Not so long ago, home automation was considered the stuff of science fiction — a paradigm so far into the future that it could be imagined, but no-one would dare to believe it may become a reality. However, in the last few years, advances in home automation have been made that would leave former generations with their jaws on the floor. In this article, we’ll look at five of the most common ways to automate your home, from heating, ventilation and air conditioning control to retractable awnings.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning control (HVAC) is one of the most important aspects in any home — after all, this is the technology that controls temperature, and temperature is key to comfort. While, once upon a time, air conditioning involved pressing buttons on a large unit embedded in a wall or window, these days air conditioning can be entirely automated. This may involve a system with a reversing valve that can switch from cooling in summer to heating in winter, or even an internet-controlled thermostat that can allow the home temperature to be controlled remotely.
2. Home security system
Safety is paramount in any home, with the threat of burglars and other home invaders always at the back of any homeowner’s mind. It’s lucky, then, that these days home security technologies can be highly automated, from motion-detecting floodlights that turn on as soon as an intruder enters the yard, to CCTV video monitoring that sends pictures back to a monitoring station whenever a suspicious movement takes place on your property.
3. Lighting control systems
We’ve already mentioned lighting control in the category of home security in the form of motion-detecting lighting systems, but this is not the only way that lighting in your home can be automated. For example, you can install a timed system that turns off all lights at a certain hour, or one that automatically switches lights off when nobody is in the room. You can even install systems that control the brightness of lights depending on the level of ambient light available in the room — a great energy-saving solution.
4. Retractable awnings
From inside to outside now, and what better way to automate your back yard entertaining area than with retractable awnings? These electronically controlled devices can be extended to provide shelter from the sun or rain, and can be retracted with the push of a button if you want to soak in the elements. Better still, these awnings can be automated so that if the conditions are particularly windy and you’re asleep or not at home, they will be retracted to ensure they’re not damaged.
5. Plant watering
Your plants need to be watered, but often you don’t have the time to water them yourself. That’s okay, we understand — and so did the people who developed automated residential sprinklers, which can be set to a timer to water your plants and grass regularly and keep them looking fantastic. An even more interesting invention is the motion-activated sprinkler which can turn itself on whenever pesky animals make their way into your veggie garden, scaring the pestilent away.