With home automation, your house can literally have a life of its own. With a touch of a button, your house can lock doors, make coffee, and keep an eye on the kids. If you've ever dreamed of having features like these in your own home, you'll be glad to know that all you need are the right tech tools and programming.

Smart Home Basics

Everyday homeowners can now implement smart appliances and devices in their home. Electronics can be controlled remotely through one convenient device like a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. This connectivity is essential for a fully automated home.

Homeowners can automate their house using two main methods. One method is purchasing "smart" security systems, gadgets, or appliances that are designed with built-in Wi-Fi compatibility and have apps you can download to control the devices remotely. If buying new, tech-savvy appliances isn't in the budget, consider do-it-yourself automation. Automated module devices, such as automated plug-in modules, turn regular appliances into smart ones. You simply connect the automated plug to your outlet and then attach your regular appliance to the plug or outlet. By doing this, you can control the appliance with your smartphone or tablet.

No matter which method you use, having multiple apps for various devices can be frustrating. Fortunately, many companies have now created systems that allow electronic devices to be connected to one overall system. So, with one app, your house can help out with your day-to-day tasks from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep.

In the Morning

If you have trouble getting up in the morning, you can have your house switch your automated bedroom lights on at a set time every day. Certain motorized blinds and shades now come with downloadable apps, so you can program your house to open the blinds in the morning as well. Door sensors attached to your closet door can cue the current weather report to play as you open your closet and get dressed in the morning. You can program nearby, automated speakers to play the audio or have it play through an app on your phone. Your morning routine could also benefit from small, automated sensors that can be attached to your keychain or bag. When you leave for work, the sensor can activate a series of actions like cutting off the lights, locking the door, and closing the blinds.

In the Afternoon

Automated devices can help you keep track of your home when you're at work. Smart garage doors are compatible with apps that allow you to operate the door remotely, which can be extremely helpful if you forget to close it when leaving for the day. Smart thermostats allow you to adjust your home temperature settings remotely, which is not only convenient but also an eco- and budget-friendly solution to home comfort. Many security systems now come with apps and cameras that have Wi-Fi compatibility, allowing you to keep an eye on your pets and make sure your kids get home safely.

In the Evening

Believe it or not, your automated home can also help with dinner. By turning on the automated plug-in module for your crockpot while you're at work, your meal will be cooked and ready to eat by the time you get home. After dinner, you can wash your clothes in a smart washer and dryer. If you are constantly forgetting to finish your laundry, then you'll appreciate these devices, since they signal your smartphone (via apps) when your clothes are done. For the trick-or-treaters, you can automate your Halloween lights on the front lawn with sensors and timers like a haunted house. The neighborhood kids and parents will be impressed. Home automation can also be helpful at bedtime. If you're in bed and you forgot to cut something off, your smartphone or tablet can lock the door, cut off the television, turn off the lights, or change the thermostat.

When you decide on a home automation system, be sure to talk to a professional and ask questions about different security features. There are a multitude of apps and smart features available, so be sure to take your time and customize your home automation solution to fit your family's schedule.

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Sources: CBS; CNN; DIY Network; Forbes; HGTV Remodelers; New York Daily News; SmartThings; U.S. News.

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