Showing posts with label Safe Home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Safe Home. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Simple, Budget-Friendly Ways to Make Your Dumb House Smart

Smart home technology was once a sci-fi concept, then a novelty and now a must-have for today's homeowners. According to reporting from CNBC, 2017 is poised to be the year of the smart home. 

Consumers are expected to race to figure out how to update their homes with everything from climate control Nest thermostats to smart appliances that tell you when you're out of milk and eggs. 

But with options including Samsung's Family Hub refrigerator retailing at $5,999, homeowners can feel squeezed out of the smart home market.

Although you can purchase top-of-the-line smart home appliances and fully outfitted homes, you can also pick up gadgets for less than $100 that add convenience and smart connectivity to your home. 

Here are five simple, budget-friendly ways to make your dumb house smart.

Install a smart security system

An ABC news affiliate sent letters to 86 inmates serving time for burglary to find out what could keep homes safe. Most of the intruders said they would immediately leave if an alarm system went off, and that cameras were a big deterrent.

Fortunately, it's not difficult to do some smart updates to your home security, including installing home security cameras. Lorex cameras, for instance, help monitor your home whether you’re at home or work. 

They're also an ideal choice if you have high ceilings or tucked-away spots where you want to install your cameras at a greater height or distance from your digital video recorder without unsightly or expensive cabling.

Get smart lighting

Smart lightbulbs have hit the mainstream and are an inexpensive way to dive into the connected marketplace. A Philips Hue starter kit wirelessly connects to the Hue Bridge for remote-controlled lighting that can set the ambiance and color palette of your home. 

You can even create an inspired landscape from a photo of your favorite vacation. For homeowners with big connectivity plans, the LIFX Wi-Fi smart LED light bulb adds color while integrating with the Nest, SmartThings products and Alexa voice control.

Use a smart switch

Add some convenience and efficiency to your home at the same time with the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch. According to the Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab, roughly 50 devices and appliances in an American household are always on and draining power. 

Belkin removes the sense of urgency of worrying whether or not you turned off the lights. Users can manage their power consumption and turn appliances off and on remotely and slash their electric bill.

Find a smart assistant

Now you can finally afford that personal assistant you've always wanted. But instead of hiring a human, you can just use Amazon's Echo Dot and stick to a smart budget. Like its big sister the Echo, Alexa can answer your questions ranging from the weather to the best place to grab dinner tonight. 

You can also ask your Dot to play music and keep track of what's going on with your Fitbit or arrange for an Uber. It keeps your hands free while you run your household and focus on more important things.

Stay safe with a smart smoke detector

Everyone wants their smoke detector to be as smart and alert as possible to avoid a catastrophe. But instead of investing in expensive devices, you can pick-up Roost, a Wi-Fi-enabled 9V battery, and use its app to turn your old smoke detector into something smarter. 

You get notifications to your smartphone if the alarm is triggered while you're away, and let you know when your battery is almost out.

Adding some smart updates to your home can keep you connected, increase the safety to your home and add convenience to your life. And it can all be done without a $5,999 refrigerator to keep your leftovers fresh for tomorrow.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Items You Can Invest In For a More Senior-Friendly Home

Oh the excitement of being retired, forgetting work-related stress and just travelling or relaxing at home! Staying at home and enjoying some personal space is a good way for seniors to unwind. But spending more time at home means having to transform it into a place that won’t be at all stressful to move around. 

There are two things to think about when improving your home to be more senior-friendly and comfortable: security and safety. These are also the two things that you should not hesitate investing in. Security means enough equipment to fend off intruders or trespassers and adequate devices to call for help in times of emergency. To achieve a safe environment, one must make sure that all the rooms in the house are not hazardous. Here are some add-ons that will certainly add more safety and security to your home. 

Grab Bars

With slippery tiles and often-wet floor, the bathroom could be the most dangerous room for a senior. Prevent unwanted accidents by adding as many grab bars as needed in the bathroom. The best spots to install them are on the walls by the bathtub and the toilet. This makes getting up and down a whole lot easier and it serves as a good support to keep seniors from slipping while maneuvering around. You can find basic easy mount grab bars starting at $30 or you can go for more sophisticated bars at $100 and above.


As grab bars are for the bathroom, handrails are also quite useful in the stairs and hallways. These are excellent add-ons to help you balance your walk if you are already having a problem with it. Select areas in the house which you deem necessary to install these. Aside from the stairs and hallways, it is important to remember that anywhere where steps are present is a good location for handrails, like the swimming pool for instance.


This is a significant home improvement that you can do to create not only a senior-friendly home, but also a favorable place for the disabled. Make things a whole lot easier for those who are in wheels by adding wheelchair access ramps in the main entrance and in the driveway or walkway. Opt for something that has a non-slip paint finish or ones that are easily adjustable and expandable. A ramp is an add-on that is very convenient to set up but will surely serve its purpose very well. They can be a little costly, with wheelchair ramps generally starting at $500, but they are good add-ons you will eventually feel the need to have.


Yes, more lights. That might mean an increase in your electricity bill, right? Well, it’s one way to keep your home safe after all. A quick yet helpful add-on to your house is good lighting. Make walking and doing things easier with adequate lights. Crucial areas that need good lighting include the bathroom, kitchen, and entryways. Lights in the hallway makes it easier to move around or go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, so make sure this area is also covered. To save on the expense, choose long lasting bulbs to avoid spending on replacement, or go for fluorescent or LED lighting as they are more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

Home Alarms

Regardless of the age of the household members, a security alarm is a good defense against trespassers. Once it is set off, it can either connect to the service provider who can send help over or it can simply create enough noise to call the attention of the neighbors and to create panic on the intruder. Another alarm that is also useful is the smoke detection alarm. These two should therefore be present if you want to keep your home safe. Make sure however that the control panel of the alarm is installed at a level that you can easily access and operate.


Medical emergency is something that you should always be prepared of even when at home. A phone therefore should be considered a necessity in order to respond to undesirable incidents. Keep the landline unit in a strategic place, like near the bathroom, as this could be the most accident-prone room. Likewise, make sure to have a mobile phone as backup. Opt for senior friendly phones like the Samsung Jitterbug has a tie-up with Great Call, a carrier that serves as personal operator for its users. Simple communication devices can go a long way for your safety.

Author Bio

A blogger based in San Diego, California, Amanda Smith has a penchant for writing about technology and gadgets, travel and arts, health and wellness, and just about anything that tickles her fancy. When she’s not writing, she’s busy catching up on her favorite sitcoms with her yellow Labrador, Chandler Tribbiani. More of her works can be found at

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