The Connected Home: Are You Ready?

Control your thermostat from your phoneIt seems that we have been hearing about the “Connected Home” for years.  We have heard about refrigerators that can tell you when you are low on milk or need eggs.  Lights that you can turn on or off from your computer.  Blinds that can be opened or closed from thousands of miles away.  A furnace that you can turn on before you head home from the office.

These would all be cool features to have but I have often wondered how useful they would really be.  The blinds for example, unless you travel frequently do you really need an app that can open and close your blinds?  Isn’t it obvious after pouring milk in your bowl of cereal that you are almost out?  I suppose to some extent it’s not that you will use the connected feature all the time but that you CAN use it.

This winter we “connected” our first appliance, the furnace, using a Honeywell VisionPRO thermostat.  I have always been a fan of programmable thermostats and this seemed like the logical next step in being more energy conscious.  Honeywell touchscreen WiFi thermostat

There are a couple things I really like about being connected to our furnace wherever we are.  The first is being able to know what the temperature is in the house.  With two “clicks” on my phone I can see the temperature inside and outside the house.  We also have an added layer of comfort knowing that if the temperature gets too low or too high (limits set by us) the thermostat will notify us by text.  With temperatures dropping to the single digits last week in Bend it’s nice to know that if something goes wrong with the furnace and I’m not home, it will tell me.

Being able to adjust the temperature from anywhere is a great feature too.  We don’t use this feature all that often but for those times when we know we are coming home to a cold house or we forgot to set the thermostat to “Away” for the weekend it is nice to have.

Nice to have but not life changing, at least for us.  Even though we are probably realizing some savings by having better control of our thermostat, I’m not sure how long it would take to recoup the cost of the thermostat (about $300).  With that in mind and the fact that for the most part each connected appliance or fixture requires its own separate app we probably won’t be adding anything new in the foreseeable future.

About Dan Seim

Dan Seim is the primary contributor to Preferred Residential's blog. He has been writing about real estate issues that affect home owners in Bend and Central Oregon since 2011.

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