Update Your Homes Hardware - 3 Easy Smart Home Upgrades

May 3, 2015

Whether you've recently built a new home, or are living in the 100 year old family casa, I've got a few easy, and "smart phone friendly" upgrades that will change the way you live!

I have a personal obsession with smart home technologies - everything from wireless security systems, and in wall sound, to full home automation - has my attention! There has been a recent boom in the availability of home automation systems that enable the homeowner to control lights, heat, and even open and close their garage doors - all from their smart phone!

Many of these technologies aren't necessarily "cutting edge" or even that new. In fact, many of these systems HAVE been around for many years, but not in the same DIY friendly and affordable ways they are now. Companies are cutting out the expensive install and equipment costs and serving the DIY-ers out there in a big way! I've actually adorned my personal home with many of these products and couldn't imagine living without them now! 

Here are a few of my personal favorites that I have installed in more that one property, and use every day:

1. NEST Thermostat & NEST Protect - $100-250

We have had our NEST products for almost two two years now! 

The Nest Learning Thermostat was one of the first smart home gadgets I installed in our home. I loved the idea of being able to control the temperature in our home from my phone, anywhere... It hooks up to your old thermostat wires and takes about 15 minutes to install and set up - super easy. After its hooked up, the thermostat works over WIFI to track local weather conditions, monitor usage, and can even learn your habits. After just a few days of monitoring your daily habits, the thermostat will begin to automatically turn itself on prior to you waking in the morning, shut itself off when you leave, and then send you a report at the end of the month and tell you how much energy you used! You can also turn off "learning mode" and  set up a schedule, or simply take full control from your phone. My wife (who is always cold) loves to crank the heat up on her way home, making sure its nice and toasty upon her arrival!

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Nest Protect, takes the place of your old smoke detector in a big way! It actually serves as a smoke & CO2 alarm for added protection. I opted for the battery powered device and install took a few minutes tops. After connecting to WIFI, the device works with your Nest thermostat to give you updates on the status of your home. It also has a motion sensor night light option that is great for those late night journeys down the hall & to the kitchen - Nom Nom!

More here...

There are other products like this on the market but none that I feel compare. What I really like about Nest, is the aesthetic appeal they're products have. They are built with quality materials and have an attractive & seamless design. They aren't just bringing safety and function to your home, but style too!


2. Belkin WeMo® Light Switch - $50

Belkin has a number of cool products, but one that I personally own and love is their WiFi enabled light switch! 

At $50 a pop, they aren't cheap, but if your searching for something quick and easy to install, I recommend this switch. It installs in about 20 minutes and like the Nest products, works and looks great! The switch connects to your homes WiFi network and from there can be controlled from your phone from anywhere in the world. My favorite feature is the switches ability to be programmed with "rules." I have mine set to turn on and off depending on what time the sun sets that day! The switch is super reliable and updates itself while not in use. It is built with quality materials and looks nice on the wall!

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3. Apple Airport Express - $99

Apple has it figured out! My life would be incomplete without the numerous Apple products I have become so reliant on. This particular little gadget enables you to wirelessly stream music from any Apple device over your WiFi network. Setup takes only a few minutes, and using the thing is super easy. From the time my wife and I get up in the morning, to the time our heads hit the pillow, not a minute goes by that this little guy isn't streaming our favorite tunes throughout the house.

The Airport plugs into your homes sound system or audio/stereo device and streams the music you choose, from iPhone, iMac, iPad etc... It can act as a separate WiFi network for guests, or communicate with your printer for wireless printing, & more...

Learn More Here...


*For more information on more of my favorite products or to get help installing, Contact Me Here!