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What Is a Smart Air Conditioner?

Last Updated Aug 4, 2021
Happy man on smartphone enjoying the smart air conditioner in his living room.

The smart air conditioner is relatively new to the smart home market. Of course, there’s a smart version of everything nowadays, so it stands to reason that air conditioners would join the party at some point. So what exactly is a smart air conditioner?

A smart air conditioner is a portable—mostly window unit type—that connects wirelessly to your smart home network and is controlled by a smartphone app or a compatible voice assistant.

Smart air conditioners are convenient, far more energy-efficient than their traditional window unit cousins, and controllable from just about anywhere. Like many smart devices, they’re generally compatible with a wide range of digital assistants and third-party devices. Read on to learn more about smart air conditioners and how they work!

How Does a Smart Air Conditioner Work?

Most smart air conditioners connect to your smart home through your Wi-Fi network. They come with their apps; however, most can be linked to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit for voice control and activation.

You can control the power, temperature, and fan speed with voice assistants and set up Alexa Routines, IFTTT Applets, Google Routines, or Apple Scenes. For instance, you can set a routine for a smart A/C to turn on at specific times of the day, cool the room to a set temperature, or only operate during specific schedules.

As far as cooling is concerned, a smart air conditioner is no different than a typical window unit, providing cool air or heat to specific rooms in which it is situated.

Are Smart Air Conditioners Worth It?

There are plenty of benefits and features when it comes to smart air conditioners and a few drawbacks as well:

Energy savingsOnly cools a single room
GeofencingPricey, especially considering they are new to the smart home market
Smart home compatibilityMore difficult to install than conventional air conditioners
Smart maintenance and repair notifications 
(Source: Lifewire)

Air conditioning makes up a large percentage of energy consumption—and therefore energy costs—annually. The amount of control that a smart A/C gives you, especially by setting schedules, helps reduce your electricity use and waste.

When a conventional air conditioning unit malfunctions, you’re faced with the option of replacing it or taking it in for expensive repairs. Smart air conditioners are far better at notifying you of essential maintenance and repairs.

Finally, smart air conditioners are a little more costly than their counterparts, but long-term gains outweigh short-term costs.

How Much Does a Smart Air Conditioner Cost?

Smart air conditioners can cost anywhere between $250 to $1,000, depending on what you’re looking for and the features that come with them.

  • Hisense 350-sq. ft. Air Conditioner $279.00: This Smart A/C unit is on the smaller end, at 8,000BTU, and can adequately cool 350 square feet of space. It doesn’t support IFTTT or Apple HomeKit but works fine with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It doesn’t support self-diagnosis.
  • LG 18,000 BTU 230V Dual Inverter Window Air Conditioner $579.00: At 18,000BTU, this smart air conditioner can cool up to 1,000 square feet of living space. Provides searchable error codes for diagnosing problems and supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
  • Midea Duo 12,000 BTU: The Midea Duo cools 450 square feet and can reduce cooling costs by 40%, more than the previous two combined. It’s compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It doesn’t fit a window like a typical unit but stands on the ground with a window seal and piping that connects to an open window.

Those are three examples of the extremes between low-cost smart A/C units and high-cost smart air conditioners. It largely depends on the space you need cooled, the convenience of reduced maintenance costs, aesthetics, compatibility, and energy savings.

Can You Make an Air Conditioner Smart?

If buying a smart air conditioner just isn’t your thing, consider converting an existing A/C unit into a smart A/C unit with smart controllers. They also have the benefit of a larger compatibility base.

  • Cielo Breeze Plus: Cielo Breeze Plus works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, and IFTTT.
  • Sensibo Air: Sensibo works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Siri, Google Home, IFTTT, and SmartThings.
  • Ambi Climate 2: Works with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Siri, Google Home, IFTTT, and SmartThings.

A/C Smart Controllers work by replacing your air conditioning remote with a smart control panel that communicates with infrared. They also need to be installed in line of sight with your air conditioner.

Final Thoughts

Smart air conditioners are essentially window units with brains. Like most smart devices, you control them with your smartphone through an app or with compatible voice assistants. They’re far more efficient than conventional window units because of the level of control, routines, and settings they afford.

Smart controllers convert standard, remote-controlled window units into smart air conditioners using what is basically a smart thermostat, albeit for a single-window unit only.

Although smart air conditioners are still considered new to the smart home marketplace, there is a large variety to choose from both in terms of units and smart controllers. It all boils down to convenience and comfort at a lower cost.

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