How smart is your home? You can make your home smarter and safer, and make your life easier, with these five simple switch-outs that make the most of emerging home technology, courtesy of Jack Thomasson, HGTV Smart Home House Planner.
• Entry level. You needn't throw away your key, but save it as a backup, and install a keypad at your front door instead. The latest keypads provide not only security, but also remote access via your smartphone. You'll never again have to wonder whether you locked the door; your smartphone, tablet or other Internet device will tell you if you did, and let you lock it if you didn't. Need to open the door for someone when you're not there? Keypads allow for that option as well.
• Perfect temperature. Want to come home to a cozy warm or comfortably cool house? Make the switch to a WiFi-accessible thermostat, and adjust the temperature of your home remotely.
• Guess-free garage. With wireless technology and your smartphone, you can check the status of your garage door and open or close it as needed.
• Who's there? Security cameras accessible from your smartphone let your house tell you who's making a delivery. In addition to viewing camera feeds, remote home monitoring systems allow you to arm or disarm your home security system and to receive specific notification by text, email or phone in case of emergency.
• Smart cookies. Preheat your oven while you're still at the grocery store. Certain apps and appliances will let you adjust and monitor your oven and other appliances remotely via your smartphone. You can adjust cooking temperature and set a timer, too.