Safety and Convenience: Upgrading to a Smarter Home


A great benefit of the huge increase in availability of consumer technology such as smartphones and the internet is that we can better control many of the things in our lives. Few technologies have the ability to increase our quality of life as drastically as the integration of smart technology into our living. However, if you are looking to upgrade your home, there are a few things you should consider first.

What Can This Technology Do For You?

Smart technology can help to improve your control over your life, but upgrading your home can depend on a variety of factors. If you have an older home with older appliances, you may not have many options. While many newer appliances have the option for internet connectivity and remote monitoring, older models were designed before this technology was available. However, there are still some things you might be able to cheaply do to help make your home safer and cheaper.

What Upgrades Should You Start With?

First, you can take control of the entrances to your home. Installing remotely accessible locks can give you increased security and convenience, potentially unlocking as you approach, the same way a car might. Additionally, because these locks may not use a physical keyhole, they are less vulnerable to picking. More importantly, they can instantly alert you if they are being tampered with. A skilled thief can get through most locks, but an electronic lock can sound an alarm, either quietly so that the intruder is not aware, or by activating warnings which will likely deter any potential home invaders. These can be complemented by the installation of a security system and/or security cameras. If installed on a single high quality system, you should be able to check on your home from the comfort of your smartphone, whether you are away, or about to head to sleep.

Another relatively cheap and accessible entry into smart home technology is power monitoring, consumption, and lighting control. You can install systems which can not only allow you remote access to your lighting, but which can help you to gather data on how much power you are using to light your home. Before you sleep, you can simply check on your smartphone or tablet which lights are on, and with a flick of a button turn them off. No more getting out of bed and walking down to the garage, barging into your child’s room. Instead, you can quietly and easily adjust where you want your lighting. Conversely, you can quickly turn on exterior lighting should it be needed, and you can save yourself the trouble of fumbling with a light switch after walking into a dark room. A final benefit of this technology is the data you can gain from the apps which monitor activity. If you realize that certain lights are left on far more than they need to be, you can either become more conscientious about turning them off or put them on a timer so that they will turn off automatically after a certain period of time.

However, the costs associated with these upgrades can vary greatly. The existing state of your system can be hard to predict prior to an inspection, and every home and homeowner will have different goals and requirements for their systems. If much of the infrastructure is already in place, you can typically take care of basic installation rather quickly. If you need to run lots of cable, replace fixtures, and update various parts of the electrical system, it might be better to include this as part of a larger overhaul to your electrical system. As the technology progresses, it will be important for most homes to be set up use it. Particularly if you are looking to sell your home, demonstrating to a potential buyer that you have taken good care of the home and made upgrades when necessary can be a huge helper. So, if your electrical system is ancient or very outdated, you may be in need of an upgrade anyways, and can simply bundle much of the groundwork for a smart home system into the normal electrical work. Combining the work can be a huge help in making things affordable for you.

Finally, smart home technology can help you to control all of the electronic appliances and components of your home. You might consider this more of a luxury upgrade, so perhaps hold off on buying all new appliances unless you have cash to spend. However, doing things like preheating the oven while you are leaving work or telling your coffee to be ready when you wake up can really be things which help you to live a more efficient life. If you value your time and are willing to pay, these kinds of upgrades can help you to get more of the one thing which is very hard to buy: time.

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