Years ago, no one could have guessed that the humble thermostat would be at the center of the home automation revolution. These days, thermostats can show you the weather, generate energy reports and automate your home’s lights, security, appliances and climate controls in your Plantation, FL home. Smart thermostats like Trane’s ComfortLink, Carrier’s Cor, The Nest or Ecobee aren’t just about home automation. They give you more control over humidity, fan speed and other features that are available with multi-stage and variable-speed HVAC units.

Smart Home Basics

Communication is the key to home automation. Programmable thermostats now include wireless transmission systems developed by companies like Wink, Nexia, Alex & Apple home kits. This technology turns your thermostat into a control center that talks to the remote sensors and determines exactly what’s happening in your home. It’s a bridge for information that’s traveling between the sensors and your phone. At a glance, you can see if the lights are on or if the garage door is still open. You can lock the front door or turn the air conditioner down using your phone from wherever you are.

Home automation bridges are fluent in multiple wireless languages. Bluetooth is one close-range protocol that you might know already. In home automation, manufacturers have developed proprietary languages like ZigBee and Clear Connect, but Z-Wave is the most common. Hundreds of Z-Wave devices are available, so it’s the best and most versatile option. The Carrier Cor and the Trane ComfortLink thermostats are both compatible with Z-Wave. The typical range for this wireless language is between 60 and 100 feet, so you can install sensors in a variety of spaces. Here are a few smart devices that you can add to your network:

  • Choose from more than 100 automated dimmers and switches to control your lighting
  • Easily install smart light bulbs and outlet adapters that reduce power use
  • Motorized blinds and shades open and close on your schedule
  • Water your lawn and landscape plants more efficiently with automated sprinklers
  • Smart door locks let you control who can access your home no matter where you are
  • Security sensors alert you when windows and doors are open
  • Build a self-monitored security system with entry sensors, motion detectors and Wi-Fi cameras

Carrier’s Wi-Fi Cor Thermostat

Cor is a home automation brand owned by Carrier’s parent company. The Cor thermostat has a fully programmable seven-day schedule, advanced home and away sensors and all of the latest bells and whistles. It features an integrated bridge that communicates with your smartphone and home automation devices.

The thermostat makes recommendations and generates customized energy usage reports so that you can find ways to make your home more efficient. According to independent studies, the Cor thermostat reduced homeowner’s heating and cooling costs by 20 percent when recommended HVAC settings were used. Additionally, the Cor app can sense your location. If you’re in the neighborhood outside your regular schedule, it will automatically adjust the temperature to your preferred at-home setting.

With the Cor thermostat, you don’t need a subscription to use the smart devices, including security and surveillance components. Round-the-clock monitoring is available for a fee.

The Trane ComfortLink Thermostat

Trane makes several smart thermostats featuring Nexia technology. The Trane ComfortLink II XL850 has a built-in Nexia bridge that links automated accessories in your home. The XL950 is compatible with the Nexia hub, but you need to purchase it separately.

These smart thermostats increase the efficiency of variable-speed fans and multi-stage compressors by communicating with the ComfortLink II board in your Trane HVAC unit. When we install a Trane thermostat in Broward County, Florida, the customer gets remote climate control access for free. However, a paid subscription is required to access Nexia’s home automation features.

With smart thermostats from Trane and Carrier, it’s possible to add voice-activated controls such as Amazon’s Alexa or Echo. Home automation systems are modular and infinitely expandable. Each bridge can support more than 100 devices. Sensors can be added to existing doors, outlets, and appliances, so it’s easy to create your own smart home.

You can learn more about programmable thermostats, variable-speed air conditioners and other advances in heating and cooling online or by calling HI-VAC Air Conditioning Service at (954) 246-4141.