Front of house and side of garage in snow

Out of Sight? Peace of Mind.

Why Your Home Needs an EKG

By Vinnie Schultz, Resideo, vice president and general manager, Residential Thermal Solutions

When was the last time you thought about the critical appliances that are ‘behind your wall’? That is, the things that keep your home comfortable and safer: furnaces, boilers, air conditioning (AC) units and water heaters. If you’re like many homeowners, chances are you don’t think about them since they are often tucked away in the basement, garage or attic.

Only a portion of today’s latest furnaces and boilers, air conditioning units and water heaters include advanced diagnostics that allow a professional to diagnose how those appliances are performing – like what may be causing the home to not cool or why you’re not getting hot water. While this capability is a great advancement, it still only tells half the story. For example, when you call your contractor to schedule a service visit, they will visit your home without knowing what they might find when opening the appliance panel. The contractor may see a series of blinking error codes that will indicate that the flame sensor isn’t functioning or the gas controller is misfiring. If the appliance doesn’t offer the advanced diagnostics, they may have to perform additional investigative work to identify the issue. And now the contractor is at your home but may not have the correct replacement part on the truck or may not have the expertise in making that particular repair.

Based on True Stories
Here are two potentially nightmare scenarios, based on true stories, that will be preventable in the not-too-distant future.

  • Negative 62 degrees in a polar vortex. During a January Polar Vortex, not only is there huge demand on the energy grid, the home’s furnace is running almost constantly to keep the home warm and comfortable. A homeowner rushes from her cold car with her kids who are bundled up, drops the bags and coats in the mudroom just to realize the furnace, which had been having start-up issues for weeks that went unnoticed, chose to break on the coldest day of the year. In the future, the furnace may be able to tell the technician it is having issues with a specific problem, such as its firing sequence, and the specific part could have been replaced by the contractor five days before the sub-zero temperatures hit.
  • A capacitor (no, not a Flux Capacitor). One hot summer day, a homeowner noticed a loud “electrical or funny noise” several times before the air conditioning compressor would kick in. They have a service contract and called the HVAC company, who arrived shortly thereafter. The service technician checked several different potential issues on the furnace itself inside the home as well as the AC unit outside but didn’t find any issues. He changed the set-point on the thermostat, which triggered the air conditioning to attempt to start up. Immediately, the technician knew the capacitor was malfunctioning, which is a little battery-like device that essentially gives the motor on the outside compressor a little extra power to start. While it should have been a simple part to replace, he didn’t have one on his truck, so he had to return to his office to get it, then returned to the home to install. There will soon be a better way to service a broken AC unit, which could have avoided one service call.

Peace of Mind

Resideo is working on changing this dynamic and will soon offer homeowners and contractors the ability to monitor the major appliances in a home. Just as an electrocardiogram, or EKG, measures electrical activity of the heart, technology can enable us to track the electrical “pulse” of a furnace, water heater or AC unit. The data can be fed to the HVAC contractor and an alert sent to the homeowner that they may have an issue. This allows the contractor to be proactive and alert the homeowner that they’re seeing an issue with the furnace and can repair it, well in advance of an impending cold snap. Resideo’s LifeWhere technology helps contractors to be more connected than ever to a homeowner’s equipment helping to ensure their technicians can show up with the right diagnosis and right part on that first truck roll.

Technology can make the smart home more than just smart speakers and awareness cameras. Resideo is focused on the important components, the items most homeowners take for granted, helping them have comfortable, safer and more efficient homes. Read this article to learn more tips to help protect your home from the unknown.