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Cypress Homes & Realty

5 Practical Smart Home Upgrades

April 27, 2020
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Smart Home Technology has exploded over the past few years. Everything from appliances to door knobs to showers come with smart home options. At Cypress Homes, we've been incorporating some of the most practical smart home features into our new homes. We've researched hundreds of options and settled on these 5 smart home features that are practical enough for any home.

5. SMART GARAGE DOOR OPENER

Wifi garage door app

If you are building a new home or needing a new garage door opener, the wi-fi enabled option is a no-brainer. In fact, many of today's garage door openers come wi-fi enabled as a standard.  

Why do you need this? Because it comes with a smart phone app that allows you to control your opener wherever you are. Whether you need to give a friend access while you're away, you want to set schedules or alerts for your door, or you simply want to make sure you remembered to close your door, the smart garage door opener is sure to come in handy!

4. Smart Refrigerator

There are several smart fridges you can consider, with dozens of different features. It's not necessarily practical for a fridge to stream music, but it's useful to see what's in your fridge while you're at the grocery store. At Cypress Homes, we recently started including the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator in our spec homes. The fridge has 3 built-in cameras to view what's inside. This allows you to do that last minute check from your phone from the supermarket.

The smart fridge does come with several other features, including streaming music, syncing with other smart devices like your video doorbell,  a customizable screen with digital grocery list, programmable expiration dates for the food in your fridge, and more. We have to admit, the features can be a bit overwhelming, but the price point is reasonable compared to the standard fridge we were using. Therefore we decided this smart fridge was a practical smart home upgrade to be included in our homes.

family hub smart fridge

3. Smart Lighting

smart dimmer switch

Smart light bulbs have been a popular smart home choice, but are they the most practical option for controlling your lighting? Many of our homes come with decorative light fixtures featuring more than one bulb per fixture. Also, rooms like the great room often include 4 or more lights controlled by one switch. So why would you buy multiple pricey bulbs and a hub when you can simply replace the light switch? As long as you use dimmable LED bulbs (which we recommend for energy efficiency regardless), a smart switch might be the most functional smart lighting option for you.

We have been using the C by GE line of smart dimming switches in our spec homes. This switch comes with an app, giving you remote control from your phone. It is also compatible with smart speakers like "Google Home" and "Amazon Alexa." If you are still set on having smart bulbs, C by GE even has its own line of smart bulbs. For example, we typically include the smart dimmer switch in the master bedroom along with smart bulbs in the lamps. Therefore, when you ask the smart speaker to "dim the lights" it will synchronously dim both the ceiling light fixture and the lamps on the bedside tables!

2. Smart Doorbell

Smart doorbells have become very popular for good reason. They allow you to see who's at your front door, whether you're home or away. They also add a level of security to your home and neighborhood. You can customize notifications to be alerted when your video doorbell senses noise or motion.

At Cypress Homes, we have been using the Nest Hello Video Doorbell because its very compatible with our other smart home upgrades. We've been impressed with the wide (and tall) viewing angle and the high quality video.

video doorbell

1. Smart Thermostat

Nest Thermostat

One of the first smart home features to make its presence widely known is the smart thermostat. Even with all of the developments in smart home tech, we still think a smart thermostat is the most practical smart home feature to consider. If used economically, a smart thermostat will pay for itself, so there is no doubt that it is one of the most practical smart home upgrades.

Cypress Homes uses the "Nest Thermostat" because it is commonly recognized as one of the best and easiest to use smart thermostats on the market. It can be controlled remotely with a simple smart phone app. It can also sense when you are home or away so you don't waste money on heating or cooling when no one is home. Certain versions can even program themselves by learning your schedule and preferences over time.

Other Smart Home Options to Consider

The 5 upgrades listed above are currently being put into Cypress Homes' spec homes. When we build a customer home, we work with the customer to decide which smart home tech makes the most sense for them. Often our customers decide they don't need all 5 of these options. On the other hand, some of our customers want even more smart home upgrades built into their home. This could include voice-activated faucets, security cameras,  appliances, sensors, and more.

In addition, you may want to consider a smart speaker or smart video display to give you voice control over your connected smart home devices.

If you want to build a smart home of your own, contact us for more details.

We are not affiliated with, nor do we receive any compensation or endorsements for any of the brands and products listed in this post.

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This post was written by Brock Messner

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