There is a lot of talk these days about smart homes, and most of this discussion seems to indicate that smart homes are definitely the way of the future. Once a product of the realm of the sci-fi imagination, today it is not only conceivable but commonplace to find homes that can hear voice commands, respond vocally, and anticipate their inhabitants’ preferences and needs.
From adjusting the lighting and temperature to preparing the first cup of coffee in the morning, there is very little that a home equipped with smart tech gadgets cannot provide for its homeowners. But are all of these smart home gadgets really worth it?
In this article, we will take a look at some of the pro’s and con’s of investing in smart home upgrades to help you determine whether they are actually worth the investment.
It may seem counterintuitive, but at times an initial investment can help cut down on monthly expenses on a regular basis. Some smart home upgrades are designed to help monitor and lower your home’s energy and water waste levels. So that means you will be paying less for your monthly energy bills, for as long as those devices continue to do their job. That can add up to big savings in the long run; in fact, the longer you have these devices, the more you will be able to save.
So what kinds of smart tech gadgets can help you reduce your monthly expenditures? Here are a few options:
About 50% of your monthly energy bills will be directly related to the cost of heating and cooling your home. A smart thermostat is designed to reduce these high fees, by cutting down on wasted energy.
Like most smart devices, a smart thermostat syncs to your smartphone, tablet, and laptop via a Bluetooth connection and your local home internet network. You can program the thermostat to automatically detect when someone is inhabiting any single room in the house; that way your home will be expending energy only on changing the temperature in a small part of the house.
This avoids the huge amount of energy required to heat and cool every single room in the house- which can be hugely wasteful when no one is inhabiting most of these spaces. And you can access the thermostat remotely, so the house can start heating up for you while you are on your way home from the office.
Unlike a normal energy monitor, a smart energy monitor reads and analyzes every aspect of your monthly energy bill, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of where there might be energy waste.
With a smart energy monitor you can determine if any particular device is absorbing “vampire energy” (in other words: if your device is sucking energy from the grid even when it is powered off). And through trial and error, you can adjust your home’s energy usage in live time, tracking how much you can save on your electricity flow by turning off or unplugging specific devices.
Water waste is a huge issue for homeowners, and the outdoors is where we use most of our water. In order to cut way back on water waste, smart sprinklers can automatically detect and respond to weather events, so you will never be overwatering your lawn right in the middle of a rainstorm, for example.
Some smart sprinklers can also analyze water levels in the soil and adjust the watering ratio accordingly. And you can program your smart sprinklers to use certain amounts of water depending on the season.
So not only will your plants be happier and your pocketbook heavier, but the environment will benefit as well. Smart sprinklers are a good investment for reducing your monthly water bills and making your home more eco-friendly.
One major drawback to jumping on the new smart tech bandwagon is that the field itself is so new. No matter how cutting edge and updated your products are, every smart tech gadget will continue to be updated and improved upon regularly. So technology that you invested in, thinking it was the newest (and therefore best) model, can actually become outdated within just a few short years. And that means the products and apps that support that technology can also be obsolete. This is a pretty compelling reason to avoid the initial investment of smart home upgrades.
Some upgrades, however, will allow for system upgrades within your device. So that can keep your gadget relatively up to date as time goes on and new models are released.
One more benefit to investing in smart home upgrades is that they can boost your home’s value for sellers. Consider your audience wisely. Particularly if you are marketing your home towards millennial first time home buyers, built in high tech smart home upgrades can earn you a much higher premium and better negotiating power when it comes time to sell your home.
On the other hand, if your home has been upgraded with smart tech gadgets that are now very out of date, this can work against your goals. So consider the timeline of your upgrades carefully. If you are interested in selling your home soon, then it makes sense to spring for the smart home upgrades available now.
While smart homes can provide plenty of extra convenience and even a sense of luxury, they are not necessarily going to be worth the investment for every homeowner. Since the technology is new, each smart device you purchase may become outdated fairly quickly as newer and more sophisticated models make the one you bought just a few years ago obsolete. And some smart tech requires extra maintenance, which may incur additional costs on an ongoing basis.
If, however, you are willing to invest in larger scale smart home upgrades, like a smart thermostat, then you may find that the initial investment helps you to reduce your overall monthly spending, and that can make a big difference in the long run. Plus, when you are getting ready to sell, home buyers can definitely get excited about the prospect of buying a home equipped with the latest and greatest technology. So consider the longevity of your investments. Looking through the lens of a longer timeframe can help you figure out if the investments will be worthwhile for you.