Smart Home and Home Automation
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to adjust your heat and turn on your lights with your phone? No, this isn’t an episode of the Jetsons – it’s the reality of living in a smart home. New technology certainly has its limitations and drawbacks but conquering the learning curve provides many benefits and an ease of living.
We stay on top of new technology and home trends from interior design to smart features and want to help you get the most out of your space. We partner with eFree Advisors to identify and install home automation into some of our new homes. There are a number of ways to bring technology into your home - Lighting, HVAC, Security, Safety, and Media. The brands and devices are always changing, but we remain diligent in reviewing all options and using the best combination to create an all-in-one system that is easy to operate. Below is a quick overview of what a smart home can offer a homeowner.
Make your lights smart by either installing smart switches or smart light bulbs. This allows you to turn on, off, dim, or even change the color of your lights with your phone or tablet. This is definitely a convenience but also provides a measure of safety when arriving home after dark or while traveling. Climbing into bed for the night? Click one button to turn off all your smart lights. Already under the blanket with popcorn for movie night? Dim the lights or even turn them blue to enhance the experience. Just arriving home after dark and want your lights in the mudroom to turn on upon your arrival? Smart lights can do that too! Out of town for a week of vacation? Rotate the lights that are on in your house for safety.
Thermostats & HVAC
It’s so comforting to come home to a space that has the perfect temperature and being able to control it from your device is a huge benefit. This can be useful if you go away for the weekend and want to ramp up (or down) the temperature before you get home so it’s comfortable. Also, you can monitor your indoor air quality (IAQ) with smart home devices so you know if CO2 or VOC levels get too high and you need to turn on ventilation.
Smart home safety devices replace the typical non-smart components of a home, including smoke alarms and water sensors. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that are smart look just like typical ones, except they can notify you via phone or tablet in the event they are activated. This offers great peace of mind if you are away from the home often for travel or work. Water sensors have been around for a long time but making them smart has allowed homeowners to be alerted quickly of a leak, rather than finding it when significant damage is already done. We use these sensors in the basement near the top of sump pits, on the floor of the basement near a drain or anywhere water might gather. Time is of the essence when water or sewer is involved and these sensors can prevent major damage. Behind toilets and under sinks are just a couple of the places a smart water sensor can really save you money too. Isn’t technology great?
Security is probably one of the quickest growing areas of smart home technology. These devices include indoor and outdoor cameras, door sensors, smart locks, and smart doorbells. There are a myriad of brands and models of these available and it can be a confusing market. We stay updated on these technologies so we’re able to recommend the combination of products that meet your needs in your new home.
Cameras allow you monitor both the inside and outside of your home through the smart app and can offer online cloud recordings when motion or audio is detected. If cameras are more than you need, door and window sensors can be surface mounted and notify you when they are opened or closed when you’re away from home. It’s convenient to know when kids get home from school, a friend’s house, or when the maintenance worker is over to fix something around the house.
A smart lock is also helpful in allowing one-time access to your home. You can lock and unlock your home all through your smart home app. If you’re in the basement or backyard and someone arrives, the push of a button will unlock the door for them.
Lastly, a popular item recently is a smart doorbell, often made by Ring or Skybell. These add convenience to everyday life because you are notified anytime someone rings the doorbell. When the doorbell is rung, a picture is taken and sent directly to your phone to let you know. If you’re at work, you’ll know those Amazon packages have been delivered, or if you’re on the couch you’ll know if it’s just a solicitor. Couple this with a smart lock and you can unlock the door to let them in after you see who they are!
Voice Assistants & Media
Voice assistants include popular speakers such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. These are like a verbal search engine, so you can ask about the weather, news, or any other general question. With a smart home package, you can also tell the voice assistant to do things such as “dim living room lights to 30%” or “lock front door.” Other media features in home automation include smart TVs and speakers.
Smart home technology is no longer a thing of the future or part of a Saturday morning cartoon lineup. It is a real way to bring convenience, safety and even fun to into your home. We create system packages that best fit the homeowner’s lifestyle. Some homeowners only want a basic system to control a couple lights or monitor a couple areas for leaks. Others want to do a little bit of everything to see what they use the most and expand from there. If you’re designing and building a new home soon, or would like to make one of our Ready Homes a smart home, be sure to talk to us about your making your home smart and we’ll find the perfect set-up for you!
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