Modern Living: A Guide for Home Automation

How does being able to actually sit at home and relax without worrying about managing your residence sound? Home automation allows you to do just that because it essentially takes care of the mundane tasks for you! Home automation was originally mostly used in luxury homes, but today many average American homeowners take advantage of it as well. If you're thinking about incorporating automation into your home, this guide will help you become familiar with the great benefits of home automation, the different things you can automate, and how to get started!

What is Home Automation?

You can control things like lights, entertainment systems, indoor climate, locks and security systems, appliances, and more with home automation. Essentially, all you need is a smartphone or tablet with the appropriate app to switch things on and off, or as far as temperature or volume is concerned, increase or decrease it as you wish. You can even use home automation to dim lights or set them at a desired brightness, while you're relaxing on the couch or away for work and vacation. With home automation, it's also possible to remotely lock and unlock your home, and check the status of it. This is great for those who may sometimes forget whether they locked a door or not and plan to be gone for an extended period of time.

What are the Benefits of Home Automation?

There are many reasons why people incorporate some form of home automation in their residences. While it may sound extremely technologically advanced, it's really not that uncommon and people have been using it for a plethora of reasons such as:

Security

If you ever forget to lock the door or your garage door for example, you can double check remotely on your phone and take any necessary actions to keep your home safe.

Energy Efficiency

Accidentally leaving lights and appliances on can be very energy draining. Home automation will help you turn these off remotely or dim them as desired. If you live in a warm area but aren't home for most of the day, there's really no need to run the AC on full blast the entire day. Consider using home automation to only turn on the AC a couple hours before returning home to save that bit of energy. Every little bit adds up!

Increased Home Value

Having the extra features that home automation provides gives prospective home buyers an incentive because they know that the home was well-maintained and secured thanks to home automation. Plus, with everything moving so quickly towards advanced technology, home automation is always a bonus!

Savings

While the initial cost of home automation may be something, it certainly pays off with the amount you'll be saving over the course of an extended period of time. Instead of spending extra gas, time, and money on driving back home to close a garage door that you forgot to close for example, you're able to make it to work on time and close it remotely from your phone! As you can see from that scenario alone, the savings are pretty apparent. Long gone are the days you'd find hefty utility bills from accidentally leaving the lights on all day.

Convenience

With home automation, you'll never have to complain about forgetting to feed your dog on time, cleaning up the pool, or the dust that's accumulated on your living room floor. These are just some mundane tasks that home automation saves us time and effort on.

Control

Many appreciate the ability to take full control of their safety and how things are run at home.

Peace of Mind

The benefits of security that come with home automation will provide you and your family with a peace of mind. If you're away from home for an extended period of time but want to check up on your appliances or make sure your home is still safe and sound, you can do so right from your phone!

Comfort

Needless to say, when we feel safe, we also feel comfort. But it's more than that — being able to control the thermostat remotely ensures that we never feel too hot or too cold at home. It's always a pleasant, cozy place to be!

What Can You Automate at Home?

You'd be surprised at exactly how many things at home can be automated! Let's take a closer look at the different things in each section of the home that can be automated depending on your lifestyle:

Bedroom

Below are some popular items that people have chosen to automate in their bedroom:

Lights

Hate having to go all the way across to the other side of the room to turn off a lamp before you hop into bed? With home automation technologies, you can turn on, turn off, or dim lights from the comfort of your bed. That's right, you don't need to get up! As long as you have an internet connection, you can do this from anywhere. If you find yourself fumbling around in the dark when you get home from work, you can switch your front porch light and path lighting on before you approach it so that you can get to your front door safely.

Curtains

Adjust your curtains according to your mood and current weather conditions without needing to move or get out of bed. If it's too bright in the morning and you want to sleep in a bit longer, you can easily adjust the curtain so that it keeps the sun out of your eyes and the room.

Thermostat

Easily adjust the temperature in your room from anywhere. If you will be gone for most of the day and don't want to run the AC while nobody's home, you can leave it off until just an hour or two before you get home. This way, you're able to conserve energy while still come home to a comfortable temperature. After a while, the technology in your home will pick up the temperature you generally like and adjust your indoor climate according to your preferences. This is the case for all rooms in the home, including the living room. Pretty neat, right?

Carbon monoxide detectors

Carbon monoxide can be really dangerous if there's a high amount of it in any given room. Have your home automation detect increased levels of carbon monoxide so that an alarm will set off if the levels get too high. This gives you a chance to act accordingly.

Remote

Remote controls were so last century! With home automation, people can control all the systems in their homes from one universal controller — their smartphone. How convenient, especially since we're on our phones so often anyway!

Living Room

Below are some popular items that people have chosen to automate in their living room:

Robotic cleaners

Train your home to clean itself! Sounds impossible, but it's totally possible thanks to home automation. Things like Roomba vacuums, window washers, and pool cleaners can go off when and where you'd like them to all thanks to robotic technology.

Entertainment system

How cool would it be if our cell phones, tablets, laptop, and TV could talk to each other? Well, in the home automation world, they totally do! This creates a seamless interconnected communications network inside your residence.

Keys and devices

Every so often, we'll forget where we left our keys or phones. Now, there's a device that helps us look for them!

Curtains

Similar to the bedroom, you can adjust for curtains to be completely shut, halfway open, or completely open depending on time of day and preference. If you're a blinds or shades kind of person, you can set it all up so that these are adjustable as well. All this can be controlled from your smartphone!

Kitchen

Below are some popular items that people have chosen to automate in their kitchen:

Health & fitness

Stay on track with your fitness goals by maintaining your health and watching your diet. Being able to track and sync your progress across all your devices is handy and will keep you motivated.

Lights

Conserve energy by turning off any lights you may have forgotten to turn off before you walked out of the kitchen from anywhere with internet connection. You can also control the brightness. You can also turn on and off lights in other rooms at home from the kitchen if needed.

Appliances

Did you forget to turn off the oven or stove by chance, or think you might have? Home automation has you covered! Not only does it help you conserve energy, but it also helps prevent your home from burning down. Teach your home to automatically turn off appliances when they aren't in use or at certain times of the day.

Food expiration

Things like eggs and milk go bad after a certain period of time. But let's face it — sometimes after a large grocery haul, it's hard to remember what's still good and what's not after a week or two, or maybe even a month. Home automation can track all that for you, so you never have to wonder or eat in doubt again.

Music

Because who doesn't love to blast their favorite music while they cook? If you and your family members have different taste in music, you can listen to something different in every room. This is possible because your home automation system integrates satellite radio and streaming music services for your convenience and pleasure.

Bathroom

Below are some popular items that people have chosen to automate in their bathroom:

Outlets

For the appliances that must be plugged into outlets, you can use outlet controls to manage usage of appliances and monitor the amount of energy each thing takes up so that you know whether you might want to upgrade certain appliances to be more energy-efficient.

Lights

Just like the rest of the areas in your home, you can control your bathroom lights to go on and off and adjust the brightness as desired, from anywhere with internet connection.

Moisture

Too much moisture accumulated in the bathroom can cause problems, such as mold and structural damage. Some people are allergic to mold too, so it's always good to avoid excess moisture if possible. Moisture sensors exist to let you know when there's water that's been left running, and will help you dampen areas you wouldn't notice are moist like walls.

Exterior

Below are some popular items that people have chosen to automate in their exterior:

Sprinklers

Make sure your grass stays green and your plant stay alive with automated sprinklers. This way, you don't use more water than you need to. Sprinkler control is especially important in areas of drought. You can also monitor your home's water usage and add outdoor moisture sensors that will alert you when certain areas of your front yard need some watering.

Garage Door

If you're not sure whether you closed the garage door when you left for work, you can easily check on your smartphone and close it with a tap or swipe if you indeed forgot. Simple as that!

Doors

Instead of going to peek at the peephole to see who's at the door, you can see who it is on your smartphone, and unlock the door remotely if it's not a solicitor. You can also make sure that the door is locked and secure if it's a stranger outside.

Heating

In areas where it's often cold, this form of automation comes in really handy. You can ensure that your residence is always evenly heated to the temperature you desire in the winter. This way, you can enjoy a cozy warm home without having to do anything manually. If it snows a lot where you live, you can also add roof and sidewalk heaters to prevent ice or snow build-up.

Backyard

Below are some popular items that people have chosen to automate in their backyard:

Pool

When it comes to the pool, there are several home automation features available. You can adjust the water temperature before jumping in on a cooler night, manage the pH level, and if you add motion sensors, you can also be alerted if your child or pet falls in.

Pets

Give your pets a nice everyday routine by connecting a food dispenser to your home automation. This allows them to eat at a set time everyday. You no longer have to worry about forgetting to feed them on a busy day or at inconsistent times. You can also set a schedule for the door to open or close so that your pet can go potty at specific times of the day. Just by looking at your smartphone, you'll be able to track what your pet is doing and where he or she is at home.

Doors

If a door has been left open for a while, you'll be alerted. This way, you remember to close it when it should be closed. Door sensors also work with your home security system to inform your alarm company if there's any home security breach that takes place.

Windows

Glass break sensors on your windows will let you know if someone has broken into your home whether you're in bed sleeping or abroad on vacation. The police will also be alerted right away of any criminal activity.

Camera action

If you're the type to get paranoid about any noise that may take place outside in your backyard, getting some cameras set up and hooked to your home automation system would be a great idea. This way, next time you wonder what caused a mysterious sound, you can simply check your smartphone and be informed. In the event of suspicious activity, you can report it right away to the police without going out to a possible crime scene and risk getting hurt.

Getting Started with Home Automation

The good news is, if you've got a smartphone and wi-fi at home, you're already halfway there with home automation! However, the process is a bit more than just downloading an app onto your phone. To get started with home automation, you'll also want to make sure you:

    1. Have a controller.

Some home automation systems can be completely managed on your smartphone or tablet, but some may require you to install a control panel somewhere in your home.

    1. Have access to a network in order to send messages from the controller to your devices at home.

Today, home automation systems rely on Bluetooth or wi-fi connection to send messages from the controller to your devices.

  1. Have a means for your devices to receive instructions.

Depending on what you're trying to automate, you may need additional means for your devices to receive instructions. An example of this would be lights, which may need smart outlets or light bulbs integrated into your home's automation system on top of Bluetooth or wi-fi on your smartphone.

Conclusion

Home automation has not only helped simplify our everyday lives and provide peace of mind, but has also helped to increase home value. While it started out being used only by a smaller pool of people who could afford it, home automation has become more economical over the years to allow even average American homeowners to take advantage of it.

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