Did you receive a friendly home assistant (like a Google Home or an Amazon Echo) over the holiday season? Have you been mildly enjoying it, but not quite sure what to do with it? Try not to see your new assistant as an ever-listening spy in your living room, but a fantastic new tool for helping your home perform efficiently this year. With a couple of manageable, affordable updates around your home, you could find yourself with the coolest house on the block in 2019.
Control Your Comfort with Your Voice
If you’ve got a smart assistant, you’ve got an opportunity to control a lot of systems in your home with just your voice. Depending on what other devices you have around your home, everything can be connected, automated, and controlled by your single system. For example, many new smart thermostats like Nest, Ecobee, and Emerson, can be controlled with your assistant or with your phone. This is fantastic not only for monitoring and controlling your system when you’re home, but also changing the settings when you’re away.
Believe it or not, there are now automated window shades that can also be controlled with your smart device. Some shades can be programmed to automatically change position throughout the day. You can control them with your phone or with your assistant. With these shades, you get convenient control over how much sun gets into your home, which can make a difference for your energy use.
The New Cool (or Warm) Thing: Smart Light Bulbs
Being able to control your lights with your smart assistant isn’t a new idea. Smart switches can be permanently installed in your home for turning on, off, or even dimming your lights. These are great for overhead fixtures, but not necessarily helpful for table lamps and other smaller fixtures. In 2018, smart lightbulbs were introduced to the market, and they have extended the reach and usability of lighting in smart homes. Now your tabletop lamps and floor lamps that take regular bulbs can be fitted with these LED (which are very energy efficient), wi-fi enabled bulbs that you can turn on and off with either your phone or your assistant. Just imagine being able to say, “Alexa, turn off all the lights” and have them all turn off!
Some smart bulbs have other features: some can change colors (so you can “warm up” a room with a more yellow light or “cool it down” with a bluer tone). Many can dim. Some can even play music (which is weird, but… why not?).
One Bot to Rule Them All (But Be Consistent)
Making your home a smart home will take a little time, care and investment. It also takes a bit of planning. Not all devices like to play in the same ecosystem, so once you choose one (Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, or others), you’ll want to stick with it. Read instructions carefully to ensure you are investing in a product that will integrate into the network you are already building. Note that we used the word “invest” on purpose here: smart home accessories can be pricey (a single smart bulb can cost upwards of $43), but they are long-lasting and provide a lot of value to your home and lifestyle.
You’ve got the bot and it’s listening for your commands. You might as well put it to work! Making your home a little smarter is a fun way to make your home a little more efficient and a whole lot cooler. Smart choices and careful planning can have you enjoying your home in a whole new way in no time at all.
Is 2019 the year you give your home a serious upgrade? Thinking about how to be environmentally conscious, but also modern and efficient? Get in touch with us today and we’ll tell you how solar panel systems can provide the power your family needs in an aesthetically pleasing, economical way.
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