Smart home technology is not quite as advanced as what we see in The Jetsons yet, but that doesn't mean it can't make a big difference in your life. With just a few gadgets and simple modifications, you'll feel like you're living in Tony Stark's mansion in no time.
For those who are trying to decide whether or not smart home technology is “worth it," here are eight ways that home automation can save you time, money, and worry.
1. Cut Your Energy Bill
You'd be surprised at how much energy is wasted every day by lights left on and round-the-clock air conditioning. The waste often slips through the cracks unnoticed, regardless of how much your mother reminded you to turn off the lights as a kid.
Fortunately, between smart LED light bulbs, smart thermostats and smart plugs, you can save a few bucks and help save the planet at the same time.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 a year, and Gartner suggests that smart lighting has been shown to reduce energy bills by 50 percent. So it makes sense that smart products are one of the best ways to “go green."
2. Reduce Your Home Insurance Rate
Owning a home is one of the biggest and most important investments you'll ever make, and by the end of your life you will have dumped a lot of cash into home insurance. Fortunately, many insurance companies offer smart home discounts.
Even small adjustments on your insurance rate can mean a difference of thousands of dollars in the long run, so do your research! For example, American Family Insurance provides up to 5 percent off for smart home and security discounts, while Geico suggests a range between 5 and 20 percent, with this warning: “Be sure to check with an agent to find out which types will qualify, and whether the discount justifies the cost of installation."
3. Increase the Value of Your Home
Smart home technology gives your home a futuristic flare. If you play your cards right, that exotic vibe can help you attract buyers and sell faster.
According to a survey by CNET, 81 percent of people are more likely to buy a home if it already has smart home technology installed. A full 35 percent associate the technology with a “move-in ready home."
Keep in mind, though, that smart tech is more likely to attract buyers if they're familiar with the product. A smart thermostat has obvious appeal — it's convenient and can save money. If a buyer is unfamiliar with smart locks, though, they might see them as a security hazard. Work with your real estate agent to make sure they can help educate potential buyers.
4. Become an Efficient Caretaker
Whether you're taking care of a newborn baby, an aging parent or six cats, smart home technology can help lighten the load.
A stressed-out parent doesn't need to be told about the obvious benefits of a smart monitoring system, for instance. Once the kids are asleep, there's no need to pause your movie and rush upstairs every time you think you hear a bump in the night. You can simply check your phone and see how they're doing.
5. Simplify Daily Routines
If time is money, home automation just might make you rich. Or at the very least, it will make your life much more convenient.
Smart plugs, for example, have hundreds of potential applications depending on what you need. Want to start the crock pot when you're about to head out from work? Great. Need to start the coffee machine or hair iron when your alarm goes off? More power to you.
6. Sleep Deeper
For all the insomniacs and health gurus of the world, smart home technology might be the solution you've been looking for in the battle against sleep deprivation — and the stress that comes with it.
Smart light bulbs, for example, can be programmed to reinforce your body's natural sleep patterns. The bulbs can automatically dim in the evening so that melatonin can increase. In the morning, the lights can gradually increase rather than abruptly pulling you out of a REM cycle.
You can also use smart plugs and your smart thermostat to control fans, electric blankets and the AC throughout the night to ensure you're kept at an optimal temperature for sleep.
7. Make Your Home a Safe Space
If a burglar targets your home, there's a 34 percent chance that he walks through your front door. Maybe it's because, like nearly a fifth of Americans, you hid your key under the mat or in your front yard. Between your iPad, laptop, jewelry and other belongings, the burglar will walk away with an average of $2,185 worth of goods.
Unless, of course, you've taken steps to protect your home. Use smart locks to replace the fake rock hidden in your flower pot. Use smart lights to create the impression that someone is home, even when you're gone. Set up motion sensors around the yard, and consider installing cameras. The odds are not high that a burglar will target, much less actually break into, a home protected with a security system. In fact, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security, homes without security systems are as much as 300 percent more likely to be burglarized.
8. Gain Peace of Mind
And finally, a less tangible but no less valuable perk: Research suggests that the owner of an automated home can reap mental health benefits.
This is likely the combined result of everything discussed in this article — smart technology helps you save money, save time and feel safe within your own home. The peace of mind that comes with autonomy over your home can help you stress less and feel more in control of your life.
The decision to start using smart technology might feel like a big step, but it doesn't have to be. Connect with a Cox Homelife advisor to evaluate the needs of your home and lifestyle and personalize a package that will work best for you.