Whether trying to organize your life, improve energy efficiency, or you just love gadgets, technology has it’s place in today’s home. Find out how incorporating a little tech in your home can make all the difference.
June is technology month at Practical Home. To wrap things up we are covering technology that can improve your home. In previous weeks we covered tech easily added to your kitchen, tech to add during a kitchen remodel, and technology for the bathroom. This week we are focusing on the home in general. There is technology for home safety and security, to improve energy efficiency, streamline your daily routine, as well as just to add a little fun.
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Safety and Security
This easy upgrade makes keys a thing of the past. Most of our cars are keyless, why shouldn’t our homes be too? This lockset has a touch screen for code entry, built in alarm to deter break-ins, and can be operated remotely via app. Have it send you a notification when the kids get home from school or the door is operated while you are away. You can also give individual codes to family members or the cleaning crew and easily change codes as needed. You can even add a hub and Amazon Echo to operate by voice.
Home security is now smart. With the Ring home security system you can set, disarm, or check the status your alarm with an app, the keypad, or even Amazon Alexa. Easily receive notifications or have the system professionally monitored for a monthly fee. This kit includes a motion sensor and a contact sensor for a window or door. Additional pieces such as cameras, smoke and CO listeners, flood sensors, additional contact sensors, and panic buttons are easily added to customize for your home.
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Never take that trip back home to make sure you closed the garage door again. This Smart Garage Opener by Chamberlain allows you to operate your garage door from anywhere via their app as well as receive notifications when it operates or was left open.
It works with most major openers and also pairs with several apps to increase functionality. Pairing with Amazon Key allows your Amazon packages to be securely delivered to your garage. IFTTT allows you to set schedules and automatically close your door if left open for a preset amount of time. You can even pair it with Wink to turn on your home lights whenever you open the garage. Never walk into a dark house again.
Take the worry out of dealing with your smoke detector. This detector will check itself and send a message to your phone if the battery is running low. If there is a detection, it will actually speak to you to tell you where and what is being detected. It can also send you notifications of detection as well as work with smart light bulbs to get your attention.
Energy and Water Efficiency
When you are talking about home efficiency, you must include the Nest. This thermostat has changed the way we look at and monitor or energy usage. After couple days of manual temperature adjustments, it will learn your habits and automatically adjust the temperature to keep you comfortable and save money. It will also notify you if it detects an issue. The nest can be controlled via app or smart device like Amazon Echo.
This whole home water monitor sends notifications to your phone if a water leak is detected. Make sure you can attend to a busted pipe, leaky appliance connection, frozen pipes, or a running toilet before it causes severe damage or runs up your water bill. It will also monitor daily water usage to help you cut back on those long showers. The best thing about this monitor is that it installs in 5 minutes over your pipe. No cutting required.
While we are on water usage, upgrade your water heater to a tankless version to save energy. Instead of a tank water heater, which has to work to keep water heated even when you aren’t home, these work by heating water only as you use it. According to Ecosmart, this can save up to 50% on your water heating costs. Never have to take a cold shower again.
Watering your landscape just got a lot easier. This Rachio Smart Sprinkler not only does zones and schedules right from your phone, but also can be programmed for your particular plant and sun exposure for the perfect amount of water every time. It even monitors the weather and skips the watering if has sufficiently rained. It also will send you notifications if a leak is detected, saving even more water. To make it even better, it might be eligible for utility rebates because of its EPA WaterSense certification. Check with your local water company for details.
Improve Your Routine
“Alexa, feed the dog.” Can you imagine this task being done without having to tell the kids for the 100th time? Set schedules or feed manually via app or smart device and be notified when food is running low. It even has a camera and two way audio so you can have a chat with your pet while you are away.
Turn any outlet into a smart outlet. Create a schedule and set timers to turn the lamp on before you walk in the door or control multiple lights to make it look like someone is home while you are away. They can also be used to turn off power draining devices when not in use. Pair with Amazon Echo to use hands free with just the sound of your voice.
Want to wake to the sun instead of an alarm? Want your curtains to automatically shut during the hottest part of the day or at night before you go to bed? Now you can automate your curtains and operate them by phone, tablet, remote control or voice with Amazon Alexa. Create schedules in the app to make this one less thing to worry about during your day.
Fun and Convenient
This Nucleus intercom system can be used in multiple rooms of your the home or to video chat with Grandma across the country. No more yelling across the house that it is time to leave or dinner is ready. It also has Alexa built in, so weather and your music are always nearby.
Considering upgrading or adding an electric fireplace? Control this one with the standard remote, app or Amazon Alexa. Turn it on or off, adjust heat settings, and dim from anywhere.
Thank you for joining us for tech month here at Practical Home. As you can see, there are many ways that you can improve your home and your daily life, just by adding a little tech. Please join us next week when we start our series on cabinetry for Choosing Cabinetry: Cabinetry Construction.