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27 Pleasant St, Medfield, MA 02052
27 Pleasant St, Medfield, MA 02052
Smart home technology was designed to be user-friendly for homeowners, yet there's still a misconception that you need to have an engineering degree to set it up. Luckily, home automation technology gets easier and easier to use with every new improvement, empowering you to make the best decisions for your own home without hiring professionals for installation. If you're interested in a more DIY experience to improve your home and potentially even save money, here we will go over some tips to get started.
What Is Home Automation?
Complete home automation allows you to control every aspect of your home from a central digital hub. Typically the main controls are associated with an app on your smartphone, and the features combinations are numerous. For example, you could use home automation to streamline your morning routine by having your alarm clock start your coffee maker. You could also set a timer for opening smart blinds on your windows to let in the morning sun.
While these scenarios sound futuristic, they're easily achieved with today's home automation. The technology is improving all the time, and with it the ease of use.
How to Get Started
How can setting up your own home automation help? Homeowners tend to benefit most from the following:
- Locks: To avoid having to make multiple keys, you can install a smart lock. Not only can residents use it daily through their smartphones, but guests can be given temporary access when they need it. It takes nothing more than a screwdriver to take out your deadbolt and install. If you get stuck, there are instructions included as well as at least one online tutorial made by a fellow consumer that can help you.
- Security: It's easy to install video doorbells by simply removing the old one and attaching the new bracket included in the setup kit. Once it's installed, you can use Wi-Fi to show you what's happening with your home even when you're not there. You can keep an eye out for package deliveries or detect any suspicious activity around your home with ease.
- Temperature Control: Similar to replacing your old doorbell, replacing your old thermostat is more straightforward than you might think. Even better, the benefits can help save you money on your energy bills by automatically reducing or increasing temperature based on room usage and occupancy. You can also easily control your smart thermostat when you're not home if needed.
- Lighting: The smart lighting starter kits available on the market make home automation as simple as screwing in a light bulb. Controlling lighting from your smartphone can be a great way to save money if you happen to leave a few on when you leave the house. You can also set up automated light cycling to make it appear as though you're home even when you're away on vacation.
- Disaster Control: Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have long been a trusted solution for homeowners, and smart technology provides helpful new features. These safety devices can send alerts directly to your phone or contact emergency services in the case of a fire or gas leak, whether you're home or not.
Why Home Automation?
As technology improves and becomes more accessible, it makes more and more sense for homeowners to implement some form of home automation. You can use it to improve your security, safety or simply cut down on energy costs. As you install different devices, you can get a better sense of how they interact with the technology and what kind of utility they get from each feature. While it's always helpful to get expert advice, you can install and set up most automation all on your own to meet your specific lifestyle needs.
Homeownership is a marvelous thing. Many folks go to extraordinary lengths to make it happen for their household. One thing that makes ownership difficult is affordability in the same locale as your employment. When that's the case, many potential buyers begin searching outside their comfortable commuting radius to find an affordable house.
Before you commit to a commute, consider a few of the challenges commuting adds to your life. Then, weigh those against the joy of owning a home in a community you love.
Before you take the plunge and buy the house that you have your eye on, make an effort to drive to the neighborhood early one morning and then make the commute to your job. While one day of commuting doesn't give you the full picture, you'll quickly know if traffic is a deal-breaker for you.
Of course, other options exist. If coworkers also live in that community, you could ride-share so that you're not the one behind the wheel every day. Some so-called "bedroom communities" offer group ride-share programs for commuters. In that case, you might thoroughly enjoy relaxing in a luxury van reading the paper or reviewing reports on your way to work.
Often forgotten in the lure of homeownership is the potential "commute" to shopping locations. If your favorite store doesn't have a local outlet or the nearest grocery store is a significant distance, the shopping commute could nix your plans. While it may not seem like a problem now, when you've commuted to work all week, the last thing you want to do with your weekend is drive 45-minutes to the grocery store or make an additional trip into town to buy shoes.
Finally, what you do for pleasure should inform your choice as well. When you find yourself staying late in town to go to the theater or see friends, heading back out to the ’burbs to sleep might get old.
Even if you love the countryside and the chance to own a house, commuting isn’t for everyone. Before you give up on your dreams, though, talk to a knowledgeable real estate agent inside your commute radius. There might be options for ownership that you’re unaware of such as pocket listings or distressed homes.
For many years, homeowners have wanted to transition to sustainable energy, but found the upfront costs were not necessarily offset by the return on investment. Although many feel it's wise to convert to sustainable energy sources to protect the environment, homeowners dealing with sometimes tight budgets need to make cost-effective home improvement decisions.
That's why checking in periodically on the state of solar energy installation costs, utility bill savings and property value helps everyday people make informed decisions. In recent years, the price tag on solar panels and their ability to generate increased electricity incrementally improved. Based on current data, it may be cost-effective to add solar panels.
How Much Does a Solar Energy Installation Cost?
To say the upfront cost of a complete solar energy system is uneven across the country would be something of an understatement. Factors such as material availability labor costs and others differ greatly between regions. A typical solar energy installation can average anywhere from $17,000 to $31,000. The highs and lows of a given area can run between $4,500 and $45,000. Some of those costs may stem from the quality of the system, the number of kilowatts it produces and the life expectancy of the panels. Here is a brief comparison of the types of panels available:
- Monocrystalline Panels: This type of panel can last for upwards of 35 years and generally costs approximately $1-$1.50 to generate a watt. These are generally considered the most energy-efficient.
- Polycrystalline Panels: Costing $0.70-$1 per watt, these panels last up to 27 years. Although their energy efficiency ranks lower than monocrystalline panels, they tend to be space-efficient.
- Thin Film Panels: Averaging $1-$1.50 per watt, they provide increased flexibility. Constructed from layered photovoltaic material, this class of solar panels bends relatively easily and lasts up to 17 years.
The type of panel is of course just one financial factor to consider when trying to determine if adding solar energy is right for your budget.
How to Lower the Cost of Solar Energy
Federal and some state governments have been active in encouraging homeowners to adopt sustainable energy. According to Energy.gov, federal tax credits for systems installed by the end of 2022 are reportedly 26 percent and drop to 22 percent in 2023. Congress may decide to renew the ongoing solar tax incentive later. The good news for people saving money for an installation is that no there is no investment ceiling. That means homeowners can reduce their upfront costs on any size and type of system. Many states also offer tax rebates and incentives for property owners who invest in solar.
One of the financial incentives that sometimes flies under the radar involves property value. Reports indicate that single-family homes with solar energy systems typically generate higher resale values. The price may range from as low as 3.5 percent above median value to 9.9 percent, depending on the location.
When deciding whether solar panels are a good investment, making an informed decision involves upfront costs, system longevity, kilowatt-hours, tax incentives, rebates and improved property value. The decision may seem complicated. However, if the math is in your favor, you get the added value of feeling good about doing your part for a cleaner and greener environment.