- SAMSUNG SMARTTHINGS, Best Smart Home Hub $99.00 Amazon If you have a wide variety of smart home gadgets, you’ll need a central system to integrate and control them all.
- ECOBEE3, Best Smart Thermostat, $198.97 eBay While there’s a lot of futuristic things about the Ecobee–such as its slick touchscreen interface–its best feature is something that thermostat makers should have thought about years ago: How to make sure all the rooms of your house are getting heated or cooled properly. A small wireless sensor gets placed in the room that stays chilly, and the thermostat will keep the heat on until it senses that room has warmed up enough. Now that’s smart.
- NEST CAM, Best Video Monitor, $264.00 Amazon The third generation of the excellent Dropcam, this $199 camera now shoots video in 1080p (up from 720p), and has a magnetic, swiveling base that lets you set it up almost anywhere. It features two-way audio, sharp night vision and a powerful digital zoom, and integrates with other smart home products, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat. But to really make use of Nest Cam’s features, you’ll have to shell out $10 or more per month for the Nest Aware program, which gives you access to cloud storage and much more.
- AMAZON ECHO, Best Smart Speaker, $179.99 Amazon Yes, it’s a Bluetooth speaker, but the $180 Amazon Echo has a number of voice-activated features that let you control a number of smart home gadgets, as well as connect to other smart home hubs, such as those from Belkin and Samsung. It can also read you audiobooks, check the weather, and even let you purchase things online just by using your voice. And, as a speaker, it sounds great, too.
- ROOST SMART BATTERY , Best Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector US$34.99 Roost While the Nest Protect Smoke + CO2 alarm is great for those who want a 2-in-1 device that connects to several smart home devices, there’s something to be said for the Roost Smart Battery. This $35 gadget plugs into any existing smoke or CO2 detector and makes it a smart device. Now, when your alarm goes of, it will alert you (and others) on your smartphone, from where you can either call 911, or silence the alarm, in case a piece of burnt toast is to blame.
- CHAMBERLAIN MYQ GARAGE, Best Smart Garage Door Opener, $98.97 Amazon Searching or reaching for that elusive garage door opener remote while trying to navigate a dark suburban street, toppled garbage cans or your kids’ toys – or your kids – often proves awkward and dangerous. Chamberlain’s garage door opener lets you tap your device’s screen to open or close your garage from anywhere. Soon, the company also plans to add geofencing capabilities so it can sense when you’re near your driveway to automatically open and, when your car is safely ensconced inside, close your existing garage door. Part of the Home Depot/Wink ecosystem and Apple’s soon-to-be HomeKit initiative, MyQ can control nearly every garage door opener from all the major brands manufactured after 1993.
- KWIKSET SMARTCODE 916 TOUCHSCREEN ELECTRONIC DEADBOLT, Best Smart Home Lock $217.50 NeweggThe SmartCode 916’s small size makes it less conspicuous than other locks, and allows you to use your old house keys if you want. Kwikset’s SecureScreen feature — which makes you punch in two random digits before entering your code — helps ensure burglars can’t guess your password by fingerprint smudges alone. And it has an alarm if someone tries to break in. The 916 lacks a standalone app, but can be connected to several smart home hubs via Z-wave or ZigBee.
- BELKIN WEMO SMART SLOW COOKER, Best Cookware $103.99 Amazon Part of the company’s WeMo wireless smart home platform, Belkin’s Crock-Pot (released spring 2014 in collaboration with Jarden Consumer Solutions) is the first smartphone-controllable slow cooker.
- WALLYHOME, Best Water Monitor $299 Amazon More often than not, by the time you discover a water leak in your home, it’s going to cost a fortune to get it fixed. WallyHome helps you detect those leaks before they get serious. Attach its sensors to water-prone places like sinks and toilets, and if a drop of water falls, an alert is sent to the WallyHome hub so you can act immediately.
- STACK ALBA, Best Light Bulb $149 Stack Stack’s Alba Smart LED light bulbs are ready to react based on where you are. Using embedded motion sensors, the bulbs can detect when you’re in the room and turn the lights on and off. Inside is an ambient light sensor, allowing the lights to automatically change from a hard white to a softer white, depending on the light in the rest of the room.
- NEW & NOTABLE. Google Home, $129 Google This Amazon Echo competitor also has a built-in speaker, can respond to voice commands, and can both control smart home devices and stream music. But where the Google Home separates itself is its integration with Google Assistant, which lets you search for everything and anything.
- NEW & NOTABLE iHome ISP8 SmartPlug US$49.99 A simple, and inexpensive way to make any device “smart,” you can control the power going to the ISP8 plug from your smartphone, wherever you are. iHome’s app also lets you create a schedule to turn the plug on and off, and it can be linked to other smart home devices, such as Alexa, Wink and the Nest Learning Thermostat.
- SLEEP NUMBER IT BED , Best Bed, $799.99 Sleep Number Some people track their sleep with fitness trackers, but the SleepNumber it Bed aims to improve the quality of your zzzz’s. The bed’s embedded sensors track heart rate, breathing and movement, and uses its SleepIQ app to provide suggestions about bed times and bed firmness via an app for tablets and phones.
- SAMSUNG FAMILY HUB REFRIGERATOR Best Refrigerator US$4,795 Best Buy This connected refrigerator has everything but the kitchen sink. Its large touchscreen lets you view family members’ schedules, leave notes for each other, order groceries, play music, and even watch TV. Additionally, the fridge has three cameras on the inside, which take a picture and email it to you every time you close the door. No more guessing if you need a quart of milk while you’re at the store! Pricey, yes, but this is the most innovative fridge ever.
Sources: Micah Stovall, Stovall Team; Tom’s Guide Best Smart Gift Gadgets 2016
On January 1, 2017 homeowners of single family homes across California will be required to install water-conserving plumbing fixtures if the property was built before 1994. This is NOT a point-of-sale requirement. It is required by virtue of owning a home built before 1994. (California Civil Code 1101.1 through 1101.9) If you wait until after January 1st you won’t be able to even buy a 1.6 gallon toilet because under new mandatory standards toilets sold in California can’t use more than 1.28 gallons past that date.
- Can an owner comply by putting a brick in the toilet tank?
- No. The law bases compliance on whether a toiled is manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, regardless of the amount of water actually used. Therefore, displacing water in the tank with bricks, bottles, or the installation/adjustment of flush valves will not pout you in compliance with this law, even though you might be saving just as much water.
All new models are “low–flow” toilets — by law they can use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Prior to 1994, most toilets on the market used at least 3.5 gallons, or about 20 gallons of water per person per day — the most water used by any household appliance.
What fixtures must be installed/replaced?
- Any toilet manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
- Any urinal manufactured to use more than 1 gallon of water per flush.
- Any showerhead manufactured to have a flow capacity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
- Any interior faucet that emits more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute.
What does that mean to you? It is unreasonable to think that someone is going to knock on your door and ask to inspect your toilet but if you want to do any work on your home from replacing windows to building an addition or anything else that requires a city inspector to come out, you will have to be in compliance with all the water conservation standards in order to get final approval.
Let the Stovall Team help with your Real Estate goals. Call us today at 714.343.9294 or 714.393.5377 stovallteam.com
Sources: California Association of Realtors, Robert Bloom, Esq; Micah Stovall, The Stovall Team