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How to Turn Your Home into a Smart Home

smart refrigerator

Get smart. Here’s what you need to know to get started to create the ultimate connected home.

Imagine pulling into your driveway after work and seeing your house light up. No need to fumble for your keys — your door unlocks a few seconds before you reach it and locks again when you get inside. In the kitchen, you’re greeted by your favorite playlist — and sent an alert if someone leaves the freezer door open grabbing an after-school snack. The washing machine sends you a text alert so you know to throw the load into the dryer. Thanks to in-home cameras, you know that the kids arrived home safely and have already finished their homework. Fido, on the other hand, is in the doghouse because he curled up on the couch all day.

That’s just a snapshot of a typical day in a smart home. It sounds high-tech and complicated, but today’s smart homes are a lot more user-friendly than you might think.

Kenmore Smart Products, for example, link with your smartphone or tablet so that wherever you go you carry a sense of control, connection and peace of mind. Setting up a smart home system allows you to monitor temperature and electricity remotely, receive alerts and save energy and money.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Decide what you want to connect.

First, figure out what you want to start with. You don’t have to program your entire house from the get-go. Start small and add on later.

• Interior and exterior cameras

Small and unobtrusive, these are your eyes and ears when you’re not home — or even if you are. You can watch what the kids are doing while you’re at work or out for date night, and you can see if anyone has been lurking in your backyard at night.

• Smart personal assistants

Kenmore’s voice-controlled intelligent shopper Alfie is basically a personal assistant that can order groceries, gifts and more. And the more you use it, it learns your preferences, so the smart device gets smarter.

• Temperature controls

A smart thermostat or air conditioner will help regulate your home’s temperature and save money on energy bills. Now you can program systems to do new things like regulate the temperature in different rooms of the house. Why heat the guest room to 70 degrees in the winter or cool it in the summer if no one is using it? It also allows families with different preferences to set the temp of the rooms they use most.

You can even monitor and control the temperature of your water with Kenmore’s Smart Water Heater.

• Interior and exterior lighting

This can be set up to work with smart plugs and motion sensors inside and outside your home to help increase safety, security and accessibility. You can even program a bathroom or hallway light to turn on via a motion sensor to help guide you at night.

• Home safety

If you’ve ever come home to a major water leak, you know how valuable a home safety sensor can be. WallyHome, for example, works with your smart appliances to help detect water leaks, monitor humidity and temperature in your home, and send you alerts to let you know when something is wrong.

Step 2: Choose your smart home system.

Smart home systems control your smart appliances and devices — including washers, dryers, lights and thermostats — all from one place . There are many systems to choose from these days, some even offering hands-free controls, answering questions and delivering traffic reports.

Whatever system you choose, you’ll get a basic hub that functions sort of like a modem, connecting all of your smart devices to one central system.

Setup is generally a snap, and most can be controlled by apps you can download to your smartphone, tablet or smart watch.

However elaborate or simple your system is, there’s one thing for sure — getting smart has never been easier.

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