5 Tech Tips for Futurizing Your Home
Technology has likely changed quite a bit since your last move. Your new home should benefit from the fresh hardware that’s launched in the past few years to make life easier than ever. Here are five items to add to your automation wish list that will take time from your chore calendar and give it to family and friends.
WiFi Switches and Lights
The light bulb has been around our entire lifetime and it’s always been an issue for someone at your home to turn them off when they leave the house. Or maybe your family nails it with turning the lights off, but you want the lights to get smarter and know when they should turn on. WiFi switches and lights can help. Remotely turn the lights on or off with an app. Even better, if you know there are particular lights that you’d like to be on a schedule, it’s easy to set them up. At my house, my front and back patio lights are WiFi connected so they turn on at sunset and off at sunrise. Inside, I have decorative lighting that turns on at sunset and turn off at 11 PM. I don’t have to remember to take care of either of those any more and it makes the house look beautiful in the evening. Be sure you grab some LED lights as I mentioned in my energy saving tips for those overnight porch lights to pay less for electricity.
Wireless Security Cameras
Traditional security cameras used to be reserved for commercial purposes, the rich or the technically savvy. With the explosion of high definition network cameras with wildly simple interfaces, anyone can have cameras set up throughout their home. Depending upon the brand, your cameras can allow for two-way communication with people at home, notify you when there’s movement at your residence and even keep an eye on the place with infrared vision for clear video at night when you’re away. These don’t require much power, are very easy to get started and are expandable so you can add more when needed.
Smart Sprinkler System
The sprinkler system of the past had dials, buttons, and tiny screens that could be infuriating to set up. In many parts of the country, additional programming is required as droughts cause water restrictions, limiting watering to particular days and times. If you don’t have a rain gauge for your system and it does rain, the sprinkler system can still activate and water an already wet yard. What a waste! Smart sprinkler systems are WiFi enabled to know the days it will rain and shut off the system accordingly. Additionally, these systems are powered by apps on your smartphone with a more intuitive interface than sprinkler systems of old. One particularly smart system comes with sensors that you install around your yard to determine the moisture level of the soil to focus on those drier spots. This maximizes the irrigation from the sprinkler system, while being conservative on the days where the ground is sufficiently wet. All this, wrapped with a pleasant interface, makes changes to the schedule a snap.
When I was young and bored in the summer and complained to my mom about it, she’d make me vacuum. It was the worst! To escape the punishment of vacuuming these days, I have a robot vacuum that handles about 85% of the dog hair tumbleweeds and dust bunnies that blow across the floor. The device doesn’t vacuum in rows like a human, but runs in a seemingly random pattern to canvas the house. The coverage is spectacular and the device can be programmed to run on a schedule. The maintenance required is similar to any other vacuum – clean out the brush heads, empty the bin and let your robot vacuum take care of the rest.
Robot lawnmowers are less known in the USA when compared to Europe, where one statistic shows that about 12% of homeowners enjoy the freedom of not mowing the lawn. Though a modern robot vacuum doesn’t require guides, a robot lawnmower does. To prepare, lay down a guide wire to create mowing areas for the device. You can also lay down the guide wire to prevent mowing in certain sections of your property. The mower can handle the rest, doing so quietly, seven days a week and returning to its charging station when it needs to be recharged. This is a modern marvel and will surely wow your neighbors – both with a lovely lawn and your robot army.
Automation and intelligence can bring time and energy savings to your household. Both indoors and outdoors can be forever changed with the addition of WiFi capabilities into mundane tools like switches and vacuums.