Whether you just received your very first smart home gadget this holiday season or you already have a home filled with the latest digital innovations, technology is constantly changing, and staying current can be challenging. Use the following list to make sure your home is fully up to date and equipped to run smoothly.
Smart speakers/home hubs
Amazon, Google and Apple all have their versions of smart home speakers, so no matter your brand preference, you can have your very own virtual assistant at home. While the earliest models were simply speakers, newer models have evolved to include screens that can perform video calls and display photos, the time, the weather and more.
If you have a Cinch home protection plan, you can even use Amazon Alexa to manage your account, review your coverage and request service anytime with our Home Service Manager skill. Maintaining your home has never been easier.
Smart security systems, door locks and sensors
Video doorbells can alert you in real time via live camera feed to anything going on outside your front door — whether you happen to be home or not. Some even come with solar chargers to minimize electricity usage. These doorbells are especially great for safety if you live alone and don’t have a peephole.
Smart door locks are great for families that have varying schedules. Worried that one of your kids forgot to lock the door on their way to catch the bus? Smart door locks allow you to lock your door from anywhere. Check your app to make sure the door is locked or lock it remotely with just a few button clicks. No need to run back home.
A bonus: Many smart locks are keyless, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing your house keys or having to get additional keys made for family members or dog walkers.
Smart sensors can help detect anything from carbon monoxide to water leaks to smoke. They send alerts to your phone so you can take action to mitigate issues immediately from wherever you are. Some water sensors even allow you to shut off water valves remotely to prevent flooding.
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to remember to adjust the temperature before leaving your house? Or imagine never having to get up again because you forgot to turn the thermostat down a few degrees to sleep comfortably. Programmable thermostats can be set to change the temperature automatically according to your schedule, which can help your system run most efficiently and reduce your energy bill. They’re also super convenient since they can also be controlled via apps, so if you have to return home early on any given day, you can simply adjust the temperature from your phone so you don’t come home to a place that’s too hot or too cold.
All the advanced lighting options available today completely eclipse the clapper light, which is probably what comes to mind for most people when they think about smart lights. From the most energy-efficient bulbs to motion-activated or voice-controlled lighting, the opportunities are near endless and highly customizable when it comes to modernizing your home lighting now.
Pretty much any appliance you can think of comes in some advanced form that can connect to your smartphone via WiFi or Bluetooth. Smart TVs and vacuums have been around for a while, but did you know there are smart microwaves and slow cookers now? Cool features include scanning product barcodes to automatically program cook times and temperatures. Smart refrigerators come equipped with screens that monitor the contents and can tell you where an item is or when certain things are running low.
Smart home maintenance tips
Of course, a smart home relies on technology to function properly, so regularly perform these tasks to ensure everything hums along with no hiccups:
1. Check compatibility. Don’t invest in anything that won’t work with your smartphone, and don’t change your smartphone to a model that is incompatible with your smart devices.
2. Periodically update. Apps are always coming out with new versions to solve bugs or incorporate new features. Set a date on your calendar each month to refresh your apps or change your phone’s settings to automatically update when new app versions are available.
3. Assess your cords. Frayed cords or exposed wires are dangerous and can render your devices unusable. It’s especially important to monitor this if you have pets or kids who can get at the wires.
4. Have lots of chargers. If your phone controls a majority of the items in your home, it’s important you don’t run out of juice. In addition to the charger you use at home, keep one in your car and at your office, and pick up a portable battery pack as well so you can charge anywhere, anytime — even if the power goes out.
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The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.