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How to create a smart home

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Steve advising a customer on how to create a smart home.

While ‘smart home’ may sound like a dwelling out of another galaxy, it simply refers to a home where there are internet enabled products that link up via the home wireless system and can be accessed and operated remotely. If you own a home and have a home network, you could become a smart home owner.

What are the benefits?

Remote access means that energy use can be controlled and devices turned on as and when they are needed. For example, as a smart home owner leaves their workplace they can go online via their mobile, access the home heating system and turn it on for a toasty welcome. The obvious benefits are convenience and cost savings resulting from more efficient use of energy, and the associated benefits to the environment.

Appliances to get you started

There are a whole host of smart home technologies, from security systems through to smart lights, smoke alarms and kitchen appliances. If you are considering creating a smart home, you can start small by investing in some gadgets and testing the water.

For example, the Wemo Switch from Belkin retails at around £40 and allows you to control an appliance remotely. It goes into any socket in the house, the appliance is plugged into the switch and the switch is set to communicate with the home network. A free Wemo App can be downloaded to a phone or tablet and used to control the appliance remotely and to set schedules. It is easy to install and it is modular, so you can add switches as you go.

The device will allow you too control:

  • Home lights
  • Lamps
  • Fans
  • Music Centres
  • Televisions

Similarly, you could look at smart light bulbs – LED bulbs that can be controlled from your phone. They can be scheduled to go on and off at certain times and some also contain speakers. There are a wide range of bulbs and price points out there, but it’s best to stick to a well-known brand and one that offers a warranty.

Heatcraft are also an accredited Nest Installer in Manchester and we can help you control your heating appliances with this nifty device.

Nest products include a smart thermostat, smoke alarm and camera equipment.

Becoming smarter and more efficient

Moving a step further towards creating a smart home, heating and ventilation are good areas on which to focus. Consider installing a smart thermostat to control heating usage and costs. The latest market offerings are fitted with sensors that track your movements and learn your schedule, so that they can adapt the heating and/or air conditioning accordingly. There are smart valves available that can be used on individual radiators to make part or all of a home heating system smart by creating zones.

The best system will depend on your home and your desired levels of automation. For example, a small house could happily run with a single smart thermostat, while a large house may need smart valves to create several zones, each requiring a thermostat. You may not be ready for your fridge to automatically order your food shopping, but this is a good way to ease into smart home dwelling and cut energy costs.


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