If you live with teenagers (or even absentminded adults), you may grow weary of turning off lights throughout your house or adjusting the thermostat multiple times per day to prevent your electricity bill from skyrocketing. Those with teens at home and a full-time job may also be concerned about them spending several unsupervised hours alone per day. Installing a home automation system can help solve each of these problems by allowing you to conserve the maximum amount of electricity while monitoring the comings and goings within your home from afar. Read on to learn more about the money-saving and lifestyle-improving features of an automated home.
What types of home automation systems can save you money?
While the idea of home automation may merely bring to mind outdoor motion-sensor lights or a thermostat controlled by your smartphone, there exists a much wider variety of home automation products that can help you monitor and control nearly everything inside (and outside) your home. These products include:
- Automatic blinds
While being able to raise or lower your blinds from miles away through your smartphone may seem like overkill, doing this could significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs by ensuring sunlight is always filtered into your home on cold days and thoroughly blocked on warmer days. This natural heat deterrent should help you reduce your reliance on climate control systems even while you're home, and can allow you to keep your home's temperature several degrees higher (or lower) than normal when the house is empty.
Automatic blinds can also have a deterrent quality if you're spending several nights away from home, as placing these blinds in different positions throughout the day can give the appearance of occupancy.
- Self-monitored security cameras
Although you may be reluctant to pay a monthly subscription fee to an alarm monitoring company for security services, integrating a few motion-activated and wireless-capable security cameras both outside and inside your home can allow you to monitor goings-on yourself without paying a fee to an outside monitoring company. Because these cameras are wireless, you'll be able to move them around your home as needed -- for example, placing one at the front door on a day you're expecting a package to be delivered.
A security camera can significantly decrease your homeowner's insurance costs, as the mere appearance of a camera has a deterrent effect, and a properly-operating camera can provide you with facial identification of a burglar.
- Fingerprint-activated door locks
Another significant advance in home automation technology is the use of biometric identifiers (like fingerprints and voice recognition) rather than physical keys. Switching your exterior door locks to fingerprint-activated locks can help keep your home more secure. Each fingerprint programmed into your doorknob's "memory" can be customized with its own time and date settings, allowing you to provide temporary access to a pet-sitter or repair person or even preventing your teen from returning home during school hours. While this type of door lock won't directly generate any energy savings, it will help you decrease your homeowner's insurance costs even further.
What will you need to do to automate your home?
Although certain home automation products can easily integrate into your existing lighting or thermostat system, others may require professional installation -- especially if your home's electrical system is old or not quite up to code. Having a professional electrician install certain components will cost you around $85 per hour in labor costs, in addition to the cost of equipment. Fortunately, the energy savings you'll realize from automating your home's lights and blinds (and the insurance savings you'll realize from bumping up your home's security through cameras and biometric locks) should help you pay for your system and any associated installation costs over the course of just a few years. For more information, contact a company like Excel Electric Inc.