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What is a Smart Home?

What is a Smart Home?

What is a smart home?

A smart home offers homeowners with control over their internal home systems thru technology.

For example, home automation or a smart home controls the lighting, climate and entertainment systems, along with connected appliances. Additionally, home security, which includes doorbells and alarms help create a comprehensive smart home.

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According to industry experts:

“A home automation system typically connects controlled devices to a central hub or “gateway”. The user interface for control of the system uses either wall-mounted terminals, tablet or desktop computers, a mobile phone application, or a Web interface, that may also be accessible off-site through the Internet. While there are many competing vendors, there are very few worldwide accepted industry standards and the smart home space is heavily fragmented. Manufacturers often prevent independent implementations by withholding documentation and by litigation.

Interestingly, as technology advances, the smart home (or connected home) market continues growing. In fact, according to Reuters, the market continues growing over 10% per year!

“The global home automation and security control market was worth $5.77 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach $ 12.81 billion by 2020; this market is projected to grow at CAGR of 11.36 % between 2014 and 2020.”

How a Smart Home Works

Perhaps the most discussed advantage of home automation remains the ability to control your home temperature.

Yes, a smart home is more than a programmable thermostat!

However, new technology enables homeowners more features and customization. For example, automation enables custom schedules for your thermostat, lights and other appliances. Home automation lets your energy system work smarter – not harder. As a result, automation remains useful for your entire HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system. Experts advise homeowners to incorporate the following items into their home automation system.

  • Use of a Smart Thermostat
  • Set Up “Away” Alerts
  • Ensure Mobile Control
  • Get a Home Energy Checkup

If you are going through the work to control and understand your energy usage, then find a professional home energy expert to conduct a comprehensive review.

At SolvIt, we are a certified to work with Connecticut’s major utility companies, such as UI and Eversource. These energy efficiency programs provide customers to take advantage of any and all state-wide rebates. Plus, we provide free estimates for all installation work and even offer FREE second opinions. Therefore, if you are serious about understanding your energy usage, then call today to schedule your home energy checkup.

Smart Homes Help Prevent Damage

At SolvIt, we are big fans of preventative maintenance. Regular maintenance helps homeowners reduce expensive damage when things like the furnace or hot water heater break.

What is a smart home and why does the industry continuing growing?

A smart home allows active monitoring of major appliances and measures temperature changes throughout your pipes. As a result, homeowners receive more information that allows them to potentially spot pending issues before they strike.

For example, certain connected homes contain sensors that provide alerts that help identify potential concerns, such as:

  • Water Damage
  • Frozen Pipes
  • Excessive Humidity

The alerts will not fix any issues, but provide time to call a professional and trusted plumber to fix any problems before they strike!

Smart Homes Add Security

How often do you think about the following questions?

  • Did I lock the front door?
  • Did that storm cause anything to hit the house?
  • Is my package delivered?
  • Who keeps ringing my doorbell?

Much of the talk about home security relates to sensors on your locks, but in reality, smart homes incorporate security. As a result, smart locks and doorbells help add some extra security.

As opposed to smart thermostats, smart locks and doorbells focus on home security. However, not all smart locks are created the same, so look to avoid certain things, such as complicated installation or no remote access. Also, some companies add smart locks to their product line. The best smart locks are made by firms with experience in the industry. For some of the best smart locks, check out these options.

Plus, keep in mind that home security starts before the door and any smart lock. Home security starts as people near your door or entryway. As a result, smart doorbells feature cameras that record activity and audio. These features enable homeowners to check on deliveries or understand what happens around their home when nobody is home. Interested in learning more, here are some of the best smart doorbells available.

Finally, smart smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors provide peace of mind. In truth, there is no such thing as having too much security.

While evaluating what you want and do not want to control, keep in mind that there are pros and cons of incorporating piecemeal systems (pieces from various companies) compared to a complete system (all purchased from the same company). Therefore, it makes sense to add simple things that ensure the safety of your family, it makes sense to add them. After all, we own homes to provide shelter and stability for our families.

How to create a smart home?

Interested in learning more about smart home technology? To help, we found some great tips, tricks and advice that should enable homeowners to set up a smart home or start the research process into the best smart home devices for their needs.

Start With a Smart Thermostat

“The biggest money saver for many is likely to be a smart thermostat. Controlling lights with an app is awesome. But for most, especially in areas where the temperature can get extra cold or extra hot, you can actually save a pretty big chunk of change by simply replacing a thermostat. I went from spending almost500 per month when I first moved to Minnesota from Los Angeles, to spending less than200. That’s right, about a two week positive return on that investment, that continues paying itself off, month after month. My first automated thermostat was a generic Z-wave. These days, I use the Nest, as I like how it integrates with dozens of cloud services.”

Conduct Some Research & Pick a Personal Assistant

“Virtual voice-controlled assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa make it easy to control smart home products by speaking simple commands like “Alexa, turn on the lights.” Each of these tools has its strengths and weaknesses, so choose the one that will be more likely to work for your needs.”

Start Building a Smart Home Based on Your Priorities

“Once you have chosen your smart home hub or controller, what’s next? A good way to think about building your system is to pick a home category then look around for products that work with the ecosystem you’ve chosen…While ecosystems like Google Assistant or Amazon can pull all your devices together, there are still ecosystems of devices – and a prime example is Nest. This is a good choice for anyone with a bit more cash who is happy to pay for a polished, all-round system – comprising a thermostat, Protect smoke alarm, Cam and Cam IQ security cameras and the Secure alarm system – all of which work with a lot of other products.”

Don’t Forget About Smart Home Safety

“Smart home devices can help homeowners manage their risk by enabling remote monitoring, alerts and control of a home’s systems that, if they were to fail and go unnoticed, could result in costly consequences. Smart thermostats can provide alerts if a home loses power or if the temperature in the home falls below or rises above a set threshold. Water sensors can detect unwanted water in the home, alerting the owner to potential leaks near washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters and other areas. Smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors that can interface with a central hub or mobile apps are available. This provides remote monitoring and control capabilities beyond the classic alarm system.”

Take Advantage of IFTTT to Help Sync Your Smart Home Devices

“The best smart home tricks should work like magic and if you use the location triggers that are available in free web service IFTTT (If This Then That), you can get all your smart home gear to respond to you leaving the house. Turn the thermostat down, make sure the lights are off, and so on. Many smart home services have this kind of geofencing built in, but we like IFTTT because it works with so many services and devices—insuring nothing is left on that shouldn’t be. So IFTTT knows where you are, you need to have the app for Android or iOS installed.”

Wipe Old Smart Devices When Discarding

“You probably know you have to wipe your old computers and smartphones clean before you sell, donate, or recycle them. After all, you don’t want whoever ends up with your second hand gadget to access your documents, login credentials, or any personal information. The same is true for smartphone gadgets—and even more important, we’d argue, given how much time they probably spend listening to your requests or watching you go about your life. But deleting the data on your smart speaker or camera isn’t as simple as unplugging it or disconnecting it from your wifi network. Most of these devices require a factory reset, which deletes your custom settings and some of your data. It’s not a difficult process to do, but it might be unfamiliar to you if you’ve never done it before.”

Add Redundancy to Your Smart Home System

“Add multiple ways to control the device. Sometimes you will have that option if the devices you are using also have an app (like Ecobee for example). Also do not be afraid of having multiple smart hubs if you feel the need.”

Customizable Reporting Features

“One of the functions that homeowners were quickest to embrace is the universal command “Tell me about my day,” which triggers an audio report. What some basic users haven’t realized is that the “Tell me about my day” command can be customized to offer different information. In the menu, it’s possible to select different categories, including the weather, traffic conditions, Google Calendar reminders, and even your flight status. It’s also possible to not cut off the report at the end, but instead, have the Home default to a custom news feed.”

Look Into Smart Meters

“Many utility companies around the world are starting to offer smart meters to customers. These devices precisely monitor your electricity, gas and water usage so that you can get an exact picture of what you use. The hope is that you learn not to be wasteful, and cut down both your bills and impact on the environment. Do a search in your country for ‘smart meters’ to find out more.”

Smart Homes Start With You

“The devices and services that make a home “smart” will be different for every individual. In fact, whether you know it or not, chances are that you already have some type of smart home device. Do you have LED light bulbs that you can dim or turn on using your smartphone? Guess what, you have a smart home. Do you own a webcam installed that monitors your windows or front door, or perhaps the baby’s room? You, my friend, have a smart home.”

How can SolvIt help?

Did you know the average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills? And almost 50% pays for heating and cooling needs? Or homeowners save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings.

SolvIt Recognized as the Best of Hartford

We believe our team is the right option for your smart home needs because we employ Connecticut’s best electricians and provide professional electrical installations and repairs along with our excellent customer service. In addition to offering a full slate of HVAC services, SolvIt is an approved partner with Nest.

“Nest Pro Elites are at your service. As top installers in their areas, Nest Pro Elites get special training from Nest. Elite Pros can even give you special offers on Nest products and installation services.”

At SolvIt, we tend to think we provide excellent electrical services and peace of mind for our customers that the job will be done right. We stand behind our techs and work, but understand we might not be the best fit for everyone.

For any questions or help with electrical wiring related to any connected home product installation or any electrical needs in general, then SolvIt is here to help.