In the last few years, homeowners have seen a wave of new technology designed to make our homes smarter, more efficient and easier to maintain. Now it is not at all uncommon to have a robot vacuum, video doorbells or an Alexa to power on lights, play music or send you reminders to pick up milk from the grocery store.
If you got a bit of cash as a gift or from a work bonus, and are looking to upgrade your home gadgets, here’s a few that might be useful to consider.
Keeping your home safe and being able to watch over your family is one of the first steps that you can take when upgrading your technology. With the widespread use of video doorbells such as Ring, you may want to consider adding smart lighting around your home. These systems usually include motion activated lighting. In the past we’ve seen floodlights or spotlights that are motion activated, but newer technology allows for motion activated walkway, step or porch lighting. Additionally, most brands offer controls via phone app, so you never have to leave the comfort of your recliner to activate any lighting.
While you’re upgrading your lighting, it may be a good time to look at security cameras. The rise in thefts of packages has led to many homeowners installing video doorbells, but those only offer limited views due to placement. Security cameras now offer several features such as night vision, more detailed video and intelligent motion detection to help identify objects. Gone are the days where the neighborhood cat would set off a motion detector. Now cameras can identify humans, animals, and vehicles, and send you alerts based on your settings.
Smart speakers like the Echo or Alexa have been around for a few years, but now there are more options with greater functionality. Smart displays placed in high use areas such as the kitchen or living room now give you the ability to control all of your smart technology from one place. Smart displays are essentially tablets that can link to technologies like your security system, smart lighting, speakers, thermostats or electronics plugged into smart plugs. Imagine, you’ll be able to make your bed warm and toasty by turning on an electric blanket while you’re finishing up the last episode of your favorite show without ever leaving the couch.
Smart plugs are also a perfect solution for the person who is always worried that they didn’t unplug the curling iron. With a simple swipe, the user can confirm that they really did turn off the curling iron without having to run back to the house to check. These smart plugs are an easy and inexpensive way to control “dumb” technology without having to upgrade everything.
With technology, even our basic appliances now come with smart capabilities. Ovens can be preheated right from an app, and some ovens now have cameras to help bakers check on their holiday cookies without having to open the oven door! Refrigerators with smart apps can help you shop for groceries, view what’s stored in the fridge with your phone, and help maintain inventory of its contents.
While these technologies are both fun and useful, they often come at a higher sticker price than their unconnected counterparts. To help finance bigger projects, United Heritage Credit Union can assist with refinancing your home with a cash out option. This option allows for you to refinance existing mortgage balance while simultaneously cashing out a portion of your home’s equity. This option is a great way to use your home’s increased equity and to possibly secure a new, lower mortgage rate all in one loan. For more information about refinancing and upgrading your home, visit our mortgage refinancing page.