Smart home technology isn’t just about home security anymore. Like something out of a futuristic movie, utilities, lighting, doors, and windows can be monitored and accessed through smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Barcodes in refrigerators can track when staple items are running low and automatically add them to your grocery list. Sensors in washing machines and dishwashers can tell just how dirty your clothes or dishes are and optimize the wash cycle. Home owners are increasingly connecting everything from home security to energy usage to their various devices.
What is it that makes a home smart? In the most general sense, a smart home has automated controls for climate, entertainment technologies, intelligent appliances, green materials, and energy solutions that are all connected. Smart home technology has advanced in recent years, and these advancements have made it more affordable, but many of these technologies are still pricey, and are not without risks. New homes can be designed to take full advantage of the latest green materials and technologies, while older homes may be limited by existing electrical systems which can be costly to update.
In this growing market, what is it that consumers want in a smart home? According to research conducted by Icontrol Networks, a home technology company, security is one of the most important reasons for using a smart-home system. 67% of those surveyed rank it the number 1 reason, and the majority of consumers say security is a must have in any home automation. Fire and carbon monoxide alarms, as well as gas leak alarms, were listed as the top features in home security monitoring desired by consumers.
According to the survey, energy management was the second most important thing consumers want when choosing smart home technology. Reducing utility bills through HVAC heating and cooling management was listed as the most important thing consumers want. Almost 43% of respondents said they would be interested in upgrading to an automated thermostat that adjusts the temperature when the home is occupied. According to Energy Star, programmable thermostats can save consumers around $180 annually. Other options to optimize energy efficiency are on-demand tankless gas water heaters that turn on only when hot water is being used rather than constantly heating a large tank of water like traditional hot water heaters. While initially more expensive to install, tankless hot water heaters can reduce water heating cost by up to 35% annually. Automatic dimmers on lighting can adjust lighting based on the time of day or turn off completely when a room is empty, and automated blinds and drapes are an eco-savvy development to window treatments that allow residents to program their window treatments to open or close depending on outside conditions.
Home appliances are also becoming more intelligent. Some of the new ranges and refrigerators have a built-in ability to look up recipes and set the temperature and timer. They even have internal diagnostic systems that will email the dealer and the homeowner if servicing is needed. New appliances also have safety features that allow you to deactivate the controls and reactivate them with a smartphone. Many of the newer smart appliances are significantly more expensive than standard appliances, and while they are great luxury items, if energy efficiency is your goal then an Energy Star approved appliance might be a less costly option for now.
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Original article written by Betty Best.
Source: Key Home