5 August ‘Must Do’ Projects From Bob Vila
Sweltering August can sometimes feel like the cruelest month of all. But you can turn “cruel” to “cool” by creating a tech-smart home, a backyard water park, custom landscape edging and a super-efficient, small-size garden. If you’re looking to get even cooler, check out these nine top-rated window air conditioners.
No. 1: Get home-smart
Whole-home wiring systems — or “smart home” systems — have been around for decades, but it’s only since the proliferation of wireless that the advantages of being totally connected to your home have become so beneficial.
The term “home integration” finally fulfills its promise: From a single console in the kitchen, by your bed, or on your phone or tablet, you can control your music collection, set the scene with lighting, control the temperature and see who’s at the front door. Multi-room audio, lighting, intercom, thermostat and camera systems can even be integrated into one home system.
If whole-house integration is not something within your reach, there are enough self-programing, voice-activated and mobile app-operated appliances and devices on the market to let you easily improve your home’s tech IQ. For example:
- Your refrigerator can now do more than just keep your food cool. Once Wi-Fi-enabled, you can access your apps on the LCD screen, check the weather, browse the Web for recipes and even maintain a grocery list to view on your phone when shopping.
- TV is no longer just about viewing your favorite shows and movies. New smart models allow you to navigate seamlessly from movies to games to apps, and even help you stay connected with friends and family through Facebook, Twitter, and Skype.
- Even your front door can get a quick “smart” update with door locks that can be controlled from your mobile phone or tablet, and a video/audio doorbell that allows you to see and communicate with any visitor, without leaving the comfort of your easy chair.