woman on phone in home

A smart home is a house that has some or all of its electric devices, appliances, and other features connected via the Internet so they can be monitored, controlled remotely, or automated for convenience and efficiency.

For example, the lights in a smart home might be connected to a phone app that can remotely turn them on or off. They might also be connected to a smart speaker that can receive voice commands and carry them out on their connected devices. If you’ve ever been in someone’s home and watched them call out to the room to dim the lights, then seen them dim seemingly on their own, you’ve witnessed a smart home at work.

Sounds pretty cool, right? A lot of homeowners agree! Smart home technology is seeing an upswing across the country. In fact, as many as 60.4 million US households are using one or more smart home devices.1 But don’t just take their word for it. Let’s get into everything that makes a smart home beneficial for all kinds of homeowners.

Benefits of a smart home

Smart home technology isn’t just for impressing house guests. It can also provide real benefits to your everyday life. Besides the convenience of remote and voice control, smart home technology can also automate many of your home’s features to maximize efficiency, security, and comfort. Owning a smart home means having greater control over the environment where you spend a large percentage of your time, leading to a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Stay ahead of disasters with smart home monitoring

Smart home monitoring

Smart home security doesn’t stop at smart locks. With this technology, you can also keep an eye on your plumbing, windows, thermostat, and more from just about anywhere. Cameras and video doorbells allow you to monitor comings and goings, while sensors placed near water sources help you keep tabs on imminent leaks or mold outbreaks. And all of this can be linked to your phone or other devices for easy monitoring on the go.  Better security for your home, more peace of mind for you.

Detect home water leaks and mold

Many homeowners know the telltale “drip, drip” of a leak, but the damage has already begun when you hear that sound. Smart home sensors can detect irregular moisture levels and alert you before serious damage occurs. They can even determine when areas of your home are at risk of a mold outbreak, saving you money on expensive repairs and even lowering your insurance rate thanks to the decreased risk in your home.

Lower energy costs

Ever feel like you’re accidentally raising your cost of living by leaving lights on, turning up the heat a few degrees too high, or otherwise creating inefficiencies in your energy use? Smart homes are great at tackling this problem. Whereas you might set your thermostat, then forget about it for a few days, a smart thermostat can automatically adjust to changing factors like temperature and time of day, constantly optimizing energy use while keeping you comfortable, all without you having to do a thing.

You can also set timers for lights and appliances to turn off during low use, automatically regulate water and energy use by appliances, and even receive app notifications that let you know when you’ve left the fridge open. This can save money on energy bills and help you run a more eco-friendly home.

Manage locks and doors using smart home technology

Don’t have an extra key for the dog walker? Often find yourself forgetting to lock up on your way out? Smart home technology is here to help. Smart locks can be linked to a device like your phone and locked or unlocked remotely, allowing you to lock up from the car or let your dog walker in while you’re miles from home. Depending on the lock you have, you may even be able to set it to lock or unlock at specific times, giving you greater control over who can come and go without additional hassle.

Use your smart home ecosystem to control home aesthetics

Smart home technology can give you a huge amount of control over even small details in your home. For example, imagine you’re a concerned dog owner stuck at work. Worried your dog is getting too hot on a particularly sunny day? Use a smart home app on your phone to close the blinds remotely. Wondering if your pup could do with some background noise? The same technology can be used to turn on some jazz music. Whether you have a dog or not, you can see the level of control this technology provides over your living space.

Smart home installation

So, how does a home become a smart home? If you’re picturing a complicated gutting procedure complete with heavy machinery and a huge, futuristic mainframe, you might be surprised. Many smart home installations have little to no structural impact on your home. Take an average smart home security system, for example. Sensors are often mounted via adhesive backing or simply placed on a flat surface with no further attachment required. They connect wirelessly to your system’s control bridge (think internet modem, but for your system), which then connects wirelessly to your phone. No running wiring through the walls, no scenes from your favorite sci-fi movie, just an easy, clean installation.

Smart home cost

The cost of turning your house into a smart home depends on how “smart” you want to make it. For a simple addition like a smart speaker or a video doorbell, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100-$300. You can also go a step further for a subscription-based model that costs $500-$1,500 a year. For homeowners who want to fully convert to the future and go for a full renovation, costs can get much higher. Fully automating a typical four-bedroom, three-bathroom home can cost up to $15,000, while a fully connected luxury home can range from $10,000 to $150,000.2

Smart home integration is becoming easier and more affordable with each passing year, however, and much of its cost is offset by the money you’ll save through things like energy use. Owning a smart home can even net you savings on your homeowner’s insurance, thanks to discounts like Nationwide’s smart home insurance program.

Smart home devices that are worth it

Clearly, there are some serious benefits to smart home technology, but with new products hitting the market at a constant clip, it’s hard to know which ones are really worth it. When you’re making your choice, consider which benefits are more important. Convenience is great, but if you had to choose between home security and slightly less effort, you’d probably lean towards security. The same goes for saving money. With that in mind, smart home products that improve security and/or save money are usually going to bring you the most value.

If you can find smart home products that do both, then so much the better. And you don’t have far to look! Nationwide’s smart home insurance program offers homeowners a discount on the Notion Smart Home Monitoring System. This system features an array of sensors that are placed in strategic areas of your home – near water sources, doors, and windows, carbon monoxide alarms, and pretty much anywhere a problem could begin. If a sensor is tripped, it relays an alert to your smartphone, giving you a chance to react before anything serious develops. And, thanks to the increased security the Notion system provides, homeowners who take advantage of this program can also receive discounts on insurance. Learn more about Nationwide’s smart home program.

[1] “US Smart Home Statistics “2018 – 2025),” Oberlo, https://www.oberlo.com/statistics/smart-home-statistics (Accessed April 2023)

[2] “How Much Does a Smart Home Cost?” Home Advisor, www.homeadvisor.com/cost/electrical/install-or-repair-a-home-automation-system/, (Accessed April 2023))

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