When it comes to home automation for your new custom home, I’ll admit that I am a novice. Aware that technology has passed me by, I’ve noticed ads in design and building magazines for products like programmable window coverings, smart appliances, and learning thermostats. So I decided to do a little research to see what’s available in smart home automation. While I’m not endorsing any product or company, here’s a portion of what I found.
- HVAC—Products like the Nest Learning Thermostat claim they will save on energy costs by learning your usage habits and then automatically programming itself to adjust for your lifestyle and the seasons. (My husband and I have an on-going battle over the right temperature. Would the Nest be able to pick a winner and set the ideal temperature?) The Ecobee3 smart thermostat has smart phone compatibility and small wireless sensors that can be placed in different rooms to ensure all rooms get to the right temperature.
- Security—Security systems have been around for years. Major security providers like Vivant, Honeywell, and ADT offer multi-device systems that you can monitor remotely. They also offer other home automation products that can be added on to their security services.
- Safety—Nest Smoke + CO Alarm combines both detectors into one and tells you audibly when something is wrong. Smart water alarms and shut-off can alert you when you have a leaking pipe or appliance and shut off water to prevent major flooding damage.
- Doors and Locks—Smart home locks and garage door openers offer keyless entry, easy access, and control even when you are away from home. Lock manufacturers, like Kwikset and Schlage offer smart technology to give you keyless entry to your home either by touch or using your smartphone. No more hiding, losing keys, or wondering if you locked the doors. And smart locks can be integrated with other home automation features.
- Lighting -Makers of smart LED light bulbs claim they use less energy and last longer than traditional light bulbs. They can be connected to smart lighting systems and controlled remotely by your smart phone or control screen. Now you can schedule both interior and exterior lights to come on at certain times or turn them off if you forget when leave home. Some smart lighting features different colors that can be used for mood lighting or can be synced with your entertainment centers or theater rooms.
- Window Coverings—Manufacturers of window blinds and shades, like Lutron and Hunter Douglas, are offering motorized and programmable products that automatically adjust when you want them to. You can set the schedule from you smart phone or tablet. (An especially good idea for window coverings in difficult to reach places.)
- Appliances—Appliance manufacturers are incorporating smart technology in their products. Samsung is introducing an App Fridge that allows owners, among other things, to keep grocery lists, search recipes, check the weather, and control the refrigerator temperature. Jenn-Air’s new wall-conncected oven has a mobile app that allows you to control it remotely. And LG has introduced their THINQ line of products that can be controlled from a central network and self-adjusts for peak energy times.
- Whole Home Integration—Home automation companies can install and integrate multiple systems and allow you to control them with a smart phone, tablet, or computer. For example, Big Fish Automation, located in Draper, Utah, offers multiple modes for vacation, coming home, waking up, and nights that can set and control lights, locks, security systems, temperature, and blinds all at the same time.
If this sounds like a dream come true for you, you need to be aware that all of this comes at a cost. It is easy to break the budget with luxury, whole home automation systems. In addition, as Consumer Reports points out, there are various internet security and privacy risks that are associated with smart technology.
If you are excited to learn more about the smart technology available, there are plenty of websites, including safesoundfamily.com and tomsguide.com, that give you reviews and information about products available. And remember that the best time to plan for home automation is when you design and build a new home. Work with your home designer, home automation company, and your builder to create the smart home that meets your lifestyle and budget needs. And if you are excited to learn more about Utah-based DaVinci Homes, call Dave at 801-971-6650. DaVinci Homes specializes in helping you build a custom home that is designed and created especially for you!
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Our mission is to be Utah’s premier custom and semi-custom home builder through superior customer satisfaction and exceptional building practices. We strive to make the home building process clear and enjoyable. We believe in helping our clients enhance their lives by helping create the home of their dreams.
Feature photo credit: consumerreports.org