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Old Homes Can Also Be Smart

What’s better than a house that is 'smart'-enough to know how to act throughout the day based on your routine, and also saves you money in the process? These ‘smart’ homes are getting more and more popular by the day and can be seen being built in many parts of the world. But what about those homes that are too old and hinder your plans of adding smart components to them?

The short answer is that they can also get smart if you want. Stanford-Clark is a fellow at IBM who owns a 16th century cottage, which is probably the smartest home in the UK.

The Smartness of the Cottage

This old cottage has been retrofitted with multiple smart technology solutions that make the owner’s life easy. If he ever leaves the windows of his house open upon leaving for work, he receives a notification of this thanks to the sensors in the windows. In order to save him money, his dishwasher asks him via text whether the dishes can wait, in case he turns it on during a high-use time.

Stanford-Clark’s home has a lot of other nifty smart features as well but what about other people who wish to add such features to their old homes? Let’s take a look at some common problems and figure out how these older homes can get smart.

Problems with Radio Signals

By far, one of the most challenging problems when making an older home smart is getting radio signals to reach every corner. It is particularly problematic in those houses that have thick walls which absorb most of the signals.

One solution to this is using wires instead of going for a wireless system. That poses the problem of a cosmetic nature, as wires running along every wall do not look particularly attractive.

The other option is to use a mesh network. These can spread the radio signals to multiple parts of the house while also reducing power consumption. However, the use of either one of these systems entails that you do not need perfect coverage for your Wi-Fi.

Controlling Storage Heaters

Smart energy meters like Hive and Nest are some of the most popular smart devices in use today. These work well with every type of heating system, be it oil, gas, or electric. The problem is that some old houses use storage heaters for their heating purposes, and these meters do not work with them.

What you can do is to attach an adapter to the plug of your appliance. This allows you to remotely turn your storage heater on and off when you want. You could make your life easier by turning it on while on your way back from a long vacation, so that you enter a cozy home.

Another problem with old homes is that the different rooms vary in their temperatures. In that case, it is advised that you use heating sensors that can check external temperatures as well as the internal ones. This allows them to better decide when to turn a certain room’s heating on or off.

It is true that smart home technologies are growing at a very fast pace today. The inclusion of companies like Apple and Google into the smart home realm is a strong indicator of that as well. Smart home technologies will only grow more in the future. The decision as to whether you wish to install these smart devices in your old home right now, or if you want to wait until they are more developed and well-suited for older homes, is completely up to you.

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