What Are Smart Vents?

With the price of just about everything going through the roof these days, saving money on your energy bill is even more important. With the advent of technology, smart appliances and other gadgets are being incorporated throughout the modern home to lower energy consumption, save money and increase comfort.

Smart vents regulate the temperature in specific rooms by limiting airflow from your HVAC system automatically. The goal is to eliminate uneven temperatures, called hot and cold spots, in your home in an effort to better balance the overall temperature.

Smart vents use wireless temperature sensors in select rooms that communicate with your thermostat and HVAC system in order to automatically open and close the vent to maintain the desired temperature. They can either cut off the airflow completely or let it all come in, as per the cooling and heating needs. With smart vents, you not only eliminate cold and hot spots in your home but also control your room air conditioning using your smartphone from anywhere in the world.

Let’s see how smart vents work and the benefits they provide.


What Is a Smart Vent?

Smart vents are automated air registers. They open and close automatically to allow or block airflow from the HVAC system into certain rooms of a home.

The vents are controlled by a central system that communicates with one or more smart home thermostats or temperature monitors. It uses these monitors to determine how much air is needed to hold the home at a certain temperature. When the temperature rises or falls above this setting, the system either opens or closes the smart vents as necessary.

Smart vents can provide some significant savings on home heating and cooling costs as a result. They may also enable homeowners to lower temperatures without increasing energy consumption.

People can also use smart vents to emulate zone heating and achieve room-by-room climate control by setting up monitors for each area that needs a specific temperature. Typically, this kind of effect is only achievable with a home HVAC zoning system.

Unlike a conventional air conditioning system, where the registers are always open, smart vents can also be closed remotely.


What Is Zone Heating & Cooling?

Zone heating works on a similar principle to that of smart vents. However, the approach requires more significant adjustments to a home HVAC system and relies less on smart technology by default.

With a zoned system, the home is divided into different areas. Each of these zones has its own thermostat that allows homeowners to set the temperature of each zone. Zone heating systems typically use dampers to direct the flow of air around the home and maintain different temperatures. These dampers are similar to smart vents in that they control the flow of air through the home’s ductwork. However, they are interior to the system rather than exterior like vents. Depending on the size of the home, multiple furnaces and air conditioners may also be necessary for zone heating.

Retrofitting an existing HVAC system with zone heating can be challenging, depending on homeowner needs and existing configuration. In some cases, additional ductwork may be necessary, and vents may need to be reconfigured.


Difference Between Smart Vents and Zone Heating & Cooling

A smart vent might seem much like a zoned HVAC system, but there are a few main differences. A zoned system converts your home into distinct areas, the temperatures of which can be controlled individually. There can be multiple rooms or spaces within one zone. With an intelligent, connected vent, you can only control individual rooms, not multiple at the same time.

With a zoned HVAC system, you can turn down the power on your HVAC system and control it directly. This is not possible with a smart vent system, which controls only the vents and not the HVAC unit itself. The complexity of zoned systems means they are more expensive to install. Additional moving parts also means more room for failure, meaning homeowners may have to adhere to a more complex maintenance schedule than they would with a simpler HVAC system.


What is the Purpose of Smart Vents?

When there are uneven temperatures in a home, it can lead to a number of problems and lower the overall efficiency of your HVAC system. Closed vents can reduce the airflow, which may overwork the heating and cooling equipment. When systems are running in this way, they are more prone to failure, and they drive up the energy bill at the same time. Smart vents are designed to handle these problems automatically, which takes the pressure off you to remember which vents are open or closed.


What Makes These Vents Smart?

Smart vents can be controlled remotely, but it’s the sensors that make all the difference. These units leverage the power of the sensors and an internet connection to make them an efficient way to control your vents. The sensors will automatically detect when a person enters or leaves a room and make adjustments in real time. The programming can help you to make very precise changes in temperature inside a single room. The functionality is extended to every occupied room in the home with no input required from the homeowner. If you want to control the system remotely, there is an app that you can use on your smartphone or favorite mobile device.


Advantages of Smart Vents

The primary advantage of a smart vent is the precise cooling and heating in your home. You do not have to tolerate extreme temperatures in any one room while another is at a comfortable temperature setting. Some other advantages of a smart vent system include:

  • They install quickly and easily and do not require alterations to your HVAC system.
  • Smart HVAC vents can automatically position themselves to either allow or impede airflow into the room.
  • No more adjusting vents manually.
  • If they are connected to a proximity or motion sensor, they can automatically turn off once the room is empty, saving you on energy bills.
  • With selective cooling and heating only in desired areas of your home, you can save on energy costs.
  • You can automate your air conditioning with a smartphone app, including adding schedules for to turn them on or off at specific times of the day.
  • A smart vent system can provide you with detailed usage reports and history.


Disadvantages of Smart HVAC Vents

Although smart vents do provide added comfort and convenience, there are also a few drawbacks associated with them. Let’s look at them below:

  • You will need to get a smart thermostat. Not just any thermostat but one that works with the smart vent and also with your existing thermostat.
  • Having two thermostats, one for the smart vent and one for the HVAC, can create problems within the system. If many of your vents are closed but the HVAC is still running at full power, it can create a backdraft and potentially damage the HVAC unit.
  • They can potentially reduce the total cross-sectional area of the duct. Motors, levers, actuators all take up space within the vent and can lead to reduced airflow.

Are Smart Vents Worth the Investment?

One of the best things about smart vents is that they can automatically close or partially close the vents when someone leaves a room. This may not seem like a big deal, but this does save energy on heating a room that is empty. This is a small energy saving, but you can start to see the potential when you extrapolate that functionality across an entire home for a year. It is estimated that homeowners in the U.S. spend around half of their home energy bills on cooling and heating! So, anything that can help you to lower those costs is well worth investigating, and smart vents can certainly lower your energy bills.


How Can You Save With Smart Air Vents?

Depending on how you use smart vents, they greatly help you save energy on cooling and heating costs. The amount that you save depends on the specific use case. This can include the size of your room, duration of usage, size of an HVAC system, and much more.

They mainly prevent wastage of energy by limiting airflow to areas of your home that are not in use. By flowing air exactly where required, you will receive the desired level of cooling at a much lower cost. With smart features such as scheduling, your vents can switch on or off as desired. This will allow you to keep your rooms at an even temperature rather than blasting your air conditioning all day long.


Give Us a Call

Keeping your Southern California home cool during the scorching summer heat just got easier, with help from Aire-Tech! We give you countless resources to help you explore and learn about HVAC and energy efficient options for your home.

If your system needs repair or inspection, call Aire-Tech on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.