And now your motley set of central air conditioners can be smarter than any other

After enduring a few weeks of the oppressive heat of City’s summers, it’s been a long-standing habit of mine to lash out at myself for not having a place with central air conditioning. Because I want to conserve money, I use a variety of window air conditioners, but turning them on and off during the day and night is a full-time job for someone who lives in a city like me. Using a few simple smart-home techniques — scheduled activities such as Routines and Schedules, for example — it appears that you may make these machines more effective at cooling your home by emulating a whole-home system. (Alexa, of course, will be available to you at all times.)

Assuming you already have a collection of window accessories, the most straightforward approach to upgrade them is to purchase one smart plug-in outlet (also known as a smart plug or a smart swap) for each of them. Smart plugs from Wemo are our preferred choice since they are capable of handling the high amperage demand that is characteristic of an air conditioner – you can read more about this in our guide to the best plug-in smart outlets (which you can access by clicking the link). You will begin to experience the wonder of your smart home as soon as you connect your smart switches to your smartphone and turn them on. You have the ability to turn on and off any or all of your air conditioners at any moment using a smartphone app. Using your phone or a smart speaker, such as the Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, or Google Nest, it is actually possible to accomplish this just speaking into your device. Changes to the temperature or cooling modes may be difficult to do. When your air conditioners are set up in this manner, they will chill each room separately. But if you have a mini-split system, you may be able to get away with something.

You can connect all of your switches together in a group so that they all respond to the same command in the smartphone app; alternatively, you can establish various Teams, such as Upstairs and Downstairs or Bedrooms, via the smartphone app. Instead of turning on or off each device individually, this way lets you to turn on or off a collection of devices at the same time.

As an alternative to manually turning on and off your air conditioners one by one, or in a group, you may automate your plug-in retailers so that each one runs on its own, without the need for you to manually turn it on or off. Make use of a smart-home platform such as Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit, or even Google Assistant to create a Schedule that functions just like the digital version of an old-fashioned lighting timer: This can be accomplished through the smartphone application. You have the option of programming the switch to turn on and off at specified times throughout the day, if you so want. So you can have one set of air conditioners running during the day, one set of bedroom air conditioners running an hour before bedtime, and then switch them off during the night in order to preserve energy. However, this is simply the beginning of our journey!

I was able to rapidly create a few Routines and Automations using Amazon’s Alexa app and Apple’s Residence app, allowing my air conditioners to run smoothly on autopilot as a result of my efforts.

A number of variables, such as the time of day, temperature, movement, other smart devices, your location, and so on, may be used to automate operations using Alexa or Automations (using Apple HomeKit), which greatly refines the process. Using the Alexa app or the Apple Residence app, you can program your smart switches to turn off when you leave the house and turn back on when you return. Creating custom voice commands for Alexa will be necessary in order to make effective use of her services. Once I’m inside the house, which is hotter than the surface of the sun, I may choose for the nuclear option. When I say, “Alexa, cool this house down,” Alexa immediately turns on all four air units in the house. Correctamundo!

Although an intelligent electrical outlet operates in the same way as a regular electrical outlet, it is more compact and less likely to be unplugged by accident. We have tested an iDevices model that works with both Alexa and HomeKit and found it to be functional.

If you haven’t already done so, or if you’d want to upgrade your present model, window air conditioners with built-in smart capabilities are now available. A smart window air conditioner that we particularly like is the Midea smart window air conditioner, which you can control from a distance using its smartphone app, as well as voice commands or Alexa Routines. For further information, please refer to our guide to the most energy-efficient air conditioners.


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