Technology is incredible these days. It seems that almost everything has an app and the electronics in our homes are being developed to work together making one seamless smart home. (Anyone else think of the Disney movie every time they hear the term Smart House?) With Adam working in cyber security, we will never have a “smart” house. We’ll never know what it’s like to talk to Alexa. He won’t enable the wifi on the garage door opener. We’ll always have a dumb TV. And we definitely won’t ever have any wifi enabled locks on our doors. But being the gadget geeks that we are, we still enjoy having smart-ish features in our home.
Wifi Enabled Thermostat
Our Jacksonville house had a basic thermostat for years. This was especially annoying during the Spring and Fall when the weather is cold at night and warm during the day. (We lost count of how many mornings we woke up in a freezing house because the thermostat wouldn’t automatically turn on the heat.) Not only is this incredibly annoying but it’s also inefficient and non eco-friendly. For our birthdays one year, my dad had a Honeywell wifi enabled thermostat installed and our lives were changed forever. Not only did the air automatically adjust to the temperature but we could control the thermostat from our phones.
When we moved into our new house in Pensacola, we were back to having a basic thermostat so we moved installing a smart thermostat to the top of our honey-do list. This time we decided to go with a Nest thermostat which has been fun to use. (I mean, as fun as a thermostat can be.) The Nest thermostat learns your habits and automatically adjusts the temperatures accordingly… although it is a little creepy when the screen turns on as you walk by. Plus, the modern and sleek design blends with the rest of our decor.
When Adam told me he bought an $80 light bulb, I thought he’d lost his mind. But the Lifx bulb has added a ton of functionality and convenience to our home. The Lifx bulb offers over 16 million colors, warm and cool whites, and infrared for night vision. The bulb can be controlled using many different programs like Alexa, Apple, IFTTT, Google, and of course an app. We keep the bulb in a lamp in the main living space of our house and control the settings from our phones. We no longer come home to a dark house. If we forget to leave a light on, we just pull up the Lifx app and problem solved.
In-Wall Digital Timers
We like to leave our garage and front porch lights on through the night but we were constantly forgetting to turn them off the next morning. The solution was replacing the light switches with myTouchSmart in-wall digital timers. Just set it and forget it! The lights turn on and off at set times while still having the option for manual control. These timers are also super easy to install and program. Adam had them up and running in just a few minutes.
Our previous next door neighbors weren’t the best so we originally installed security cameras around our house to deter (and catch) their deviant behavior. Our first security camera system was very basic but after a few years of use Adam did a lot of research and purchased a better system. We went with wired cameras over wifi for many reasons but mostly reliability. Adam installed the camera system himself, running the cables through the attic and strategically placing eight cameras around the outside perimeter of our house.
We quickly became a neighborhood favorite as we helped catch thieves, illegal dumping, vandalism, and other occasional unfavorable behaviors. The cameras also caught some funny incidences like the time our neighbor’s dog snuck into our garage and pulled our laundry into the driveway. But for the most part, we use the cameras to keep an eye on our house. We can see when packages are delivered, whether or not our garage door is closed, and vehicles that pull into our driveway. And of course, like every other smart-ish device at our house, we could watch every camera right from our smartphones.
We like systems built by Lorex (we even have a Lorex wifi camera that we use as a baby monitor) but there are many different routes to take when installing security cameras depending on the size of your home and your exact application. If you’d like more information on which system might be best for your particular case, email me and I’ll be happy to send over some recommendations.
How smart is your house? Do you embrace these new technologies for the sake of convenience or do you still prefer to do things the old fashioned way?