by Jenni Barnett
on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 at 7:32am.
Smart home technology has been something that we as a population have longed for; science fiction shows and movies have wowed audiences with ideas for home automation that most of us would really like to enjoy in our day-to-day lives.
With the cost of DIY smart technology being lower than ever before, smart homes are now in the realm of possibility for many homeowners. The question is, should you be an early adopter, or wait for safer, even more affordable options? Do you worry that a smart home upgrade would leave you fumbling to turn on your lights or adjust your thermostat, or are you chomping at the bit to get every one of your home’s electronic devices connected to your smart phone?
Whether you’re tech-savvy or a reluctant luddite, there are some pros and cons to home automation that every homeowner should consider.
Reduced Utility Costs
Because smart thermostats and lighting control systems come with usage analytics and the capacity for running your home on preset lighting, heating, and cooling systems, the average homeowner could save up to 30% on energy costs within the first year of installation. Smart leak detectors will turn off your water if a leak is detected, which means less money spent on water waste in addition to the money you’d save by avoiding a flood in your kitchen or bathroom.
Increased Home Security
Smart home security systems will allow you to use your phone or computer to keep a virtual eye on your home at all times. When purchased as part of a contract with a home security service, you can rest easy knowing that any time of day or night, you can deter an intruder within minutes of their having entered your home.
This means increased peace of mind as well as a substantial savings when your belongings are kept safe.
Keep An Eye on Your Furry Friends
The ability to keep an eye on your home’s most vulnerable occupants from anywhere can be sufficient inducement to upgrade to smart home security.
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of having smart home technology is the day-to-day convenience you’ll enjoy. You’ll be able to turn lights on and off, adjust the thermostat, control your home’s speaker system, or program the tv all from your smart phone. No longer will you have to get out bed right after you get comfortable just because you left the back-porch light on; you can switch it off without even sitting up. While it’s probably true that we all want to get more activity in our days, a long walk is more enjoyable than padding back and forth at eleven to get that one last light switch.
Simple DIY Installation
If you’re worried that smart technology is going to be too complicated to use, the odds are that’s not necessarily true. Smart tech is developed with the average consumer in mind; it’s just not smart business for these companies to create these products only to have them be a hassle to use.
Do read plenty of reviews before selecting your products, and make sure that the company offers support in case you happen to get stuck. However, if you can use a smartphone, then have confidence; you’re probably good to go!
While each individual piece of smart hardware might be affordable, the cost of upgrading an entire home to smart technology will be a significant bite out of all but very generous budgets. Because each situation is different, it will be up to you to determine if the overall energy savings and increased day-to-day convenience are enough to offset or justify the initial cost of setup. One final note on cost: because most smart technology for the home is meant to be implemented and maintained by the tech-savvy homeowner, you’re less likely to need to call a repair company when something goes wrong. This feature could also serve to offset setup costs over time.
Dependent on Wi-Fi
Smart technology relies on the home wireless network to function. While this is normally a wonderful feature, not a bug, it does mean that when your home wireless network goes down, you will lose the ability to interact with all of your home’s smart devices. With everything from your thermostat to your light switches relying on your network, it becomes a significant problem when your wi-fi crashes and fixing it is likely to be a more urgent matter.
Unfortunately, at the moment, most smart home technology is vulnerable to malicious hacking. While it’s unlikely that a criminal would show up outside your house prepared to hack into your home’s smart systems, it’s still a possibility. For that reason, if you do plan to change major home systems like locks or garage door openers to smart technology, it is probably wise to upgrade to a home security service, as well. That way someone is always close by and prepared to protect your home from a breach.