Best Smart Apps for Your Home

Homeowners are taking advantage of advances in digital technology to automate many home systems from a smart device. A wide range of home automation devices and their respective apps are now available, each providing different features.

Step One: The Hub

To manage your home remotely, you first need a hub – the central point from which to manage the “smart” devices in your home, from speakers and lighting to climate control and security. One of the most popular options is the second-generation Amazon Echo, which now has an integrated smart home hub in addition to its already well-known capabilities as a speaker and information device. Other popular “universal” hubs include the Wink Hub 2 and the Samsung SmartThings, which is able to connect to over 200 different home automation devices. Remember – most home automation apps won’t work without a hub installed first.

Home Security

If you want to add security protection to your home and property, you have many options for smart security systems. With the Arlo Pro outdoor security system, you get motion and sound identification along with rechargeable batteries and smooth integration with your other home monitoring systems. Want to keep an eye on who is at your door? Try the Ring Doorbell 2 to be alerted instantly on your smart device when someone rings your doorbell or even approaches the entrance to your home. You can view (and record) activity in brilliant 1080p video. Indoor security cameras such as the Tend Secure Lynx Indoor or Nest Cam Indoor have all the features you want to keep your family safe, including motion-triggered recording, cloud video storage, and affordable price points. Smart lock devices from well-known manufacturers Schlage and Kwikset as well as newcomer August allow you to have total control over who has entry clearance into your home, all from a smart device app.

Heating and Cooling Systems

You can now easily monitor and control home heating and cooling from your smartphone. A range of products are available to perform this function. One of the best reviewed systems is the EcoBee4, a smart thermostat. It has added features such as room sensors to manage hot and cold spots, and a built-in Alexa voice capability. The Nest is also a popular smart thermostat, offering built-in WiFi to allow you to remotely manage home temperature from your phone, tablet, or other digital device. Never come home to an overly cold or warm house again – you can set your heat or AC to run while you’re on the road so you arrive to the perfect temperature.


Many homeowners are turning to the Philips Hue line of products. These advanced LED light bulbs allow control over both intensity and color, and work with Alexa, Siri, and IFTTT (If This, Then That). Imagine having the perfect wash of light for any activity, from energizing lights in the morning to soothing hues for relaxation – and every color in between.

Water Use and Leak Detection

Managing water use is becoming more important than ever. Several free apps are available to measure home water use, such as H20, Dropcountr, and Measure Water Flow. Leak detection systems watch over your home no matter where you are, including the D-Link DCH-S160 WiFi water sensor. It doesn’t require a hub and functions with your home WiFi. A more advanced option is the Fibaro Flood Sensor. The leakSMART offers even more features – it detects and stops water leaks in under five seconds, and works with the Nest system. When you consider the damage leaks and flooding can do to your home, this system could save you from the economic losses associated with a serious water leak.

One App to Rule Them All?

Each of the literally hundreds of smart home automation devices on the market has its own propriety app. While many of these apps for your home are very user friendly and easy to navigate, others are clunky and don’t quite match the grace and functionality of their hardware. There are excellent options available to Apple and Android users alike that unify control of all your smart devices under one smart app. Consider using apps like Apple’s “Home” to make home automation more straightforward and easy to control.

Your Home is Your Castle: Guard it From Your Smartphone

At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in the Bay Area, we can help you upgrade your entire plumbing system, fixtures, or repair any plumbing issue correctly and professionally. Our team can assist you to replace your hot water heater with the best in smart tankless hot water systems or the latest generation of tank hot water heaters that work with your smart home system. We can help you better understand the features of various smart fixtures and which options will function best with an existing smart home system.