Can I Control My AC With My Phone?

Today, smart phones connect us with nearly everything and anything and it seems that this isn’t even the end of that trend. This technological revolution is also extending to the way we control indoor comfort. With that being said, I would like to introduce the new and improved SMART thermostat.

Today’s thermostats or control systems can offer a wide range of features and connectivity with a smart phone. These devices make it even easier to align your lifestyle with the comfort in your home. But, it isn’t perfect. You may have to end up upgrading your entire system just to get it all to connect with each other.

Your current heating and cooling system was most likely designed to perform a single function and that was/is to heat or cool your home. It may not have been designed to communicate with the various types of control technology that today’s age provides. Depending on the HVAC system in your home, it’s possible that only a specific thermostat may control the system’s functions. It often comes down to what type of system was installed, and the wiring (or lack of wiring) between that equipment and the thermostat.

HVAC Equipment


Heating and cooling equipment comes in many forms with a variety of features. To be sure your thermostat can control all the features of your equipment; it has to work with all the operational modes of your HVAC system.

For example:

  • If your home has a heat pump, the thermostat or control system should be able to control the auxiliary heat function. If it is specific to a gas furnace, you may not be able to control this function.
  • A two-stage or variable speed system may only be operating at a single speed because the thermostat or control system doesn’t allow for two-stage wiring.
  • A dual fuel system, which is comprised of a gas furnace and a heat pump, should be connected to a thermostat or control system that can accommodate the specific heating set points.


Wires and Voltage


While you should always hire a licensed professional to work with any wiring in your home, learning the general concept of thermostat wires and voltage can help you understand the guidance from your local, expert contractor. Many advanced smart thermostats have features, including home automation options, which need to be powered at all times by a ‘common’ wire (C-wire).

The common wire supplies constant power to your connected thermostat. If your home’s current set up doesn’t include a dedicated C-wire, you may need the assistance of a licensed professional HVAC technician to add the specific wiring for advanced thermostats or control systems.

The most common types of thermostat on the market today use low voltage wiring. These low-voltage wires are typically very thin, similar to wiring for doorbells or telephone jacks.  A low voltage thermostat or control system is commonly used to connect with:

  • Conventional gas forced-air furnaces
  • Single-stage or multi-stage heat pumps providing heating and cooling
  • Electric central air conditioning systems with forced-air ductwork


Some thermostats or control systems utilize line-voltage, powered directly by a standard 120-volt or 240-volt circuit. These wires are typically thick like those inside a wall outlet or light switch. These higher voltage devices are primarily used for electric resistance heating systems, such as electric baseboard heaters and in-wall heaters.

If you cannot decipher which system your house has, Call R.A STYRON today to find out!


New HVAC System Technology


Previously, conventional premium HVAC systems have limited homeowners to one specific, and perhaps expensive, smart thermostat or control system. However, rather than relying on the communicating technology in the thermostat,  innovative manufacturers are beginning to incorporate this smart technology directly into the circuit boards of the indoor equipment of the central heating and cooling systems. This built-in technology may actively learn and make continuous automatic adjustments, as needed, to the heating and cooling system based on the homeowner’s personal preferences.

With this new intelligent technology, a homeowner may have the option to keep their current single-stage thermostat, or choose from a wide assortment of thermostat or control systems on the market.

If you are considering upgrading your HVAC equipment or simply the thermostat or control system, it is best to seek the guidance of a licensed professional HVAC dealer.  They will be able to assess your indoor comfort equipment and determine which thermostat or control system best fits your needs.

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