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hopped onto the Home Assistant bandwagon on Black Friday when Google Home dropped its price and the temptation proved too much for my not-smart wallet.

I spent a few days doing the regulation warm-up question, “Hey, Google, what’s the weather outside?” and its companion follow-up, “Hey Google, um what’s that in Fahrenheit?” And then I got courageous.

I scoured the Google Home app and clicked on everything clickable and now my Home Assistant plays movies on my connected TV, sets timers, reads the day’s news, delivers traffic updates, and even keeps a shopping list (though I have since learned to enunciate when I run out of tape or I’ll be buying a lot of tops).

Home assistants can communicate with a vast range of smart appliances and had I just stopped at the weather, I’d be missing out on a lot of automation. Pondering the long list of Google Home functions made me realize my Home Assistant can be much more than an assistant; it can be an entire staff within a properly connected smart home. And while you don’t need a home assistant to communicate with all your smart devices, it does make it easier. To that end, here are 4 other roles your multi-tasking smart home can perform via Home Assistant or smart devices.

Petsitter/Housesitter via …

  1. Smart Thermostats. Yes, your smart thermostat will help save you money on utility bills by adjusting your home’s temperature when you’re not at home. But this remote accessibility can also be a surrogate petsitter/housesitter. Worried that the heat wave sweeping through town is leaving Fluffy in a sweltering home while you’re at work? A smart device, like a Carrier® Côr® Wi-Fi smart thermostat, will monitor the temperature in your house and let you make adjustments remotely. No pets? If you’re out of town during an unexpected cold spell, you won’t come home to frozen and bursting water pipes.
  2. Smart Lights. When you don’t want your empty house to look like an empty house, your smart lights can take over. Now you can dim lights, turn them on and off, and change them from room to room to mimic your normal at-home patterns, all from your smart phone. Add a motion sensor to your lighting, and the lights will automatically turn on when you come home – and turn off when you leave.

Housekeeper via …

  1. Smart Washers and Dryers. If you’re home, you can use voice control to find out how much time is left on your washing cycle. When you’re away from home, you can program your appliances to run outside of peak energy-usage hours. And if you sync smart Whirlpool® appliances with an Amazon account, you can automatically trigger the app to buy supplies, such as laundry soap and dryer sheets, as your stock of these items runs low.
  2. Kitchen Appliances. With just a spoken command, you can turn the temperature up or down in your oven, or ask your fridge to increase its ice-making output. You can even find out how much time is left on your dishwasher cycle by checking the app on your smart phone.
  3. Wi-Fi Vacuums. Those little silver vacuum cleaners that look like alien frisbees are Wi-Fi connected so you can program them to clean your home even when you’re not there. Just tap a command into the app on your smart phone and you’ll come home to clean floors.

Security Guard via …

  1. Smart Smoke Detectors. They can send warning alerts to your smart phone, so you can keep an eye on your home even when you’re not there.
  2. Smart Alarms. Like a 24/7 guard, the new smart home alarms stay on-duty round-the-clock and will alert you to any problems.
  3. Smart Door Locks. Forgetting to lock your doors is no race across town anymore. You can activate door locks, and your garage door opener, remotely.

Air Quality Inspector via …

Air Quality Monitors. These products do more than gauge temperature, they also track the level of toxins and chemicals in your home’s air, as well as the humidity, and make recommendations via your smart phone. This handy device can power on non-smart appliances to adjust the air temperature and quality, such as window air conditioners, fans, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

Smart Home Makes Smart Sense (and Cents!)

Not only can a smart home save you money on utility bills, but all those built-in smart features will increase your home’s resale value. So that convenient USB port in your kitchen is actually worth money in resale dollars. Plus, modern homes with smart technology built-in will do better on the market than their outdated competition. Just one more way your home is smarter!

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