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5 Easy Ways to Create a Smart Home that Works for You
By Mike Holmes
Mike’s Advice / Home Safety & Maintenance
Thursday, August 15th, 2019 @ 4:42pm
Designing A Smart Home System For Your Home
A smart home allows you to stay connected to your home while you are away, and it can also help with energy management. Even builders these days are being challenged to incorporate smart devices into their homes. And homeowners want to see that! 45 percent of all homes in the U.S. are expected to have smart technology incorporated by 2022. Instead of looking for homes with fancier finishes, homeowners are looking for builders that offer smart upgrades as part of their builder packages.
Smart home technology lets you stay connected to your house when you can’t be there. When my son and I renovated the suburban house in Holmes and Holmes season 2, we integrated tons of smart features like blinds, receptacles, a security system, and a Napoleon fireplace I can control with my phone.
They’re convenient, safe, and personally, I think they’re pretty slick. But for those of you who are still new to the smart home game, where should you start?
Things To Consider When Building Your Smart Home System
Whether you’re considering adding a few devices or designing an entire smart home system, consider the following tips:
- Take stock of your current devices
- Evaluate your desired future devices
- Go green, save green
- Assess your smart home blueprint
- Architect your automation: hub or hub-less?
- Consider installation options
- Future-proof your investment
- Make your environment a safe haven
Find out more tips on smart home considerations in this guide by Eaton.
Here are 5 ways to get your smart home connected with the right devices.
5. Start With Smart Security
A smart lock essentially replaces the need for keys, opting for a digital key. Now, there’s still a physical key – but for the most part, you’ll be able to lock and unlock from your phone, or the lock’s touchpad. You can also assign family members codes so they can enter your home while you are away.
I have a Smart Deadbolt from Schlage Locks Canada. I chose it because of the additional security features it includes. Mine has a built-in alarm system that sends me notifications when someone enters or leaves the home.
There are tons of different types of smart locks on the market, each with their own extra features and compatibility with your home automation hubs. Schlage Locks Canada makes choosing your smart lock simple with their online tool.
I love mine because it means when I’m away from home, and I need someone to water the plants or bring in the mail, I can simply send them a digital key, and when they no longer need it – delete their access. That means no extra keys floating around.
I know when Sherry has her hands full with baby Cali, it can be a real lifesaver. She can easily lock and unlock her door without the need to fumble for her keys. And if you’re in a rush, and can’t remember if you locked the door when you left? Just check your phone, and you can lock or unlock remotely.
I’ve heard from some homeowners who hesitate to add smart locks to their homes because they think they’re a higher security risk. A good smart lock is secure from hacking attempts, and when it comes with a strong deadbolt, you’ve got a secure door.
Watch Below To See How Simple it is to Install a Smart Lock
Some of my Holmes Approved Homes builders have started using smart locks on their build sites. They’ll know when the subtrades show up to the job site every morning. For me, it means I know when one of my kids stopped by to “borrow” one of my tools.
Security doesn’t stop with the front door. Consider installing home security cameras and systems that allow you to monitor the action directly from your phone. In the event that someone attempts to force open your door, or break a window, with smart looks and smart home security systems, you’ll receive an alert straight to your phone, no matter where you are.
4. Add Smart Appliances
What are the benefits of smart appliances? First and foremost – they’re energy-efficient which means money saved on your monthly bills. A lot of them connect directly to the manufacturer and can run a diagnostic when something goes wrong alerting your repair person of the problem BEFORE they arrive at your house.
The ease and convenience of being connected directly to your phone and home automation hubs can’t be ignored either. Some fridges can monitor your grocery consumption, and automatically order more of what you need. My fridge is even programmed to make me a cup of coffee in the morning. How slick is that?
I also love having my washing machine and dryer connected to my wifi. The set up offers downloadable cycles for my washing machine to perfectly match any item I need to clean.
Even better, smart washer and dryers can alert you when you’re running low on detergent. Trust me, as a contractor, there’s nothing worse than coming home after a dirty day on the job site, and not having the ability to clean yourself up.
3. Keep Cool with a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are an upgrade I recommend to every homeowner, even if they’re a little uneasy about taking the plunge into smart upgrades. Why? Smart thermostats save you money on your energy bills.
You can control your home’s heating, cooling, and ventilation remotely, and you can see your home’s energy consumption in real-time. By making small adjustments, you’ll be able to see the effect on your monthly bills immediately.
TIP: lowering your thermostat by three degrees can save you four percent on your bills each month.
You can set your thermostat on a schedule so that you’re not wasting excess energy – and some thermostats are even able to learn your schedules on their own. That means you’ll always walk into a home that’s set for the right temperature. We’ve been incorporating smart thermostats wherever we can on our projects.
Homes that have been properly sealed to prevent heat loss are especially great candidates for smart thermostats because that’s where you’ll really see the savings on your monthly costs. Guarding against air leaks means that any energy you’re consuming to keep the home comfortable, stay in the home.
2. Brighten Things up with Smart Lighting
Well-placed lighting around your home is a great security feature. Setting lights on a timer while you’re away can make the house look lived in, and motion-detecting lights around a home can go a long way to deterring would-be thieves.
But you know me, I like to go the extra mile when I can. Think about this: if you’ve set your lights on a timer and they flick on at 7 pm each night and shut off exactly at 11 pm – someone watching the house over a few days might recognize the pattern and realize the homeowner is away.
This is where my smart lights come into play. Smart lights can let you program the lights for different times throughout the day – all from your phone. Some smart lights can even activate when you enter a room and shut off when you leave. And that means energy savings for you.
I also recommend having smart plugs and smart receptacles installed in your home. If you have left your home and think you may have left your iron plugged in, you can remotely switch it off. Or you can turn lamps on and off to trick someone who may be watching your house while you are away.
1. Switch on to Smart Technology
Smart home products are designed to make our lives easier but they offer way more than that! A home outfitted with smart technology can offer energy savings and peace of mind, too. New technology including the Wi-Fi smart devices help provide added safety and security by allowing you to schedule lights and have remote access to connected devices when you’re away from home.
Wi-Fi smart switches, receptacles, and dimmers can be set up quickly and easily with Amazon’s Alexa App–no hubs or controllers are necessary. Best of all, Eaton’s Wi-Fi smart devices can be installed by simply replacing current devices, no new wiring needed.
Future Proofing Your Smart Home Investment
When designing your smart home system, consider not only the features you want today, but those you might want in the future. Looking at the big picture will go a long way in helping you develop the best smart solution for your home.
First thing is to think about your current lifestyle needs and goals. If you often worry about leaving the door unlocked then a smart lock would be an important investment to make. Once you’ve determined those needs, start thinking about if you plan to age in your home and consider smart devices that will make it easier for you to move around and operate your home as you grow older or if you have any mobility issues. For example, a smart home lighting system that is voice activated might be a good investment.
READ NEXT: 8 Reasons Why You Should Get a Smart Lock