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The Basics of Smart Homes & 10 Awesome Home Automation Ideas

What Does Home Automation Mean?

So what is home automation anyway. Sometimes referred to as domotics (short for domestic robotics,) home automation has to do with controlling common functions around the house by means of a network or hub. At all times, you have the ability to alter the settings for those controls. That makes it easy to manually override certain functions while establishing automatic or recurring functions based on your own time table.

Some home automation hubs or networks provide remote access and control. Using an app on your phone or tablet makes it easy to access the home network and do any checking or updates to tasks that you like. You can control everything from the home security system to the washer and dryer to what the kids can watch on television.

Now that you have the general idea, let’s look at some ideas that may be perfect for your home. Remember that these are not the only home automation solutions available today. Some of these suggestions may provide inspiration for some ideas of your own.

1. Automated Lighting for the Driveway

Automated lighting for the driveway is not really new. Having outdoor lights on a timer has been around for a long time. You’re going to take things to the next level by having lighting that activates as you’re starting to pull into the driveway.

Using sensors that relay information to your home network, the lights activate as the presence of the vehicle is noted. Those lights remain on while you make your way up the driveway, get out of the car, and go inside. They only turn off once you’re safely in the home.

2. Dim the Bedroom Lights With a Voice Command

Have you ever been just about to fall to sleep, but had to get out of bed to cut off a lamp on the other side of the room? By the time you get back in bed, that blissful sensation of falling asleep is gone. Think of how nice it would be to turn off the lights without having to move.

With a lighting control systems, you could use a voice command to dim or turn off those lights. There’s no need to crawl out of your comfortable bed or even reach over to a nightstand. One word and the lights will do as you command. Pleasant dreams.

3. Smart Speakers for Your Listening Pleasure

One of the perks of smart speakers is that they don’t require running wires. It’s easy to set them up in recessed sections of a wall, in shelves, or anywhere else you like in each room. Network the speakers through your home hub and use an app to control them. When you like, stream music via the home network to each speaker. The app will even allow you to adjust the volume. That makes it easy to enjoy your favorite music as you move from room to room.

4. Know When Laundry Needs to Go From the Washer to the Dryer

How many times have you started a load of laundry and forgot about it until hours later? Wait long enough and you could be up until midnight waiting for the dryer to finish. Rather than keep dealing with that sort of thing, set up sensors in the laundry room. When the washing machine finishes, the sensors can alert you through the hub. It won’t matter if you don’t hear the washer complete the last cycle. You could be on the other side of the house and get a notification that it’s time to move the wet clothing to the dryer.

You can also use this same approach to know when everything is dry. Motion sensors will detect when the vibrations from the dryer cease and let you know. Feel free to relax and watch television while you wait for the dryer to finish up. Once the laundry is dry, you can pause the program, fold and put away the laundry, then get back to enjoying your movie or series.

5. Don’t Forget Trash Day

Here’s something that will help you keep track of trash day. It’s possible to outfit the garage door so that you get an alert when it’s time to put out the cans. This eliminates those last-minute attempts to grab the trash can and make it down the driveway before the garbage truck passes you by. Instead, you get a reminder via the app and can get the can to the street in plenty of time. Think of how that will make your morning a little less hectic.

6. A Smart Thermostat is Your Friend

Smart thermostats make it easy to control the climate at home even when you’re not there. While you still have the option of setting the thermostat manually, it’s easy to use your app to program setting changes that occur throughout the day. The result is that you save money on utility costs and always come home to a house that’s the ideal temperature.

For example, you could use the app to ensure the temperature adjusts after the last family member leaves in the morning. The network automatically adjusts the thermostat again a half-hour or so before the first person is due to return that evening. In the meantime, you’re using less energy.

With this application, you can also make changes remotely. That’s great if you get to go home early or even if you will end up getting home a lot later than you planned.

7. Ventilate the Garage for Safety

Much of the focus on the garage has to do with security. There’s another aspect to consider: your health. Garages can be dangerous places if they fill with unhealthy amounts of carbon dioxide. What you need is an automated option for venting the space if those levels get too high.