16 Home Tech Products That Will Keep You From Worrying About Appliances
Carefully monitor important appliances with these home tech products.
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Take a peek at what’s zapping up all the juice at home with the Neurio Home Energy Monitor. It will provide a real time display of the energy consumption in your home and can help you reduce your energy costs.
Sense8 Home Security offers a robust security system that does not have a monthly service charge. It provides a 1080p HD camera with night vision, motion detection and a 95-decibel alarm and speaker. It even monitors the heat and humidity and will send an alert if detects an unusual change. If you’re away from home, you can still communicate with someone at home through video. You can also try these DIY home security tricks, too.
A little leak can lead to huge costs and headaches. That’s why there are water shutoff systems like the WaterCop control valve. Install it right after your main shutoff valve, then locate water sensors (sold separately) near the most likely leaks (water heater, toilets, dishwasher, etc.). If a sensor detects water, it wirelessly signals the valve to shut off. You can also install a temperature sensor that shuts off the water when indoor temperatures fall to 38 degrees F. That won’t prevent the pipes from bursting if they freeze, but it will prevent a flood. Visit the manufacturer’s site for more information.
Find you water main and gas shut off when you move in to a first home or new home.
Save 10 Percent on Your AC Bill with QwikSEER+ WattSaver
Most furnaces and heat pumps run the air-conditioning blower motor at a fixed speed regardless of the conditions inside your home. But the QwikSEER+ WattSaver add-on controller board makes your AC system more efficient by running the blower motor at the optimal speed to match the temperature and humidity levels in your home. It’s proven to save at least 10 percent on your annual AC bill.
You can install the unit yourself if you can follow an electrical schematic and feel comfortable cutting a small hole in the sheet metal plenum to mount a sensor on the evaporator coil. Don’t want to do it yourself? An HVAC pro can do it in less than an hour. The QwikSEER+ WattSaver pays for itself in about two years, depending on your AC usage and the electric rates in your area. For more information, visit the manufacturer’s site.
Nest has got it right with the second-generation model of its Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. It integrates with Nest’s Learning Thermostat and Nest Cam. It will test for low batteries and communicate with other Nest devices in a home. It can tell you where the problem is and uses two wavelengths of light to look for both fast and slow burning fires.
Find out how to maintain smoke alarms in your home.
The Ecobee smart thermostat does everything but the dishes around the house it seems. It works well with Amazon’s Alexa and claims to save homeowners an average of 23 percent annually. It can tell when someone’s home and which rooms are occupied.
Find out if a Wi-Fi thermostat is right for you.
Simply having an automatic sprinkler system is fine but it isn’t as comprehensive and environmentally conscious as Rachio’s Smart Sprinkler Controller. Rachio’s device will automatically calculate watering cycles based on the specifics of a yard. It will even set up custom zones all in an effort to minimize water usage and decrease runoff.
This smart smoke alarm from Onelink will send alerts to mobile devices and even pinpoint where the smoke is coming. The device also works with Alexa. It sells for $199.99. Stay safe by maintaining a smoke detector and learning safety tips for using alert devices.
It’s billed as a grilling thermometer, but it works in your kitchen oven as well. The iGrill2 comes with a controller and two temperature probes but will accept up to four (additional probes are sold separately), so you can track the temperatures of different food items that you’re grilling at the same time. Or use one of the probes to remotely track the temperature inside the grill when you’re slow roasting, smoking or using the rotisserie.
Just download the app for your Apple or Android phone. Then insert the probes into the chow and route the cables so they won’t be exposed to flames. Set the app for the desired temperature and activate the alarm. Then walk away. Monitor the progress on your phone from up to 150 ft. The iGrill2 app will let you know when you’ve reached the set temperature. Buy the iGrill2 and accessories from the manufacturer, online stores and discount stores.
Know how to tune up your grill before you fire up.
From a price standpoint, battery-powered water leak alarms, available at home centers, are hard to beat. Sensors are placed on the floor next to plumbing fixtures and appliances like washing machines and water heaters. When the sensors detect even the tiniest bit of water, the alarm puts out an ear-splitting scream to announce a leak. You can also set a sensor on your basement floor to detect and warn you if water is seeping in from outside or if your sump pump has stopped working. Water leak detectors work great, but they’re effective only if you’re home to hear the alarm and turn off the water. And don’t forget to change the batteries! If your basement tends to be wet all the time, you’ll need to know the tips for drying out a basement for good.
For better leak and flood protection, especially if you can’t be home all the time, consider a single-point leak detection and automatic shutoff system. This type of water leak detector gets plugged into an electrical outlet and has a sensor that you place on the floor or inside an appliance pan. An electric shutoff valve turns off the water to appliances like washing machines whenever leaks are detected (especially helpful if your washing machine is upstairs where even a small leak can do extreme damage to the rooms below). Similar shutoff systems are available for water heaters, dishwashers and the like.
Be sure you can locate your water and gas shutoff valves with these tips.
Floodmaster Water Heater Automatic Shutoff System:
- Sounds alarm and shuts off water supply when leak is detected.
- Accessory available that cuts off electricity to power vents on gas-fired water heaters.
- Can be connected to a home alarm system.
- Available at Home Depot.
Watts Intelliflow Automatic Washing Machine Shutoff Valve
- Sensor placed on floor; water supply shuts off if leak is detected.
- Shutoffs take pressure off hoses when washing machine not in use.
- Available on Amazon.
Electronic leak detectors use wireless water sensors to sound an alarm when they detect water (battery-operated models) or are wired to an automatic shutoff valve on your main water line or at individual shutoffs. When water touches the sensor, the valve closes. Some monitors can also be wired into a centrally monitored alarm system, and some versions provide options for calling you by phone when the alarm sounds. The alarm shown is available at home centers and online.
If you don’t have a leak detector, you’ll want to know these tips on how to spot hidden leaks.
A water flow sensor can be installed on a home’s main water line. It is programmed to allow normal water flow during a selected period of time. If water flow exceeds a specified amount, a valve will close to stop the flow of water. A monitor that recognizes continuous water flow that exceeds normal use and responds by shutting off the water supply and sounding an alarm at the monitor keypad is also available. You’ll probably want to shut off your water before vacation but there are 11 other things you need to do before you leave for a trip.
Emergency backup battery systems for sump pumps keep pumps functioning during power failures. The systems provide a separate battery-driven sump pump and controller that works during power outages and sounds an alarm when sump maintenance is needed or a battery problem is detected. Models like the one shown are available at home centers.
Temperature sensors detect furnace breakdowns and can help prevent frozen pipes and resulting water damage when interior temperatures dip. These temperature sensors, which come in battery-operated models and versions that can be plugged into a wall outlet, turn on or off any device plugged into them depending on the air temperature. A lamp plugged into the sensor will turn on when the temperature inside the house falls below a certain level, alerting a neighbor to call you or a service person. These are also available to use for freezers.
Even if you just have a window air conditioner there’s one with smart technology that can be controlled at a touch of a button on your phone. The Quirky + GE Aros Smart Window Air Conditioner will track your usage to help save on energy costs. With the Wink app the Aros will gather information and learn from the data to create a perfect cooling solution.
If you’re thinking about a portable air conditioner, find out why a window unit might be better.