Ask The Home Automation Expert – A Special Interview

This blog post is dedicated to an interview with a professional integrator, Sergey Staroseletski of Stardome.

Sergey told us about the challenges of integrating HVAC into a Home Automation system, talked about its challenges, and explained why it is so important to perform this integration.
We had a lovely time interviewing Sergey! Dive in:

Sergey Staroseletski, of Stardom, integrator

  • Hi Sergey! Great to have with us today. Tell us, why would you recommend integrating HVAC into a Home Automation system?

Sergey: First, I would recommend considering integrating all the appliances that the homeowner would like to control from inside the house – or from outside. And HVAC is one of them. 

Many homeowners want to integrate HVAC, as it is very comfortable to control it remotely. For example, properly integrated HVAC allows the homeowner to turn the air conditioning on before they get home, so that the house will be cooler and more pleasant when they arrive.

  • Are there any other benefits for homeowners from integration?

Sergey: Integrating HVAC into the Home Automation system allows the homeowner to set a timer for the HVAC, determine for how long the air conditioning will be working, and at what temperature. 

It’s more energy efficient, but that’s not the only benefit. .Here’s a perfect example. We have a client who said that 22°C (71.6°F) is too cold for him; but 23°C (73.4°F) is too hot.

We decided to program the HVAC’s timer through the Home Automation system to automatically set the temperature to 22°C/71.6°F for two hours, and then change to 23°C/73.4°F – and repeat. This solved the problem perfectly, and automatically. 

  • Are there more benefits for HVAC integration that you can tell us about? 

Sergey: Once the HVAC is integrated, it can be a part of a single-click scenario – a set of actions that are activated in a single app click. 

For example, it can be part of a “leaving the house” scenario. When a homeowner wants to go out, he or she can click on a single button, and this will activate a set of actions: It’ll shut the shutters, turn off the lights and the HVAC, and activate the alarm. The homeowner can even program the system to leave a single indoor unit working, for ventilation purposes. 

One of the most popular scenarios is that of the home movie theater. Let’s say the homeowner wants to watch a movie. He or she can program a scenario of “watching a movie,” the lights will turn on for 10 minutes and then dim; the audio-video and the projector systems will turn on; the TV will turn on; and the HVAC will turn on to a setpoint of, let’s say, 25°C (77°F).

  • What HVAC integration challenges have you encountered?

Sergey: I’ve been using CoolAutomation’s solutions for years now. But I have to tell you, that before that the whole process of HVAC integration wasn’t easy. As each HVAC manufacturer has its own unique protocol, we had to understand each and every one of those protocols, and write a separate module for each HVAC brand. And each time a single component changed HVAC-wise, we had to readjust the module accordingly. 

We also used different adapters (such as BACnet), that sometimes worked well – and sometimes didn’t.

These issues made the HVAC integration cumbersome, inefficient, and very time consuming.

You need to remember that clients don’t care if you have to go through this long process – they want a working product, quickly and at a reasonable price.

  • How did you solve this challenge?

Sergey: We managed to solve it once CoolAutomation came along.  

Once we started using CoolAutomation’s solutions, everything became easier, simpler, and faster. 

Now we’re not concerned with which HVAC brand or model is installed on-site. All we need to do is connect the HVAC to CoolAutomation’s solution, and to the Home Automation controller – and the HVAC is integrated in no time.

  • What would you recommend for people who want to automate their home?

Sergey: I would suggest they take time to fully understand the concepts of a smart home, and consider the benefits of integrating each appliance or system into it: electricity, lightning, smart recordings, alarm, doors, shutters, audio-video, HVAC, etc. As part of that, they should think about what they would like to include in different scenarios. 

And of course, pick a reliable and experienced integrator to do the work. 

Thank you, Sergey, it’s been a pleasure!