You likely haven’t thought of your home as “smart.” But it can be. There are a number of new products on the market to simplify your life by boosting your home’s intelligence. The names are catchy – “Smart Home,” “Connected Home” or, “IntelligentHome”. The idea is home automation – it’s effectively controlling your door locks, window coverings, appliances, lighting, room temperature and numerous other actions at the touch of your smartphone whenever you want. It’s the wide range of products and the ability to integrate them that’s caused the smart home concept to become popular. While many of these smart home technology innovations are for our entertainment or convenience, there are smart home devices out there to make protecting your home from disasters easier than ever. The following are some top smart home innovations.
Smart Smoke Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have come a long way in the last decade. It used to be that you had to depend on every single alarm to detect any smoke or fire in the house, and if you were not in a room close to a smoke alarm, it could take too long for the problem to trigger units in other areas. Now, with the new technology, not only do smoke and CO detectors communicate with each other, they can be incorporated into your home security system which allows for alerts to be sent to your smartphone and the fire department in an emergency, and they can also be integrated with security cameras, so you can view footage of the start of the fire.
Smart Fire Detectors
If you have frequent false alarms with smoke detectors, a heat detector is another way to help detect fire. Smart fire detectors are devices that alert you when they detect a rise in heat. Just like smart smoke detectors, smart fire detectors will send an alert to your smartphone, and they can be incorporated into your security system with other heat and smoke detectors. Fire detectors can be set to work in one of two ways; they can send an alert when the temperature rises above a pre-set level or send an alert when it detects a quick rise in temperature. Most devices can be set both ways, but some may only have one of these capabilities. You should not replace your smoke detectors with fire detectors, it is best to use a combination of both.
If you already have regular smoke detectors installed throughout your home and you don’t want to replace them with smart smoke detectors, you can make your current smoke alarms smart with smart batteries. Smart batteries can send an alert to your smartphone when one of the smoke detectors goes off, and it can also let you know when the battery needs to be replaced with a smartphone alert. These batteries can be used in smoke detectors, fire detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors.
Smart plugs, are Wi-Fi enabled electrical outlets that can be turned off from anywhere using an app on your smartphone. They can provide peace of mind if you wonder whether you remembered to unplug the coffee pot or the iron before you left home. You can also use the app to turn lights and small appliances on and off instead of using timers. Some models automatically turn off power to your appliances when they are not needed. This is especially convenient if you are coming home at night because you can turn your lights on before you walk inside. It is possible to sync smart outlets with devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo so that you can control them with your voice.
Smart Stovetop Fire Prevention
Cooking is always one of the top causes of house fires and this typically happens when cooking food is left unattended. An especially helpful piece of technology for any home is a smart monitor for your kitchen stovetop that reminds you when you’ve left the burner on. Most devices have preset times installed at the factory that will remind the cook that they’ve left the burner on after 6-10 minutes time has passed. If no one returns, the audible alarm will continue going off every few minutes until it’s turned off. Some go further with app alerts; this way, a family member can be notified as well and know that their loved one needs assistance or a little reminder to turn the stove off. Installing these monitors is very easy and with some models having the ability to shut the stove down entirely to prevent a fire, the investment may be well worth it.
Smart security cameras can record video around the house when they detect motion and can stream a live video feed to your mobile device even if you’re away. Some security cameras also offer two-way audio so that you can talk to your visitors which can prevent potential burglaries. They can be easily installed anywhere on your property. You can also monitor the cameras at any time from your smartphone using the right apps. If one of the cameras detects something, it will send you an alert so that you can check out what is going on. You can use home security systems to keep an eye on the outside of your home, valuables, and important appliances like the sump pump.
Water Leak Detectors
Water leaks can start small and go unnoticed for a long time. Even the smallest amount of water can seep into the flooring or walls causing structural damage and/or mold. Often water damage occurs in areas which are difficult to check on a regular basis. Smart water leak detectors provide immediate notification of water presence in hard-to-reach locations. These battery powered devices resemble smoke alarms, and they are placed near plumbing fixtures and appliances that are at risk for leaking such as sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and water heaters. When a leak occurs, the detectors will sound an alarm, or alert your smartphone depending on how you have it set up. Whether you are at home or away, these detectors will let you know immediately when there is a leak. Taking action as soon as possible after discovering a leak will help limit its spread and prevent water damage. You can also fit your home with a full flood monitoring system that consists of multiple water leak detectors and automatic shut-off valves that you can control remotely.
Your family’s safety is the most important priority and with all of the complex functions that home automation brings with it, it’s not always easy to be sure you’ve got everything hooked up exactly the way it’s supposed to be, and working at maximum capacity. As with all smart devices, you may want to consult a professional for proper installation. Making an investment in this smart technology can save you money in the long run by preventing costly damage.