02 July 2018 Kyal and Kara Top 5 smart home upgrades There’s a lot of talk these days about “smart” upgrades to your home – but what does this phrase really mean? Essentially, smart upgrades and appliances are designed to make your life easier. Every household will have different needs, but there are certain upgrades that are worth looking into – especially if you’re after long-term cost or time saving solutions. Underfloor heating Underfloor heating is a great way to warm a home, as the heat is distributed gently, evenly and efficiently. Unlike traditional methods of heating, you won’t hear, see or smell underfloor heating, and it can be a much more efficient option, with running costs as low as 2c per m2 per hour. An average bathroom system costs around $550 and a living room roughly $1900. Generally speaking there are two options: in-screed heating, whereby the element sits within the layer of sand and cement under your flooring; or under tile heating – which is a great option if renovating, as only the floor surface needs to be replaced. Robotic vacuums Who doesn’t want to put their feet up whilst the vacuuming is done? Robotic vacuum cleaners are fast gaining popularity for their convenience and smart technology. We’re lucky to enough to own one and we’re constantly surprised at how much dust, debris and dog hair is captured, even when the floors look clean! The vacuums range in price (anywhere from around $170 to $800) depending on their suction quality, automatic dirt detection technology, and wi-fi capability, which allow them to be controlled remotely from your phone. Home automation Home automation allows all electrical devices within your home to be connected and controlled via the one ‘hub’ or controller which can be adjusted remotely for the ultimate in convenience. Automated tasks can be as simple as switching off lights when a room is vacated, controlling window shades and turning on music in multiple rooms, or as complex as integrating home security systems and remote monitoring – giving you the ability to keep an eye on what’s happening in your home while you’re out. There are a plethora of options available, depending on budget, and how many appliances you’d like to control. Motorised awnings and blinds We’re all aware of the energy-saving benefits of window coverings within the home; reducing solar heat gain during the warmer months and heat loss over the cooler months. Motorised blinds and awnings can add an extra level of ease and convenience. At the touch of a button, you can control the opening and closing of blinds without the use of cords; meaning a safer option for kids and pets, and a simple solution for hard-to-reach windows. Blinds and awnings can also be connected to home automation systems, automatically operating on a set schedule to mimic activity within the home when you’re away. There are many different factors which can affect the price of motorised blinds and awnings including the size, type and whether it is battery powered or hardwired. Motorised blinds start at around $200 for a small window, motorised awnings at around $360, plus installation. Skylights We incorporate skylights in most of our renovations, as the ability to capture natural light and aid cross ventilation is a valuable asset. A recent innovation is solar-powered skylights, which capture daylight to recharge a concealed battery-powered operator and control system. Another smart feature is a rain sensor, which automatically closes the skylight when rain is detected. Some skylights also come with the ability to be connected to home automation systems – meaning you can remotely open and close the skylights as desired! Automated skylights start at around $1000 plus installation. View more blogs and videos on renovation.