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Making Your House a Smart Home on a Smart Budget

 

Consider smart devices when remodeling or updating your home.

What is a Smart Home?

We all remember the Clapper, with its quirky TV commercial and unforgettable jingle. The idea that we could turn a light on and off without getting out of bed and flipping the switch was fascinating! As wireless technology has advanced, we have been given the opportunity to further fill our lives with convenient ways to not only save time but also money.  With smart devices surrounding us on a daily basis, it is a natural progression to want to bring these technologies into our homes.

 

A smart home is one in which wireless or remote-controlled devices are used to control lights, appliances, security cameras, and all kinds of other electronic systems. Smart devices are controlled via the internet and often can connect to one another using Bluetooth technology. Many of these convenient implements can be controlled by your smartphone, which means that you can control devices in your home from anywhere in the world, provided you have data service or Wi-Fi. Heading to the airport and can’t remember if you left the heater on? Pull out your phone and check….if it’s on, shut it off right from your phone! That is but a tiny example of the efficiency and ease that a smart home can bring.

 

When remodeling or updating your home, installing smart devices can not only make your life safer and easier but also save you money in the long run. For example, while air conditioning units are now as efficient as they’ve ever been, optimizing the schedule on which they run will save you even more money on power bills. This efficiency also helps your home be more environmentally friendly, as you will use less electricity and water.

 

The opportunities in designing a smart home seem endless, so let’s take a look at some of the more common household uses of smart devices.

 

3 Types of Common Household Smart Devices

Home Entertainment Systems

When deciding to update your home, chances are you’ve already thought about optimizing your home entertainment system for your needs. For those of you feeling out of the loop on technology, great news: Your TV, cable or satellite dish DVR, stereo, video game system, and your Amazon Alexa speaker all can be controlled by your smartphone. With so many folks “cutting the cord” and switching from cable/satellite TV to subscription-based streaming services, it has never been easier to make your home theater function exactly as you’d like.

 

An Xbox One, for example, has apps that can be used to access streaming services (like Netflix and Hulu), eliminating the need for a cable box or satellite system. This can save you on DVR rental fees.

 

If you have an Amazon Alexa or Google Home speaker, you’ve already begun making your home smarter. From turning lights on and off to quickly finding a recipe for lasagna, these smart devices not only make our lives easier, but they also make us more efficient.

 

Climate Control Systems and Appliances

Electronics thrive on electricity, for which we pay a utility company to deliver to our home. This is where implementing smart devices can really save you money over the long haul. Not having electronics constantly on and running, or maximizing the efficiency in which they run, will drastically decrease your power consumption. Devices that minimize power consumption are what the smart homeowner seeks. If you left the lights on and no one is home, you can use your smartphone to turn all of them off. You can even control the lights in certain rooms, should you wish. Some utility companies will even offer you credits for using highly efficient, or environmentally friendly, household appliances.

Living in an extreme climate can also mean extreme power bills. Many climates in the US compel the need to use air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter, and this can wreak havoc on your monthly utility budget. In a smart home, you can optimize your climate control system to operate in the most efficient ways possible, which will lower your electric bill. You can also control ceiling fans and vents from your smartphone, allowing you to individually cool or heat different rooms.

 

Security and Safety Systems

Have you or anyone you know had a package stolen off their front porch recently? It seems that there are daily Facebook posts involving a video or photo of an unsuspecting thief, taken by a doorbell. This is our new reality. The ability to monitor security video of your home in real time on your smartphone is now more efficient and affordable than ever. The options for video use in a smart home are plenty; baby monitors, doorbells, and even ovens now have cameras that can provide quality HD video, even in low-light situations.

 

Smart devices can also be used to detect risks or emergencies in the home. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have the capability to notify you when unsafe levels are reached, which is invaluable if you’re away from your home. Water leaks can be detected by sensors placed near the refrigerator or under sinks and the washing machine, and an alert will be sent to you immediately should there be the potential for water damage. Personal safety devices (think Life Alert) can be synced with many home smart devices, increasing the chance of a speedy response if there were an emergency in the home, as well.

 

If you’ve ever dreamed of controlling your garage door from your phone, then a smart home is for you. With the right hardware and software, you can control door locks (and the garage door) remotely and digitally. This gives you the option of never having to hand anyone a key, yet allowing them coded access to your home for however long you choose. Smart access control systems can notify you of who went in your house when, and through which door they entered.

 

Smart Choices

Whether changing the pool temperature with your smartphone or controlling your ceiling fan with a remote, these devices are generally very user-friendly and can be learned with minimal time and effort by watching videos on YouTube. This is also a great source to find tips and tricks to further utilize your devices. Blogs can also be a great resource for finding out how others are making their homes and electronics smarter.

 

If you are planning on remodeling your home or updating your current home electronics and appliances, installing smart devices can really ramp up the efficiency in which you and your home function. Investing in these devices will not only save you money in electricity consumption over the long run but also can add to the resale value of your home. Keep in mind that all of these systems can be mixed and matched in your design, which gives you flexibility in what you implement and when.

 

Regardless of how high-tech you plan on making your home, it’s time to ditch the Clapper and acquaint yourself with Alexa.

 

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