Smart Home Systems are concepts that have become reality for some time now, smart energy systems have been adapted by businesses (Building Energy Management Systems) and homes (Home Energy Management Systems) alike. These are not only systems to help you save on your energy bills but by amalgamating all controls, life can be made more efficient too.
If you are looking to partially or fully automate your home, JCW Saunders have put together some basic pros and cons when making these changes.
What is a smart home system?
Imagine as you leave your home to pop to the shop, with one click of a button, the TV and all your lighting switches off and the garage door starts opening as you approach it. If you haven’t already done so, your front door will automatically lock and activate the intruder alarm as you drive away. On your way back, you remotely ask your oven to start preheating so that it can be ready for when you are home… sounds futuristic? Not at all, this is how some people are living already.
A common form of automated system that you may already have at home is the modern water heating system. Traditionally, if you wanted the house to be warm when you got home from your day, you would leave the heating on all day. Modern thermostats are automated to turn heating on, off, up or down to be in tune to your pre-set preferences. However, if you have a schedule change, having a smart home system in place gives you remote monitoring and control to a wide variety of connected smart devices.
Some systems available on the market today:
|App controlled Smart thermostats||Can learn your heating habits, monitor energy consumption and control your heating from anywhere.|
|Water-leak detectors||Auto shut off to prevent further damage|
|Security cameras||Movements are recorded to cloud and can be accessed through an App|
|Wifi sound systems||Have the master control on your phone to every speaker in your home|
|TV||Learns your viewing schedule and records automatically, communicates through Wifi and can be controlled from anywhere with internet access|
|Fridge freezer||In built camera and temperature app control|
|Oven||Schedule switch on and off remotely|
|Washer drier||App to control your device from anywhere|
|For the environmental conscious:
Being energy efficient can mean you leave a smaller carbon footprint,
having your heating automatically turn on at a specified time means it doesn’t
have to be left on through the day. There are smart controllers available to
buy and install on a smart device that will allow remote monitoring and
operation of your heating system home and away. Many devices can be adapted to
work to a personalised schedule to a set amount of time, so that they are only
used in the specified times no more than that, so you haven’t got to remember
to switch them off.
Unfortunately, some manufacturers develop their own smart software,
this makes integration to other systems more difficult. This means old
devices that are in perfect working condition cannot be used with the new ones.
It is alright if you are buying everything new, and then hooking
everything to a smart monitor/controller, but to those who live by the “if it
ain’t broke don’t fix it” rule, this can feel needless and most definitely
costly. Even if you do still have that E energy rated washer dryer,
it does still clean your laundry!
|For the savvy spenders:
Smart thermostats can create heating schedules according to your
preferred temperatures at different times of the day. Modes can be set to help
you turn down or turn off the heating, so it is not running up your bill
unnecessarily.,Energy bill savings aside, Smart sensors and security cameras not
only give you a peace of mind when you are away, but insurance companies look
favourably on these systems when considering discounts.
On the other hand, currently the price tags are big on these
appliances, smart products can be 4 times the cost to regular products, more
depending on the make. Don’t rule out brands that you’ve not heard of, be sure
you read reviews for a range of products from manufacturers, otherwise you
could be paying towards their branding only. The market is expanding, more abundance
in competition means prices are starting to be driven down.
|Optimise the domestic environment:
An automated home isn’t just for the tech savvy. They are great for
homes with elderly, limited mobility residents as well. Door locks can be
programmed to open or lock through a mobile device or through recognition
technology, which can make it easier for those who may misplace their
keys. Security cameras can be wired to sound and movement sensors which make it
easy monitoring for the care provider.,Smart leak detectors can automatically shut off taps or flag up
detection of carbon monoxide to your smart portable devices which could save
|Not a techy?
People that have trouble with operating smart phones or tablets
will find these smart controllers more a hindrance than a help. Smart
systems, as well as controller apps, require regular software updates to help
devices operate as they should. Not keeping these up to date can result in
confusion over the hardware functionality of equipment.,Hacking will be an issue for people who prefer
simpler passwords, it is important to set a secure password to your controller
especially if you are using these for security systems, such as intruder alarm
Save energy, save money, save time. Save the world!
Should you or shouldn't you?
To adapt your home to make it as energy efficient as possible is a costly process as at the outset, for some people it might even take a while to get used to, and for others some of these functions are simply not any more appealing than the manual on/off switch. However, there is no doubt these systems are an investment for savings in the future, so if you do have a budget to keep to, perhaps choose one area that is most important to save energy or time on right now. Perhaps an automated energy controller to save on your bills or a smart monitor system for someone who needs care.