s where a smart thermostat from a company like Control4® can help. Sure, a smart thermostat is a champ at adjusting your home’s HVAC unit to maintain a comfortable temperature. It can also help you save a few bucks on energy costs by setting back automatically, but there’s another benefit, a healthier indoor environment.

There are a few ways you can use a smart thermostat to combat indoor air pollution.

The first is through the thermostat itself. You will need a thermostat that can monitor for conditions like air purity and humidity, and can be integrated with air purifiers, air cleaners, ventilation systems, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, as well as with your HVAC unit. With an IAQ-responsive thermostat, like Control4 Wireless Thermostat by Aprilaire®, the humidifier can activate automatically when the relative humidity (RH) reaches a certain threshold.

Having clean air to breathe is not only good for your health–especially for asthma and allergy sufferers–it also helps preserve the integrity of so many of those expensive architectural, decorative, and high-tech features you may have integrated into your home. RH, in particular will affect wood flooring and woodwork, artwork, and electronic equipment. Flooring can warp and curl when there’s too much humidity in the air, or crack and shrink when there’s not enough. Canvas artwork can start to degrade over time when RH levels are out of whack.

In addition to gaining control over certain IAQ components, a smart thermostat when integrated with a home automation system becomes an even more useful tool at maintaining a healthy home environment. For example, your smart home can send status reports to whatever device you choose: smartphone, tablet, or in-wall touchscreen. You can receive notifications when levels are off. It’s a great way to gain a better understanding of how your habits might affect the indoor air.

The integration between a thermostat and home automation system also lets smart home professional create more elaborate schedules for the IAQ equipment to follow and allows them to sync the operation of the IAQ equipment with other systems. For example, the home automation system can trigger the thermostat to activate the air cleaner during days on which the pollen count is high or to kick start the ventilation system when a sensor notices smoke in the air. You can even weave motorized skylights and windows into IAQ scenarios. For example, after cooking dinner there’s bound to be some odor and smoke. The automation system can open a few windows to air out your house and shut them a few minutes later.

Better indoor air quality requires the right HVAC equipment, but by being able to more actively monitor, regulate, and control the conditions of your home environment you’ll be better prepared to protect both the health of your family and the furnishings in your home. You’ll breathe easier and your hardwood floors, in particular, will last longer when the proper humidity levels are maintained. Smart thermostats, when combined with home automation systems, provide the tools to do this and much more.
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