Welcome to the new hyper-connected home! With more appliances and devices getting the digital treatment, a whole lot of our home lives are moving over to our phones.
Whether you’d like to track your daily energy use or need a reminder to clean out the gutters, these apps for home automation have you covered. Read on for our pick of the best home automation and maintenance apps for your iPhone.
A personal assistant for your home
It takes a lot of work to keep a home running in top-notch form. From winterizing your lawn to basic things like cleaning the bathrooms, it’s easy to let maintenance tasks slide—until they wind up costing you a lot of money down the line.
If you’re new at this whole home owning thing—and a bit forgetful—you’ll love the BrightNest app for home automation help. It includes helpful reminders for routine home upkeep jobs, like changing your air conditioning filters, as well as tons of tutorials and ideas for how to clean, decorate, and generally give your home some much-needed TLC.
Capture your energy use in real-time
If you’re interested in energy savings, the Nest app is where it’s at. Used together with the Nest learning thermostat, the app offers reports on your home’s energy history, as well as suggestions for how to save more.
You can even set it to automatically turn the thermostat up or down to maximize your efficiency—great news for your utility bills since heating and cooling make up about 48 percent of an average home’s energy costs.
When you need to adjust the auto-settings, however, you can use your phone as a remote control to manage the settings from where you are. Never has the phrase “don’t touch that dial” sounded so good!
Give all your devices a common language
Imagine getting into bed knowing that the doors were all automatically locked, every light was switched off, and that your alarm was set for the next morning. That’s the dream of the Internet of Things, but unfortunately, we’re not exactly there yet. However, IFTTT will get you pretty close.
Using “applets,” you can program your Fitbit to communicate with your other Wi-Fi-connected devices, so you can have coffee brewing and music playing when it’s time to wake up.
That’s just one example — there’s a whole host of other useful user-created actions that work with existing smart products you may already have in your home.
And since IFTTT pulls in data from mobile apps like Weather Underground, you can even program your connected devices to work with the apps on your phone—like asking your Philips Hue lights to turn purple every time it rains in a playful nod to Prince.
Pick paint colors like a pro
Tired of spending money on paint samples looking for the right shade of ecru for your home’s foyer? Selecting a shade of paint can be difficult since swatches usually look a lot different once they’re covering your walls.
Sherwin Williams’ ColorSnap Visualizer takes a lot of that guesswork out of the equation. It can even match real-life colors to the perfect tint, which is great if you’ve always wanted to paint your living room in a color that matches your eyes.
You can also browse through photos of rooms painted in that particular hue, so you’ll never have to wonder how your powder room would look in chartreuse.
DIY security to give you the sense of peace you need
Another much-coveted smart home device is the home security system. A DIY setup lets you choose your own personalized concoction of cameras, automatic locks, motion sensors, and alarms.
In particular, home tech experts have been excited by the introduction of iSmartAlarm, a crowdsourced system that works together with the unit’s starter kit and additional add-ons. This iPhone app for home automation helps you manage your devices, renaming them and arming and disarming your home from afar.
If you have a security camera installed, you can also view live footage of your home and manage your notifications via your phone. A feeling of security—right from your phone? Deal me in!