When you think of a smart home, visions of a futuristic dome from a sci-fi novel with screens and a robot butler might come to mind. What you may not realize is that the latest smart home technology isn’t only for futuristic — or even recently built — homes. Innovations in the smart home space make it easy to turn your old house into a smart home, even if you only have basic amenities.
If your home has electricity and an Internet connection, you can add some affordable smart home features that can completely change the way your space feels and operates. Here are four areas to consider as you evaluate how to modernize your home.
1. Battery-powered sensors
Whether they’re used as part of a security system or to turn on lights or lock a door, motion and open/closed sensors have been a staple of security platforms and smart home systems for the last few decades. In recent years, the electrical requirements for placing these around the home have changed.
You might expect the installation process for sensors to require running wires in your walls or at least require the presence of an outlet nearby. Thanks to energy-efficient technologies and radio systems like Bluetooth, today’s modern sensors are primarily battery operated. Families can install sensors throughout their home to detect motion in a hall, a water leak in the laundry room, or even find out when the kids raid the candy cabinet. They’re an inexpensive and useful way to modernize your home.
2. Smart light bulbs
If you’ve avoided smart lighting products in the past due to the need to rewire a wall switch or outlet, look into smart bulb products like the Philips HUE or LIFX systems. These bulbs come in a variety of styles and sizes and will work in just about any standard light fixture, including the can lights and table lamps you already own. When you pair them with an app, they’ll wirelessly communicate with each other to control lighting levels, colors, and lighting schedules throughout the day. At around $30 a bulb, they’re an affordable upgrade that can go a long way.
3. Smart door locks
Another easy upgrade to consider is replacing your old deadbolts with a battery-powered smart lock system. Installation only requires a couple of minutes and a screwdriver, and you’ll enjoy the extra security features like keypad entry, automated locking schedules, and the ability to unlock your doors for guests when you’re halfway across town. These locks come in a variety of styles and finishes, so you don’t have to give up the charm of your front entry to enjoy some new functionality.
4. A smart thermostat
The largest upgrade to consider is one you may not have thought of: installing a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats, like those from Zen, Ecobee, or Cor, may seem like they belong in newer homes, but they are surprisingly compatible with a wide range of heating and cooling systems from the last 50 years. If you’re looking for ways to save money on your energy bills and run a more efficient home, a little online research can help you find one that is compatible with your home’s HVAC set up.
Whether your home is five years old or 100 years old, there are several things you can do to bring it up to speed and make everyday life a little easier. Make your next home improvement project a mission to install some smart home upgrades that the whole family will enjoy.