Improving the simple things with home automation

Posted by Buttonwood Inc. on Dec 15, 2015 10:33:04 PM

There is certainly part of the term "home automation" that scares people away. Fancy gadgets, head-scratching jargon, and confusing installation instructions can deter many from considering those brand-spankin-new smart home solutions.

However, open-minded homeowners will find that many of the annoying aspects of your daily routine can be improved with some twenty-first century updates. In fact, wouldn't the "real world" and "nine-to-five grind" seem so much easier without some of those mundane responsibilities we assume are required?

Instead of focusing on specific products, how about ideas? What does life look like when your home is working for you?  Here are some home automation ideas that can improve the simple things in life, room by room.

The Bathroom

clipart_bathroom.pngDo you live alone? If so, you may not be able to understand, (or remember) what it's like to share a bathroom. For the rest of us, there is really no need to remind you, as it can be a struggle.

If you have a partner, and some adorable kids, (yea, adorable, right...), the family bathroom may be the busiest room in the house during the morning. It wouldn't be wise to think a "smart home" can help schedule who jumps in the shower when, but there are a few improvements you can enjoy.

Do you pay attention to your bathroom fan? Most are noisy, obnoxious, an inefficient. What's worse, those noisy, obnoxious, and inefficient bathroom fans can't do anything to break through your shower steam when they aren't turned on.

If your fan needs to be replaced, consider integrating it with your streamlined light control system. Tied to a motion detector, your fan can automatically turn on at a low setting every time someone enters the room. When the sensor detects the shower has been turned on, the fan can automatically readjust to a higher setting.

Alternatively, the fan can be synced with a timer so no matter the activity, the fan turns on after 5 minutes of occupancy to help keep the air flowing. If your bathroom regularly hosts three or more showers during a normal weekday morning, you wouldn't have to look hard to find the results of an antiquated fan (like mold along the corners of your ceiling).

Want another bathroom upgrade your neighbors likely don't have? How about a heated towel rod? Much like the those red heating lamps that may have been cutting-edge twenty years ago, adding a tiny heating element inside the bars you hang your towels on can automatically warm your towels during those cold winter mornings. You have to admit, you like the sound of that.


 The Kitchen

clipart_kitchen.jpegDuring the morning hustle and bustle, the kitchen can be just as busy as your local subway station. We may still be a few years away from a robo-chef that can prepare your breakfast, but the kitchen of a smart home has a few tricks to help get you out of the house a few minutes earlier.

Even the most positive among us has to agree the dark and cold 5am winter mornings we have in New England really aren't fun. It may not be a priority during other times in the day, but every morning you are reminded there has to be a solution for that frigid tiled kitchen floor.

Your home heating system can be automated to power on heating elements under your floor's finishing at different times of the day. Triggered either by your room's lights, a customizable timer, or smart phone app, this subtle upgrade can make all the difference during the cold start to your work day.

How about turning those kitchen lights on for the first time in the morning? It shouldn't be a painful experience. Your lighting system can be configured to "warm up" through different lighting intensities to match the morning glow. Whether it is a certain set of kitchen lights, or all of your lights slowing turning on in unison, it is hard to go back to a simple on/off light switch when learning the available flexibilities.

Another great way to improve your comfort (and maximize your home's energy efficiency) are automated shades. With your home lighting system mimicking the soft winter sunrise, automatic window shades can adjust to compliment your artificial indoor lighting. Synchronized with your local sunrise and sunset times, your shades can be configured to slowly open during the morning to let more natural light into your living space. This reduces the amount of indoor lighting necessary for your morning routine, which can save big bucks throughout the year.

Some would say, "sure, I could just adjust the shades like I normally do", but this is one less task you have to deal with inside a smart home. At the end of the day, those same smart shades can slowly close while sunlight dwindles, giving you extra night-time privacy and another barrier against the cold temperatures outside. As New Englanders know, sunset seems to change drastically everyday, and many times, dusk beats you home.


The Hallway

clipart_closet.gifThe side hallway can often be the most used entrance and exit in your home. Especially during the holiday dash, there's always something on the ground or stacked against the wall. Coats, bags, sports equipment, and holiday gifts still in unopened Amazon boxes are obstacles scattered across a high traffic area, which double as ideal tripping hazards.

When you enter and exit your home, motion sensors again are indispensable, especially when your arms are full. Your smart phone can be used to unlock your side door from afar, but can also trigger a "coming home" configuration, disabling your security system, adjusting the heat, turning on lights, and queuing a preset of your favorite evening tunes to home's sound system.


 Time For Bed!

bedroom_clipart.jpegYou've made it through another day and find yourself settling into bed. The kids are sound asleep, the kitchen is cleaned, and you're ready for tomorrow. You can finally lay your head down and close your eyes...

... but of course, as soon as you do, you remember the lights are left on downstairs! Nothing like having to get up, again, and go back downstairs for something so insignificant. You almost consider just leaving the lights on and staying under the covers where it's warm.

But no, there's an easier way. Reach for your smart phone, and a few gestures later and you've recalled the "goodnight" mode in your home's lighting system, which switches all lights off throughout the house, except for the safety lights you want left on. Go ahead and smile. Enjoy those technology perks.


If the time is right for you to "smarten" your home, there are plenty of options and customizations available to the modern homeowner. The catalog of improvements available is vast, but that's where the experts come in.

The professionals at Buttonwood Communications can walk you through all the options that work for your home and lifestyle. Give us a call for a free consultation, and learn how you can improve the simple things in life, with a smart home. 

Topics: Home Automation, Lighting, Wireless Technology

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