Home automation, smart home, homes of the future… whatever you want to call them, these connected homes with smart appliances are all the rage right now. It seems like every other day a new product launches ‘guaranteed’ to make your home ‘smarter’ and your life easier. Yet few people actually know how smart home can make their lives better, much less how to pick the products that work best.
To begin, we should define a smart home: At a very basic level, and at the current time, it’s a phrase commonly used to refer to a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio and video systems, security systems and more that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely, turn on and off (and more) based on pre-set conditions and can run on schedules. Put put it simplistically, it’s home setup with advanced devices and appliances that are designed to, in one way or another make you life easier, often saving you time by eliminating your need to do mundane tasks as well as saving you money by cutting down on energy costs.
To condense, smart homes make your life easier, and, frankly, better. Let’s dive into some more concrete reason why below:
1. Open Doors on Your Schedule
Have you ever lost your keys? If you’re like most people the answer is probably, ‘yes’, sigh’.
We might not think about it often but turnlock keys are rather outdated. Enter smart lock (which turn your door into a smart door). These nifty devices automatically lock after you leave, unlock as you approach (for all those times your hands are too full), and allow you to safely and securely unlock the door for neighbors or extended family without the need to give out copies of your keys.
2. Automate Lights
… and control them from anywhere. Thanks to the somewhat famous Phillips smart hue bulb, lighting automation was one of the initial things to kick off the smart home craze and lighting itself hasn’t lost its (so-called) luster. Automating your lighting and controlling it from your phone isn’t just convenient, although it is easier than walking to light switches. It also helps you keep intruders at bay, make your morning routine easier so you always get up on the right side of the bed, and save you on up to 30 percent of your energy costs.
3. Enjoy Better Home Security
Sure you can still pay for a fancy home security service, but by far the easiest and most affordable way to secure your home is with a home security kit. Different models have different features but many allow you to lock and unlock your doors from anywhere, control and automate your lights from wherever you are, trigger a blaring siren to ring if there’s unwanted motion or entry, and get immediate alerts if doors or windows open unexpectedly.
4. Prevent Water Damage (and Associated Repair Costs)
This is a less advertised product but can save you big bucks in the long run. By installing a smart moisture sensor you can get an immediate alert whenever excess water is detected where it doesn’t belong so you can address the issue or call a neighbor or family member to address the issue immediately. A little water might not seem like a big deal, but keep in mind that, According to HomeAdvisor.com, the average repair cost for water damage throughout the country is $2,476.
5. Monitor Your Home and Family
Sounds a little creepy but this can actually be a helpful feature, especially if you have small children, pets, or care for elderly or people with disabilities. All you need is a presence sensor and your smartphone to view live monitor where you loved ones are and even see live footage of what is happening in your home. Not to worry, you can be polite and put cameras at necessary but not intrusive places such as in direct view of doors or driveways.
6. Best Control Your Heating and Cooling
Smart Thermostats, like the popular Nest, give you more precise control over your heating and cooling. These systems allow you to set custom schedules based on your lifestyle so you’re only blasting heat or AC when you need it. The smart temperature control units also often ‘learn’ your schedule and preferences so they can keep you home cozy, while saving you the most on your energy bills.
7. Get Better Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detection
Traditional smoke and carbon monoxide (sometimes referred to as the silent killer) detectors malfunction much too often. So much so that homeowners often simply remove them from ceilings and walls to stop unwanted blinking and noise, leaving your home, loved ones, and self unprotected. With smart detectors you can continually monitor rates of chemicals in the air and get immediate warnings if levels indicate there could be a dangerous situation looming.
8. Keep Your Garage Safe
If you’ve been a homeowner long enough there have likely been times when you left your house wondering ‘Did I close the garage door?’ Now, with smart devices like connected garage door openers you can close or open the door with a push of a button, no matter where you are. Beyond keeping the door closed, you can also setup cameras to monitor any activity happening in and around your garage.
9. Make Use of Voice Activation
Although we all love to be on our phones, sometimes doing tasks without them is ideal which is where voice activation comes into play. With the right setup you can simply speak commands, such as ‘Turn off lights,’ or ‘Double check front door is locked’.
10. Make Any Device Smart
Smart home setups often get confusing simply because there is so much you can do with them but one of the best features is being able to make so-called ‘dumb’ or non-smart devices smart by using a smart plug or similar device. Beyond the fun and limitless opportunities, this feature allows you to save money by simply buying accessories, such as plugs, rather than paying for fancy new products, such as smart coffee machines.