If you are thinking about renovating or working on your home to improve its value, think smart. Making your home smarter could increase its value by up to £16,000.

Social distancing restrictions and working-from-home practices have allowed homeowners to complete many jobs around the home that would typically get put off. Spring cleaning, renovations, and maintenance have been what many people have been doing around the house to keep themselves busy. 

However, while you’ve been doing these necessary jobs, have you thought about trying to make your home smarter? A recent study conducted by MyToolshed.co.uk, estimated that it is possible to add up to £16,000 to the value of your home, by spending a mere £179 in smart improvements.We’re sure that these figures have grabbed your attention, but you might still be asking yourself, what is a smart home and how can you make your current home smart?

Read on to discover everything you need to know about smart homes.

What Are Smart Homes?

Smart homes are properties with household appliances that are connected to and operated by your smartphone. They can be connected by any means, including 4G, Bluetooth, or wifi, which means that you can control them from your phone from any location in your home or outside.

This level of remote operation means you can turn the kettle on while you’re still in bed. Or, start heating your dinner while you are still on your commute home from the office.

Benefits of Smart Homes

The main advantage of making your home smart is the convenience it offers. As you generally have your smartphone with you wherever you are, you always have access to controlling your appliances, as long as you have a connection.

You could turn off your oven or reschedule your heating if you were unexpectedly delayed getting home.

Having remote control of your household appliances and systems also provides you with peace of mind. How many times have you left your home in a rush, and spent hours worrying about leaving the grill on, or not turning off your hair straighteners? 

A smart home allows you to switch appliances on and off remotely, removing any such anxiety. It also reduces any worry you might have about leaving your home unattended. Smart homes help boost your security with automatic sensors that detect movement, and CCTV cameras that can be monitored and controlled remotely.

Are Smart Homes Safe?

As with any other connected device, there is a small risk that someone may try to hack into your smart home system and access your appliances. Ensure that you have secure passwords that do not use personally identifiable information, such as names, dates of birth, addresses, etc. Keeping up to date with the latest version of firmware will help keep your smart home system secure.

For total protection, there are products available to monitor your home wifi network. These security tools will block attacks and warn you of any security vulnerabilities with your appliances or system. 

How Expensive Is It To Make Your Home Smart?

Purchasing some smart appliances for your home can be expensive, setting you back several hundred pounds per appliance. However, there is a much cheaper way to make your home smart. You can buy smart light bulbs, speakers, and plugs. These start from as little as £20, which means that you can retro-smart-fit your home for a lot less than it would cost you buying new smart appliances. 

How Can You Make Your Home Smart?

Here are the six types of gadgets and appliances that we recommend using to help make your home smart.

  • Smart Plugs. Smart plugs are the most straightforward, quickest, and cheapest way to make your home smarter. These plugs look like any other. However, they can be connected to the internet, meaning that any device connected to them can be switched on or off remotely. You can set schedules for when smart plugs switch on and off. Some smart plugs will give you an indication of the amount of energy a device is using. You can pick up smart plugs for around £20.
  • Smart Light Bulbs. You can replace your existing conventional light bulbs with smart alternatives. Smart light bulbs, like smart plugs, can be connected to the internet, so you can control them from wherever you are. Smart light bulbs are around the same price as smart plugs, around £20, and they have similar functionality in that you can switch them on and off, or programme them to the schedule of lighting that you desire. They are available in different fitting types to match your existing light fittings; Edison screw, bayonet, or GU10. 
  • Smart Thermostats. Smart thermostats come in two parts; one component that gets wired into your boiler, and another that replaces your existing thermostat. These two parts will make your boiler smart, meaning that you control your heating even when you are not at home. Smart thermostats cost between £150 to £250, and they are relatively quick and straightforward to install. However, if you are not that handy, you can get them professionally installed, but there is likely to be an additional charge for this service. 
  • Smart Speakers. Internet-connected speakers allow you to listen to your favourite music streaming services such as Apple Music or Spotify. They can also be activated using their built-in voice assistant, so you don’t even need your smartphone to control them, Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant will action your every command. 
  • Smart Appliances. All major manufacturers of home appliances are making smart products today. Washing machines, ovens, dishwashers, fridges, etc., all are designed to fit into modern smart homes. Korean manufacturers Samsung and LG are two companies that are trail-breaking this relatively new technology, with others such as Hoover investing heavily in smart products.
  • Wifi Connected Security Cameras. Security cameras might not seem overly smart, as they have been around for so long in the guise of CCTV. However, having your security cameras connected to your wifi, and the internet means that you can receive alerts when motion is detected. You can also synchronize your security cameras with smart lights that come on when motion is detected. This type of programming can be a fantastic deterrent to would-be intruders, as they think their movement has alerted someone.

Getting Your Smart Home Appliances and Devices Working Together

Using smart speakers is one of the most popular methods of getting your smart appliances and devices working together. Giving the smart speaker a command or programme can activate set themes within an area or room in your home. These themes might control the light levels, temperature, type, and volume of music played.

However, some of your appliances may not be compatible with your smart speakers. For example, you might want a particular light to come on when motion is detected on your wifi-connected security cameras. What can you do in this situation?

If this is the case for your smart home, IFTTT could be a solution. IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. IFTTT is a free-to-use online platform used by over 360 different smart devices, including thermostats, lights, appliances, security cameras, etc. 

As well as being able to activate your smart home appliances, it also allows Alexa to add appointments to the calendar of your smartphone. IFTTT can be accessed directly from the website, or it can be downloaded as an app onto your tablet or smartphone.

Conclusion

Transforming your home to make it smarter gives you an incredible scope to make your home unique. The amount of technology available, and the relatively affordable nature of it, means you can have a lot of fun getting your home smarter. For a small amount of money, you can have a much smarter home and add considerable value to it.