Smart lights, plugs and voice assistants are easy to install and use. But some promising technology is not ready for the average person, even if it looks great. These smarthome gadgets look great, but have too many barriers.
I spend a lot of time looking at smarthome devices. What I have, what I don't have, what is available and what could possibly be possible. As a smarthome junkie, I want everything by default. But better sensitivities (plus my family) keep me under control. Some gadgets, even if they exist now, are not ready for the average smarthome consumer.
And that can be for a number of reasons, whether it is about the price, the need for a professional installer or the required adjustment of your house and property. It is one thing to connect a video doorbell or light switch; it is another to let electricity flow to your shower or to lay wires in your garden.
Smart water shut-off switches are not grainy
A few companies, such as Moen and Phyn, offer smart home devices that monitor your water consumption. Leakage reports, water consumption measurements and even the possibility to shut off the water are added to this monitoring.
You can activate the latter function in several ways – according to a schedule, after a set amount of water use (to prevent showers that are too long), or if the system detects a leak.
But two related problems keep these systems out of the mainstream. You must first hire a plumber to install the device. And second, the system must be installed on the main water supply to your home. That means that if you shut off the water, you don't shut it off for a particular shower or sink. The system closes the water for the entire house. It is too much for the needs of most people.
Smart water aid devices are also expensive. You can expect to spend between $ 500 and $ 700 before the plumber. And if you don't have power through your main water supply, you need to hire an electrician to fix that problem.
You can electrocute the installation of smart energy monitors
You may have heard of Sense energy monitor, but that is not the only smart energy monitor on the market. Smappee (who wins the game with the worst name), Neurio and Emporia all also want to monitor your energy consumption.
They largely have a number of things in common. Usually the monitors work somewhere around $ 250, and you need to connect them directly to the wiring in your circuit breaker. Although the clamping system that these devices use looks simple, your circuit breaker is the last place you want to mole around without proper training.
The service network to which the devices are to be connected is always live, even when you switch off all power in the circuit breaker cabinet. If you don't know what you are doing, you can electrocute yourself while trying to install an energy monitor. To install a smart energy monitor, you must call a qualified electrician.
And when you call the electrician, it is probably a good idea to explain what you want to connect to your circuit breaker box. Although it should be simple enough for them, if they are not familiar with the devices (which is likely), they first want to view everything. That is an additional cost factor. If you do not have a spare circuit breaker with the correct voltage to supply the monitor with power, you must have it installed by the electrician, which adds even more to the costs.
The jury is still not well aware of how well energy monitors work on this point. Sense and Neurio both try to identify your devices by measuring energy consumption and comparing them with known data. Of the two monitors, Sense is more granular, with the ability to detect light bulbs, but that doesn't mean it's always good.
You can spend hundreds of dollars to install the device and find out that your refrigerator is a microwave and your microwave is not detected at all.
Smart shades are stupidly expensive
Smart shades seem great. You've probably seen them in a movie or a commercial, especially if you want to portray someone as very rich. While the person wakes up, they give a simple command or press a button and all the shades in the room go up. It sounds fantastic, and in practice it is.
But if you live near several houses, take a look around at the windows around you. How many are alike? How many are different? As you move a street farther, do you see even more sizes and styles of windows?
Unfortunately, house designs vary quite drastically, and with that windows change. In general, smart shadow companies build custom-made units for your home. This contributes to the total costs of the project.
The price for getting a custom standard color is already high. Adding smart technology only makes the problem bigger. Lutron Serena colors, one of the most popular options on the market, can cost $ 350 or more to cover a single window. And you still have to buy the $ 150 Lutron bridge for remote control.
If you think $ 350 is not that much, take a moment to count your windows and do the math. It adds up extremely quickly. And again, you may need power near your windows, or you should opt for a battery-powered solution that is more comprehensive and needs charging.
Smart Showers need power
What sounds better than rolling out of bed and telling Alexa to set the shower at 95 degrees? By the time you go to the bathroom, the shower is hot. It is not only the steam that tells you that the shower is ready, the digital readout confirms the temperature. And if you do not want hot water, you can lower the temperature with the push of a button.
Everything about a smart shower sounds great until you realize that it needs power. Smart showers, such as U van Moen, generally require a powered thermostatic shower faucet. You need to purchase both the smart shower device and the thermostatic valve to make the system work. You can place the valve anywhere in your bathroom with a few lines. The location you choose requires power and an access point after installation. You must also route a data cable from the valve to the shower if you have not placed it directly behind the shower head.
During the installation of the water monitor, you may need to route water pipes of your choice location and power even if the location you choose does not have a power outlet. The preferred location for the valve is in your wall, so you are also talking about a construction.
If you don't feel comfortable with that, you need to hire a plumber and electrician (possibly someone who can do both) to fill in the missing pieces for you. And some smart showers, such as U from Moen or KOHLER Konnect, can cost between $ 300 and $ 600 (excluding the $ 300 valve) before the installation process.
Robotic lawnmowers want flat ground
Room bass and other robotic vacuum cleaners are quite large, so how difficult can a robotic lawnmower be? It's actually quite difficult, but if robotic lawnmowers remind you of a Roomba, you're on the right track. you have an extra-large Roomba and change the vacuum for cutting blades, which is what your average robotic lawnmower, such as Husqvarna's Automower or Robomow's RS630, seems.
But the similarities end fairly quickly. Most robotic vacuum cleaners work with a shock and caterpillar system, randomly against walls and furniture or with a LIDAR system to map your home. is sufficient in an open garden. So in addition to bumps and tracks, most robotic mowers require that you dig up your garden and install wire boundaries, similar to an invisible dog fence.
Roomba plans to release a robotic lawnmower later this year that does not use an invisible fence, but it requires professionally installed beacons in your yard.
Worse, manufacturers design robotic mowers for flat ground. They have problems with slopes (and most promise nothing more than a 35-degree slope), and they get stuck in holes. These lawn mowers work best in a square garden without trees, shrubs, hills or crevasses. That is a significant limitation for a lawn mower that costs anywhere between $ 1600 and $ 2000.
Hope on the Horizon
All these gadgets show a lot of promise and can be great additions to a smarthome. If you are willing and able to spend time and money, you can now have your water monitor or awnings.
But the good news for everyone is that things are going better. Phyn has introduced a much cheaper water monitor that discards the shutdown functions. Although the loss of that ability to reduce the water flow seems to be a significant loss, it means that anyone can install the new water assistant. And for half the cost and without a plumber, it is much cheaper.
In the smart shadow world, Ikea plans to release his vision of the concept. The company's Fyrtur shades come in different set sizes, so they may not fit perfectly in your windows. But you spend less than $ 200, making them nearly half the price of other companies.
So maybe you don't install most of these smart gadgets in your house today, but that may change in the future. That time can come even faster than you think.