I have gone on multiple consultations where (typically) the male partner has set up Alexa to control the lights and it often fails when a female voice asks Alexa to turn on the lights. Multiple asks and yet no lights turn on. Have you had this experience?
To preface, most of my clients are Gen X (as am I), and when I asked one person who was having issues with Alexa, she stated that she would prefer not to talk to the lights.
That comment got me thinking; unless I am driving, I hate audibly speaking to Siri on my phone and in my own home I prefer timers or smart tech I can control from my phone. My assistant who is on the older side of Millennial, says she can’t wait to get an Alexa for her home because with two small kids she often has her hands full!
While I don’t know if this preference is generational or personal preference, here is a quick guide to a few of my favourite smart home items that don’t require you to speak to them!
Any product by Nest!
My favourite is the outdoor camera, because it has this fabulous app that I’ve installed on my phone that notifies me when it senses motion. I am able to check the video feed and see who is there! As a huge bonus, I can speak through the cameras and listen to a response which is really helpful if I’m home alone and not going to open the door! They also have a wireless doorbell that acts in a similar manner.
The other product that I love is their smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Have you ever been cooking and burnt something to a crisp, and then couldn’t get your smoke detector to stay off? With the nest detector, you can turn off the sound from an app on your phone, saving your ears, your dogs ears and your sanity!
I’ve always wanted their thermostat too; because you can set the temperature from your phone while you aren’t there. When we lived in Texas, we would come back from a weekend away in 105F weather and have to wait close to four hours for the AC in our rental to be close to cool! If we had a nest installed we could have set the AC to start 4 hours before we were expected to arrive.
In our Richmond, Virginia home, we put a ductless mini split system that has 8 individually controlled zones, and is truly the best heating and cooling system I’ve experienced. I wouldn’t classify ours as true smart tech as I can’t control them with my phone, but I can set timers, and each one has a remote. If we ever find ourselves in another home with only one or two heating zones, I wouldn’t hesitate to install the nest thermostats.
I have the very best speakers in the world — ok they probably aren’t but I’ve had several audiophile friends offer to buy them from me because they don’t make home speakers like they used to. They are in a wooden box surround, made in Britain and are quite heavy and large. I moved them to every home I’ve lived since I was 15! When I’m home alone I put the dogs in the other room and turn them up!! Nothing beats a dance party to alleviate stress. Through our reno, I missed the speakers more than a kitchen stove (we had a camp stove) but not more than the sink!
Right, so this post is about smart tech, not ancient technology, ha!
For the past many years I had a super long cable that would plug into my iphone audio jack and this enabled me to play music through my (also ancient) receiver. Last year my husband got me this great little device that allows me to Chrome Cast my music to my ancient technology without cords, cables or fuss! And now that phones don’t have headphone jacks this gadget is even more needed!
Check it out here, it’s super inexpensive too!
Water Leak Prevention
In our old home, we have a small 10×10, under grade (below ground) basement. At the moment our home doesn’t have any perimeter drainage, so when we get rain, the water seeps into our basement through the walls, drains into an small open concrete pit where the sump pump sends it back out and away from our house.
Even though our sump pump is fairly new, on the rare occasion it gets too much sediment in it and it shuts off, allowing water to accumulate in the basement. As we know this is a wet area, all items in the basement are elevated to minimize any potential water damage, but if we were away and this were to happen, we could possibly have damage to our two deep freezers. I found this alarm, that will alert us via an app, so that we could call a neighbour to check on the sump in case of this issue.
Even if you don’t have a sump, I would also find this useful for under the washing machine, or hot water tank to alert me to potential issues before floors and ceilings get damaged too much!
Check it out, here. It runs on batteries, so even in a power outage, you still should be notified, and it’s extremely well priced.
Tell me below: Do you like speaking to your smart home, or do you prefer to control them from your phone?
Love these ideas – especially that water leak alarm and the smoke detector with a way to shut the sound off when you are AWARE there is smoke and don’t need to promote hearing loss in addition to dealing with the problem…that sounds fantastic. Thanks for sharing these!
Thank you for the comment. Yes, the leak detector can save many headaches! Hope you are able to utilize some of these smart products in your home.
Some automation is so helpful. I don’t love alexa and the like and I recently had a client tell the a/v consultant “Ill call you when my fingers no longer work” but the idea of leaks detectors and doorbells that let you know who is there are great. For clients who have mobility issues these automations are changing lives!
Yes Lisa I have the same view as you. Not a huge fan of the Alexa type machines, but I do like the automation of having security at my fingertips. Thanks for your comment!
I’m not a fan of smart tech in the homes due to privacy issues, Lora, BUT, for seniors or those with mobility issues, some of these tools are their lifesavers.
And I do love the idea of being able to turn off your smoke detectors with an app. For cats, who have really sensitive ears, it’s a kindness to have that for them.
Thanks for sharing how you’re benefitting from these items in your own home. It’s always useful to read real life scenarios.
I agree with you, not all smart tech is suitable for everyone but when you find the right tools for you it can make a huge difference. Always have to look out for our animal babies. Hope you enjoyed.
I am not really conversation with the many options for making your home “smart” but the security app certainly would be a great idea. In my neighborhood, people were Christmas shopping off people’s front porch by grabbing bags from Amazon before the homeowner returned home. Wouldn’t it be great to check your phone from bed if you herd a bump outside?
Yes Judith! With all of our construction and moving to the new area the peace of mind with the cameras was very reassuring.
Thank you for sharing your smart tech ideas for the home!
You are very welcome. Hope you are able to use some of the suggestions for your home.
The water detector technology is a great tip, thanks!
Linda, you are very welcome. That detector can be a life saver. Hope you will consider installing one in your home.
These are great suggestions, I’m always trying to keep up with the latest in technology and smart homes. The Nest system is a must for any new home build!
Keeping up with smart home tech can be challenging. Glad you were able to be introduced to some new ones. I love my Nest!
Oh wow! These are so great. I can’t believe how far technology has come.
Technology is ever changing and it is hard to keep up sometimes. It is nice to find a few products that work for you and stick with them. I am all about making life easier and more convenient.
These are all great ideas. There are so many ways technology is improving out lives and in ways I would never have imagined.
Felicia, I agree. It is amazing what technology can do for you. Hope you enjoy your smart tech in your home.
It’s so cool to see how technology has changed over the years. I want our new home to have a lot of these capabilities.
Congrats on your new home. Now is the perfect time to add these items into your lifestyle. Happy smart tech hunting.
Absolutely great ideas, technology kinda scares me haha!
I completely understand, it scares me at times too. Find something simple and see how you like it and go from there. You may be surprised how much you do like it.
These are amazing tech advances for homes. It would be really cool to have these at our house.
Yes these can really can change the feel of your home. Hopefully you can incorporate them into your home someday.
These are great tools to have in your house or thinking about being a home owner! Thank you for sharing!
You are very welcome. Hope you can add some of these smart tech items to your home.
This is literally a life saver! I need one.
Yes! These items can save you from a lot of damage.
The water leak detector is an awesome idea! That’s they type of thing that you never know about until it’s too late!
Unfortunately you are right. Hope you never have to have that issue, but the detector may be a good idea.
I love to control them from my phone! These are absolutely amazing!
Me too! It is nice to know I can keep tabs on everything from the palm of my hand.
It’s very innovative but I’m not sure if I’ll use it for a long time. I’m very curious and interested though.
Completely understand. Find one item to try and see if you like it.
I would love one of those video doorbells. I see them all the time and love them!
They really are great. Give it a try if you can, I think you would like it.
Smart home tech is so convenient. I really would like to upgrade some more of my stuff.
Do little bits at a time that way it won’t get overwhelming. Good luck on your updating journey.
I’m part of the older millennial crowd and I never talk through the phone, like ever! BUT I would love to control my thermostat through my phone. I’ve always wanted this!
You have to find which tech items are right for you. The thermostat is high on my list too.