Though you may think of spring and summer as home improvement season, there are plenty of opportunities, and necessities, for your home when the days are short and the weather’s cold. With that in mind, cloud-based home improvement and organizational site HomaZada came up with projects to take on to make your winter warmer, safer and less expensive.
HVAC and Water
Smart Thermostats – The heat’s going to come on and off all season long, but if it’s not doing it smartly you could be warming up an empty house, wasting money and resources. Companies like Nest and Honeywell have developed thermostats that are not only programmable, but are smart enough to make sure your furnace is operating properly or learn from your lifestyle and adjust the settings accordingly. You can control or monitor your thermostat with a smartphone app from anywhere in the world.
Smart Sprinklers – Winter may not be the season for watering your lawn, but that’s the point. Lots of us have sprinklers on timers, and can even break the watering up into zones, but a smart system like Rachio’s Iro actually adjusts itself based on your soil type and the region you live in. It knows the weather, so it doesn’t just shut itself off when it rains, it accounts for local humidity and wind and compensates accordingly. Of course you can also track your usage and control it all from an app.
Backup Generator – One thing your smart house is going to need a constant supply of is electricity. One thing that winter is known to do is find ways to knock the power out. A small generator can set you back just a few hundred dollars, and keep some chosen essentials running. To keep the whole house powered up, a generator can be integrated into your power system and kick in automatically when there’s a failure. It can cost you between $9,000 and $15,000, but is an investment in your safety.
Solar Power – One way to ensure your power doesn’t go out is to make your own power. One way to do that is with solar panels. When snow isn’t actually falling, there can be a lot of sunlight even in the coldest places. Capture that light and use it to generate electricity, reducing your dependence on the grid, your impact on the environment and your power bill. No doubt it’s a big initial investment, but it’s an investment in your future and there are government programs and rebates that can help with the costs.
Timers – Unfortunately, winter and the holidays are also the season of break-ins, with people out of the house, shopping and visiting, and acquiring new things that someone might want to make off with. One of the simplest security measures is to make it appear that you’re home when you’re not. Perfect for holiday lights, today’s timers are smart systems that can turn and off multiple lights in multiple rooms with combinations of programmable bulbs, plug-in controllers and smart switches. Again, everything can be set via an app.
Smart Locks – Limit access to your house with locks that know who you are. Keyless entry is possible with a code or even a thumb print, and temporary access can be programmed in for a house sitter or plumber (the holidays are a great time for plumbers). You never have to fumble for your keys with a system like Lockitron that lets you open the door with your smartphone.
TVs and Cameras – How is your TV a security device? New models like Samsung’s Smart TV have facial recognition technology, so if they’re stolen, they won’t work for anyone but you. And keeping an eye on that TV and your other valuables, a camera like Nest’s Dropcam provides security footage and can also let you know when it sees a door ajar or movement in an area where there shouldn’t be any.
Security Systems – Many of the above features can be integrated into an overall home security system like the AT&T Digital Life of ADT Home Plus. Manage all the facets of the system from your phone or computer.
Home Inventory – Should something happen to your home or your property, you need a record of what was there before the damage or theft occurred. With a fully documented solution, like from HomeZada, you can streamline your ability to track your possessions and speed up the claim process.