Making your home more “smart” has nothing to do with plumping the cushions and hoovering the carpet before Tracy comes round for a cuppa, and everything to do with the technology you use in your house to control a variety of its functions including lighting, heating, entertainment and security.
Whether you’re looking to make your home space-aged, have ultimate control over everything from your phone, or just add in a few updates to make life that little bit easier, Afos are here to help!
In the first part of our Smart Home Series we’ll be covering smart lighting and heating, take a look below at our pick of the best options for you.
No more getting up to dim the lights when you’ve just got comfy and put on a film, you can now install smart lights that turn on, off, dim and even change colour- all from your phone.
There are a variety of ways to install such smart lighting, for most you will need to purchase new lightbulbs and a compatible smart system (often called a “bridge” or “gateway”). Prices differ depending on whether you want an all-singing, all-dancing lightshow that you can put on from the other side of the world, or just bulbs that you can dim for added ambience. Whilst many smart lighting companies argue that by switching to their more energy-efficient LEDs you will save money; the opposite is often true in the short-term due to the initial costs of setting up your smart lighting. Let’s take a look at some of our Afos-approved options:
If you’re looking for something to impress guests and make life that bit slicker then Phillips’ Hue system is for you. With timers, voice control and “light recipes” Phillips have gone all out. Sitting at the relatively pricey end of the spectrum, just the Hue 2.0 Bridge and two white E27 bulbs is £49.95, as soon as coloured bulbs and light strips are added on you’re looking at least doubling the price.
For a cheaper option we like Ikea’s range (in typical Ikea minimalist style), with a Gateway £25 and bulbs starting from £9 you can achieve a sophisticated, customisable look on a budget.
Smart thermostats are not to be confused with smart meters, the latter installed by your energy provider and the former selected and installed by you (or the company you’ve picked) to let you monitor your gas and electricity and adjust it with an app.
Smart thermostats are particularly handy as they not only allow you to monitor your heating settings and usage, they also allow you to change it from your phone, no matter your location. Out for the evening and don’t want to heat an empty house? Turn it off for the evening from the pub! Some models even learn your regular behaviours and adjust accordingly so that you don’t have to do a thing.
One of our favourite smart thermostats is the Nest Learning Thermostat. As the name suggests, the Nest learns and adapts to your behaviours after just a week of use.
Compatible with most heating systems, the Nest can be controlled via your phone or an attractive wall thermostat (that now comes in several different colour-ways to suit your style).
Turning the thermostat up and down when needed allows the Nest to learn your behavior and adapt your heating according to these behaviours.
Due to the Nest Thermostat’s “learning” ability, it claims to reduce unnecessary usage and your bills along with it. Click on the Energy History in your monthly Home Report and Nest will show you just how much you’ve saved with them.
Additionally, your Nest Thermostat can now monitor and adjust your hot water too – no more waiting for that bath.
In terms of savings you could make from having a smart thermostat, this depends on a variety of different factors - but average estimates range from £200-£350 a year!
Want to know more about making your home "smart" and the savings you could make? Get in touch!