Most Americans have some type of smart phone which enables them to stay connected to everything that is important to them like the weather, news, and a myriad of apps. Oftentimes, people wonder how they were able to function prior to smart technology as it has become a necessity for day-to-day living. Homeowners are discovering ways to integrate smart technology into their homes as well. In this months’ blog, we examine ways you can add more smart technology to your existing home.
What is a smart home?
The basic definition of a smart home is when major appliances and functions within the home are connected to a wireless device and able to be managed remotely by the user. As smart technology has advanced over the years, so has the variety of functions that can be controlled through our mobile devices.
Smart home technology may include:
- Heating and cooling thermostats,
- Interior and exterior lighting,
- Irrigation systems,
- Door locks and other entries like gates,
- Garage door openers,
- Window shades and,
- Home security systems.
Many homeowners who have existing homes want to add these capabilities and some are very easy to do, while others may take more effort or expense. If you are building a custom home with Prominent Builders and Design or having us do a renovation, make sure to discuss your interests for smart technology with one of our design consultants.
Easy Smart Home Integrations
There are many products on the market that are already designed to offer smart functions. For example, if you decide you would like to control your garage door from your phone, you can upgrade your garage door opener to a Wi-Fi enabled device. Once you have replaced the old one with the smart one, it’s as easy as downloading the app on your mobile phone, connecting the system with your home’s Wi-Fi and you are ready to go!
In most new construction homes, builders put in the necessary wiring for traditional security systems. But if your home is not equipped with the wiring in the doors and windows to support a security system, you can still add smart home technology.
Look for systems that are easy to install, and do not require pre-wired windows or doors. These systems usually operate with long-life batteries, and may include stand alone cameras, sensors you can mount on doors and windows, and of course, camera doorbells. Brands like Simplisafe® market their products as easy to install, and not requiring much in the way of pre-installation.
The irrigation system smart technology is like the garage door integration. You will need to upgrade your irrigation control with a device that is Wi-Fi enabled to operate your irrigation away from home. Replacement may involve a little bit more work if your system is older, so it may be helpful to check with us to find the right service provider for installation.
Door locks are easy to upgrade to smart technology. Many of these require you to replace the existing door handles/locking devices with the smart ones. These locking devices use batteries and Wi-Fi, and once installed, can be monitored, and controlled from your mobile phone. Turning your home’s protection into smart technology can be a big stress reliever and bring peace of mind to many homeowners who always worry if they locked the front door!
Advanced Smart Home Integrations
HVAC and Lighting
If you are looking to add smart technology to your HVAC system, or your lights, this may require more work. A smart thermostat needs to be compatible with your system, so it’s advisable to check with your manufacturer.
Lighting upgrades can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Individual switch units can be replaced with smart technology and allow you to control lighting in specific rooms of your home. If you are looking for a more involved lighting system control, then you may want to consult with an electrician or contractor. More involved lighting could include smart lights that go on when you enter a room, and off once they no longer detect any motion. These integrations can be helpful to save energy for homeowners.
Smart Home Hubs
More sophisticated smart home technology usually includes a “smart home hub,” which is a centralized location or locations within the home to manage each function. Hubs require more effort and work and are usually more cost-effective when you are building a new home or renovating your existing home.
Over the last few decades, our smart phones have become indispensable in our lives. If you are doing a home renovation or a new home construction and considering smart home upgrades to add to your list of technology conveniences, contact a consultant at Prominent Builders and Design. We can talk to you about your needs and help guide you in the right direction for improving your life through smart technology.