Smart homes might seem like a far-fetched, expensive dream, but there are plenty of inexpensive ways that your family can update your home to feel a little more with the times without breaking the budget.
You don’t need to worry about being an expert electrician or spending a fortune on cutting-edge gear. These simple DIYs are all routes you can take to update your home that really only require you to plug things into outlets and set them up through their respective apps.
1) Smart Speakers
Smart speakers are one of the most common ways for home owners to update their homes into smart homes. A lot of the other smart capabilities you might adapt to typically work in conjunction with smart speakers, most popularly Amazon and Google.
Smart speakers are the central point for lights, security cameras, thermostats and more. With these devices, you can not only play music and listen to your morning podcast, but you can also tell your speaker to “turn on the living room lights” or “set the alarm in 5 minutes”. When buying other smart home appliances, it’s important to think about which speaker you would want if you plan on integrating all of them. Some brands of smart systems work specifically with one or the other.
2) Smart Lighting
Many smart lighting systems work without a central hub and still interact with other elements of the home. Smart light bulbs can communicate via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth in your phone or your router. With smart lighting, you can download an app to your phone or tablet and control various aspects of the lighting in your home. You can program different scenes based on the mood, like dimming lights on movie night, or you can set schedules for lights to turn on just before you plan on getting home.
If most of your home lighting is in the ceiling and controlled by a switch, you can also invest in dimmers and smart switches that allow you to control the lighting like you would with other options. With a smart plug, you can turn the lights on and off and dim with an app.
3) Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats work beyond establishing a heating and cooling schedule. Many of them can detect when you’re home or when you’re away to operate your HVAC system only when needed.
One of the latest trends is to equip your smart thermostat with sensors in various rooms. This way, your thermostat adjusts the temperature automatically based on which room you’re in instead of relying on the sensor that stays in the hallway.
4) Home Security Cameras
Home security cameras are very popular smart items these days. From indoor cameras to monitor your pets and children to outdoor cameras that alarm you of intruders, there are a variety of options on the market that can integrate with your smart speakers or come with their own apps. All of them stream live to the app on your phone, and others have the option to insert an SD card or use the cloud to save the video feed for future reference.
Just as common as home security cameras, smart doorbells are equipped with video cameras that allow you to see who is coming to your door while you’re away or at home. There are also security cameras that come with lights to illuminate your hallways as you walk at night.
5) Multi-Room Audio Systems
On top of your main smart speakers, you can also integrate other speaker systems to drop into various rooms. With these speakers, you can project your music collection throughout the house, or you can program to play different music in different rooms.
Some of these audio systems also come with a sound bar, which is great for enhancing your TV-watching experience. Most of these systems come with the ability to integrate with your smart speakers, but there are some that also have their own apps to manage the sound distribution.
6) Smart Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
You would think that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are pretty standard, but they’ve gotten smarter. Instead of just an obnoxious beeping sound, smart versions come standard with a local alarm as well as an alert to your phone — and the phone of any authorized emergency contacts.
Smart smoke detectors may also come with hallway lights that activate when it has been set off, helping you navigate through a smokey home if there is a fire. These can typically be integrated with your smart speakers, allowing you to program them to call 911 or local emergency services based on the duration of the alarm.
So, if you feel installing a smart smoke detector is a higher priority than smart lighting, go for it! If you want to invest in a smart home hub that will pull all these components under a single user interface, make sure all the bits and pieces you buy will work with one of the most common hubs! Either way, there are plenty of options for turning your house into a smart home.
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