Category Archives: Giving Back

In September we invited our beloved clients into our home to serve together. We tied four Project Linus blankets and decorated almost 100 brown lunch bags for Meals on Wheels. It was great to get to know some of you better and there is nothing like serving together to build connections! Thanks so much to those who could make it.

Just last weekend, we were able to meet with some of you and many others for a Service Saturday project in Parker. We met at the Senior Center, were given an address and were off to rake leaves for home-bound seniors in our local community. We had a blast and were impressed how hard even the kids worked. At he end, we came together with lots of little groups like ours and worked to clean up The Victorian House Assisted Living Home. We met lots of new friends and had fun seeing those of you who were able to come!

What a wonderful opportunity it is to support the Special Olympic Community here in Colorado! We had such a great time meeting up with past clients and friends and forming a team to pull for a cause. We loved chatting with all the event participants and fellow teams that attended to pull. Thanks everyone who took the time to stop by our booth and chit chat. We enjoyed answering your Denver Real Estate Market questions.

Thanks to all our friends and donors who took time out of their busy Saturday to pull a plane with us! We love our friends and appreciate your support. It was a blast!
Nacho Average Squad sported our red, Nacho Libre capes and moved that plane a few feet with our little supporters cheering from the sidelines.

What an awesome time we had at the Pirates Cove!Thank you so much for coming and for your willingness to give back to the community by donating to The Special Olympics.Continue to follow us for information on future events, real estate news and as always, if you know of or hear of anyone looking for assistance with real estate needs, think of us…We’re NOT YOUR AVERAGE REALTORS!
Congratulations to A. Shumway for winning the photo contest!!!

Our first Special Olympics event was such a success. Our family and a few friends had so much fun volunteering at the May 11 Denver Regional Track. It was an experience we will all remember! We got to work with the early education kids on their events helping them get where they needed to go and encouraging them on. Our favorite part of the day was the ribbon ceremony. We will forever remember the faces of the kids as they won their awards!

Last month we announced and pledged to our clients that this year we are doing a service project every month that you and your family can participate in. Doing good is an honor and we love serving the community, as do our clients. We look forward to serving with each of you this year!

Next month, we are serving with our partners The Special Olympics. Here is the service project link to volunteer at the May 11th Special Olympics track meet: HERE

Monday, we collected and packaged supplies for Shoe4Africa, a nonprofit that does everything from distributing shoes and school supplies to building schools and hospitals for our brothers and sister in need in Africa. We are blessed to have family members deeply involved in the building of a new hospital in the coming year there. With their visit to Africa coming up, we asked how we could help. They requested school supplies since they will be visiting multiple schools during their visit. These kits we assembled will be hand delivered in May. Thanks to each of you for your donations and volunteering efforts.

We want to thank each and every one of you for coming to our event Saturday night.  We had a great turnout and we were able to raise donations for our sweet friend Dallin and his family.  Thank you for your generosity and kindness with your donations and bids on our auction.  As always, a big THANK YOU to our sponsors for making such events possible:  First Bank, Williams Dental Implant and Surgery, Comfort Dental Centennial, Pesta Chiropractic, and Toyota.  We hope that this annual event can continue to benefit our clients and families in need for years to come.

 

Here are some pictures from our fun night!  If you didn’t make it this year…we will see you next year for all the fun!

Thanks to our volunteers!

 

Our wonderful friends-The Simpson Family!

Justin and Kristin Andersen with Piper and the Conductor!

Thanks to the MANY who donated to the baskets!

One of our generous sponsors- Williams Dental Implant and Oral Surgery. THANK YOU!!

I still remember when I bought my first home with my husband. We were so excited and nervous and clueless but we always say it was the BEST thing we ever did.  Our credit score and equity from both our homes have increased our financial situation way more than we ever could have thought.  It is nice to not be paying money every month for something we can never own.  Buying your first home is one of those “American dreams” that has become easier to realize in our generation than for our parents and grandparents. What a blessing!

We here at Andersen Realty do recognize the anxiety and unknowns that come when you are starting to prepare for your first home purchase.  There is lots to know and ways to be smart.  We are offering a First Time Home Buyer Seminar this Friday night, November 9th at 7 p.m. at the Willow Creek III Clubhouse 8091 E. Phillips Circle. (See flyer below!  Click HERE to register!  Or maybe spread the word to someone you know?!!

We will be discussing much more than the following…but just as a teaser, we offer these 10 First Time Home Buyer Tips from The Lenders Network.

 

Click HERE for our Go Fund Me Page

Click HERE to register for the event

Our Polar Express Charity Event Coming up December 1:

 In honor of Dallin Simpson

written by Lindsey Mendenhall, assistant to Andersen Realty

I have known Kevin Simpson, Dallin’s father for years.  Yet, I had never really known his story.  That is the kind of people the Simpsons are.  They do not talk about their problems, they come to every church activity, scout camp day, weekly youth activity….and you would never know they were facing battles most of us would wear on our sleeves.  The family smiles and plays and laughs like they haven’t a care in the world! And, to make the rest of us feel bad,  Kevin Simpson volunteers for every activity his kids participate in. (Just kidding Kevin!)  Amazing right?  It wasn’t until last summer, in almost 100 degree weather at an all day cub scout camp that Kevin and I were volunteering at that, I found out sweet Dallin, then 9, had leukemia.  And the only reason it even came up was that Kevin was very worried about how Dallin was feeling.  That is kind of a huge obstacle to know that someone is facing, and I instantly felt embarrassed and didn’t ask more questions.  Sometimes I do this, when things get personal with someone, I freeze up and back off.  When we hear the “C” word in particular, fear and concern and pity creep in and we often don’t ask the tough questions, learn more, find out how we can help, and make a difference.  This was one of those regrets for me.  Why didn’t I ask more, try to help…instead of brushing by the topic and changing the subject.  When Andersen Realty began planning their annual Polar Express Event that they have done for years, they started to think of  a child to sponsor.  Immediately, I thought of the Simpsons.  Now I could help!  Knowing I could help in some way, helped me ask the tough questions and really get to become friends with the family-beyond the surface of most acquaintances. Since then, I have been more and more impressed with this family as I have gotten to know them.  To know them is to love them.  To love them is to want to help them.

Below is an interview with Kevin Simpson, Dallin’s dad.  He emailed his responses.  Some of them will break your heart and some will make you smile big.  In his own words describing their experience… here is Kevin…

  1. What is Dallin’s diagnosis?

Dallin’s diagnosis is a mouthful: VHR (Very High Risk) Pre B-cell ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) with MLL (Mixed Lineage Leukemia) gene rearrangement of chromosome t(4;11)

That’s far too complicated, so the simpler answer is that he has a rare form of Very High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

What he has is a blood and bone marrow cancer where white blood cells turn cancerous. Normally, white blood cells protect against infection. With Leukemia, those are replaced with cancerous white blood cells that reproduce aggressively. This interferes with organ function. wipes out the immune system, and affects the growth of healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.  In Dallin’s case, the cancer cells are more aggressive and resistant to treatments. His type affects about 0.2% of Leukemia patients, with about 120 diagnosed a year out of 62,000 total Leukemia diagnoses

2. What were the symptoms?  

First, Dallin was tiring easily and his joints and muscles hurt sometimes. Then, Dallin developed red spots on his chest and started getting bloody noses. His skin was slightly yellowish, but it happened so gradually that I didn’t notice the change at first.

3. How long did it take for them to get you a diagnosis?

It took a few days to know Dallin’s full diagnosis. We knew he had Leukemia by the morning after we took him in, and our Doctor suspected it immediately. The day we took him in, I sent a picture of red spots to a friend, who is a nurse:

She thought it may be chicken pox, so we took him in. After seeing Dallin, our Doctor took us into the hall, and told us some lab results, and that she highly suspected Leukemia. We found out that the red spots are petechiae, which occurs when platelets are low and unable to clot the blood. She didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but Dallin needed to go to the Children’s Hospital immediately. We were told to go by ambulance, or drive very carefully, because his platelets were so low that he would be in real danger and not stop bleeding if injured. A normal platelet count is between 150,000 and 300,000 per micro-liter. Dallin’s results were 4,000 platelets per micro-liter. He also didn’t have much time left, if we had not gotten him help. It was surreal and pretty scary. Things went very quickly from thinking Dallin had chicken pox, to fighting for his life with a cancer diagnosis and long hospital stay. I put everything I had into trying to keep up my faith, and towards being positive and calm for my kids. But, we’ve also grown so strong together as a family, and I’ve learned so much from how my kids have handled the challenges.

 

We went to the hospital, where they did a lot of tests, blood transfusions, IVs, etc. The next morning, they confirmed the diagnosis with a bone marrow biopsy and lumbar puncture. They also installed a port under the skin in his chest to administer chemo treatments without having to constantly do IVs. Dallin’s numbers were alarmingly low. His red blood cells were at 4.9, when they should be at 15. His ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count) was at 10, when a healthy child is at 2,500 to 5,000. The ANC shows how well the body can fight off infections and sicknesses, especially bacterial. They first thought he had standard risk ALL. Kids his age have a 92% survival rate and a low chance of relapse for that version of Leukemia. Considering the circumstances, that was pretty positive news. That day, they began chemotherapy treatments. One of the hardest parts of this came a day or so later, when some results came back. Dallin had a rare form of Leukemia, and he was moved to Very High Risk, the highest of three risk categories. It was a challenge to begin to come to terms with the diagnosis, and then have the outlook change so drastically. I tried to research the disease, which was probably a bad idea. Seeing phrases like: “inferior treatment outcome”, “very poor survival rates”, “high relapse rate”, and “dismal results” were devastating. Spending time in the hospital has changed my outlook, however. There are kids with much worse diagnoses, like terminal cancer, and the kids and families are amazing through it all.

 

In Dallin’s case, the survival rates are estimated to be about 45% with a chance of relapse of about 55% within the first 5 years. That may change, because the latest study did not return favorable results. They don’t know the outlook after five years, because it’s rare and hasn’t been studied long enough. We were in the hospital for the next month and a half, fighting the cancer cells with chemotherapy and helping Dallin begin to feel better. We went home and did a month of intense chemo and steroid treatments with biweekly hospital visits. The hospital said the steroids would be one of the worst parts, and they were definitely right. Dallin was always hangry (so hungry he was angry), as we call it, and became so bloated that he had stretch marks. He had angry outbursts constantly, which is not him at all. Dallin was able to recover and return to school as the steroid affects dissipated. Then, we settled into regular treatments and tried to get back to a reasonably normal life. There were definitely positives for our family despite the challenges, and even because of the challenges.

4.  How old was he?

Dallin was diagnosed a couple weeks before his 7th birthday.

5. What is the treatment like? 

Dallin has gone through different stages of treatments, including extended hospital stays, weekly hospital visits, biweekly hospital visits, and medicine at home. The side effects can be pretty tough, and he went through losing his hair. Currently, Dallin is doing treatments where he is able to stay home more than during any other stage, at least for planned treatments. He does oral chemotherapy treatments every night, with other medicines weekly or only on the weekend. He has a hospital visit once a month, where he does other chemotherapy drugs through his port, and they often do a lumbar puncture (LP). For the LP, they use a large needle (like an epidural) to inject chemo drugs into his spinal fluid. They’ve found that cancer cells like to hide there. Dallin also does steroid treatments once a month for five day periods, and physical therapy because the chemo drugs cause nerve damage and muscle deterioration.

 

The goal is to keep Dallin’s immune system suppressed, but not too low. That way, his body will not reject the chemotherapy, but he also won’t get into dangerous territory where he would become neutropenic. With neutropenia, the body can’t fight off illnesses, especially bacterial infections, and even normal bacteria from your mouth and digestive tract can cause serious or even rapidly fatal infections. Dallin has been in that territory a few times, including at diagnosis. The ANC is probably the most important number for Dallin, and needs to be between 500 and 1,500 for treatments. That range still involves a weak immune system, but keeps him out of the most dangerous territory. If his ANC is too high, then they increase doses. If it’s too low, then they halt treatment until he recovers. The chemo drugs knock out the cancerous cells and the regular ones, so it’s a delicate balance.

6. What is next? 

Dallin’s treatments continue for another year. During that time, we have extra hospital visits and treatments if anything is off with test results or symptoms at home. That happens pretty regularly for Dallin. In the hospital, he is checked for low platelets, low hemoglobin, low red blood cells, low white blood cells, elevated ANC, low ANC, and many other things. At home, hospital visits occur if he has a fever of 101 at any time, a fever of 100 for an hour or more, petechiae, persistent bloody noses, persistent diarrhea, etc.  Then, they stop and he is checked once a month for relapse. If he does relapse, then he’ll be fighting cancer cells that survived all the intense treatments, and it’s pretty hard to beat. Unless plans change, we would likely do treatments at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee, for at least three years. It’s the best Children’s Hospital for his type of cancer. He would likely need a bone marrow transplant, may do radiation therapy, and he would lose his hair again. But, we’re hopeful that he’ll remain cancer free and overcome this for good! Either way, he has remained so strong and I’m amazed with what he’s able to overcome.

7.  What are good days like?

On good days, Dallin is eager to get outside and play sports, or do other favorite things. He loves to visit his cousins and go to BYU Football games. On those days, it isn’t obvious that he’s fighting cancer, and his happy and kind personality really come out. Unfortunately, when he’s doing really well, then it sometimes means that his ANC is too high. We have to increase chemo dosage, bringing his energy level down and bringing more side effects. But, I think he also turns possible bad days into good days, as well. He tries so hard to push through any pains or fatigue, and he’s definitely an example to his siblings and to me.

8. Bad?

On bad days, Dallin has no energy at all, and has difficulty even sitting up. He falls asleep repeatedly, and deals with a lot of pain. Extreme stomach pains are an issue, with everything from nausea to vomiting to diarrhea. Pain in his joints and bones, especially his ankles, bother him as well. Dallin’s treatments affect his cognitive reasoning and memory. That challenge, and missing school, have really put Dallin behind. Some days are difficult for this reason as well, and he has lost confidence with schoolwork. Dallin catches sicknesses very easily, and has a hard time fighting them off. At the end of June, all four kids got sick. It took Dallin’s siblings about 4 days to get better. Dallin was sick for about a month, with high fevers of 104 to 106, and quite a few other symptoms. At one point, Dallin was sleeping for about 20 hours a day. That resulted in a lot of hospital visits and difficult days. They ran many tests to try to find what sickness he had, without success. Thankfully, he recovered and is now doing much better.

9.  What are Dallin’s likes/dislikes?  Tell us ALL about him.

  • Dallin loves sports. He loves to play Flag or Touch Football, Soccer, Tennis, Basketball, Lacrosse, Baseball, Golf, Inline Skating, etc. In the hospital, Dallin loves to bring sports gear, even wearing full BYU football gear. During an inpatient hospital stay, Dallin often wants to throw the football in full football gear, if he feels well enough, even while getting chemotherapy or fluids through an IV hooked to his port.
  • He also loves to watch BYU sports of all kinds, but especially football. He does like to watch other teams, if BYU is not playing.
  • Camping, being out in nature, fishing, and swimming are also favorites.
  • He enjoys video games, like Zelda games, Mario games, sports games, off-road racing games.
  • Dallin loves roller coasters, especially ones with big drops and/or loops.
  • He likes to play with legos, remote control off-road vehicles, racing hot wheels or other vehicles on tracks, monster trucks, and nerf guns.
  • His favorite food is probably ham, like smoked pit ham or honey glazed ham. He also likes pizza, spaghetti, mac and cheese with peas, and chicken strips.
  • Dallin doesn’t have a lot of dislikes. Maybe being stuck indoors for too long. The foods he dislikes changes a lot, probably due to side effects from chemo.

10.  What are your kids names and ages?

Jeremiah – 11 years old

Dallin – 9 years old

Soleil – 7 years old

Lucie – 2 years old (3 this month)

11. Any thing specific you want to share about how Dallin’s diagnosis has affected the family…

Jeremiah probably had the most difficulty with the diagnosis. He understood what was happening much more than my daughters, and he hated to see Dallin go through it. He often says he wishes he could go through it instead. To me that’s something a parent says, not a kid. But, he has coped with it better over time. We did go through a lot of changes and challenges around when Dallin was diagnosed. I completed a degree for a career change, we moved to Denver, and I started a new job in July. In September, my 4th child was born. In January, Dallin was diagnosed with Leukemia. My ex-wife and I separated in March, and the divorce was finalized in June. But, I am continually surprised at the growth we made as a family as we grew closer together through adversity. We have truly seen miracles along the way.

12. What are your needs?  How best can Andersen Realty help you?

The costs for care and related expenses add up. We have co-pays, medicine, transportation costs related to care, lost time at work, etc.I take Dallin to every appointment, pick him up from school when he isn’t feeling well, or anything else that’s needed. I try to balance that with work and the other kids, but sometimes timing doesn’t work out, and it definitely costs more than expected at times.

13. Please share with us any special family circumstances.  

Our family situation has added some stress and challenges. We had a new baby, I became a single Father, and Dallin was diagnosed all in a short time-frame. I am so grateful to have custody of my kids, and love seeing them every day.

Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist: 7 Tasks to Tackle Before Temperatures Dip

 | Sep 20, 2018

Once autumn’s chill is in the air, we don’t think twice about swapping our tank tops for sweaters and stocking our pantry with pumpkin-spice everything. So why wouldn’t we prepare our houses for the chill, too?

Yes, that first freeze can often take us by surprise, leading to major headaches and thousands of dollars in repairs. So before you start stuffing your bookshelves with decorative gourds and planning the best Thanksgiving dinner your in-laws will ever eat, take a swing through these simple fall maintenance tasks. We promise a little prep work now will help keep your home running smoothly.

1. Prep your pipes

The term “winterization” is a bit of a misnomer: Yes, you’re prepping your home for winter, but the hard work needs to happen in autumn. And that’s especially true when it comes to your pipes.

DIY: “Shut off all faucets and valves, and drain any outdoor piping, like sprinkler systems, before the temperature drops,” says Jane Li, a senior project manager at Mercury Insurance. To be extra careful, Li recommends putting away any outdoor hoses and wrapping socks around outdoor faucets.

Call in the pros: If your winterization efforts uncover a leaky pipe, hire a plumber to fix the mess before the temperature drops. On average, a plumber will cost $300, but a broken pipe could run you upward of $5,000, depending on how much water damage there is. In other words, consider this money well spent.

2. Keep out the critters

Just as you’ll spend more time indoors when the weather cools, rodents and pests will seek out a warm place, too—like your home.

“Mice especially are flexible little creatures and can get through holes that aren’t much bigger than a dime,” says Karen Thompson, an editor at InsectCop.net, which researches and evaluates pest-control products and methods.

DIY: Take a tour of your property, seeking out any cracks that might let a critter sneak inside. Seal any openings with spray foam or steel wool.

“As a bonus, doing this will let you not only avoid rodents, but also ants and fleas,” Thompson says.

Call in the pros: If there’s evidence these pesky little guys have already infiltrated your space, consider bringing in a pro. An exterminator will charge between $90 and $250 for an initial consultation, and costs will scale from there depending on what you need.

3. ‘FALL’-proof your space

Whether you’re getting up there in years or frequently hosting elderly parents, use the fall season to prevent, um, falls.

“Falls make up almost one-third of all nonfatal injuries in America, and a little prevention can go a long way toward keeping you safe,” says Jason Biddle, who runs The Helping Home, a resource for aging in place.

DIY: Use the “FALL” mnemonic to make sure your place is slip-proof:

  • Floors: Scan your floors for fall risks. Look for clutter, slippery stairs, and loose rugs. Add sticky padding to prevent slips.
  • Activities: What does your daily routine look like? You might need grab bars in the shower, or a second handrail by the stairs.
  • Lighting: Is your home bright enough to see any potential hazards? “A well-lit home can help [you] avoid tripping on dining table legs, floor planters, and out-of-sight power cords,” Biddle says.
  • Leaving: Examine your porch and outdoor paths. Are there any broken steps or overgrown shrubs that might trip you up when leaving your home?

Call in the pros: Your home might require a major aging-in-place adjustment, like installing a lift or wheelchair ramp. Costs for a motorized stairway lift start at $3,000, and a wheelchair ramp could run $1,500.

4. Remove or cover your air conditioner

Unless you live in the desert or the deep South, you probably don’t run your air conditioner during autumn. But you might be letting your system waste away if you leave it sitting out in the elements all fall and winter long, which can damage the fan and coils.

DIY: “Window units should be removed, covered, and placed in an area like the garage for safekeeping until they’re needed again,” says Richard Ciresi, who runs Aire Serv in Louisville, KY. Outdoor AC units should be properly covered.

Call in the pros: If you’ve noticed your HVAC system running sluggishly all summer, now’s a great time for an inspection, which will probably cost a little more than $300.

5. Check the fireplace

Your wood-burning fireplace has been sitting dormant for months now. Make sure it’s good to go before you light it up

DIY: Before getting your fireplace inspected, make sure you’re not putting any living things in danger.

“Check the top of the chimney for areas where birds may have nested,” Ciresi says. But check local laws first: It might be illegal to relocate active nests. Once the birds have moved on, however, you can break up the nest freely. (Just be sure to wear gloves.)

Call in the pros: Most chimney sweeps can help break up a nest, too. Besides, you’ll be needing their help for another fall must-do: sweeping the chimney. A professional inspection and sweep will cost between $100 and $250.

6. Prep your firewood pile

Nasty pests like carpenter ants or termites love hiding out in your firewood. Don’t let them hitch a ride inside.

DIY: If you’re building a firewood pile this autumn, make sure to keep those logs at least 20 feet from your home.

“This ensures that even if the wood has pests, they are less likely to transfer from the wood to your home,” Thompson says. Firewood should also be elevated during storage, which makes it even more difficult for bugs to sneak inside the wood.

Call in the pros: If you spot termites in your firewood pile, call in the pros before hauling a single log inside. Treating a local infestation might set you back $150.

7. Switch your ceiling fans

Your ceiling fans are designed to cool you off during the summer—but they also serve a need during the chilly seasons.

DIY: “Many people don’t realize the difference made with the simple reversal of your ceiling fans,” Ciresi says. “Hot air always rises, and ceiling fans are uniquely designed to direct airflow exactly where you need it most.”

Every ceiling fan has a switch hidden on its base. When the mercury level drops, flip that switch so the fan is moving clockwise.

“This updraft allows hot air to get pushed down into your rooms,” Ciresi says. “This is especially useful in rooms with very high ceilings.”

Call in the pros: Pay attention to your home’s temperature on chilly days. Are you still cold? Consider an energy audit, which will cost about $400—but may help you save tremendously on your energy bills over the next few years.

Jamie Wiebe writes about home design and real estate for realtor.com. She has previously written for House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Real Simple, Veranda, and more.
The realtor.com® editorial team highlights a curated selection of product recommendations for your consideration; clicking a link to the retailer that sells the product may earn us a commission.

I have a husband who goes around the house turning off the lights that were left on.  This drives me insane and we all enjoy teasing him about the 3 cents he saves every time he turns the lights off.  (And, I am a little afraid of the dark…when he is out of town, every light in the house is on.)  The reality is, these pennies do add up each month, and we love our earth.  Conserving energy is good for our beautiful earth and for humanity not just our wallets.  Here is a list of 8 ways we can each save money on our utility bills and be earth smart….unlike this home…”turn a light out!!”

 

 

 

8 Smart Home Technology Trends that Can Save You Money

The ‘smart home’ is the new ‘internet of things’, or objects that can serve you better by communicating with each other or directly with you through apps on your smart phone. In the ideal version of the wired future, all of our appliances and gadgets talk to each other seamlessly.

What could living in a smart home look like? Picture something like this:

The lights in your bedroom slowly illuminate to quietly awaken you in the morning, replacing the typical blaring alarm. The aroma of fresh brewing coffee drifts in and stirs your senses. Once the lights are all the way up, the heating system kicks on, just in time to warm up your room so you’re not shocked once you crawl out from underneath the duvet.

When you step into the shower, it turns on automatically and remembers your preferred temperature and water pressure. And it will shut off right when you’re finished as it knows how long you take to bathe.

Once you’ve driven out of your garage, your home alarm system arms itself. And it will only unlock automatically when it “sees” and recognizes someone else from your family approaching through programmed in biometrics.

Do smart homes really work this way right now? Not exactly…while you may find some of these smart features in certain homes, we haven’t reached the point where every feature intuitively knows what you want and when you wanted. However, each year we’re getting closer and closer toward that shiny, idealized ‘Jetson’ future.

Here are some trends that we see for smart homes, many of which may also help you save money:

 

Smart Thermostats

Programmable thermostats that are synchronized with the clock have been around for decades. However, they’re often difficult to set and aren’t necessarily efficient; they simply turn on or off as programmed, whether or not you are there.

With the newer models, smart thermostats can be programmed to adjust the temperature when they sense you are present. And once you leave, they can kick back to standby mode so that you’re saving energy and money. Nest does all of this, and it also allows you to check your usage from your cell phone so that you can adjust the temperature remotely and save even more.

 

Smart Smoke Detectors

Having a working, effective smoke detector saves lives. But unfortunately, many of us still have those battery-run smoke detectors that make that annoying, piercing beep when their batteries are running low on power. And instead of replacing batteries right away, it’s often easier to pull them out and disable the detector (while risking our lives).

Many of the new smart smoke detectors, like the Birdi, monitor smoke, carbon dioxide, as well as air quality. With this new sensor technology, they know the difference between a real fire and burnt toast.

Smart Sprinkler Control

Weather in our area is predictably unpredictable. Often, especially during the summer months, we fall into a severe drought. But then we might have one season that brings extreme amounts of rain, like we did this past spring.

A smart sprinkler controller like Rachio Iro can not only help save you lots of money on your water bill but also help protect our precious resources.

Programmable by computer or smart phone, it can automatically adjust how often you water your lawn based on the season and the weather forecasts. You can also remotely adjust the settings through a mobile app.

Smart Solar Panels

You can put the sun to work for you by using solar technology to power your home. It’s green and renewable, and can save you money over the long term. A recent study conducted by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center determined that Austin customers who invested in a solar system saved an average of $66 per month during the first year that they owned the system.

With smart solar panels, you can program the technology to monitor their performance and even turn them off in case of a weather emergency or fire.

Smart Home Security Systems

Home monitoring has become much more sophisticated in recent years. With the old-style security systems, you had to call in contractors to wire your home with monitoring sensors.

With new smart technology, you can simply place a few smart devices in your home to monitor movement and sense whether doors and windows are closed or opened. Some systems include audio and video monitoring, as well as sirens to scare off intruders. You get real-time feedback on security breaches through an app. And, because you’re alerted as soon as the system senses an intruder, it’s more likely that they will be caught.

Canary is one popular all-in-one audio-video security system, complete with sirens and night vision.

 

Smart Locks

Go beyond the standard key locks, which can often be compromised by burglars. The new smart lock systems give you more control over those who can gain access to your home.

Some systems, like the Kwikset Kevo, include encrypted virtual keys that you can program for access for a limited amount of time—for example, allowing guests over for a weekend, or cleaning service in during a specific window of time.

Other door locking systems include biometric technology. The Ola smart lock allows you to program your lock to recognize your family member’s fingerprints. Other systems use facial recognition to greet you and unlock your door.

The new August smart lock integrates with Apple’s technology so you can ask Siri to open your door for you.

Smart lighting systems and light bulbs

A well-lit home feels warm and welcoming, and good lighting can instantly increase the value of your home.

However, annual lighting costs can account for up to 12% of your overall electric bill, or over $200 per year according to Energy Star. You can easily reduce this expense simply by using smart lighting technology to add efficiency.

The Philips Hue wifi-enabled lights make it easy to add to your home without installing specialized equipment. Smart lighting dimmers and sensors can give you more control over how much energy you use and allow you to turn them on and off through your smart phone.

New smart light bulbs can give you control over the warmth or coolness levels of your lighting. With the Lifx LED light bulbs, for example, you can program your light bulbs to turn on or off when you want, to slowly wake you up with increasing illumination, or to change from daytime work lighting to entertainment-friendly shades for parties.

Smart Appliances

Programmable slow cookers and coffee makers are the quaint, old-fashioned versions of these home conveniences. Newer, smart appliances give you more control over how your food is kept and prepared, and make it easier for you to complete pesky household chores.

  • Newer coffee makers, like the Smarter coffee machine, let you ‘order’ your coffee exactly to your liking, adjusting everything from bean grind to temperature to strength to time that it’s ready to drink.
  • Smart refrigeration technology can help you store your food at just the right temperature, adjusting the thermostat during peak usage times. For example, the LG THINQ fridgecan alert you via smart phone app if a door is accidentally left open.
  • Smart ovens can ensure that your food is cooked to the right level of done-ness, and alert you when your meal is ready to eat. June, a new counter oven invented by former Google, Apple, Go-Pro and Path employees will give you even more control—it will contain cameras, thermometers, and other technology to ‘learn’ what you like to eat and make menu suggestions.
  • Smart washers and dryers have customizable controls so that you can safely wash any type of fabric. Some units include controls to increase drying time to save energy. And soon, connected appliances from GE, Oster, Samsung, and other makers, will be able to re-order soap and fabric softener directly from Amazon, so you won’t even have to think about running to the store at the last minute.

Have you tested any of these technologies in your home? Did we miss any of your favorite home technologies? Let us know in the comments!