It is no longer a scene from a Star Trek movie. Homes today have lights that turn on when we walk into a room, and turn off when we leave. The heat can be turned on remotely, 30 minutes before we get home on a cold winter day so we can be nice and cozy in the evening. Or the AC can be monitored at a distance to keep our home at a comfortable level of cool on a hot day. Do you want your home to have the lights on when you get there for safety reasons? No problem.
This technology does not involve adding an expensive network of computers. So how does it work?
For approximately $100, you can purchase a starter kit that will allow you to control a number of units in your home. This kit includes hardware such as timers and wireless control components. It also offers computer software to interface with the system controls and appliances in your home, either when you are home or off site.
Installing a completely automated system is ideally done during initial home construction when access to walls, outlets and system panels is available. When new technology is created, changes to the system are made easier by simply adding that option to the pre-installed grid. To avoid major structural modifications in pre-existing homes, wireless systems will allow homeowners to take advantage of the smart home features.
For most of the above, it is as simple as plugging in a wallet-size box called a module into an AC outlet on the wall.
Home safety goes high tech
Using a radio or infrared signal emitting from a central controller, either on a computer or remote unit, homeowners can create the illusion that there are people in the home with lights turning on and off sporadically in selected rooms. This remote control unit also allows you to view activity in the home through a variety of monitors installed at critical locations.
Monitoring your home surveillance cameras online can bring some peace of mind when you are away for the day, or out of town on vacation. This system is also being used more regularly to monitor the elderly to ensure their safety.
Smart homes have employed an electrical system that disconnects if a short circuit occurs. Sensors installed can also detect leaks in the water or gas systems, and act as smoke detectors, alerting the residents.
Helping your bottom line
High utility bills will be a thing of the past for homeowners who have installed smart technology. Increased efficiency will result in a decrease of electricity, gas and water consumption. Having the ability to monitor and turn off appliances remotely when nobody is in the home will also save energy. Some smart homes can also include the use of solar panels, further decreasing the need for electricity.
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