Starting Your Smart Home Transformation

(Family Features) With the aid of modern technology, it’s now possible to convert virtually any ordinary house into a smart home filled with features that make daily tasks more convenient. These technologies allow for greener living, customization of your living space to personal tastes and the peace of mind that you can control key home systems with your smartphone.

Converting to a smart home may seem like an intimidating task at first, but if you break the process into manageable steps you’ll find it’s not so hard to choose and install the best smart devices for your home and lifestyle. You can begin turning your house into a smart home by following these three simple steps.

Set a budget.

All of the technology and gadgetry that comprise today’s smart homes were once viewed as luxury, reserved for the rich and famous and those whose lives played out on the big screen. What once seemed impractical for the average homeowner is now quite attainable. When you consider that some smart devices, such as light bulbs, have a life span of up to 25 years, in the end you may end up even saving money.

How much money you’ll ultimately spend to create your smart home depends on numerous factors: the size of your home, number of systems and appliances you wish to automate and the level of integration you desire are significant considerations. Assuming that your home is already wired for a high-performance broadband connection, you can get into the smart home game for under $100 with a thermostat that you can manage remotely. On the other hand, adding smart-home technology throughout the whole house will likely cost in the thousands.

Pay attention to the levels of integration various products offer. Purchasing products from brands that partner with many other smart-home device makers will help ensure the products you add in the future will work with those you install now. Selecting highly integrated products will save you time during the installation process, help you avoid unnecessary expenses down the road and improve your overall smart-home experience.

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Brainstorm ideas for each room.

Once you’re past the nuts and bolts of practical considerations, it’s time to start imagining. The key about designing the perfect smart home for you is to remember that the very essence of smart devices is their ability to make your life more convenient. Choosing the products and how you connect them is all about you and your lifestyle – there’s more than just one way to build your smart home.

Go room to room in your home and think about the activities that occur in each space. Consider which of these can become easier or more enjoyable with the support of smart technology. The living room, where you likely have a host of entertainment and audio equipment, offers plenty of obvious benefits, but also look at the kitchen, for example. Did you forget to start the dishwasher on your way out the door? Initiating a wash cycle remotely will let you come home to dishes clean and ready for dinner.

Prioritize what you install.

When it’s time to begin the actual transition to a smart home, it’s a good idea to start with the most important products first. For most homeowners, those are the devices that you use every day.

Opening and closing the garage door is so much a part of your daily routine that it is often hard to remember if you closed it on the way out. Products such as the Chamberlain MyQ Garage upgrade kit, or Chamberlain garage door openers with built-in MyQ technology, put peace of mind in the palm of your hand. This technology allows you to control and check the status of your garage door from anywhere, at any time, so you know if your garage was left open or if it’s being opened while you’re not there. The innovative technology works with numerous smart-device brands and their devices, such as NEST thermostats and Xfinity home security products.

With the all-important lead-in to your home covered, you can turn attention to devices that help manage your home’s operation and efficiency. Thermostats that auto adjust to designated climate settings are a popular option for many homeowners because they bring immediate returns in reducing your overall energy usage. Irrigation systems and power management products are also wise investments when it comes to optimizing your home’s use of natural resources.

Stepping across the threshold to a smart home may feel like a big step, but once you get settled and experience the convenience and control, you’ll likely find yourself exploring ways to incorporate smart technology every place you can.

Smart Devices for Every Room

The number of devices that can be integrated into a smart home is growing at an accelerated rate, but not all are complex gadgets and gizmos. Some of the simpler options for every room in your home include:

Living Room: Outlet Adapters

Walk into your home late at night and flip on the lights, the TV or both without searching in the dark for a switch or remote. After your smart outlet adapter is plugged into the wall, appliances can be plugged into the adapter and controlled from a smartphone.

Bedroom: Motorized Drapes

Adding motorized drapes to your bedroom allows for an easy way to adjust lighting and privacy – all without leaving the comfort of your bed. Properly adjusting drapes, which is easy to do with smartphone control, can also help manage energy consumption by regulating solar heat.

Kitchen: Coffee Maker

Wake up to your favorite morning beverage without drowsily scooping and pouring. A smart coffee maker can make the right amount of coffee at just the right time through simple settings on your smartphone.

Garage: Remote Garage Door Access

Open, close and monitor your garage door anywhere, anytime, with MyQ technology from Chamberlain. With remote access to one of the main entry points to your home, you can ensure the garage door is shut when you’re out or ready to open when you return.

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