So, I’m pretty geeky guy with the home automation gadgets. I started off with a Nest thermostat, which a lot of even my non-geeky friends are getting into. It’s a simple and clever way to save cash on your heating bills. Put simply, it knows when you’re not at home and it’ll learn your routine so that you’re not heating up an empty house. Likewise, it means that you’re not cranking up the heating to full blast when you get home – thereby heating up a freezing cold house and having to wait for it to reach the right temperature.
To go deeper into the home heating cleverness, you can have a look at radiator thermostats. They will take the Nest a step further, and Devolo have a system which will monitor each and every room in your home, turning individual radiators up and down as required so that you’re not heating empty rooms.
All of this should, if you use it properly, save you cash.
You can go further though, and the advent of the Amazon Echo devices means that you can simply say, “Alexa, can you turn the heating up to 25 degrees” to set your heating. Even if your hands are full. Even if you don’t have your phone with you.
But wait…. you can go further still.
How about all those open doors ?
It’s all very well having each radiator going on and off automatically, but if you’ve got an empty bedroom with a radiator turned off AND the door is open, you’re going to get a cold breeze blowing through your home.
Let me introduce you to something called an actuator. It’s a device for moving or controlling a mechanism or system. There’s different types of actuators, and some can turn valves, but the one I’m thinking of is a simple electric linear actuator that will convert electric into motion in a straight line. Yes, I’m thinking of getting one attached to a door so that it’ll close or open on command.
Why am I thinking about this? Well, it all comes after I spotted this Wi-Fi actuator control app. It’ll basically let you push doors closed or open them up via remotely-controlled actuators within the app.
Think of it. To an extent this is already being done with pet-feeding systems and remote garage-door control systems. It’s just a little motor pushing or pulling a flap or door. If you take it to the next level you could open windows and doors around your home. If you’re posh enough, you could even close and open the gates to your home or your office. Perhaps even close and open curtains, or open cupboard doors and so on.
Yes, everything I’ve mentioned – although a bit geeky – is sensible and understandable. However, you can also use actuators to build your own robots, or to lift a TV up a wall, or to move furniture – perhaps even lower a set of bikes from some roof space or lower the loft ladders. The possibilities are endless :)