The Easiest ‘Smart Home’ Upgrades You Can Install Yourself

The Easiest ‘Smart Home’ Upgrades You Can Install Yourself
Photo: Dragon Images, Shutterstock

Making your house “smarter” — with automated controls and voice commands — can streamline chores and save you money on energy costs. If you’ve ever dreamed of living like a Jetson, but thought that smart technology would be too complicated or expensive for your budget, here are some upgrades you can do yourself.

Smart locks

A smart lock can give you peace of mind and allow you to remotely lock or unlock your doors or let guests in. The best types of these locks will be operable from your cell phone or tablet via an app and can range in price from around $150 to $300. Some smart locks are also able to use facial recognition or read your finger tip for access. Most smart locks on the market come with a wireless hub that plugs into your wall outlet, and the lock itself runs on batteries. They are easy to install, requiring only a screwdriver for the job.

Smart light bulbs

Basic smart light bulbs start at about $8 each — and go up to about $50 for fancy models with all the bells and whistles. The advantage of smart bulbs is that you can preprogram them, control them via an app from your phone, and in some cases, they will respond to voice commands. There are models with features like colour-changing and “vacation mode” that will allow you to control your lights even if you’re away from home. They don’t require any additional hardware, and can simply be screwed into a light socket paired with your device via an app. No tools are needed for this project, and you can start saving money on your electric bill just by switching your old bulbs out.

Smart water sensors

Smart water sensors are a great way to get some peace of mind if you’re worried about leaks or flooding. They can range in price from about $40 to $400 depending on the area you want to monitor. Placing the sensors in your basement or near appliances or sinks that are a concern for leaks can help you head off disaster. In addition to sensing water, some models can also sense extreme changes in temperature to help prevent things like frozen pipes. They’re great for washing machines, water heaters, and other appliances that can leak and are simple to install. Some models need to be plugged into an outlet but there are also battery-operated models that can be used in areas with no outlet access. You don’t need any tools for this project, but you will likely need to install an app to get alerts from your sensor device.

Smart outlets

Smart outlets are a great way to monitor energy use and turn things on and off remotely. You can install them directly in existing outlets and choose varieties that have voice command and remote features, as well. These are convenient and great for saving money on your electric bill. They don’t require any tools to install and can range in price from about $12 to $60.

Comments

    • really just for scheduling dumb devices.
      i have an old washing machine, that i schedule to run overnight.
      what about a lamp that turns on at dusk?
      what about a fan that turns on when its a certain temp.
      basically anything you can do with a normal timer, but you can yell at google/siri/etc to turn it on for you if you need to break the pattern.

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