Smarten Up Your Home

Simple ways you can make your home more efficient

There is a virtual explosion of smart home technology on the market. The talking points on each item claim to make your life easier and your home a lot more capable. Given this publicity, it can be a challenge to sift through it all. However, you can smarten your home without wreaking havoc on your budget or putting your personal information at risk. Here are a couple ideas to get you started:

  • thermostatSecure your home Wi-Fi. Since most smart home devices connect through your Wi-Fi, you must protect your Wi-Fi network from hacking. A good first step is to ensure your home wireless network uses Wi-Fi Protected Access protocol and that you employ a strong, complex password. Also, give your Wi-Fi network an obscure ID, withholding your name and home address.
  • Strengthen your Wi-Fi signal. Sounds simple, but install up-to-date hardware. Make sure you have the most current router available. Next, ensure your router delivers a robust Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. It may seem unattractive, but the router needs to be on a flat, elevated surface, free of obstruction, and preferably in the center of your home to ensure the widest coverage area.

If you have further questions, ask your internet service provider (ISP) or any of our local computer solutions professionals. Once you cover these basics, we recommend a few products that offer more savings in comparison to their grandparent devices.

  • Smart Thermostats. A Wi-Fi-enabled or “smart” thermostat works with your existing home heating system so you can keep tabs on the temperature from anywhere using a simple online interface or mobile app. This allows you to reduce energy use, lower your bill and maintain optimum home comfort, all from the touchpad on a smartphone. PenLight offers a $100 incentive on select models. Check out the rebate programs section to learn more.
  • Smart Lighting. There is a wide array of smart lighting options. These range from a simple screw-in bulb to smart dimmer switches and more, all with the ability to pair with a smartphone app. Smart bulbs use LED and other technology that make them internet-capable, so they cost more than a traditional or simple LED lightbulb. However, smart bulbs use far less energy, last a lot longer and are interactive.

If you are considering ways to smarten up your home this year, these are a few ways to get started. With just a few simple, straightforward steps, you can ensure your home runs more efficiently. If you have questions about these and other energy-efficient appliances, such as heat pumps or water heaters, email us at