Make your house a smart home

The latest technology will enable you to automate many tasks in your home. This is what you can consider?

Smart home

Home automation systems have been around for decades and are no longer only for the rich and famous. Instead, they are being installed in many middle-class homes, as the latest technology makes these appliances and gadgets steadily more affordable.

From self-programming geyser thermostats to voice-activated television controls and washing machines that keep tabs on high and low power consumption times, there are state of the art appliances, devices, and gadgets designed to make your home tech-savvy.

In addition to saving you time and effort, a highly automated home is bound to save you money in the long term. This is because most gadgets are low-energy users designed to help you save on energy and water costs and optimise functions like heating and cooling.

Security

The latest satellite technology enables many security features to be controlled from your smartphone, even if you are not at home. This means you can keep an eye on your garden and home even while you are at work or on holiday.

  • A video doorbell allows you to screen – and video chat with – visitors before you answer the door. The system takes a snapshot each time the doorbell is pressed, so you’ll always know who came knocking while you were away.
  • Smart locks are more expensive than traditional deadbolts, but they provide advanced security features that can keep your home safe even when you’re not around. From your smartphone, you can check to make sure that you’ve locked up before leaving the house, let guests in and out and keep a record of comings and goings.

Climate

Wireless home-control networking technology allows you to control heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) in your home from anywhere in the world using your smartphone.

  • A programmable thermostat learns what temperatures you like and builds a schedule around yours. It can save you from 10% to 12% on heating and cooling bills, so you should be able to recoup installation costs within two years. You can also control it from your phone, so you can turn the heat up or down from anywhere in the world.
  • Most homes don’t have the same temperature in every room, and temperatures also vary throughout the home at different times of the day and night. Installing temperature sensors along with a smart thermostat will enable you to control the temperature in any room at any time of day or night.

Lighting

An automated home system can set your bedroom lights to brighten gradually in the morning so that you wake up naturally.

You can also configure your lighting to turn on and off at set times so that you never again have to come home in the dark. It will also make your home appear occupied even when no one is home.

Appliances

There are dozens of new smart appliances on the market to make life easier.

  • Smart television sets allow you to navigate through television channels as well as movies, music, social media, apps and the internet at the touch of a button. Most also have voice-interaction capabilities so that you no longer have to hunt for the remote.
  • Smart washing machines perform a number of intelligent tasks. They detect when power consumption in your area is at its lowest, so they can be operated during periods when energy demand is lower. You can control the start time of pre-set wash cycles from your smartphone.
  • Waterpebble is a device that encourages you to use less water each time you shower. It monitors how much water goes down the drain when you shower. Memorising your first shower and using this as a yardstick, it tells you when it’s time to turn off the water when you take your next shower. Its lights flash gently from green for ‘go’ through to red for ‘stop’, fractionally reducing your shower time. You can reset it at any time.
  • Robot vacuum cleaners are compact and don’t take up too much space. Although robot vacuums can’t completely replace traditional vacuum cleaner, they could save money on home cleaning services. However, their ability to clean automatically on schedule means you will have a cleaner and more hygienic home.

If you are planning a new home, installing home automation systems as part of the construction has many advantages. You will be able to include the cost in your home loan amount, and you won’t have the hassle of retrofitting once you have moved in.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer