Smart home technology has come a long way in the past few years. Smart home devices are convenient and fun to use but more importantly, they can improve your home’s efficiency and safety. Here are some of our favorites that we recommend considering for your home.
If you’re only going to choose one smart device from this list, we recommend a Nest thermostat. This device should pay for itself as it makes your home more energy efficient. Generally, a smart thermostat begins to learn optimal times to achieve energy efficiency by dropping temps when it’s cold out and no one is home (bringing them back up in time for your return). Bonus: ComEd even offers a nice rebate on the purchase of a smart thermostat.
Last month, Google announced a new version of Nest that has a sleeker look and fully integrates with the Google Home app. Need help installing your Nest or other smart thermostat? Our Fixers are Certified Nest Pro Installers.
Smart doorbells like Ring have become popular as we buy more and more stuff online. Investing in a smart doorbell is probably a good idea especially here in Chicago where packages are known to go missing from doorsteps. In addition to adding an extra level of security, they’re also more convenient since you can answer from anywhere in your house, straight from your home, without having to run to the door.
Most smart doorbells can also integrate with other home security devices like surveillance cameras as well as Google Home and Alexa systems. Fixer can help install your new doorbell camera and set up mobile app features.
Always forgetting or losing your keys? It sounds like you could benefit from a smart lock! Smart locks are more secure since they can’t be picked. Just make sure you remember your pin. Another advantage is you no longer have to lend a friend, neighbor, or pet sitter a physical key while you’re away. Most smart locks will allow you to set a unique passcode for a visitor and will alert you when they enter your home. You can also put smart locks on interior doors if you want to lock something valuable away in a closet. ????
Smart locks are especially useful for realtors and landlords. Create new passcodes when you’re showing a home or have peace of mind that you’ll always have access to a rental unit if needed.
Voice assistant speaker
A Google Home or Amazon’s version, Echo, integrates with all the smart devices in your home including Nest. It’s nice to have control over your devices in one place, plus a voice-controlled assistant has lots of other features that are both entertaining and convenient:
Smart home control
Compatibility with Chromecast and other operating systems to send movies to your TV
Set an alarm or timer
Add items to a shopping list
Start a call or video call with grandma
Ask it anything… check the weather while you’re getting dressed!
Dim the lights
Smart light bulbs
Talking about dimming the lights, smart lights use CFL or LED bulbs which use less electricity than incandescent bulbs. But more than anything, smart light bulbs are a whole lot of fun! They can be controlled from anywhere in your home and many of them can be dimmed without having to install dimmer switches. There are many varieties of smart bulbs. Some of them change colors so you can set the mood while entertaining. Others play music and can even help you sleep. The C Sleep bulb emits several color temperatures that are designed to help regulate natural melatonin production in the body.
Smart air filter
Never forget to change your furnace filter again! You should change it at least every three months by the way. Companies like Filtrete make smart air filters that have a sensor in them to monitor air flow and usage. It connects to their app which will alert you when it’s time to make a change.
Smart security cameras
Smart surveillance cameras allow you to check on your house from anywhere in the world. Arlo is a popular choice – they make video doorbells as well. Or Ring’s suite of indoor and outdoor cameras. The smart cameras can tell the difference between people, vehicles, and animals. You can customize the alerts and have the ability to call emergency dispatchers if needed.
Arlo makes both outdoor and indoor cameras. Why would you need an indoor camera, you ask? So you can check on your pets while you’re at work or on vacation! If you’ve ever wondered what your dog does all day when you’re not there, this is your chance to find out. The cameras also have two-way talk capabilities so you can say hello to your furry friends and see if they meow back.
A smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector will send you an alert if the alarm goes off whether you’re at home or away. First Alert’s detector has a photoelectric smoke sensor which helps reduce false alarms caused by cooking or shower steam. When you think detector, smoke and carbon monoxide might come to mind but there are lots of others available too. There are WiFi controlled water valves, and flood and freeze sensors which might just save your basement or pipes from disaster. Ring, Honeywell, and Alexa all make their own models.
Fixer is here to help you install all the smart home devices, in-person or by video chat. We can help you decide which device to purchase depending on yours and Fido’s needs.