Winter is coming, armed with an arsenal of freezing temperatures, winds, snow and ice. But in the battle against the elements, you have an ally: your home automation system. Here’s what you can do to prepare your house for the winter:
Adjust thermostat temperature
Your home automation system will lower the temp of the thermostat in your home when your family is sleeping and raise it just before everyone’s toes touch the floor in the morning, but it’s vital to adjust the set point. The temperature is up to you, based on your family’s comfort level.
Install smart air vents
Keen air vents work wirelessly to control the heat in your house, room by room. The guest room or bath doesn’t need to be heated to 70 degrees all winter. Similarly, some family members may like a cooler bedroom than others. And if you cook a lot, you can definitely set your kitchen’s temp lower than that of your living room. These smart vents let you do just that, saving you money on your energy bill and creating a more comfortable house in the process.
Change the rotation of ceiling fans
In the summer, your ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push the cool air down. In the winter, though, they should rotate clockwise to pull cool air up and redistribute the warm air, which naturally rises. Without having to dial up the heat, your rooms will feel cozier.
Install a water heater controller
A water heater can account for more than 17 percent of a typical home’s energy consumption, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s because it’s working constantly to keep your water hot. But there is no need for hot water when you’re sleeping or at work. A water heater controller will make sure your water is hot only when needed.
Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
If you’ll be using your gas fireplace or furnace, making sure your smoke and CO detectors are in tip-top shape is an essential safety measure.
Winter-ize the pet door
Your smart pet door is great for letting Fido come and go while you’re at work, but it can cause your home to lose a lot of heat if it’s loose or improperly installed. Now’s the time to check to make sure it’s closing and completely sealed from the elements.
Monitor rooms with little or no insulation
Placing sensors in rooms that may have little or no insulation such as a basement or crawlspace will help you detect and prevent frozen pipes, saving you major headaches — and repair bills.
Quickly power on the electric fireplace
Install a smart plug together with a motion sensor to have your electric fireplace switch on like magic when you walk into the room, or program it to turn on a few minutes before you get home from work. You’ll create a cozy, romantic ambiance and make the room toasty warm, too.
Upgrade pipes and appliances to monitor for leaks
Leak detectors and shut-off valves will let you know if your pipes freeze and burst, and shut off the water so you won’t return home to damage. These can be ideal for snowbirds that are away from their home for much of the winter.
Don’t heat the neighborhood
Use contact sensors linked to your thermostat to ensure you aren’t heating a room with any open windows.