Smart home technology is everywhere. From Wi-Fi connected security systems to smart heating and cooling solutions, here are four ways the connected home can provide both peace of mind and savings:
1. Monitor your home with Wi-Fi home security cameras
Gone are the days where home security systems have to be hardwired by an installer. These days you can procure any number of webcams that connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and allow you to peek in on your home via a smartphone app to see what’s happening when you’re away. Some require light and are best when operating during daylight hours, while others make models that feature night vision. Look for wireless devices that use batteries and operate without a monthly service contract. Batteries allow your cameras to be placed throughout your home or outdoor spaces that are beyond the reach of power from electric outlets. Freedom from monthly service contracts is a cost-saving measure, especially after the initial purchase of the hardware to monitor your home.
2. Answer your door even when you’re not there
Much like a Wi-Fi home security camera lets you see what is happening in your home when you’re not there, a smart doorbell system allows you to see who is at your door and answer it from your living room, car, or while you’re halfway around the world on a tropical island getaway. Smart doorbells use Wi-Fi and video streaming. There are models that feature a motion sensor that detects when someone is at your door even if the doorbell hasn’t been pressed. One-way video capabilities allow you to see who is at your door without them being able to see you, even before you decide to answer. When a visitor pushes the button, the doorbell’s app sends a push notification to your Android™ or iOS® smartphone or tablet. You can open the app to see a live video feed with audio at your front door and can even speak back to the person using the two-way audio feature.
3. Control the temperature of your home—remotely
Have you ever come home to a freezing cold house in the middle of the winter or been greeted by excessive heat upon returning from your summer vacation? Replacing your programmable thermostat with a smart home thermostat is an easy DIY project that makes your home’s heating and air-conditioning system more efficient to save you money on your monthly energy costs. Smart thermostats automatically learn your preferences from manual fiddling and record your habits. Not only does it know the outdoor temperature and humidity level thanks to being connected to the Internet but it also senses when you’re home and adjusts the temperature accordingly. Away for the weekend? You can also use the smart home thermostat’s app to adjust the temperature so it’s perfect when you walk in the door. Worried about the initial cost of a smart thermostat? A smart thermostat is an investment that pays for itself thanks to increased efficiency in your heating and cooling system that ultimately saves you money on your energy bills. Some utility companies offer homeowner rebates for having a smart thermostat installed in your home so check with yours to see if this could be a way you can get a bit of money back for having one in your home.
4. Automate your lights
One of the most helpful ways to deter thieves when you are going on vacation is to leave lights on timers to give the appearance of someone being at home. However, standard timers have a predictable pattern that can be spotted by potential thieves. Plug a lamp into a lamp module or smart switch, plug it into the wall, and pair it with your smart home system to be able to turn your lights on and off from wherever you are whenever you want. Some systems allow you to set up rules for lights to automatically turn themselves on, but also provide the ability to randomize light timing by controlling it through the app or web portal.
With the abundance of smart home connected products on the market, it’s wise to take the time to learn about the various products and systems in order to determine what best fits your needs.