The smart home VS the dumb home.

This is an age old question and is worthy of the conversation.  Smart homes are techie and cool where people love to show off how they can control all the gadgets they have in their home right from their phone and those gadgets are appliances, HVAC (see more for repair), lighting, security cameras, etc., and the list is growing by the hour. Big deal, right?  Yes it is a big deal and I love it but my wife couldn’t care less.  (She’s lying) But all of this tech stuff comes with a price and that price is the cost of those items when you buy them and the cost of those items when they break.   Pulling your hair out is part of that cost but to not have them is kind of dumb.  Or is it?

Driving home from a mini vacation, I remembered that I turned the A/C to “away mode” on our Nest thermostat. It was hot outside at the time so I connected to Nest from my phone about an hour outside of Madison and turned on the A/C and set the cooling temperature to 72 degrees right from our car.  When we got home the house was a pleasant 72 degrees.  Beautiful!  But I’m used to this and have done that countless times and it’s no big deal anymore.  Programmable thermostats are not new but Nest is a big leap forward from the programmable days.  Super smart home wins round one. The experts from a HVAC Santa Barbra technical services can help in case the system needs repair.


At a recent graduation gathering there was also a big golf tournament going on and we were at a friends house for the celebration.  These friends have recently “cut the cord” and were using the Roku to watch the tournament.  Uh oh!  My experience visiting homes where the people who “cut the cord” and are using a Roku or some other device has not been a pleasant one.  The spooling and the freezing and the out of sync voices the ten of us golf fans endured made me want to throw their giant flat screen out the window and invite everyone suffering through this aggravation back to our house to watch the tournament on our flawlessly dumb but crystal clear, cable attached, plasma flat screen TV.  Until things dramatically improve for those devices I am not cutting the cord.  I will cut the expense of something comparable to my cable bill before cutting cable.  Do I really need to go golfing every thursday?  No and done.  Dumb home wins round two.


Sonos!  We love music in our home and the greatest tech invention for me personally has been Sonos.  But, you have to set it up properly from the start to really make it work for you and getting the Sonos app on your phone is as easy as 1-2-3 done.  Sonos is pricey but wonderful where this is a classic case of you get exactly what you pay for.  Sonos will play Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon music and your iTunes.  It doesn’t matter what music platform you like Sonos will connect to all of it.  The only downside to Sonos (outside of price) is that it connects to the Internet.  If you’re Internet or network goes down you have no music.  That rarely happens but it has to be mentioned to be fair.  We went to a recent July 4th cookout where our friend has a stereo and was putting in a stack of CD’s.   He’s a tech guy, too so that surprised me.  I guess we were going old school that day.  Smart home wins round three.


Security systems, smart refrigerators and lighting are also on the smart home list of incredible advancements where the dumb home can’t compete.  But do you really need a smart refrigerator that tells you when you’re getting low on food?  Ours works just fine and we love it but it’s not a smart refrigerator by any means.  It’s not really dumb either.


Friends of ours recently inherited and 110 year old farm house in Richland Center and we stayed there for a weekend and I have to say the house was super cool.  We sat out on that old porch and looked over the country side every morning having coffee and in the evening having a cold beer and a glass of wine and every time we moved the floor creaked and life was grand.  Making that home a smart home would be a great disservice to it.


This little exercise was more for fun then to look for a winner.  Eventually you will not have a choice to go smart when it’s time to replace appliances and gadgets in your home.  Most of the lighting is our home have LED bulbs where we will not have to replace them for 20 years.  How amazing is that?  Because of a new furnace we were forced to purchase our utility bill has dropped 40% over the past two years.  How amazing is that?  Tankless water heaters?  Don’t get me started in telling you how wonderful that thing is.  If you like a dumb home then you’re a romantic who longs for the old days when things were simple.  Good for you but you should at least prepare yourself for the inevitable.