[EUROPE] Limit AC (time/power) for Airbnb

I’m planning to rent my flat as an airbnb, and to limit AC energy consumption, I want to:

  • Limit usage up to 12 hours within a 24-hours span.
  • Set a max of the device power (I mean, the targeted temperature or the fan speed), which even overrides whatever is set on the remote controller.

I’ve read about Mitsubishi’s MELCloud, but I don’t know if it’s suitable for this (especially on forcing the temperature/fan speed). For the first case is quite easy for any AC (just using a energy Meter and check if device was turned on for more than 12 hours during last 24 hours)

You need to have AC model that you can connect to esphome or home assistant, otherwise it’s getting complicated. Then just overdrive the temp and fan speed etc.
Midea, Mitsubishi, Daikin…

I’m not sure if your customers appreciate that, especially 12h limit…

The goals are hypothesis, I don’t know if I’ll actually implement them (as you said, this might result in negative reviews), but I want the most flexibility (and not regret it later, since changing ac setup might be super expensive).

About models and brands: Midea seems hard to find in Italy, I see that Daikin has issues on newer models, so Mitsubishi seems the only choice?

I was wondering if a thermostat (which then connects to HA) could connect to more AC brands/models?

I live in Italy and Midea is one of the most sold AC.
Can be found under many brand names like Comfee

I have Daikin with B-series dongle, I could do what you are looking for with esphome.

Now that you tell me, I found some italian online stores selling Midea dual splits (e.g., Condizionatori Midea Dual Split)

What about solutions to connect to classic IR AC devices? Something like SwitchBot: https://amzn.eu/d/03yBjyag

Or Sensibor Air: https://amzn.eu/d/01EEm6vx

With esphome wifi module from HERE you can choose min. and max. temperature you can set, you can choose which fan modes you can set… but you’d need to put some cheap tablet, sonoff NSPanel or similar on a wall (and hide original remote) to control your climate, since that module doesn’t limit setting temperatures with original remote control (i believe no module will limit that).

Regarding 12h limit: beside that customers won’t be happy at all, usually such limiting only causes even more energy consumed, since after 12h when you turn AC on again it will have to run on full power for quite a while to regain desired temperature. Usually it’s cheaper to “leave it be”. Note that standard 2.5kW climate consumes over 1kW when fully running and only some 100-200W when idling (maintaining set temperature).

I haven’t seen one online seller, that doesn’t have any Midea brands.

Problem is that they are not bidirectional. You would not know what your customer has set, so how would you build your logic??

I think the whole limiting idea is not so awesome… To my opinion it would be more efficient to control that they don’t leave AC on when they go to the beach for whole day and that they don’t keep AC on when windows are open. That automation makes sense to me. And you can do it with IR.

beside that customers won’t be happy at all, usually such limiting only causes even more energy consumed,

I agree, this make sense

that they don’t keep AC on when windows are open

This is easy with windows sensors

control that they don’t leave AC on when they go to the beach for whole day

How would you implement this? I guess motion sensors wouldn’t work because AC would turn off when you’re still (watching TV, sleeping, …)

Btw, for limiting the speed, I could monitor the device kwh, and it’s higjer than a threshold it probably means that a certain fan speed is being used, so I send the IR signal to the lower value, makes sense?

outside of the technical aspects, I would (as mentioned above) also take user expectations into account, and how your solution colides with them. Example: a fixed time window when the AC can run at all might be limiting, but it’s 100% clear what’s happening. Lowering the fan speed when you detect a too high one will only result in the users switching it back high again, andandand, the loop continues. Huge frustration for the people who have the feeling they dont know what’s going on, and that they dont have control over things.

Also: what is your worst case scenario? as in: how much kWh per day would it take if the AC ran 24/7? What is instead your limit that you would feel comfortable with, cost-wise? And is that limit better reachable with limiting the overall operation time, or the operation level of the device?

Just an idea: link the AC operation to a different type of presence detection, one that people are used to. In a lot of hotels the TV and light only works when people insert the key card into a slot at the inside of the door. You probably dont have a key card, but you could add an NFC chip to the keyring of the apartment keys, and “motivate” the guests to put the keys onto the reader when they come in. This way you can just switch the AC off when they leave the apartment.

First of all, fan speed has next to nothing effect on your consumption. Actually ac is more efficient with high fan speed.
Second, air conditioner IR doesn’t work like that, there is not possibility to lower something. Every IR command has to have all the parameters in the signal.

This forum is full of posts about human presence sensors, they suppose to detect even micro movements of sleeping person. I personally haven’t used them.

Or you could have a simple $30 “alarm system” with key fob and instruct your guests to turn it on when they leave the house…

Thats “too optional”. When they need to put the key on the reader when they come back to switch the AC on, they wont forget it :smiley:

I would leave the fob there… :wink:

You can’t control inverter AC based on kW threshold. They start with high power to measure time needed to change X temperature, then they calculate power needed to arrive in request temperature in certain time. When arrived close to target they lower the power even more - until they reach target and based on those previous calculations they adjust the power a minimum needed to keep target temp. If you open the door and temp suddenly changes, they raise the power briefly.
If you try to adjust the request temp based on actual power, you break that carefully calculated logic and end up consuming even more.

It doesn’t make much sense to limit this at all. Your customers won’t be happy, trust me! I know myself, and how I’d react. :slight_smile:

What I’d try, knowing that people don’t feel any responsibilty while on vacation, try limiting the possibilities. Instead of limiting the time, take care of the other factors, to prevent energy loss - let the lights blink, when the door is open longer than two minutes and the A/C is on. Send a message to the TV, that blanks out 50% of the screen. Let the table light blink in blue. Something like that.

Do what most big hotel companies do - they say please, and show you what to do, to solve “the problem”. If you don’t react, they get on your nerves, but they would never change the A/C setting. You get what I mean - tell people what the problem is, and how to solve it. Insist on doing so, but don’t do it yourself.

As a last resort, eg. after two or three hours door open while A/C is running, give yourself a notification and then react personally by sending them a WhatsApp or give them a call, asking if everything is alright.

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If I found myself in Italy at 38’C with AC that is turning off after 12h, the owner would become walking HA device with esp32 in his ass…

And I live in Italy, today it was 37’C and we are at the beginning of summer…

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Tell me, I live in the “most northern city” of Italia: Monaco di Baviera :rofl: We had just over 30°C today, and I haven’t setup my climate yet… arghhhhh

But what are you doing here, it’s Soccer time! My tip is 2:1 for Italy… :slight_smile:

Dual core… :sweat_smile:

I think that the card solution is the best one! But I will neee also the door to open with the same card, otherwise they will leave it inside and becomes useless :sweat_smile: do you have any recommendations about how to implement both (door lock and card reader inside the apartment?)