This week we’re talking home automation with Carley Knobloch. She’s a digital lifestyle expert who serves as a home automation consultant for HGTV. She’s worked on several of HGTV’s Smart Homes. Carley also talks technology on CNN and the Today Show. She’ll give us some insight on exactly what home automation is and tell us about some of her favorite technology for the home.
Let’s get right to it. Here’s a paraphrase of my interview with Carley Knobloch.
Michelle: Can you tell us a little bit more about your work with HGTV?
Carley: I’ve worked with HGTV as their tech expert for a number of years. I collaborate with the entire build team for HGTV’s Smart Home to make sure that the house is properly wired for new, exciting smart technology.
Michelle: What exactly is home automation?
Carley: Home automation is when you use a computer of any kind to help control or monitor your house. Lots of home automation systems use smart phone apps.
For example, you can create a smart lighting system by installing smart light bulbs or smart switches (meaning they have wireless sensors in them) that can communicate with your phone. This allows you to control your lighting remotely within your home, or from locations outside of your home, depending on the system you choose.
Michelle: What are some of your favorite home automation products that we should consider for our new homes?
Carley: Start with a problem that you need solved—a challenge that you need to be alleviated when it comes to living in your home.
Is it that your kids never turn off the lights? Or that you’re worried that your husband forgot to lock the door? Or that you're afraid that you left the garage door open? Consider home automation systems that will help with those challenges.
Michelle: Let’s talk about some specific products and smart home systems.
Problem: People often don’t like or don't understand their energy bill and they don’t feel like they have any control to lower their bill.
Solution: Nest Learning Thermostat. The first product that effectively gives homeowners transparent information about what is going on with their energy bill. Plus, Nest works in partnership with homeowners to help lower that bill. It does that by being smart about when it turns on and off. The Nest Learning Thermostat is the first smart thermostat to earn the Energy Star label.
Problem: Taxing your air conditioner (and increasing your energy bill) in warm climates because your windows are not properly shaded.
Solution: Smart Shades. Companies like Hunter Douglas and Lutron have smart shades. They are wireless shades that can be programmed to open during cooler parts of the day and close during the hottest part of the day. This helps the thermostat to not work so hard. Smart shades are great for energy efficiency and for privacy.
Problem: Wondering if you or your kids closed your garage door.
Solution: Smart Garage Door Opener, like one from Liftmaster. It allows you to check the status of your garage door from your smart phone. Plus, you can control the garage door from that smart phone app. Smart Locks work similarly.
Problem: Questioning whether your house is secure.
Solution: Interior and/or Exterior Cameras that allow you to monitor your home. Some systems will send you an alert along with a screen shot from your cameras so you can make sure everything is ok. Other systems have a monitoring system along with the cameras. Camera systems are helpful not only for your primary residence, but they're also for great for keeping an eye on your investment and vacation properties while you are away.
Special thanks to Carley for taking time out of her busy schedule to educate us home automation. You can find her at www.CarleyK.com.
Please remember that the purpose of this podcast is simply to educate and inform. It is not a substitute for professional advice. The information that you hear is based the only on the opinions, research and experiences of my guests and myself. That information might be incomplete, it’s subject to change and it may not apply to your project. In addition, building codes and requirements vary from region to region, so always consult a professional about specific recommendations for your home.
Well, BYHYU, that’s it for this week. I hope you learned as much as I did. And I hope you’ll come back next week for another episode of Build Your House Yourself University.