You don’t need to be a techie, electrical engineer or computer genius to upgrade your home’s technology. There are many things a homeowner can do to make their home safer, more energy efficient and more comfortable, without having to deal with the hassle of high-end apps and “smart-home” tech systems that often bring more trouble than they’re worth. Here are a few ways that today’s homeowners “keep it simple” by updating their home’s technology the easy way.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
Sometimes called “smart” thermostats, these tech gadgets come in a wide array of complexity. If you’re new to the intelligent gadget universe, opt for a bare-bones “programmable” thermostat. You won’t need to hire an expert to install the thing, and most units take less than a half-hour to get up and running. Once you are ready to program the device, simply follow the included instructions and set your desired times and temperatures. The thermostat does the rest. It might take you a few days of tinkering with the settings until you get the numbers exactly where you want them, but the effort is worth the payoff.
Put in Combo Smoke-Carbon Monoxide Detectors
There are so many new products on the market, consumers can get dizzy trying to keep up. But a trip to the local hardware store is all it takes to upgrade your fire and carbon-monoxide safety plan. Consider purchasing several of the modern combo units that are able to detect smoke and carbon monoxide. They’re inexpensive, easy to install and are the classic way of killing two birds with one stone in terms of home safety. You’ll still need to do a yearly battery check to make sure the units have enough backup power in case your home’s electricity goes down.
Install Residential Elevators
Residential elevators add not only a high-tech feel to any home but are a smart safety move as well. You’ll no longer need to worry about trips and falls on steep staircases when you have convenient, quiet and safe transportation from floor to floor. Home lifts are becoming more common in newer housing developments, where designers often allow extra open space inside dwellings so homeowners can install an elevator if they desire.
Replace Bulbs with CFLs
Using the new, “curly” compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs is a no-brainer. These newfangled bulbs last up to ten times as long as old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs and use only about 25 percent of the energy. Yes, they cost more than those old-school bulbs but are usually able to pay for themselves in less than a year. After that, you’re saving some serious money on your monthly utility bills just by replacing light bulbs. Consider swapping out all the lights in your home for maximum savings.
Another way to cut down on lighting costs is to install LED lights for outdoor use around garages, backyard decks, gardens, and walkways. LEDs are brighter than traditional outdoor lighting and use much less energy. They are ideal for outdoor use because they hold up very well in cold weather, but can be used indoors as well.