Remember that "Clap Off, Clap On!" infomercials for the Clapper? Hardware enhanced with techonolgy through mobile devices and Apps have upgraded that old Clapper.
With a couple hours invested in uploading Apps & physical installation, technology is here to help you make your house work for you. Oh and it helps that my husband finds all these goodies and wants to try them out. Here are a couple products that make my house work for my family with a few swipes on my iPhone.
The WeMo (by Belkin)
Our WeMo is definetly an upgrade from a traditional timer. Like all Belkin products, it has a sleek asthetic, too. You purchase as many WeMo switches as you need so you decide which home appliances you want to automate from your mobile devices. It works on any appliance that has a plug.
Next, you download the WeMo app and then decide which switches you want it to run. We have two WeMo switches, one for our bedroom lamp and the other for the main lamp downstairs. Through the app, you can set the times a lamp goes on and off just like a timer. If you don't want to set it up as a timer, you can manually turn lights on and off with your mobile device. You can turn on a light before you get home. I can go upstairs at night and turn the main lamp off from my bedroom. You can overide a timer with the App so it is not limited to it. When times change, it is also easy to make any adjustments. You can also create rules that can come in handy when you go vacation.
Remote access is available with any internet connection. So it is quick, easy and secure for those who have access to your home internet. Your family can download the App and can also manage the appliances associated to the WeMo switches. Let's just say that there have been some "light wars" with various users in our house. Freaking out your loved ones by turning the switches on and off from you car or office can provide a moments of entertainment.
With the heat in SoCal, I've really come to love our Nest Learning Thermostat. Being able to control our AC from my phone and turning it on before I get home has been a huge benefit. Walking into a cool house after a day of errands and getting the kids from school has been worth it.
The Nest is a thermostat that you need to install. Then you download the free App and like the WeMo, it gives you easy, quick and secure remote access. Controlling the temperature of your house while you are away and from your mobile device is a nice convience. The other benefit is that the Nest can really help you understand your energy usage. At the end of the month, you get an Energy Report in your email that lets you know exactly how you've used your energy and tips/links to help you. Your Nest learns your energy pattern and tries to help you manage your thermostat effieciently. The Nest Blog and website are great resources(like videos) to learn more about the Nest and how to make it work for your home.
What I really like about the WeMo & The Nest is that they really let me talk to my house. From my iPhone, I can tell me house when the lights should go on or off, and tell the house to cool down or get warm all before I get home. It is not just me, but my family can talk to our house, too. There is a small investment in the hardware but the Apps are free and get updated when they need to. Technology that lets my family take care of our home comforts is pretty cool.
If you are thinking about the holidays and some gift giving, check out the WeMo & The Nest. They are both practical, useful and thoughtful gifts. Great for that techie in your life, for someone who has everything, or even newlyweds. It would be a fantastic housewarming gift, too. Or treat yourself.