Making the right connections

The nation’s love affair with smart phones has brought with it access to a raft of useful Apps to help with both our home and work lives. In-line with this, ventilation has become smarter. Jenny Smith, Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia, explains how cutting-edge ventilation is now App controlled, bringing new business opportunities to electrical wholesalers.

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Connectivity is king. Now is the time for electrical wholesalers to embrace the advances in the next generation of electrical products as design developments bring us an ever more connected world. With the latest fan design accelerating in line with advances in other technologies, App-controlled unitary fans are now bringing new connectivity to the HEVAC sector and with it a host of exciting benefits and business opportunities for electrical wholesalers and their customers.

Electrical Wholesalers have a chance to benefit from this acceleration in product design since the next generation of ventilation offers fantastic features for both installers and householders making them an attractive choice. For instance, an App can offer simplified set-up for installers while enabling households to control their ventilation via a smart phone to fit with their lifestyles. Vent-Axia is leading the way in App-controlled ventilation, with its new Bluetooth-enabled Svara fan the first of its kind available in the UK.

Opportunity knocks

This new breed of fan enables the electrical wholesaler to offer a product which has a range of benefits for electricians, not least the opportunity to expand their business and enter the world of smart technology with a product they are familiar with. As homes become increasingly connected, there are huge opportunities for installers to offer smart technology to customers that are both affordable and beneficial. App-controlled fans are an ideal starting point for both businesses and households.

App-controlled fans also provide the ideal opportunity for installers to upsell to customers. Alongside simple app control, the latest fans offer a range of benefits for households that are a great selling point, including improved indoor air quality, aesthetics, silence and energy efficiency. Stocking an App-controlled fan therefore also makes good business sense for electrical wholesalers.

Ease of installation

Ventilation manufacturers, like Vent-Axia, have thought long and hard about how to make installation easier for electrical contractors. For example with Vent-Axia’s Svara, set-up is made simple and quick with no need to adjust fiddly switches or jumpers. Through its App, Svara can offer the choice of intermittent or continuous ventilation; whether the humidity sensor triggers operation or not; and whether the fan should be controlled via a switch or a pull cord. And once the fan is set up at installation, all the sensors and speeds can be altered via the App to change the level of sensitivity that triggers them and the speed of the fan.

Offering installation flexibility, the highly intelligent Svara has just one model with three speeds, including a boost. Intermittent or continuous operation can be selected, making it suitable for the majority of residential installations. This means for electrical wholesalers there is less stock to hold. This 100mm fan is also ideal for retrofitting since it comes with a converter up to 160mm and can be installed on the ceiling or wall in place of existing fans.

Meanwhile, the Svara’s clever light sensor also acts as an overrun timer, without having to be controlled through the light switch. This means in houses where there was only a basic fan before, the homeowner can upgrade to a timer fan without having to rewire.

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Simple control

The latest unitary fans also offer a whole range of different functions to allow households to take control of their indoor air quality from their sofa via a smart phone – a great selling point for installers. Households can adapt their ventilation to suit their lifestyle meaning improved effectiveness and control over their indoor air quality (IAQ), bringing with it a raft of health benefits. Good IAQ in the home is essential and consumers will have an increasing awareness of research pointing out the health risks of poor IAQ. This includes the most recent research by the Royal College of Physicians, which reports 40,000 deaths a year in the UK due to air pollution.

As new and refurbished homes become ever more air tight to improve efficiency, there is an increase in the number of homes with insufficient ventilation. As a result condensation and mould are able to thrive and it is estimated the number of people suffering with asthma could almost double by 2050.

Humidity sensor

Humidity levels are a key factor in indoor air quality since high levels of humidity can lead to condensation and mould. The Svara therefore features an effective humidity sensor which reacts to sharp changes in humidity, for instance when someone is taking a shower. When set to continuous running, once the humidity sensor is activated the fan runs at 30l/s until humidity returns to normal levels then the fan powers down to the trickle speed. To avoid nuisance running the clever Svara does not trigger at ambient humidity changes that can occur at night. Although it is possible to change the sensitivity of the humidity sensor within its parameters via the App it is not possible to alter the overrun – thus protecting the households’ indoor air quality, another good plus point for electrical contractors.

Light sensor

Sophisticated Svara senses when someone is in the room and then activates. The Svara achieves this through a sophisticated light sensor that is triggered by its ability to recognise room occupancy through light movement and shadows. It is also possible to set a delay-on so the fan is not triggered by the light during night time bathroom visits. The light sensor is so intelligent it can also distinguish between headlight flashes from cars and room occupancy, so it is not triggered by passing cars, which stops nuisance running.

Silent efficiency

Low sound levels and high efficiency are both drivers for electricians when it comes to specifying ventilation and are attractive features for households. The Svara operates at just 17dBA on low trickle and boasts low power consumption at only 4W. Also useful is scheduling control which allows homeowners to programme a fan via its App to ensure it doesn’t boost at certain times. This is particularly helpful overnight or if there is a sleeping baby nearby. Scheduling control also allows users to activate the fan on particular days via the App, for instance during a holiday period it can be turned off or to an airing mode with a purge function. Consumers will also be attracted to the new sleek design of the latest fans with a modern Scandinavian feel.

The future of connectivity

Now is the time for electrical wholesalers to switch on to App connectivity. Not only is it an attractive option for households, it also makes installation easier. As a result App connectivity saves time and, importantly, helps homeowners have a healthy, comfortable indoor environment.

But there is still more to come and electrical wholesalers should embrace these changes now. App control heralds the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the HEVAC sector as the App market matures.