Want to be able to turn your lights on and off with your smartphone or iPad? Monitor and control the temperature of your house while you’re on vacation? You may want to take a look at home automation. It’s less expensive to implement than you might think and can pay for itself in cost savings on the use of utilities like electricity and gas.
Basic Home Automation: Alarm Systems
Most alarm systems come with optional home automation, which can include temperature sensors installed throughout the home to sense high or low temperatures, the ability to control lights, some appliances and your heating system remotely, and of course the built-in security of having an alarm system.
Being able to control your power and heat remotely has many advantages. You can program the system to turn the heat down significantly when nobody is at home, and to warm up the house in time for your arrival. Same with air conditioning in the summer; turn it off when nobody is there, and turn it back on just before you’re due to come in so the house is nice and cool. You can even plug in appliances like your oven and coffee maker into some systems, so you can check up on them if you’re concerned that you forgot to turn them off.
Depending on your insurance policy, you may even be able to save money on your homeowner’s insurance. Just ask your broker to see what discounts you qualify for; the system may be able to pay for itself in insurance discounts and energy savings.
Advanced Home Automation: Whole Home Systems
If you want to spend a little extra on home automation and get all the bells and whistles, contact a local home automation company. To find a good one, check your local Better Business Bureau website and ask friends and family for recommendations. They offer many advanced features, such as being able to enjoy music and other multimedia through touchscreens throughout the home, weather updates, green energy monitoring, automatic irrigation for your garden, and communication with your home by voice from anywhere in the world.
The multimedia and home entertainment features are very cool; you can eliminate remotes and control your system entirely from your iPad, as well as have a central library of all of your music and DVD’s ready to view from every screen in your home. These systems also offer more comprehensive energy savings benefits than the more basic systems do, which helps to cover a portion of their cost.
Seniors and Home Automation
As this article points out, there are many benefits to seniors with a home automation system. You can set your system to turn on a porch light when the door is opened, or program a phone to automatically unlock a door for home care workers, family and friends. Since they were originally developed for people living with disabilities, there are a number of features seniors with limited mobility can use. Often these benefits are only available with the higher-end systems.
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