Home improvement and smart technology have been close partners for several years. Today, it’s easier than ever to make your house more convenient by installing various bits and bobs of new-age home tech. But what often gets overlooked is that proper home automation can help lower your utility bills and give you back hours in your day.
With this list of 9 smart home automation ideas, you can improve the following areas of your home:
- Heating and cooling
- Living spaces
- Home security
Yes, you will have to spend money on these devices, but you will be able to recoup those costs with ease, and you can’t put a price on feeling more secure in your own home.
Your Heating and Cooling Systems
If you want to save money, start by optimizing your air conditioner and heater for summer and winter temperatures. On average, cooling and heating your house takes up half of your utility bill, so increasing your HVAC’s efficiency will automatically help you use less energy and lower energy costs.
1. Install a Smart Thermostat
Your smart home automation journey starts here. Not only will a smart thermostat improve how your HVAC system heats and cools your home, but it can also act as a central hub of your entire home’s automation. And depending upon the model you buy, the device can even learn your heating and cooling preferences so that it automatically adjusts based upon your habits and schedule.
Ultimately, you can achieve maximum heating and cooling effectiveness by running your HVAC system only when necessary. Doing so lowers usage and reduces long-term wear-and-tear on the appliances.
2. Program Your Thermostat Properly
No matter how fancy or basic your thermostat might be, if you don’t use it properly, you’re wasting money. By investing time now to program your thermostat for various real-life scenarios, you can save even more time later.
Common options include:
- Your daily work and school schedules
- Your waking-up and go-to-sleep times
- Your regular weekend activities
Any information you can give your thermostat about how you use energy will save you money in the long run.
Around the House
The smart home’s real perks come to life when you automate the places where people spend most of their time: the bedrooms, living areas, and the dining room. The key here is to increase the convenience of your setup while paying attention to how all the components use energy. Best of all, you can always use voice or smartphone options to control the systems and adapt the programming as needed.
3. Install LED Lights
You should only purchase LED lights for your home. These lights waste less heat energy and last far longer than incandescent and CFL light bulbs. The majority of smart light manufacturers only create LED options because of how long-lasting and efficient they are. And since the cost of this technology has dropped significantly in the last decade, you can make the switch to LED easily and see savings quickly.
4. Connect and Program the Lights
Setting up a lighting schedule that matches your family’s needs is one of the most common uses of smart home automation. You can choose when, where, and how to light a given room or area based on the right parameters for you.
Using schedules and automation make it easy for you to turn off unused lights. When you use lights less frequently around your home, you will see lower energy bills each month.
5. Connect Your Multimedia Devices and Speakers
There might not be much money-saving with this tip, but it will save you time and effort down the road. Whether you’re entertaining for a big party or just your family on a lazy weekend, you can play movies, shows, and music throughout the house without any glitches. That starts by syncing up your television, game systems, and stereo with your speakers.
Additionally, you can also create a schedule that turns off these devices at night to ensure your kids don’t stay up too late.
In the Kitchen
Your HVAC system might use the most energy overall, but you can still make sizable improvements in the kitchen. Our general recommendation in this room of your home: Focus on using less energy instead of tiny time-saving measures.
6. Install Sensors on Relevant Appliances
Nearly every possible device in the kitchen has a new-school “smart” version that allows you to receive various notifications about its operations. You can buy a refrigerator that texts you to buy more milk if it thinks you need more.
Instead, choose products and services that lower your energy usage or tell you when something might be broken. For example, you can place sensors on your washing machine and water heater that informs you if there’s a leak. You could also opt for the most energy-efficient model that better controls how it heats water (which is a primary contributor toward energy costs).
Increase Home Security
Smart security systems are quickly rising in the ranks of popular home automation ideas. They give you peace of mind by delivering information about your home and property 24/7, which means they also provide long-term financial support by protecting your material goods.
7. Install Smart Locks
We’ve all been there. You’re halfway to work in the morning when you’re hit with the slow-creeping dread that you might NOT have locked your home upon leaving. With smart locks, you can simply glance at a smartphone app to see if your house is locked. And if it isn’t, you can change that fact with the swipe of a finger. You’re saving time in your day worrying if your house is at risk of being robbed.
8. Install a Smart Security System
Yes, it’s a big-time investment, but it will pay dividends by keeps people out of your home and away from what’s inside. To amp up your home automation and savings, we encourage the following:
- Create a lighting program that matches your schedule
- Ensure that the program has minor variations so thieves can’t predict your activity
- Invest in cameras and video storage to monitor your property
- Install outdoor speakers that project noise when they detect outdoor movement past a specific time at night
- Link up your smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to your security system so that you receive additional alerts if something goes wrong
Despite the upfront cost, it will save you time and money down the road by increasing your feelings of personal security against the unknown.
In the Yard
Wait! How can you automate the lawn? It’s literally grass! Well, dear reader – we’re talking about the devices you use to care for your yard. Surprisingly, you have several options available to help you save money and time.
9. Install a Smart Sprinkler System
You’ve been able to program your sprinkler schedule for years. The difference with a smart system is they come with advanced in-ground sensors that help you truly understand what’s happening in your grass.
Based on available data it collects — which includes water saturation and weather predictions — the system can tell you whether or not you need to increase, decrease, or change your schedule. It can even cancel a day’s scheduled afternoon sprinkling because it knows it rained all morning and will probably rain the rest of the day.
By actively monitoring your water usage and making intelligent adjustments, your sprinkler can save you money on your water bills and future landscaping costs because improper watering won’t ruin your grass and greenery. Some smart systems will even activate if it notices your home is on fire because soaking your yard prevents the fire from spreading to other houses.
Home Automation Can Make a Difference
You don’t need to create a home straight out of The Jetsons to take advantage of cool home automation ideas around your house. You just need to pay attention to what you need and focus on improvements that can save you money. You might like that smart slow cooker that pings your app when it stops cooking after 6 hours, but you probably should start your smart home automation journey with practical lighting and temperature controls.