The term ‘home automation‘ used to conjure up thoughts of futuristic homes — the sort of thing you grew up watching on The Jetsons. While we’re a few years away from a fully-automated Rosie the Robot to take care of our dirty work, there are some incredibly useful and affordable high-tech home gadgets out right now that will make anybody’s household run more smoothly.
Calm your electricity bill with a smart thermostat from Nest, which costs around $250 but can save you money over time by “learning” when you’re home so as not to waste energy. Control the settings manually from any handheld device or computer. Forgetting to turn off the HVAC system is no problem with a WiFi app to access all features.
WiFi Light Switches
Did you turn off the lights? This universal question is usually met with frustration at forgetting the answer. Plug in Belkin WeMo WiFi light switches to calm your concerns. At only around $50, these switches can be integrated throughout the home. Activate the lights from your smartphone or tablet, especially on dark nights. Even control dimming aspects to create a relaxing mood as you enter your home.
Remote Electrical Outlets
Plug nearly anything into a smart electrical outlet and control the item from a remote location. Try the WeMo Insight Switch for only $60. Curling irons, small kitchen appliances and other household items can be turned off if necessary. Through a smart app, you’ll access the outlet and stop electricity from powering through. Along with convenience, this home automation addition is also safety-friendly to avoid powering electrical items with no supervision.
If you have a security system, adding in motion sensors is second nature. The Honeywell Intrusion is $50 per sensor. When activated, these sensors alert you to any unusual movement. You’ll be able to see intruders even before they have a chance to break in. Alert the authorities and stay alert with these sensitive devices meant to keep everyone safe.
Automated Window Shades
Keep the home cool even from a remote location with automated shades by Bali for around $300. If you’re across the room, for example, use the remote to send the shades down. Some models even come with a programmable function to activate shades at certain times of day.
Make it easier for friends and family to take care of your home while on vacation with coded locks from Lockitron. No one needs a key because they simply require a code on their smartphone. An app deactivates the door lock with the right code. All this simplicity and safety for around $180. Maybe if you buy bulk from a home automation expert, they’ll provide a discount!
If you can control your lights through WiFi, why not the yard sprinklers? Add a WiFi irrigation controller by RainMachine to your landscape system to see the savings add up on water costs. Conservation is crucial to help the environment and lower water bills. These controllers start at $250.
Automated Door Opener
For people with limited mobility, an automated door opener is a treat. Attach the $200 Skylink sensor to the interior door and open it with the press of a remote control. Busy households benefit greatly from a swinging door requiring no manual pulls.
Who’s there? Now you’ll know exactly who is at the door with a video doorbell by VTech at $120. Once the bell activates, the video source offers you a clear view of the visitor. This automated choice is both convenient and safety-oriented to avoid confrontations with undesirable people.
Add a smart vacuum to the home, such as the Infinuvo Hovo 510 for $300, to see a clean floor each day. Program it to operate at certain times and let it go. It almost has no manual needs except to remove the debris periodically from the storage area.
Start your automation dream with just one component and branch out from there. At some point, you’ll be able to control almost everything from your computer while sitting at work or on vacation. Turning on the lights manually will be a foreign concept after automating most of the home.
Are you ready to turn your home into a home automated machine? Contact one of our home automation experts to get started.
For more home automation ideas, check out Modernize.
About the Author: Tim Smith is a former contractor who writes about home improvement and energy efficiency topics for Modernize. Tim loves spending time with his family and loves DIY projects.