You’re all nestled in your bed and suddenly you remember you left the basement lights on. How amazing would it be to be able to push a touch screen on your nightstand and all the lights turn off? Making your home smart can help you do that, along with shutting your shades, turning on music or opening up your front door for your weekend guests even while you are still at work.
It’s all possible with a stroke of a finger or a command from your voice. About two-thirds of new home buyers say that smart home technology creates safer and better home lives, according to a recent survey from Better Homes and Garden. They believe these new technologies are the “new norm.”
To add to that, a 2017 Coldwell Banker’s annual smart-home survey reaffirmed that finding with the fact that 75 percent of homebuyers already want smart smoke detectors installed while 66 percent desire smart home security cameras and 63 percent would like smart locks.
“Technology is not leaving. It is only increasing,” says Chad Martin, general manager of Rowan Integration in Colorado Springs, Colo. His company is a full service integration company with a wide range of smart home and business automation control systems.
He explains that making just a few things in your home smart 10 years ago would have cost thousands and thousands of dollars. Products and some installation are now two to three times less expensive. However, the more customized smart home products and installation you choose, the higher the cost. He had a client in Denver who paid over $1 million just for a smart audio system throughout the house.
“Some people want control of everything inside and outside their homes,” Martin says. “They want to be able to turn on their sprinkler system and open their garage doors or gates at the front with the push of a button on their phone. They want to see everything and everyone.
Now, you can control everything from your phone the moment it is installed. Everything is user-friendly, too, and navigated by the client, he adds.
He does warn homeowners who want to install their own smart products or search for home automation.
“When you google home automation, you’ll come up with security installation companies. You need to look at custom home automation and custom home integration. Otherwise, you get companies that put together all these DYI products,” he says.
People get stuck with a product that works well the first here months, and then they have to get updates, Martin states.
“If you read reports about DYI home automation hubs, the biggest complaint continually is about needing to reboot,” he says.
His clients don’t want to deal with having to reboot or having installers in their home all the time. They don’t want to fight with home technology.
What he sees are a lot of people wanting their lights, security system, home audio and door locks being smart, easy to handle and at the touch of their finger on their smartphones.
Here are a few ways to get smart technology into your home:
Add smart locks
When Martin’s company installs smart locks, they have specific codes for specific people in the house. Mom will have a code. Dad will have a code. The maid or kids will have a code. Plus, you can have a guest code that can be set up for a week at a time. The smart lock keeps a log of whose unlocking the door, he says. You can also set this up that has an application for opening the garage door, too.
Upgrade to LED bulbs
You don’t even have to turn on your lights from the wall or switch on the lamp. Yes, lightbulbs are now smart. You can dim them, control them from the road or office, change their color and sometimes even play music, according to CNET, which tracks all the latest consumer technology breakthroughs.
And now, the C-Sleep bulb is designed to help you sleep better by emitting different color temperatures that regulate your body’s melatonin production. Most of these light brands sell a hub to sync all of your lights to control them from one app.
Install smart thermostat
Who wouldn’t want to save money on air conditioning and heating? You can manage your home’s energy with an ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat. Connect it to your Wi-Fi, and you can control the temperature from any device while you are home or away. Some utility companies might offer rebates for purchasing a smart thermostat.
Put in motion-sensing light switches
How many times do you tell your kids to turn the lights off when they leave a room? Now, you won’t have to. The lights turn off automatically when no motion is detected and turn on when there is motion. The U.S. Department of Energy says that using these switches could reduce energy consumption by 35-45 percent. Switches can range from $20 to $150 dollars, and can be purchased at hardware stores.
Ward off water damage with smart water control
A pipe bursts during a cold spell while you are on a tropical beach. What can you do – call a neighbor? What are they going to do? But if you had an automated water valve control, you can press a button and turn off the water to your house from anywhere. You can have it programmed to turn off the water when you are gone, or you can get a notification there is a leak, and turn off the water with an app. “If you didn’t have this technology, you’d have a nightmare on your hands,” Martin says. “The water leak could turn into a flood in your house.”
“Making your home smart isn’t all about how much it costs,” Martin says. “You do things every day. Now, you can just make it easier than the way you used to do it. You can make it safer. People need to be able to control their houses in the future. It won’t go back to light switches in the walls.