Can Home Automation Systems Really Save You Money On Your Air Conditioning Bills?
I used to think I was a little bit of a Luddite when it came to technology and preferred to do things the old-fashioned way. Until I read about home automation systems, that is. And now I really, REALLY want one!
Curious? Read on to find out about how they work, the many different features available, and – an extra bonus! – how they can help save you money on your utility bills.
So What exactly is a Home Automation System?
In a nutshell, a home automation system allows you to control a huge array of things within your home with a simple tap of a button or voice command, using a device which is linked up to the internet such as a smartphone, tablet or computer.
And you don’t even need to be in your house at the time.
In fact, the real beauty of a home automation system is the ability to control things remotely, from many miles away.
Left the house in a rush in the morning? This is me pretty much every day, with a stream of kids, school bags and jackets being pulled behind me in a frenzied dash!
Forgot to switch off the lights? Don’t worry.
With a home automation system you can easily turn off any forgotten lights and lamps remotely and avoid wasting electricity and money unnecessarily.
Likewise, come home to a welcoming environment after a hard day at work.
At the press of a button you can set lights to come on in advance at your front door or in your hallway on dark nights, or create a cosy ambiance with different lighting options for all the different rooms in your home.
The ability to control lighting while not actually in your home can also help to deter any would-be burglars while you’re away on holiday, giving the impression that your house is occupied when it is in fact empty.
Following on from the last point above, there are also many other aspects of security and safety you can control with a home automation system.
For instance, protect your family and your property with smart locks, cameras, door, motion and glass breakage sensors which can detect any unauthorised intrusions and alert you or the authorities accordingly.
CCTV cameras add another level of security, while water sensors help to protect the integrity of your property by notifying you immediately should any pipes burst, rather than coming home to find a torrent of water which has been running undetected for hours.
Similarly, fire detectors will be activated in the event of smoke or flames in your home, sending a message to your connected device straight away and allowing you to take swift action.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to come home and walk through your front door to be greeted by a temperature that’s just right? And wouldn’t it be great if that could be done in a way that saves you money too?!
Match the temperature of your home to your schedule with smart thermostats which can be pre-programmed to manage costs around time, occupancy and demand.
In fact, you don’t always even have to pre-program some of these clever devices! Some systems automatically learn your habits (sometimes in as little as a week) and readjust the temperature in your home accordingly.
It’s been estimated that this constant adjustment of energy consumption to match demand can result in cost savings of between 30-60%, meaning less money to the utility companies and more in your pocket!
As well as thermostats which help to keep your home at the optimum temperature, you can also install sunshine sensors which close the blinds in a room (fully or partially) once a certain temperature has been reached. This helps to minimise convected heat and keep your home cool without necessarily having to resort to air conditioning.
Home automation technology can also integrate with some of the better portable air conditioning units so you won’t even need to install an expensive centralised system to enjoy the benefits of home automation.
There are also air quality sensors available which can trigger the windows in your home to open should they deem the air quality inside to be below par.
Integrated calendars can also help to keep your gas and electricity bills down by turning down your heating when you go on holiday, and make sure your home is as efficient as it can be energy-wise.
A World of Choice – At Your Fingertips!
The features listed above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to home automation systems. We haven’t even touched on the multitude of different home entertainment options available!
Although having been around in some form since the 1970’s, home automation is now big business and there are many different manufacturers and systems for consumers to choose from.
Before installing anything have a good think about what features are most important to you.
Sure, it would be nice to have the latest state-of-the-art, all-singing all-dancing system but these come at a price so perhaps start off with the things that will benefit you most, and perhaps even save you some money!
Shop around for the best deals and look out for installers who are skilled in this area, such as members of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA).
Where possible also try and get a written contract with a final price before any work starts to ensure you’re not hit with any unexpected additional costs.