The Linq Home Smart Vent aims to give you room by room temperature control.
Smart vents are on the rise. After the smart thermostat added connectivity to temperature control, two companies announced products that could make the process more precise. The idea behind Ecovent and the Keen Home Smart Vent is to focus airflow and decentralize temperature sensors so you can heat and cool specific rooms to a desired degree. Now, electronics startup Linq Home is developing a third contender -- the Linq Home Smart Vent.
Currently in development, the Linq Home Smart Vent launched a Kickstarter Campaign to fund production. Like Ecovent and Keen Home, Linq's vent will be app-enabled and swap out for your existing vents, letting you control them remotely, and adding zoned temperature control to your home for much less than a full zoned HVAC system.
By directing airflow away from rooms you're not using, Linq claims up to 25 percent savings on your energy bill, which will help recoup the hefty initial price you'd need to pay to make Linq effective. To get the best results, Linq recommends replacing every vent in your home, allowing them to communicate with each other. Each vent will cost $60, and you'll need to purchase a $200 Linq Hub to connect the system. You can preorder right now, with a thermostat and 12 vents costing $920 (around £600 or AU$1,180) with free domestic shipping for Kickstarter backers.
Linq's cost is less than the $200-per-room price estimate of Ecovent, but Ecovent includes separate temperature sensors not attached to the vent itself, claiming the readings near the airflow would be distorted. Both Linq Home and Keen Home put sensors right on the vent, and I look forward to seeing which approach works better in practice. Ecovent's logic makes sense, but adds the tedium of an extra sensor with the extra associated cost.
Each Keen Home Smart Vent costs $80, and you'll need a hub to connect those as well, but any hub with a Zigbee antenna will work. Keen Home comes out to the lowest total of the three since it only recommends replacing a third of your vents. Whether that more targeted approach or the whole-home overhaul works better remains to be seen. None of the trio of vents has been released.
Determining a winner among the three might come down to which will gain interoperability with popular smart thermostats -- like Nest -- first. The limbs of the HVAC system can only do so much without being able to talk to the brain. Linq recommends a smart thermostat to gain the most benefits from the system, and claims to integrate with any that have an open API.
A Linq representative mentioned Nest specifically, but it's unclear whether Linq will be able to access the full depth of Nest's features on its own, or whether it will join the Works with Nest program for collaborative integration. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing how Linq can distinguish itself in a suddenly crowded field. No release date has been announced.