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Smart home upgrades have been gaining more and more traction lately, in fact most people already have some form of it in their home.  We personally are set up through Google Nest to control our thermostat, door lock and sound system.  We’ll cover just some examples below.

1. Smart Thermostat – This isn’t just a fun way to integrate aspects of your music system or ask Alexa to spell Pi out to the 100th digit – it’s about outstanding cost savings, extending the life of HVAC equipment and even preventing potentially serious issues.  These smart thermostats do what other thermostats do in that they control the on/off function of heating and cooling equipment.  However, they are digital and connect to wifi so that you can preprogram settings for specific times or control them directly from your phone.  It can also alert you if the house is too cold or too warm – just last year a friend was away on business and was alerted his AC stopped working with his pet indoors.  August in Houston basically necessitates air conditioning or the dog may have had issues which he was able to mitigate with his smart thermostat.  Some models learn your habits (Google Nest Learning) while other use Geofencing (Honeywell) to adjust temperatures if you’re home or away.  According to Nest.com, smart thermostats save can save between $131-$145 per year for heating and cooling.

2. Smart Blinds – In keeping with the window theme, automated window blinds are a great way to save money and maintain a cool home.  Not only does this help keep the house cool (or warm), it can also prevent sun damage to certain aspects of your home such as artwork, floors or furnishings.  In fact, North Carolina is a great place for these, it’s very hot during the summer with long days and cool in the winter, where light would aid in heating.  Automated blinds can be scheduled to close during hot summer days or open during cool winter times.  They are also very convenient for windows in high areas, for example many entry ways have large windows that are completely inaccessible – automated blinds aid in maintaining the incoming light.  Automated blinds can be really handy; however they generally aren’t the same return on investment that smart thermostats are.  They’re typically easy to install and operate and can offer a great aesthetic to your home.

3. Smart Security – Gone are the days worrying about your home when you’re away.  In fact North Carolina Triangle/Triad region has lots of vacation homes for people in the North and they’re only there a few months a year.  Smart security devices like the Ring doorbell are inexpensive and work remarkably well.  If you’re away for months at a time, there are motion detectors, automated flood lights, cameras and alarms that are inexpensive, easy to install and can be operated directly from your cell phone.  If you live in the North Carolina region you probably have a Ring doorbell or something similar.  In an era of increased package delivery and subsequent theft it is an absolute must.  In fact, ringing the doorbell alerts your phone in which case you can get your package off the step before anything happens to it.  You can even lock your door remotely, just in case you think you forgot or check to make sure you turned the stove off!  There are tons of options, from very basic to all-encompassing and they’re becoming more and more common, especially in more urban areas.

We’re just scratching the surface of smart home technology.  There is automation for sprinklers, appliances lighting and many other things in your home.  There are wifi “mesh” systems like airports, colleges and large offices have that allow you to connect to different points on the same network.  And of course there are options for automating windows and doors if that is something you need or want.

While these things have existed for awhile, they’re all suddenly very affordable and easy to find.  In fact most people have some sort of smart home item already!