A major trend in the coming years will be the adoption of ‘smart’ technology to automate your home, and maybe even save you money. Because so much of the technology is new, many of the ways to automate your home are still cost prohibitive, but there are plenty of entirely affordable options if you know where to look. Here are five examples of smart technologies that are entirely affordable, and may also be able to pay for themselves over time.
The first stop for modern home automation should be a smart meter, if for no other reason than it probably won’t cost you anything, as every home in Britain will be offered a smart meter by 2020, and the cost has already been factored into energy billing.
Smart meters tell you the times when energy is less expensive. This won’t save you money in and of itself, but paired with the other items on this list, it will let you schedule your energy use to cut costs.
Smart outlets are fairly low cost, and give you remote access to power flow through the outlet, giving you the ability to remotely schedule or trigger ‘dumb’ lights or appliances. For low cost first steps to home automation, smart outlets are a great starting point.
Smart lighting gives you remote access to the lights in your home, and allows you to schedule lights being on or off. You can remotely disable lights if you forgot to turn something off, saving you energy costs over time, or schedule lights to turn on, either to let you wake up or come home to a bright home, or adding security during the day or while on holiday.
Again, smart thermostats will let you remotely control the heating or cooling in your home. If you are going to be home early, you can come home to a warmer home in the winter, or if you’re home late, you can trigger your heating to come on later, to stop heating an empty home.
Smart home surveillance
Using webcams or old smartphones paired with free software, you can set up a low cost or free home surveillance system, adding to your peace of mind, and with a bit of effort, you may even get a discount on your home or car insurance.