In 2018, there’s a million tools and gadgets to make our homes more comfortable and more functional. Hot temperatures and frequent entertaining make summer the perfect time to upgrade your regular house to a “smart home.” We’ve compiled a brief list of smart home items that we feel are worth the investment.

Programmable Thermostats

With a programmable thermostat, you can set the thermostat to be different temperatures throughout the day. Installing a programmable thermostat is a great way to save money during the day when no one is home. It’s also perfect for the temperature swings of the South Plains. We all know it’s hard to efficiently heat and cool our homes when there’s a 50-degree temperature swing throughout the day unless we have a programmable thermostat. It’s estimated that warming your house up by 7-10 degrees while at work can save about 10% on yearly heating and cooling costs. Nexia’s Trane ComfortLink II goes beyond the capabilities of the Nest thermostat, integrating with the entire HVAC system of your home.

Connected Home Shades

Windows can increase heating and cooling costs if left open during the hottest hours of the day. However, it’s a hassle to continuously open and close all of your home’s window shades. If you install smart blinds, you’ll be able to program specific times for them to open and close every day. Connected home shades also mean that homeowners can utilize more of their natural light, reducing electricity usage. The two big brands are Somfy’s motorized shades and Lutron’s Serena Shades. However, when comparing the two brands, Lutron has the best integration options.

Controllable Sprinklers

Watering schedules confuse even the savviest of homeowners. It’s almost impossible to gauge how much water your lawn needs on any given day between varying temperatures, humidity, weather, and season. Luckily, there’s new smart technology that can sense how much water your yard needs. It’s more than a set-schedule system; the new tech that’s out will water based on an objective assessment of your lawn’s current condition. Hunter’s Hydrawise Wi-Fi connected system uses internet-sourced weather data to predict how much to water.

Smart Bulbs

Many have criticized smart light bulbs, just because they can be turned off by light switches still, but they do have cool features. Reviewers at PC Mag made a nifty comparison chart to help consumers sort out all the different smart bulbs on the market. With varying smart bulbs on the market, consumers can opt for traditional or colored, cozy or bright lighting. Most importantly, you can control smart bulbs by a smartphone (some even have voice control), and they all have timers.

Outdoor Lighting

No one wants to hang out in the dark or cut summer evenings short. Instead, homeowners who like to entertain outside should invest in a landscape lighting system. Landscape lighting systems can be timed to turn on at just the right moment, and then turn off when they need to. In addition to lighting your outdoor space, some systems will also repel mosquitos from your yard. That can add safety and wellness benefits for families, especially ones with young children. Landscape lighting systems are a worthy investment to making outdoor living space more comfortable.

Video Doorbell

You’ve been there: a mysterious knock on the door. Should you pretend not to be home? Do you answer it? Not everyone has deadbolts and door chains, and those measures might not be enough to protect you. Also, some peepholes are too high for residents to see out. That’s why video doorbell systems are so great. With this type of system, residents can pull up a video of their front door from their smart device. No hovering near the door required. It’s easy for a resident to know if they should answer or not.

Virtual Assistants

Most major tech companies have virtual home assistants on the market. Consumers can choose between Amazon Echo (Alexa), Google Home (‘Google’),  or Apple’s HomeKit (Siri). They all have their pros and cons, but the main idea is home assistants are useful. Who doesn’t want to bark orders at a voice assistant? It’s very satisfying. It’s also handy, for when your hands are full.

To learn how you can make your plumbing, air conditioning, and heating ‘smart,’ contact A&R Mechanical about integrating your home with Nexia.

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