Features to Consider
When everyone comes home from work on a hot day and turns on their air conditioning, it puts a lot of strain on the electric power grid. This is one of many potential examples of a high energy demand time period. Some local utilities provide opportunities for home owners to help manage the electricity load through a process called demand response. Based on the demand on the grid at a given time, utility programs can leverage smart devices to help manage a period of high energy demand to avoid service disruptions or overloading a system, which can result in higher electricity rates. Owners of smart home devices such as thermostats, smart room air conditioners, pool pumps and other major appliances can help by accepting a signal from the utility that allows them to reduce load remotely during critical times. Utilities that operate these kinds of programs typically offer their customers incentives for participating.
Not all “smart” devices will necessarily work together, so keep this in mind as you shop for products. Consider looking for devices that work on the same communication protocol or system or consider getting a HUB to tie them together. Hubs and bridges allow you to connect a variety of devices and control them all through a central app as a system. There are other benefits to using a hub to control smart home devices; not only does it allow you to control a variety of devices that may use different communication protocols, a big benefit to a HUB is that it may allow your smart devices to keep working if your wi-fi goes down. Hubs make it possible and easy to setup and run automated, whole-home actions among a wide range of devices that were not designed to work as a system.
Your smart home will work better to save you energy when everything can work and communicate with each other. More and more product makers are teaming up to group their products with others together in systems that can be controlled and managed through a single app. Voice activated assistants and other services like home security systems can act as helpful bridges to get your products working together and maximize convenience. To save energy, sync away and vacation modes across devices so that everything is set back or turned off when no one is home. An away or vacation mode that powers down a combination of devices like your lights, HVAC, electronics, water heater and appliances while you are gone can add up to a lot of savings.
Through the use of your smart phone’s embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) you can establish a virtual boundary around your house, office or other geographic area. A number of actions can automatically be triggered when you enter or leave the designated geofence area.