Whether it’s to save on energy bills, secure your home or control your air conditioning from anywhere, having an upgraded, connected home brings ease to day-to-day home management.
Picture turning the lights on as you pull into the garage, its door “smartly” opening and closing to welcome you home. Or getting notifications about package deliveries through a smart speaker, one that’s paired with a virtual assistant and can also turn on tunes with a quick command— just tell Alexa to do it, from anywhere, at any time.
Best of all, you don’t have to wait for a major remodel to kick-start the process. You can do it based on your budget, in your own time — all at once or little by little. Check out these tips for getting started on a smart home upgrade and choose as you see fit.
Start With Smart Speakers
Foundational to a smart home is a voice-controlled smart speaker, which lets you do everything from letting you set your home security system from bed to adjusting your turned-down thermostat to the right temperature before you arrive home.
For basic voice control, Amazon and Google have similar smart speakers at a reasonable price point. For better sound, look at options like Sonos One, which has Alexa and Google Assistant baked in. Plus, you can link multiple speakers together to ensure connectivity throughout your home.
Alternately, you can opt for smart displays, which do everything from playing music and videos to controlling other smart home devices.
Customize Your Own Security System
If you prefer a DIY approach to home security, you can opt to customize interconnected devices and features that suit you best, like a doorbell, window sensors, wireless solar outdoor cameras, and sensor flood lights with battery backups.
In the event that you simply want to replace your current deadbolt with smart functionality, there are several options on the market. If you want to monitor your front door, too, a doorbell with video monitoring keeps tabs on what’s happening out front.
Going out of town and wanting to be able to check in on your home while you’re away? Indoor smart home cameras are an addition worth considering.
Pair a video doorbell and smart lock together and you can open and unlock doors and know when Amazon arrives, no matter where you are.
Rethink Your Outlets and Lighting
Smart plugs turn any outlet into a switch, letting you turn on and off what’s plugged in from anywhere — even set when it happens in advance. That includes when there’s no timer functionality built in.
You can also take it a step further and enlist smart bulbs. Once the system is looped in, you not only turn lights on and off, but also say things like “Go Bears!” to evoke a mood in a flash, provided you have a compatible virtual assistant.
Make Your Thermostat Smarter
There’s something to be said for an energy-
Like to sleep when it’s cool but hate waking up to the cold? It has your back. You can even tell it to run your furnace fan incrementally to reduce the amount of heat or air conditioning that’s required to keep your home comfortable.
Don’t Forget the Garage
A smart garage door opener is another worthwhile feature that typically mounts to the ceiling above your existing garage door opener, and it makes coming and going from your home a breeze. Because it connects to your Wi-Fi, it can be used like a standard door opener remote.
Have kids who come home from school while you’re still at work? You’ll know when if you set alerts on your phone. Did your kids go on a bike ride with friends and forget to close the door? No worries, you can do it from wherever you are.
And if you hate leaving your packages sitting on the front step until you arrive, there’s more good news — certain models can be integrated with Amazon and you can have deliveries brought into your garage.
The bottom line? Anything that makes life easier these days can be a welcome addition, especially when it makes you feel safe, secure and completely in control of your digs.
Get more tips for settling into your home on our blog.