Weather is unavoidable. Before you call Captain Obvious to answer that statement, step back and think about how the weather impacts your use of energy. How you deal with the weather affects everything from your pocketbook to your own comfort. The thing is that we can do nothing to keep local temperatures down or stop rainstorms from moving through. But there are things we can do to limit the weather’s impact on our homes.
Home automation is a great tool for dealing with the weather in a positive way. As home automation technology improves, property owners are finding there are more tools to work with. They are discovering new opportunities to save energy and live in concert with the weather rather than constantly fighting it.
Record Heat in Las Vegas
If you are a Las Vegas resident, you know that summer 2020 has been one of the hottest on record. At the time this post was written, Las Vegas had already seen nearly 100 days of temperatures in excess of 100°F. Not only has it been hot, but it has also been dry.
It goes without saying that many local residents have been paying higher energy bills due to the heat. In Las Vegas, air-conditioning is nonnegotiable. Just about every home and commercial property has it. And when daytime temperatures hit triple digits, air-conditioning units work overtime.
How can home automation help? By better regulating the temperature inside your home. Do that and you will spend less money on cooling costs. The same goes for this winter when nighttime temperatures swing in the other direction. Those cold desert nights do not have to cost you as much money.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Vivint Smart Home says the first task if you want to use home automation to deal with the weather is installing a smart thermostat. They explain that a smart thermostat is not just programmable, it is also remotely accessible and capable of artificially learning a property owner’s routine for the purposes of self-adjusting.
Vivint says there are plenty of high-quality smart thermostats on the market. Find one that suits you after reading reviews and researching features. You can also install it yourself just so long as you know how to turn off a circuit breaker and you can use a screwdriver.
You will need to program your thermostat following installation. But don’t worry, smart thermostats are exponentially easier to program compared to their counterparts from 20 years ago. Today’s smart thermostats feature digital screens with menus you tap – similar to how you use your smartphone.
Once the thermostat is programmed, you can forget about it. It will learn your routine and adjust itself automatically. And should you ever need to manually override programming in the future, you can do so either with the thermostat itself or a companion smart app. You can even override programming remotely with your phone.
Other Suggestions for Saving Energy
A smart thermostat is just the first step. Also consider installing automated window treatments. Simply put, you can install electronic blinds on the windows. Electronic blinds are equipped with small motors and smart receivers capable of receiving signals from your smart home hub.
How does this help? By allowing you to program the blinds according to the season. During the summer months in Las Vegas, you want to keep the blinds closed during the daytime hours. This prevents solar energy from increasing the temperature in your home and subsequently forcing your air-conditioning to work harder.
You can also automate lighting. Believe it or not, the lighting in your home generates heat. Why make your home warmer than it needs to be by leaving lights on unnecessarily? Automated lighting can keep the temperature down and save additional energy by not allowing the light to consume electricity.
Are you among those homeowners who still like to cook? By all means go all out on the weekends when you are home. But during the week, you can save energy by changing the way you cook. For example, learn to use the crock pot instead of the oven. Automate the crock pot by connecting it to a programmable wall outlet. You will consume less energy cooking the same meal and help keep the temperature down in your house.
Winter Home Automation
Thus far we have focused on summer home automation, particularly as relates to Las Vegas. But home automation can also help you deal with winter weather a bit more easily. For example, do the same thing with your thermostat but in reverse.
During the summer months, you might program the thermostat to increase the temperature during the overnight hours. One or two degrees is no big deal when you are sleeping. In the winter, it is just the opposite. Allow the temperature to drop to 68 while you are sleeping. You do not need that extra heat when you are curled up in bed under your comforter.
During the winter months, keep window blinds open during the day. That allows sunlight to warm the interior spaces so that your furnace doesn’t work as hard. Go back to using the oven as it can supply supplemental heat for a time. You can still automate the oven to turn on at the right time each day.
If you are building a new house, consider installing a radiant heating system in the driveway. Such a system can be programmed to turn on when temperatures reach subfreezing, thereby preventing snow and ice buildup in the driveway. You’ll do less shoveling and be safer by always having a clean driveway to walk on.
Home Automation has Plenty to Offer
This post has barely scratched the surface of home automation’s potential. It has an awful lot to offer with the current state of technology. Just imagine what will be on the table 5 or 10 years from now. Thanks to some great innovations, home automation can help you deal with the weather more effectively. It can help you save energy and live a more comfortable life.