Smart Home Technology to Add During Your Remodel

Get an edge by installing connected smart home technology during your home remodel

Image of smart home technology in a shower

Smart home technology is everywhere today. It has made its way into our vehicles, our workplaces, and our pockets. With smart tech’s skill at automation, it’s no surprise that it has found a perfect place in the home. Nearly 70-percent of homes already own some type of smart home tech. And that number is only growing.

Some forms of smart home tech are more permanent. Sweeten outlines which ones can best be incorporated during a home remodel. 

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering guidance, tools, and support—for free.

Smart water heaters and controllers

Far from being smart, the average water heater is more like a blunt tool. It maintains hot water even when you don’t need hot water. Or if you turned it down before a vacation, you’ll need to manually turn it back up when you return. It can take hours for the water to heat up again.

Smart water heaters connect to your home’s internet through Wi-Fi. This gives you remote access to all of the water heater’s functions. You can adjust temperature and set schedules. You can even monitor the status and shut it down if there’s a problem. This gives you a chance to call in a technician and avert disastrous water leaks.

Smart electrochromic (self-tinting) glass windows

If you live in a sunny climate, you know the constant routine of lowering and raising blinds to control inside temperatures. Even northern zones experience peak sunny periods during the summer. 

Self-tinting glass darkens or lightens automatically in response to solar changes throughout the day. No blinds are required and nothing physically moves. While the windows require power for this operation, the amount of power is minimal. For 2,000 square feet of glass, the electricity required would only power a 60V-watt light bulb.

Self-tinting glass is truly cutting-edge smart home technology. It is still not widely available. But it is worth looking into if you live in places with heavy solar and heat demands.

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Smart connected appliances

Do all of your home’s separate appliances work as one? Probably not. Likely, they perform their own duties separately. A new and smarter option is to consider them as components of a larger system. According to EnergyStar, appliances with connected functionality use less energy than conventional appliances. 

It’s a two-part system. One, you’ll need to purchase smart appliances with that next big remodeling project. That includes refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers, and dishwashers. Two, you’ll need a unifying management system that can recognize and operate those appliances. 

EnergyStar’s SHEMS program is one program that is available for free. Google Home is another popular program that acts as a hub for an ever-growing number of smart devices.

Smart home security systems

For a long time, “smart” was the missing link of home security systems. Home alarms would report to an off-site monitoring center. From there, a call would be placed to local police and to the homeowner. 

But smart security systems put homeowners front-and-center and keep them informed. That information is dually shared with the monitoring center and homeowner in real-time. 

While wireless security systems are popular, wired systems do have strong points. Cameras with wires running through attics or behind walls are difficult to tamper with. A hidden or locked-up digital video recorder (DVR) records hundreds or thousands of hours. Wireless cameras with SD cards record a few hours before rolling over and erasing.

Smart radiant wall heating

On cold nights, hot air gushing from the central heating system’s vents is a welcome feeling. But if you were to watch with a thermal imaging camera, you’d see just how inefficient this is. Orange and yellow areas of warm air build up in some areas. Blue and green spots indicate places where the heat does not reach.

Large radiant heating panels mounted on the walls evenly distribute the warm air. A thermostat notices that the room is cold. It signals to a smart controller located in a separate area. That signal is relayed to a manifold, which sends hot water from a boiler to the radiant heating panels.

Smart water monitors

Your home may already have a smart water meter on the street. Installed by the water company, this meter reports the level of your usage wirelessly to the company. This is what generates your monthly bill.

You can install a similar device that you own and control. A licensed plumber splices the smart water monitor (not meter) into your home’s water supply line. The monitor communicates with your home’s Wi-Fi system. With an app, you can track your water consumption and can make adjustments to save water.

Most importantly, a smart water monitor can sense unusual fluctuations in the water flow. These fluctuations may indicate a break in one of the pipes. Since the monitor is located at the start of the pipes, it can shut down all water to the house. This can stop devastating water line breaks before they happen.

Smart garage door openers

Garage doors remote controls are helpful, but they have a very limited radius. With a smartphone, you can control a smart garage door from anywhere you have a cell phone connection. You might be halfway to work and you think that you forgot to close the door. With the app, you can verify whether you did. If so, you can shut it remotely. Or you might need to open the garage door because a neighbor wants to borrow your mower. Smart garage doors expand the reach of the old remote control.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay but choosing a few or even just one device or smart home technology system can offer a convenient way to stay on top of the inner mechanics of your home.

Check out Sweeten’s women-owned and women-operated general contracting firms in our five-part series.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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