Smart window air conditioner gives you control of your energy use (video)
Most home automation systems control central heating and air, but a new Wi-Fi-connected window air conditioner gives you control from a smartphone.
GE and Quirky teamed up to create the Aros, an app-enabled window unit that provides 8,000 BTUs of customizable cooling.
In addition to the standard thermostat settings, the Aros can be controlled by the app from a Wi-Fi enabled device. And, the geo-location feature on your phone can send pair with the Aros to start cooling the room before you get home from work.
Like the Nest thermostat and other smart devices, the Aros learns your usage patterns after a weeks and sets it to your preferences. Also, you can set a limit on the maximum amount of energy it will use in a given period of time to manage your electric bill.
Like other Quirky+GE devices, the Aros is controlled through the free Wink app for iOS and Android devices.
The working parts of the Aros are similar to existing GE 115-volt/8,000 BTU air conditioners, but the exterior was given a sleek, modern design. The minimalist front grille is dotted with circular holes and slotted vents on the top are designed to blow air upward and maximize circulation. The blue LED readout depicts the temperature on the bottom right corner of the unit, and capacitive touch-buttons on the bottom left corner control the unit.
It's rated to cool rooms and apartments up to 350 square feet. Multiple units in a home can be daisy chained together and controlled as a single unit.
List price is $300, compared to other GE 8,000 BTU/115-volt air conditioners that retail for around $250, without the smart features and slick looks of the Aros. It's available for pre-order now on Amazon, and it's slated to ship in May 2014.
Read more about energy-efficient heating and cooling.
Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky.www