5 Creative Uses for Home Automation

Temperature, lighting and security monitoring options are nothing new to the smart home consumer, but there are even more ways your smart home system can conserve energy and simplify.

With plug-ins and add-ons, you can do anything from controlling your ceiling fans to monitoring who has access to your home while you’re away.

You don’t have to be a smart home wizard to take advantage of these advanced capabilities. A DIY home automation system serves as the perfect starting point for the new smart home user because it offers a variety of basic and advanced capabilities to keep your home shipshape and efficient.

Here are just a few of the more advanced and creative options available to your smart home system.

1. Smart Plugs

Turn electronics and appliances on and off using an app with smart plugs that makes it simple to manage remotely. This capability facilitates comfort, but can also be used as a security measure to remotely simulate that someone is home, says Chun Liew, founder and CEO of SmartHomeDB, a community-supported smart home database.

2. Lock Scheduling

With this feature you can remotely schedule access to your home for specific contacts like your kids, the dog walker or your housekeeper. The contact will have access to your home with a PIN code you select for a specific time and date.

Lock scheduling allows you to monitor who is entering your home, and you can change, delete or restrict an individual’s access code at any point. “You can schedule when that code is allowed to be used,” says Tim Nock, CEO of Inavit Innovations, a home automation contracting firm. “You keep up with who’s coming and going, and you’re not sacrificing your home security.”

3. Ceiling Fan Control Switch

Tired of getting out of bed to turn the fan on and off? Wirelessly control and schedule your ceiling fan from anywhere. “Being able to have a button on the wall and being able to do it from your phone is a big plus,” says Nock.

4. Tilt Sensor

This sensor makes it easy to protect your home by allowing you to see if your garage door or another door is open. You can set up special alerts so you know if the door has been opened, and you can even close your garage door remotely with an additional garage door controller. Being able to close your garage door remotely is a great feature, says Nock. “You’d be surprised how many people have them installed.”

5. Smart Water Shut-off Valve

Worried about a leak? Connect this device with your main water supply line to your home and quickly turn off the water supply to the house from anywhere using your phone or computer. The valve can also be closed automatically when a leak is detected in your home, so you can protect against water damage and waste, and save money. If you live in an area where freezing temperatures are the norm, this device could prove particularly useful, says Nock.