Five Smart Home Appliances You Didn’t Know You Need
Anything that can make our lives easier is a win, and smart home appliances are the epitome of high tech making our lives more convenient and efficient. In most cases, using a smart home appliance is as easy as installing an app on your phone or other electronic device. In many cases, you might only need to wave a hand or simply ask for what you want. In return, you get a host of features ready to not only use but also customize to your satisfaction. How do you know which ones to choose? Here are some of our favorite smart home appliances to get your wish list started.
1. Self-Cleaning Toilet and Bidet
It’s the chore that no one likes doing. TOTO thinks that no one should have to, so they designed a toilet and bidet combination that not only cleans itself every time you go but also offers additional features to make the time you spend using the toilet pleasant. The TOTO Drake® Washlet®+ C5 focuses on elements that really matter.
- Self-Cleaning Toilet Functionality—To begin, a CEFIONTECT ceramic glaze gives the toilet an extraordinarily smooth ion-barrier surface that a flush easily cleans, and the DYNAMAX TORNADO FLUSH® system is highly efficient—with dual flush operation. The system pre-mists the toilet and the bidet wand with EWATER+ prior to and after each use. EWATER+ is electrolyzed water that actually disinfects surfaces without the need for harsh chemicals, so your toilet not only looks clean but really is clean. Even the air will smell clean thanks to the toilet’s automatic air deodorizer.
- Remote-Controlled Bidet System—Each unit comes with a wireless remote that features a slim, easy-to-hold profile and a touchpad that’s illuminated for easy anytime use. The remote lets you control everything from initiating an on-demand EWATER+ bidet wand cleansing to setting your preferences for the bidet’s water temperature, pressure and direction. The bidet even has a drying function for your bottom, with three variable temperature settings.
- Heated Seat With Temperature Control—Whether from winter’s cold temperatures or summer air-conditioning, an icy-cold toilet seat can be jarring, so TOTO incorporated a heated seat that you can easily adjust to your personal preference with the remote.
The TOTO Drake® Washlet®+ C5 comes as a two-part self-cleaning toilet and bidet that’s easy to install and is stylish, attractive and—thanks to careful bowl design—quiet.
2. Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are a far cry from a basic manual thermostat, quite different from programmable thermostats and a significant advance beyond Wi-Fi thermostats. A truly smart thermostat will not only control the temperature in your home as you request but also learn your patterns and how to adjust to your lifestyle.
- Smart thermostats rely on Wi-Fi, but not every Wi-Fi thermostat is necessarily smart. You can control a Wi-Fi thermostat through your phone, for example, but a Wi-Fi thermostat system will only follow your instructions—either on the spot or through programming.
- Smart thermostats take programming a step further by controlling temperature changes more gradually, putting less stress on HVAC systems. The smart approach works to bring a home or zone up or down to a certain temperature gradually for a target time versus a thermostat switching to a requested temperature at a specified time.
- Many smart thermostats use sensors designed to register movement. That data lets them learn over time so that they can be more efficient as well as adjust when you deviate from a schedule. If someone gets up early or stays home from school or work, the system can accommodate that change without you telling it to. Your home will always be at the right temperature.
- Smart thermostats monitor the performance of your HVAC system and manage issues like hot or cold spots. Smart systems will log energy usage and alert you if your HVAC system has a problem or needs maintenance.
Smart thermostats can save you money. Estimates range from 10-12 percent on heating to 15 percent on cooling to 23 percent on both heating and cooling—depending on the brand and model you select. Those savings also deliver comfort and a system that remembers even when you forget.
3. Security Systems
Doorbell cameras are one of the most popular security measures homeowners enjoy. Most alert you and let you see in real time what’s happening in the camera’s field of view. Subscription services linked to a phone app will record and hold data. You’ll know exactly when a package is delivered, and some will even let you hear and speak with the delivery person or other visitor. They’re a great way to monitor who’s coming and going.
However, not every home crisis involves a main entryway, and that’s where security systems and in-home cameras can help. While the focus is often on intrusions, home security systems can also alert you to home disasters like fires or burst pipes, for example, with wireless connectivity to smoke, carbon monoxide or flood alarms. They can help with medical emergencies if a device is triggered or monitor the movement of family members or pets throughout a home. If you have tradespeople, pet sitters or childcare providers visiting, you’ll be able to know when they’re in your home, and cameras can even let you see what’s happening.
These types of systems usually have options for self-monitoring versus subscription monitoring through a commercial company. However, the greatest convenience is being able to interface with the systems through the simplicity of a phone app and know that your home is secure and that family members are safe.
4. Smart Refrigerator
If you have a smart refrigerator, you can access it and any number of its features through a simple app on your phone or other compatible device. Most will let you see what’s in your fridge, and some will even track expiration dates. Smart fridges usually track their own efficiency and refrigeration systems to ensure optimal performance. They’ll alert you to maintenance needs like filter changes or cleanings important to airflow and temperature stability.
Most smart refrigerators are energy efficient and may even adjust temperatures to compensate for food quantities and arrangements or usage hours. Some have integral TV or stereo systems, and you may even be able to store and view recipes or cooking segments in your fridge door. With Wi-Fi, you may be able to use your fridge to keep a calendar, leave reminders for family members or even sync your viewer with other smart devices in your home like cameras. Since families spend so much time in the kitchen, a smart refrigerator can actually become a command center.
5. Self-Cleaning Oven
With self-cleaning ovens, you can say goodbye to the caustic cleaners needed to break down the organic residue and debris that can accumulate in a frequently used oven. Instead, you can opt for an oven that offers a setting to clean itself. Some even offer two options—one a pyrolytic process and the other a process that uses steam.
- Pyrolytic cleaning processes use prolonged high-heat temperatures to incinerate baked-on food and cooking residues that have accumulated over time. A lock usually automatically secures the oven door for the duration of the cleaning, which typically takes several hours. Once the oven has cooled and the lock releases, you can gather the ash and wipe down the oven’s interior with a damp sponge. Most self-cleaning oven manufacturers recommend that you remove the oven racks to preserve their finish.
- Steam cleaning processes use water and high temperatures to steam and loosen recent messes once you’re done cooking—the remains, for example, of the pizza you baked on the rack. Some models have a reservoir that you fill with water prior to using the setting while others simply have a depressed basin in the oven floor designed to hold water. Cycles usually last about half an hour, and you typically can leave the oven racks in. Once the oven cools, you can easily wipe off the residue. The steam cleaning is comparatively quick and simple to initiate. Take your meal from the oven, and let the compartment steam clean while you eat.
Many of the self-cleaning ovens are smart too. Some have replaced the glass door with a door featuring a video screen that lets you watch your food cooking in real time. Many have specialized cooking attachments like grills, baking stones and steamers. Nearly all have Wi-Fi apps that let you operate and monitor cooking processes from your phone or other device. You can preheat the oven on the way home from work, for example, and if you upload recipes, the oven will do the cooking for you—from handling a frozen entrée to letting you know when the meal is done.
If these smart home appliances have your attention, the next step is to visit us at Coburn’s. Explore our website, or stop by your nearest Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom. Smart home appliances exist to make your life easier, and so do we. Let our consultants show you just how easy life can be.