Switched on to smart homes

“Smart lights, thermostats and smart locks are just a few ways you can have a connected home. You can always start small with these updates.” THE HOLMES GROUP



It used to be that a smart home was one where you set your lights on a timer to turn off and on at the same time each day. We’ve come a long way since then; now we can practically control everything in our homes right from our smartphones. There are even some refrigerators that can make your coffee for you!


Smart homes are the big thing that’s taking over these days. Are you taking the plunge into connected home technology this year?


Here are some of the upgrades you can make that, to me, just make sense.


Smart heating and cooling


Most smart thermostats on the market let you control your home’s heating, air conditioning, and venting entirely remotely — and some will even show you your energy consumption in real time. Some smart thermostats use geo-fencing technology, which detects when you leave the home, and lower the temperature so you aren’t wasting necessary energy. They’ll even begin to learn from your behaviour and schedules, and slowly bring the temperature back up (say around the end of your work day), so you always walk into a home that’s set just right. These smart thermostats can help you reduce your total energy consumption you use throughout the year — and that amounts to smart savings on your bill.


Smart security and locks


Smart locks are here to replace keys — which means no more fumbling for lost keys outside your front door, or trying to remember if you locked up when you rushed out. You can lock and unlock your door right from your phone, without having to be anywhere near your home.

With smart locks, I can provide digital keys to my family, and even send a temporary key to anybody who needs to get into my home when I’m not there. If I’m running late on the job site and can’t meet my dog walker, I can send her an electronic key through my phone that’s good for a few hours (enough time to walk my dog, Charlie) and then expires, becoming unusable. It’s convenient if you’ve got lots of people you trust going in and out of your home.

I love my smart locks and security system because they let me know who has entered my home — and when. That means when one of my tools goes missing, I can always figure out which one of my kids came over to “borrow” it.


Smart lights


Like I said, we’re way past the days of plugging a manual timer into your lights to switch them on and off each day. Having the lights turn on and off while you’re away on vacation can be a great deterrent to any would-be thieves in the neighbourhood. But if someone’s watching closely, they may begin to notice when all the lights go on at 6 p.m. and shut off at 11. With smart lighting, you can access everything remotely and change up the times they turn on. You can even go room by room if you like. And speaking of smart lights, if you haven’t yet made the switch to LED bulbs, do make the change. When we’re talking about smart energy consumption, LED is the way to go.


Are smart homes safe?

I’ve been talking about smart homes for a little while now, and I’ve been hearing from some concerned homeowners worried about security — and I hear you. I think smart homes are great, but it never hurts to be safe and ask questions.


If you’re curious, but hesitant, start small. Installing smart lights and thermostats are some small upgrades you can make where you should still feel like you’re in total control of the house.

If you’re going a little bigger and looking at locks and security systems, there are some precautions you can take to prevent data thieves from targeting you. Access your smart devices over password-protected Wi-Fi networks only and update your smartphone with the latest security upgrades to make you less vulnerable to malware attacks. As well, it doesn’t hurt to change your personal passwords regularly.

Watch Mike Holmes in his series, Holmes Makes It Right, on HGTV. For more information, visit makeitright.ca.


Mike is back and looking for renovation disaster stories in the greater Toronto area! If you’re a homeowner with a small to medium renovation project gone wrong, he wants to hear from you. Send your story in 500 words or less to storyproducer@makeitright.ca


Original article via Windstor Star. View full article: http://bit.ly/2Ejy58b


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