How To Make Your Home Smarter
Home automation is no longer a futuristic idea. It is about convenience, security, and savings. When you are building a new custom home or remodeling, it is essential to discuss your home automation objectives with your builder and architect during the earliest stages of planning and design. Having the proper wiring and wireless access points installed during the construction phase will ensure that your systems will run optimally when your custom home or remodeling project is finished.
1. Smart Home Automation Systems
So what exactly is home automation? The term refers to utilizing smart home devices together to create events or complete tasks automatically. A home automation system typically operates through a central hub that is connected to your wireless or wired network, allowing you to control your electronic devices remotely.
Do some research to find a home automation system that suits your needs, is user friendly, and is compatible with the brands and devices you want to use. There are many systems at varying price points on the market today made by companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and more.
As you begin to research these systems, evaluate your goals for home automation. Are there specific tasks that you want to automate or certain features that are most important to you? Do you want to automate your whole home or only certain rooms? What is your budget? Once you answer these questions, finding the right system to make your home smarter will be easier.
2. Smart Audio-Visual Systems
Smart audio-visual systems allow you to listen to music and watch tv from almost anywhere in your home. These systems can be controlled from your smart devices for total convenience. Some work wirelessly, but they may not offer top-notch sound quality because there is a possibility of lost connections, bandwidth limitations, and interference problems. In-wall wires provide higher quality signals and output throughout your home than wireless systems. Your homebuilder can install wiring, speakers, and other audio-visual equipment during custom home construction or during a remodel with proper advanced planning.
3. Smart HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning) Systems
A smart HVAC system uses wireless or wired technology to communicate with other devices and sensors in your home. This means that your system can automatically adjust itself based on your settings and desired schedules. Ultimately this provides you with greater comfort, energy efficiency, and convenience.
A smart HVAC system will be able to pick up on changes in the weather, humidity, and temperature outside and make your home more comfortable inside. Smart systems can tell you if it’s time for some maintenance work; for example, you may get a reminder on your smartphone that you need to replace a filter or schedule a professional service call. They can also generate energy reports, helping you to become more efficient in your energy usage.
A smart HVAC system will be made up of several products that work together. A smart thermostat is at the center of the system. It will connect to devices such as your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or voice-activated home automation hub, and it will coordinate with all the other climate control products you have installed.
Smart sensors will allow your HVAC system to detect where people are in your home based on the location of their phones, so you can set varying temperatures in different rooms with pre-programmed preferences. Some smart HVAC systems use geofencing technology to raise or lower temperatures when you are leaving or approaching your home.
Air quality in your home is very important for your overall well-being. A whole-home humidifier can be connected to your smart thermostat to optimize the levels of humidity. A smart air purifier will be able to detect pollution levels and allergens in the air and work to reduce them so you can breathe in fresher and cleaner air. Smart vents are more efficient versions of traditional air vents. They work with your smart thermostat to detect the environment in the various rooms in your home and redirect air where it is needed the most.
4. Smart Indoor and Outdoor Lighting
Smart lighting is comprised of an integrated system of devices that controls a variety of lights (task, accent, ambient, etc.) in a single room or throughout an entire home. These lighting systems can be linked to your home’s wireless or wired network and operated remotely via smartphone, tablet, or another device. Along with a myriad of other benefits, a smart system gives you the ability to manage the lighting inside and outside your home at the push of a button. You can schedule the lights to adjust at certain times of the day while you’re at work and at night while you are home to save energy.
In addition to being energy efficient, home lighting automation improves the safety and security of your home. An automated lighting system can alternate lights on and off while you’re on vacation, helping to deter break-ins by making it appear like your home is occupied. Additionally, light controls like motion sensors can help keep you safe by turning on lights when you enter or exit your home or when you walk through a dark hallway at night. Installing dimmers will help reduce energy consumption and costs. Plus, dim lighting helps provide a calming environment to help you relax.
Smart light bulbs are energy efficient and enjoyable. They can change colors to create a customized ambiance in a room. Some even light up and sync with video games, movies, and music.
5. Smart Window Coverings
Smart window coverings are motorized blinds, shades, or drapes. They connect to your devices so you can control them remotely and they can be programmed to open, close, or tilt at predetermined times. For instance, you can schedule your shades to open each morning at a time of your choosing and close at night when it is time for bed.
Automated window coverings can adapt to the position of the sun throughout the day, ensuring that you have the right amount of light without having to manually adjust them. This can reduce heat transfer during the hot summer, lowering your air conditioning costs. During the long winter season, your window coverings can be programmed to close when it gets dark to hold in the warmth which will help to minimize your heating expenses.
6. Smart Security Systems
Smart security systems can be wired or wireless. They can include door locks, indoor and outdoor cameras, video doorbells, water and heat sensors, sirens, and lights that are all controlled remotely. Some systems are whole-home and require professional installation, but many newer systems are do-it-yourself. Depending upon your needs, you can select a system that you can monitor yourself, or you can pay a fee to have professionals surveil your home 24/7 and contact local fire or police departments when the alarms trigger.
7. Smart Kitchen Appliances
Today’s high-tech kitchen appliances can make your life easier. For example, smart refrigerators are available with built-in electronic grocery lists that connect to your phone so you will know what you need before heading out to the store or placing a delivery order. Some models have internal cameras so you can see what is inside without opening the door. Or you can get a smart refrigerator that has both hot and cold water dispensers in the door.
If you love a latte in the morning and your countertop coffee maker just isn’t cutting it, the answer for you may be a smart, integrated hot beverage center in your kitchen. These systems have a high-end, luxury look and free-up counter space in your kitchen because they are built- in to your cabinetry.
8. Smart Cleaning Appliances
Cleaning your home, doing laundry, and washing dishes takes so much time. These smart cleaning appliances can make your life easier, so check them out.
Vacuuming keeps dust and allergens at bay and crumbs off the floor. An automated vacuum cleaner can do the work as often as you want. These vacuums connect to your smartphone and dock themselves when they are done. All you have to do is empty the dust pan.
Automated mops use water and disposable pads to clean hard surfaces like wood, laminate, and tile. They can mop for up to two hours on a single charge.
Robot window cleaners cling to vertical surfaces as they move across them. They have sensors to detect the edges of the glass as they give your windows a deep clean. Apps allow you to set a cleaning schedule that suits the type of glass you have in your windows. The reusable cleaning pads save on paper towels, too.
Dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers are all available with smart home technology. You can turn the machines on and off remotely, download specialty cycles, and see your energy usage over time by using an app on your phone or tablet.
9. Smart Bathroom Technology
Smart technology can add comfort, convenience, efficiency, and enjoyment to a bathroom. Some smart products even offer health benefits. There are many cool gadgets and gizmos that can improve your quality of life, so investigate your options as you plan for your remodeling or custom home project.
For example, warming drawers maintain a constant heat to make your towels, robes, and slippers extra cozy. Smart shower systems can start the water flow and take it to the perfect temperature before you step in. Smart toilets have seat warmers that can be comforting on a cold winter day.
Voice activated lighting allows you to switch between modes of lighting. For example, you can turn on “office” mode to be sure that your makeup is optimal for that type of lighting. Aromatherapy diffusers can be controlled via Bluetooth technology to make your bathroom smell heavenly. Smart systems that cool your cabinetry can keep your medications at the perfect temperature.
Smart monitors can inform you about your water usage and some can even regulate the time you spend in the shower. Newer toilets use less water and that can help to reduce your water bills.
Smart televisions can be installed in cabinetry or mirrors so that you can relax in the tub or shower and watch your favorite show as you start and end your day. Bluetooth speakers can be incorporated into your bathroom design so that they are hidden from sight.
Smart ventilation systems turn on and off automatically to regulate the humidity level in your bathroom which prevents the build-up of mold and mildew. Touchless toilets and faucets allow you to flush or turn on the water with just a wave of your hand to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. Smart bathroom mats measure your weight and body-mass index and send the information directly to an app on your phone.
10. Smart Irrigation Or Sprinkler Systems
Irrigation or sprinkler systems have made caring for your lawn simpler and more efficient. They have underground pipes and motorized valves that are attached to a controller. Older systems had to be turned on and off manually. Newer smart systems give you the ability to control your sprinklers remotely. To prevent over- or under-watering of your lawn, these smart controllers connect to weather apps and use real-time data to automatically adjust the frequency of watering, which keeps your lawn looking great and your water usage at optimal levels.
Technology changes at the speed of light, so do some research and speak to professionals before investing in home automation equipment. If your budget prohibits you from purchasing everything you want at the time of construction, make sure that your home's infrastructure is set up to accommodate additional smart systems later on.
At Meridian Homes, we specialize in luxury remodeling and custom home building in the Washington, DC area. Our mission is to create exceptional residences that exceed expectations. Our highly personalized design process and careful management of every project have earned us a reputation over many years for outstanding client service and solid, beautiful craftsmanship. Contact us today to begin your custom home or remodeling project.