Smart homes are residences that make use of interconnected and internet-connected devices. Such smart home systems help to make up the Internet of Things (IoT). They make our lives more convenient and enhance home comfort. Home automation technologies also make your house safer and more secure and can even save you money through improved energy efficiency. Let’s explore a dozen ways that you can make your home a smarter living environment.

1. Plan Your Smart Home, and Assess Your Router

You can run into problems down the line if you just add smart devices without direction. It’s important to consider compatibility. Most smart devices on the market are compatible, but the smart home operating system (OS) you choose can affect your other choices. You should also plan where you intend to install everything so you understand where your logistical challenges are.

It’s also important to assess your network router. Many smart devices can communicate directly, but they’ll require your router to access the internet. If you currently have a router provided by your internet service provider (ISP), consider switching to one you own. Doing so will give you more control. You should also consider the number of simultaneous connections your router supports. Many routers top out at 32 devices, whereas others allow for 64 or even 128.

2. Begin With a Smart Hub

A smart hub is a key element of any smart home. It dictates the smart home OS. It’s typically centrally located inside the house. The hub gives you a central interface that you can physically access. It will also have more processing power and a broader feature set than most of your other smart devices. Smart hubs provide voice control and can handle all remote access and control via the web. There are many brands and models on the market, and this is an important choice. Take time to research which smart home hub will be the best for you and your home now and in the future.

3. Expand Access and Control With Remote Speakers

Virtual assistant devices like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are convenient, but you likely won’t want them all over your home. A more practical and affordable option is remote speakers with microphones. This way, you don’t have to be in range of the smart hub or have your phone on you. You can just speak to the system wherever you are in the home. You can also listen to music wherever you are and hear responses and notifications from your smart home system.

4. Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat With Remote Sensors

A smart thermostat presents the biggest moneysaving opportunity in the home automation space. The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that a smart thermostat can help you reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 10%. We recommend installing a smart thermostat that supports multiple remote sensors. Location within the home is much less a concern when you have multiple temperature sensors. The temperature reading will be much more precise. You can also opt for sensors that provide data on:

  • Smoke
  • Relative humidity (RH)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Particulate matter (PM)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

5. Install Smart LED Lighting

According to the DOE, switching over to LED light bulbs can save the average household up to $200 a year. Experts recommend smart bulbs because they can do even more. They can provide energy consumption information. You can also program them to turn off on a timer or at a set time. Many smart bulbs let you adjust brightness, choose their color, and even set mood lighting.

6. Enhance Your Electrical Usage With Smart Outlets and Switches

Smart switches and dimmers can provide you even more robust control over your lighting and other devices. If you want dimming capabilities, choose smart LEDs that support them. Not all do. Experts also recommend smart outlets or plugs. A smart outlet lets you control even the non-smart devices that you connect to it. You can also use smart outlets to prevent vampire power drain. This refers to the electrical consumption of devices on standby. The DOE estimates that 10% of the average household’s annual electrical bill goes toward phantom draw.

7. Improve Security With a Video Doorbell

Outside of virtual assistance devices, video doorbells may be the most ubiquitous smart technologies. They’re powerful tools that let you see who’s at your front door whether you’re home or away. Experts recommend choosing a video doorbell with a cloud service. This makes it much easier to access the video your doorbell records. It’s also wise to invest in a hard-wired video doorbell. It will cost a bit more up-front, but the doorbell will be more secure. You’ll also avoid the hassle of rechargeable batteries.

8. Add Smart Locks to All Entry Doors

Smart locks are an excellent upgrade for your entryways as well. They’re among the most secure locks on the market and do away with the need for hideaway keys. You can provide each household member an individualized passcode. You can also access and control the doors from your phone. This is convenient, for instance, when a friend or family member drops by and you want to let them in.

9. Further Enhance Security With Smart Surveillance Cameras

Outdoor smart security cameras can integrate with your outdoor smart lighting and start recording based on motion sensing. They can tie into the same service you use for your video doorbell to store recorded footage in the cloud. Experts also recommend indoor security cameras. These cameras let you keep an eye on your pets. They also allow you to monitor people working in your home when you’re not there.

10. Replace Kitchen Appliances With Smart Devices

As you upgrade your kitchen appliances, transition to smart appliances. There are smart coffee makers than can turn on based on your alarm clock setting. Many brands now offer smart refrigerators that make shopping lists and communicate with the HVAC system for added cooling. Other smart devices include:

  • Ovens
  • Air fryers
  • Composters
  • Dishwashers
  • Exhaust systems

11. Consider Smart Bathroom Fixtures

Smart faucets can automatically turn themselves off so you don’t waste water. You can turn them on and adjust them with a gesture. They can also protect against scalding by blocking water that’s too hot. Smart showerheads use less water and can provide details about your water, such as its hardness.

12. Augment Your Plumbing System With Smart Features

A smart water meter provides reports on your household’s water consumption. It can also detect leaks early on and notify you when it does. The most advanced systems can even disable the water supply for you. You may also want to consider a smart washing machine, which can dramatically reduce your water consumption as well.

Your Local Smart Home Experts in Ellisville

Potts Electric is an electrical contractor that serves homes and businesses throughout Ellisville, MO and the neighboring communities. Our team helps our customers plan and upgrade their smart homes. You can count on our electricians to install and replace wiring in your home. We upgrade electrical panels and add whole-home surge protection. Our company installs electric vehicle (EV) chargers and backup generators, too.

Contact us at Potts Electric today to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.

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