We have a joke at the tiny bungalow: it might be tiny, but it’s hella smart! That’s because as soon as I moved in, the ancient thermostat broke and I ordered a Nest thermostat via Amazon Prime. It arrived within 2 hours and ever since, I’ve been installing more and more smart home devices. There’s something about controlling your home via voice or an app that is slightly addictive… or maybe I’m just lazy? Whatever, all I know is that I’m a nerd and I love having a smart home!
I am SO glad that I made the switch to this thermostat early. The benefits are numerous: I save money by scheduling it to go into ‘eco’ mode while I’m away, I can turn up the heat when we land at the airport so the house is warm by the time we get home from traveling, or I can ask Alexa to set the temperature from bed! I also love that I get reports about our energy consumption, which helps us stay mindful of our impact on the environment.
Nest Cameras (indoor and outdoor)
I’ll never forget the day my neighbor called me and asked if I was home because his outdoor camera alerted him that someone had crossed from my yard into his — and I was about 45 minutes from home! It ended up being the Seattle City Light, but in the time that it took to get home, my mind was racing a mile a minute and I was totally convinced someone had broken into our house. Then a few months later, someone actually came into our yard and stole our fire pit! That is for me. I invested in Nest cameras and haven’t looked back since. I also love that no matter where I am, I can check in and see how the chickens are doing, if a package has been delivered, or if someone is on the front porch. This hasn’t totally replaced our alarm system, but it’s a nice layer on top to make me feel more secure.
Admittedly, the cameras have spoiled me… before I leave the studio, I make sure that there’s parking in front of my house. Or I check in on the cat when we’re traveling — and even chat with Sean’s dad when he comes to hang out with her! And for those of you wondering, when either of us is home, the living room camera is not recording us!
Amazon Echo Dot (aka Alexa!)
OMG, my one true love. I only have one dot because the house is tiny and it’s connected to a Bluetooth speaker. I could go on and on about how I use Alexa… setting a timer when I’m cooking, turning on the lights, telling me the weather, playing NPR and Spotify… and so much more.
(Confession: I also have a Google Home Mini, but haven’t set it up yet!)
You can read my full review of the Aera here, but now that I’ve been using it for over 6 months, I really love it more and more each day. This smart device essentially keeps the tiny bungalow smelling good all the time — with very little effort on my part! If you have pets like us, I could not recommend the Aera enough!
Smart Bulbs and Plugs
Depending on what we want Alexa to control, I’ve purchased smart bulbs and plugs. For example, we use this plug for the living room light so that I can simply say ,”Alexa, turn on the living room light.” As for the front porch and deck, I installed these smart bulbs since the fixtures were already hardwired into the walls. It was surprisingly hard to find good outdoor bulbs, but these work quite nicely. I can even turn on the porch light from an app on my phone when I know they aren’t on and it’s dark out! I think my favorite part about these being in our smart home arsenal is that I can walk through the door with my arms totally full and see where I’m going.
I hope that I never, ever have to wonder if my water heater or washing machine are leaking. Water damage really scares me because it can lead to so many other issues. I have one of these leak detectors in my mudroom between the washer and the water heater and, honestly, I think it helps me sleep at night!
- Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm
- Aera Smart 2.0 Diffuser
- TP-Link smart LED bulbs
- Nest Learning Thermostat
- Amazon Echo Dot
- Nest Indoor Camera
- Delta Wifi Leak Detector
- Wemo mini smart plug
- Nest Outdoor Camera
Which smart home devices are your favorite?