Haege: Do you live in a smart or dumb home?
CES, which used to be known as the Consumer Electronics Show, is held every year in Las Vegas and is the most attended trade show in the country. It features more than 3,600 exhibiting companies and attracts more than 170,000 attendees.
Based on the name of just one section of CES, most of us must live in a “dumb” home since part of the show floor was dedicated to “smart home” products.
This area was full of devices that apparently can make your home smarter by controlling your lights, temperature, garage doors, wall plugs, security systems, audio and video either as individual items or within a whole house system. Here are some items that caught our eye.
■One simple, plug-in product will notify you if any existing smoke or CO detector in your home goes off by calling you on your phone, play a clip of the alarm sound and tells you what’s happening. If you’re not reachable, the Leeo (leeo.com) can also notify others that you put on your emergency contact list and they can check your home for you. Available now at Best Buy.
■Water damage is always a major concern. At the first sign of a leak, freezing temperatures, or even excessive humidity, the Lyric Wi-Fi Leak & Freeze Detector from Honeywell (shophome.honeywell.com) can alert you via your smartphone. It is available now on pre-order for $79.99.
The ability to make your home more comfortable by adjusting the temperature in individual rooms is now available to consumers.
■EcoVent (ecoventsystems.com) and Keen Home (keenhome.io) both offer replacement vent covers that will open and close based on the desired temperature for a particular room where they are installed. Keen Home’s product, called the SmartVent, performs the same function but has an additional feature in that it will work in conjunction with your Nest thermostat.
■Speaking of the popular Nest thermostat and Nest Protect smoke and carbon-monoxide detector, there are now over 80+ companies that featured the phrase “Works with Nest.” This means that the devices ranging from smart door locks, fans, light bulbs, garage door openers, smart appliances and other devices can all integrate and interact with your thermostat.
■Smart door locks is another category that has grown with all of the major brands including Kwikset, Schlage, Yale and August. Manufacturers are now offering some type of product that will lock and unlock either through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, via touch, smartphone or even a key. Many of these locks allow you to send a code to trusted visitor when you are not home to allow them access for only a limited time period, like a cleaning person.
■Along with smart locks, there are also smart doorbells. The video doorbell Ring (ring.com) lets you answer the door from anywhere using your smartphone. The same company just introduced Stick Up Cam, a weather-resistant and wire-free unit that you can mount anywhere to see, hear, and speak with your visitors.
While the technology is impressive, we still have a long way to go to match George Jetson’s swanky digs. No matter how smart you may think your home is, you are the one that has to make the right decisions.
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536, from between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.