Being at home more during COVID-19 has given us all some time to get on with the jobs in our homes that often get forgotten about because we’re just too busy. Many of us have turned our attention to spring cleaning or sprucing up our homes and gardens with a lick of paint or new fixtures and fitting, of course, all of which can add value to your home. So what is a smart home?
What is a smart home?
A smart home is any property with appliances which are connected to your smartphone or smart device either by wi-fi, 4G or Bluetooth so they can be accessed and controlled even when you’re not at home. So depending upon what smart tech you have in your home, you could do everything from dimming the lights without leaving the sofa and running shower before you’ve even got out of bed to turning the oven on to pre-heat on your commute home.
What are the benefits of a smart home?
Convenience is the biggest benefit of a smart home, as it can be controlled from anywhere, as long as your smart device has a wi-fi or 4G connection. You could stop your heating from coming on and wasting energy if your usual routine has been delayed by a traffic jam, or have your slow cooker come on at a set time in the day so a hearty meal is ready when you walk through the door. It’s also about peace of mind too, whether that’s checking you turned your hair straighteners off before you left the house instead of worrying about it all day or having a hallway light turn on automatically when your outdoor camera senses a person on the driveway to deter burglars.
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What do I need to make my home, smart?
There are six types of smart home gadgets widely available:
- Smart plugs – These are the cheapest and easiest way to make your home smart. They look an ordinary plug, with a socket on the front, but as they connect to the internet you can turn any device connected to them on or off from an app on your smartphone. You can also schedule it to turn on or off automatically at set times of the day, while some let you see how much energy the device plugged in is using. Prices start from £20. Find out which ones we prefer.
- Smart light bulbs – These bulbs replace your existing light bulbs and again connect to the internet so they can be turned on or off no matter where in the world you are. Just an inexpensive a smart plugs with prices starting from £20, the bulbs come in the most popular fittings (screw, bayonet and GU10 – also called spotlight bulbs) and can be white or multi-coloured. Again, they can be scheduled to turn on or off at set times of the day. Find out which ones we think you’ll love.
- Smart thermostats – Made up of two components (a module that’s wired into your boiler and a thermostat that replaces any existing thermostat you already have) a smart thermostat makes your boiler smart so you can turn the heating on or off even when you’re not at home. They cost from £150 to £250. If you’re a DIY whizz, it is possible to do it yourself. However, most manufacturers recommend professional installation, by one of their approved installers. This may be one to put off until social distancing practices have eased up. Here’s the ones worth investing in.
- Smart speakers – These internet-connected speakers not only let you listen to music from streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music in your home, they also come with a voice assistant built-in that can control your smart home gadgets. So rather than reaching for your smartphone, you can ask Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri (depending upon which brand of smart speaker you have) to control the devices for you. Even better, they can control several brands of smart home gadgets at the same time so you don’t need to stick to one manufacturer.
- Smart appliances – From ovens to washing machines that can be turned on from your smartphone to fridges with cameras that let you see what’s inside even when you’re in the supermarket to dishwashers that alert your smartphone or any errors, there’s a whole host of smart kitchen appliances available. Samsung and LG have been leading the way , but other manufacturers like Hoover are following suit, but they come with hefty price tags.
- Wi-fi security cameras – initially these might not seem like a smart home gadgets, after all they’re just a CCTV system that records video inside or outside your home and alerts your smartphone if motion is detected so you can log-in live and see what’s happening. But they can be useful when it comes to creating automated routines designed to deter burglars. For example, if the camera picks up motion on your driveway, a smart light could be automatically switched on giving the impression that someone is home. Here’s our pick.
Smart technology is transforming our homes in ways that even just a few years were really only imaginable in science fiction movies.
Smart home features make our homes more convenient, more livable, and can also add some serious value to your home. There are so many different smart devices available that provide different benefits for our homes and our families. Smart lighting, media, heating, and security systems are all much sought after features in modern homes and are enabling incredible levels of interaction between home and owner. In this article, we will discuss 3 reasons why smart home features increase your home’s value.
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