So you’ve been considering the move to home automation and you’re wondering is it right for your family. Home automation for the family may be new, but the benefits are endless.
Let me give you a little background first. I’m a self-proclaimed technology geek and my wife is quite the opposite. We have three children (two teenagers and a 10-year old). I have been dabbling in home automation for about 2 years now, but it hasn’t been a full-fledged tech assault until the past 6 months. It has been a fun ride and after some trial and error, training and of course patience from everyone in the family, we are all raving fans.
I tend to think of my home automation in three different aspects: security, convenience and cost savings. Allow me to describe each, and how it benefits us as a family.
I used to pay a monthly fee to our cable company in order to have a home security system. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I could do this sans monthly fees while adapting it to my specific needs. I now use typical security equipment like door/window trippers, motion sensors, water sensors, and live video to secure my home. When we leave our home, we activate the alarm just like we did with our previous system. We all have access to live video feeds and get notifications if anything out of the ordinary happens via our mobile phones. A motion is detected? We receive a notification and can quickly check to see what triggered it. The smoke detector was activated? The furnace automatically shuts off, a notification is sent and we are able to quickly assess and manage the situation. The best part about this is I have tailored these activities to be user specific. If the smoke detector goes off for example, it probably isn’t a good idea to notify my 10-year old who is in school. No need to worry him! Our home is secured and available for us to view remotely. This gives us security not only while away from home, but also during the night.
Another great security feature is the ability to monitor door access, specifically for my children. When a door in unlocked, I get notified that they are home (in fact I get notified which child’s code unlocked the door). This is a great way to insure that my kids get home from school safely.
Home automation convenience is endless. I was amazed at the plethora of products and activities available. Of course everyone initially thinks of lighting. This was in fact where I first started automating my home. Leviton makes some awesome products that integrate with various hubs to control and condition your lights. I started initially with using an app to control the lights, but now it is so much more than that. When the bathroom fan is on for a shower, it will automatically run for 30 minutes after the light is turned off. No mold for us!! If one of our smoke detectors goes off, my house lights blink red to indicate an issue. We turn on the TV to watch our favorite program and our lights automatically change to a scene I’ve setup.
The number of convenience automation products is unbelievable. These new products have helped us manage our home in today’s hectic society. My pet feeder automatically feeds our cat a specific amount on a schedule each day. I can check my phone to see if I need to get gas before heading out for the day. When I pull in the driveway, my thermostat turns on (hey I live in Buffalo!), my garage door opens, my house door unlocks and my mudroom lights turn on. My wife is notified via her phone if her plants need to be watered or fertilized based on the soil’s condition. I can even check silly things like how many eggs do I have in the refrigerator or is my gas tank for my grill still full. I won’t mention the automated toothbrush…
The third aspect to home automation is cost savings. I have saved a lot of money by not having to employ a security company. Everything that was provided to me as a service, I can replicate on my own. I have automation setup to turn off lights if there is no motion detected for a certain amount of time. I use trippers to turn on and off lights when closet doors are opened…no longer worrying if the kids remembered to turn the lights off. As more products are deployed in the home, the more I benefit from a cost savings.
As you can see home automation for the family is not only beneficial, but extremely convenient. I’d could go on and on but my lights are blinking blue…my mail is here!
By Steven Dick
*The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of Leviton as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.