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  • Smart Home Devices

    Posted by deann-r on January 21, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials promoting various smart home devices you can voice activate.  Most recently a faucet, shower and even washing machine.  Of course for me they’re appealing for more than just convenience as the commercials suggest.  However the price tags are usually well out of my range.  Have you guys tried any smart devices like that?  Are they worth the investment?  Any programs to assist with funding?  I’m thinking the faucet sounds most appealing.  Also on my list is a ceiling fan and window shades.  The microwave that I almost had in my online shopping cart was intriguing as well.  Have they made a voice activated Keurig yet?  I’d probably still have trouble putting the pods in though, but if I had that done the night before…

    alyssa-silva replied 4 years, 1 month ago 6 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • patrick-lenihan

    January 21, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    I love my smart home devices and the ones I have are worth the investment. I control most of the lights in my house with my Echo devices using Alexa compatible smart bulbs and smart plugs. In my bathroom I have a motion detecting faucet attachment on my sink (the iTouchless EZ Faucet Pro Automatic Sensor Faucet Adapter). It costs about 37 dollars on Amazon. I love it. I also have Alexa compatible smart locks on my doors (Schlage Connect is Alexa compatible if you also have a Smart Things hub.). I also have a smart doorbell (Ring).  If you already have a ceiling fan that you control with a light switch, a smart switch might be a more affordable option than a new smart fan. Smart wall switches usually run about 40 dollars each. Unfortunately I do not know of any programs that will help fund smart home modifications. I want to get a smart thermostat but because my furnace is older I have to have a little bit of rewiring done before I tackle that project.
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  • robert-stump

    January 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    I have an ancient furnace as well (simple 2-wire system with no power), but I was able to add a battery powered Z wave thermostat to it so I could adjust the heat myself. It is my favorite smart home addition, but certainly not my only one. I have Philips Hue lights, Z wave relays making both my garage and my Open Sesame front door opener smart, voice controlled infrared transmitters to switch TV inputs, a Z wave siren to get the attention of my aides who might be dozing off, and a slew of other items. To make it the most useful for me, I purchased a cell phone with Alexa built-in so I can just speak to it without touching anything, but I also have about 6 echo devices scattered throughout the house. I also have tons of Google devices as well, but I find that the home automation services and control are much easier to configure and understand using Alexa.

  • halsey-blocher

    January 21, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    I don’t have many aside from Alexa. I’ve considered door locks and a thermostat as possible things to consider at some point. I also like the idea of fans and shades. I might have to add those to the list.

    I’ve never personally seen one, but I believe there is a way to have Alexa make coffee. I’m not sure if it can be done with something like a smart plug, or if you would have to get a whole new coffee machine.

  • alyssa-silva

    January 22, 2020 at 9:19 am

    To answer some of your questions DeAnn, I have a Bluetooth ceiling fan and love it. I operate it right from my phone. And I’m not sure about the voice-activated Keurig machine, but I do know Nespresso has a Bluetooth machine where you can make a coffee right from your phone. Obviously you’ll need to put the coffee mug in the machine and the coffee pod in yourself first. So I’m not sure how useful it is? But I guess you could always ask someone to set it up the night before then just push a button on your phone the next day. Nespresso works just like a Keurig but makes much better coffee in my opinion.

  • deann-r

    January 22, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Patrick, my furnace is old as well.  My Nest smart thermostat works with it.  Of course the cooling function doesn’t work as my furnace doesn’t do that, but otherwise it works.  My uncle replaced it, so I don’t know much about the electrical side of it.  There was the two wires like Robert’s though.  My thermostat has a battery backup, but one of the wires must sustain the power?  I do have a lot of smart switches and bulbs, trying to figure out how the ceiling fan would work with it though.  I’ll have to look into that faucet solution.  Sounds a lot more reasonable than a smart faucet.

    Robert, I have an Alexa in just about every room.  I do have a Google mini as well for backup but rarely use it.  An organization called Limited Mobility Solutions was able to connect my Open Sesame with Alexa.  Love it.  My Fire Cube controls the TV although I can’t figure out how to get it to change my over the air channels.  It’s probably user error.

    Halsey, do you do a lot with Alexa?  I’m finding more and more to do with it.  I’m even getting my Mom used to using it.  Although she always turns off the light switch I need to be  left on to work with the smart bulbs when she comes over.  That’s kind of why I’m hesitant to do more rooms with smart bulbs.

    Alyssa, do you know the brand of your ceiling fan?  I do think it would be handy. If Nespresso has one, maybe it’s only a matter of time before Keurig does.  I could prep it ahead of time, but I like the idea of having a hot beverage whenever I feel like it, not just when someone is around to make it.


  • halsey-blocher

    January 22, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    While I’ve never actually done it, one of the reasons that I really like having Alexa is that I can use her to make a call in an emergency if I can’t get to my phone. But as far as day to day uses, I mostly use her for music and checking the weather when I pick out my clothes. Previously, I didn’t listen to music often. I’ve always thought it a pain to pull up pandora on the tv and my phone speakers are a little quiet for my taste. But now that it’s easy to turn on and adjust the volume, I listen to it almost every day. I have some smart plugs but haven’t gotten around to setting them up. I’d like to use one to connect her to the lamp in my room. I’m sure there’s a lot more that she can do, but since I need 24/7 care, I don’t know how helpful some of it would be.

  • jim-schneider

    January 23, 2020 at 10:35 am

    My entire house is controlled by a HomeSeer automation system. Lights, Outlets, HVAC, TV & Audio, Drapes, Door Locks, Fish Pond, Lawn Sprinklers, etc.  I have Echo or Google units in every room that talk to HomeSeer to control everything.  Life is much easier with automation!!!

  • alyssa-silva

    January 23, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Wow— HomeSeer sounds amazing! Definitely going to keep that in mind.

    DeAnn, I can’t remember the brand of the fan but the name of the phone app I use to control it is Fan Smart Sync. Maybe you can find it by working backward?

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