9 Home Hacks You Can Do From Your Phone
You know it's good for taking photos, texting, directing you from point A to point B, and making phone calls, too. But your smartphone can also help you monitor and control things on the home front -- whether you're there or not.
Read on for nine of our favorite home products you can control from your phone.
Your Garage Door
Get notifications if the garage door opens or closes, and go ahead and open and close it yourself. MyQ Garage is great for security or to keep tabs on that perennially absentminded family member. It works with most openers, as long as your Wi-Fi extends to the garage. $130
The Door Lock
Lock or unlock your home from anywhere via any mobile phone, smart or not -- no home Wi-Fi required. Grant or remove others' access on the fly, and receive texts when they come and go, or even when someone knocks. Lockitron installs directly over your existing deadbolt. $179 (preorder, currently shipping but backlogged)
The ability to adjust settings, view energy usage, and receive alerts about maintenance or potentially problematic temperature changes from afar make it a smart investment. Customizable faceplates and the ability to load it with up to 100 personal photos so it looks like a digital picture frame make it pretty, too. $220 (including the Wi-Fi key necessary to connect to your home's wireless network)
Your Washer & Dryer
Stop and start loads, download special laundry cycles, and diagnose problems via your smartphone. It'll message you when the wash or dry cycle ends and even unload itself. OK, not that last one, but hopefully someday, right? $1,600 each (Wi-Fi required)
Screw it in, download the app, and voila! You've got automated lighting, no Wi-Fi required. You can program it to turn on slowly in the morning, give off custom-colored light, and more. Your app offers new programs as they become available -- one currently in the works is the ability to turn the lights off and on while you're away. You can control up to 50 Ilumi, alone or as a group, and they're eco-friendly, too -- each bulb could last you up to 20 years. $90 and up (promo code: JOINTHENATION for $15 off your order)
Pair this up with your home's Wi-Fi connection to print quality photos from your smartphone while you're on vacation (or at the park, or at the neighbors', for that matter). They'll be ready and waiting when you get home. For about three bucks a month, this printer will automatically order home-delivery of its own replacement ink when it's running low, through HP, for half-off. It scans and prints everyday documents, too. $130
Your Baby Monitor
Baby Touch WiFi Video Monitor & Internet Viewing System by Summer Infant
It functions as a typical in-home video baby monitor, but add the app, and your smartphone lets you peek into the nursery during nanny time or date night, too. $300
No more wondering if you remembered to turn the oven off -- just check your smartphone. You can also remotely keep track of how much time before the turkey's done (and receive an alert when it is). $1,400 (Wi-Fi required)
Your Coffee Maker
The good news: It is possible to order a perfectly brewed latte with your smartphone from bed, then walk downstairs in your PJs mere minutes later and have it waiting for you. The bad news: Such a luxury will cost you roughly ten grand. Fingers crossed this high-tech home cup of joe will come down to average-Joe prices sooner rather than later.