Remember “The Jetsons,” the cartoon show about the suburban family of the future? They had the coolest home automation stuff, like that bed that bounced you out and dressed you. How great would that be on a Monday morning?
We’re a long way from that dream, but the internet has given us some amazing ways to take control of our homes. Some of this stuff is very sophisticated, expensive and less-than-necessary. But there are also some great, affordable gadgets that pay for themselves by managing our utility usage or protecting the house.
Here are three systems you might want to consider, courtesy of wisebread.com.
Canary. Security systems can be expensive to install ($600-$1200) and costly to maintain with their $20 or $30 monthly monitoring fees. Canary is an affordable alternative that streams live video of your home to your phone. The system will alert your phone if it senses movement in the house. If you see a problem while monitoring the video feed, you can call the police and/or sound a siren in the house via the Canary app. You can turn off the motion sensor and use the Canary as a nanny or baby monitor. The Canary system goes for about $170.
Nest. This smart thermostat can save you a ton on heating and cooling bills. It can be set to turn off the heat or AC if it doesn’t detect motion in the house or if it’s set to “Away.” Some electric companies offer incentives to install a Nest thermostat, especially if you will allow the utility to control your Nest via the internet during peak demand hours. Nest is available for about $250 on Amazon.
Rachio Sprinkler System. I need to get this, pronto. Our water and sewer bills in Atlanta are crazy-high, the result of the need to rebuild decrepit infrastructure. The Rachio irrigation system can be controlled from your phone. And get this – Rachio gets local weather info from the internet and will cancel a scheduled watering if rain is coming.
Why didn’t someone come up with that idea the day after the internet was invented?
An 8-Zone Rachio Smart Sprinkler goes for $200, and some water companies will give you a rebate on that purchase.
Depending on how much you spend on utilities, these devices could save you as much as $1,000 per year, more than enough to pay for themselves in the first year. And the ability to monitor and control your home from anywhere in the world, using a small device carried in your pocket? Not even the Jetsons had that kind of power and convenience.