The future is here! Smart homes and home automation are on the rise, but that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to get yours up and running. Here are 7 tips to help turn your house into a smart home and save money this winter.
1. Make Sure You Have Compatible Devices
Before you spend a dime, the first step is making sure you have compatible devices. Right now, there’s no standardized method for communication between smart devices and their central hub.
Wi-Fi comes built-in on most devices. Because it’s so popular, it’s easiest to get started with Wi-Fi. However, having so many devices connected to your router can eat up your bandwidth. If you’re paying for data, that can get expensive fast. Which brings us to Tip #2.
2. Select Your Smart Home’s Hub
The hub is the brain of the operation, and is what will connect all of your smart appliances and devices together.
With the right hub, a smart home system can use multiple protocols as well. When you first start out, your phone can work just fine to control the lights, set the thermostat, or check your security cams. As more devices get connected, having a dedicated central control hub is usually the best option. These are three popular options:
- Zigbee, which uses a 2.4 GHz frequency like WiFi but doesn’t need the internet to work. It runs locally and gives you a better range and security.
- Z-Wave, which uses a 908.42 MHz frequency and provides an excellent range. However, the downside is that it also means there’s less bandwidth compared to Zigbee and Wi-Fi.
- Last and the least popular is Bluetooth Low Energy, or BLE for short. It works like Z-Wave and Zigbee, but only supports short distances.
3. Use Smart Plugs
Some of the most cost-effective smart devices on the market are smart plugs. The beauty of these devices is that they make the lamps, microwave, toasters, washing machine, dryer, and whatever else that is plugged into it “smart.”
4. Upgrade Your Old Lights to Smart Ones
Smart light bulbs used to be expensive, but now, they are on par with the LED bulbs you already have. So, the next time you need to replace one, opt for the smart bulb!
Some smart bulbs can come with customizable color settings, allowing you to set the look of any space. They can even help you to save money, as some smart bulbs can automatically turn off when they’re not in use.
5. Go for the Smart Thermostat
Want to reduce your utility bills? A smart thermostat is worth the investment. Not only can you control your energy use, but a smart thermostat can also be set with the touch of a button. Hate coming home to a hot or cold house? Simply tap the app on your phone to start running the air conditioning or heater on your way home!
6. Install Outdoor Faucet Timers
Outdoor faucet timers are another set of smart devices that have the “cost-saving” benefit. They use technology to monitor the weather and the amount of water needed for watering your yard and garden.
7. Use a Smart Doorbell
Smart doorbells are amazing devices that allow you to see and speak to whoever is knocking at your door – even when you’re not home. They might be a little expensive, but with a little research, you can find a cost-effective option without compromising quality.
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