By now, you’ve probably heard the buzz about technology that can turn your home ‘smart’. But what is it that makes these devices so smart?
A smart home device is one you can control with a remote, smartphone, tablet or even your own voice. Wireless connectivity has become a feature in everything from appliances to home heating and cooling systems.
Need help getting started? These five easy-to-use products can turn your home smart — and save energy while they’re at it!
1. Smart Thermostat
Gone are the days when thermostats were only meant for turning the temperature up or down. Smart thermostats come with many cool and convenient features, along with user-friendly controls anyone can learn to use.
Like programmable thermostats, you can program a smart thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically at set times. However, with a smart thermostat, you can do it wirelessly using a smartphone or other device. This means you can adjust the temperature from anywhere in the home, while you’re at work or school, or even while on vacation!
Some high-tech models of smart thermostats can learn about your habits and adjust the temperature automatically. The popular ecobee3 smart WiFi thermostat, for example, uses wireless sensors to read the temperature in different rooms.
2. Smart Speakers / Smart Home Assistants
The latest crop of smart speakers do more than just play music. Smart speakers can serve as a central ‘hub’ for various smart devices, letting you control everything from thermostats to smart TVs with the sound of your voice. Products like the Amazon Echo and Google Home also come with a virtual assistant able to keep track of your schedule, shopping list, and other useful bits of information.
Manufacturers are increasingly designing smart home devices to work with smart speakers right out of the box. However, not all devices are compatible with the various smart speakers on the market, so it’s important to do your research before you invest in one. If you already own a smart home device, be sure to opt for a hub able to speak its language.
3. Smart Water Sensors
If you’ve ever had a pipe burst in the winter, you know how important it is to catch leaks early on. Trouble is, an old-fashioned leak detector is only useful if someone’s around to hear the alarm!
Fortunately, manufacturers have patched this flaw with smart water sensors. Smart home water sensors are battery-powered leak detectors that include wireless technology, allowing them to connect with smart speakers and other devices. If the sensor detects water, it can instantly send an alert to your computer or smartphone.
Like a smart thermostat, smart water sensors give homeowners more control over the home while they’re away. This peace of mind is more than worth the modest price tag!
4. Smart Shades and Blinds
You may not realize it, but windows have a big impact on the temperature inside your home. The sun’s rays bump up the temperature in the summer, and in the winter, warm air can escape through a poorly-sealed window.
A simple way to control the amount of heat entering or exiting through the windows is to install heavy curtains or blinds. Unfortunately, we tend to leave them in one position most of the time. This makes automated smart shades and blinds a great choice for energy-conscious homeowners. You can also combine smart shades and blinds with a smart thermostat for even bigger energy savings!
5. Smart Light Bulbs
Remember The Clapper? It seems we have always been looking for ways to control the lights without flicking a switch. Smart light bulbs are the next big leap in this technology, allowing you to turn the lights on or off from afar with the use of a smartphone or smart speaker.
Smart lights are more expensive than traditional bulbs, especially if you plan to convert the entire house, but they also use less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs.