Want to get in on the home automation craze, but don’t want to pay through the nose for professional installation? Smart home technology is getting less expensive and easier to install, which means there’s never been a better time to do a smart home yourself. Consider these 5 simple, DIY upgrades that’ll have you running a more efficient, smarter home in minutes (literally).

Easy smart home upgrades

1. Smart plugs and switches

Never come home to a darkened house again. Smart plugs and switches, which can be used in any ordinary, existing electrical outlet, allow you to control and monitor household electronics and appliances from wherever you are. Track your energy usage, check to see if you left lights or other appliances on, remotely operate home appliances and electronics, and make a lighting schedule for when you’re home or away.

2. Smart light bulbs

Today’s smart bulbs are light years (pun intended!) from an average LED. Smart bulbs wirelessly connect to mobile apps to give you a range of new features and functionality. Dim multiple lights at once with a tap on your phone. Schedule lights in accordance with your activities. Change bulb color and the mood of the room based on time of day and desired vibe. Best of all: smart bulbs are compatible with other smart products and systems, giving you even wider functionality.

3. Smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Tired of dismantling your smoke alarm every time you cook bacon? Or hearing that low-battery beep at 3 a.m.? The bevy of new smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have come a long way from their alarm-only predecessors. In addition to allowing remote operation from a mobile device, these alarms offer a dizzying array of features and conveniences (like automatic safety checks, battery checks, and home air quality monitoring). Best of all, set up and installation usually requires little more than a few minutes, a mobile device, and a screwdriver.

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4. Smart doorbells

Smart doorbells are poised to put the peephole industry out of business. In addition to providing a good, old-fashioned ring, these video-camera-equipped doorbells allow you to (quite literally) screen your visitors, monitor, and even record all of your front door activity (from wherever you are in the world). Most smart doorbells also let you speak to your visitors through your phone with 2-way audio (so you can talk to them whether you’re home or away). Smart doorbells are easy to install — most use a mounting plate screwed into a wall (you’ll need a screwdriver, a hammer, and potentially a drill). Wiring is typically only required if you want to keep your traditional doorbell chime set-up in play. Otherwise, you’ll need a few minutes to mount the alarm, connect your doorbell to the app, set up your preferences and alerts, and be on your way to a more secure home.

5. Smart pet food dispensers

For the animal lovers among us, smart home technology offers a breadth of quick wins to make you and Fido less anxious about your time apart. Most automatic pet feeders work on an interval schedule that dispenses food in a portion size and time of your choosing. Some models even have built-in cameras so you can see how well pets did at mealtime. Others will monitor your pet food supply, automatically ordering more food when you’re running low.

With a few easy tips, you can also fix leaks and drafts, and add stylish organization to your interior space. And when you’re ready to safeguard the rest of your home, you’ll need reliable protection. Get a free homeowners quote today.

Need more cool hacks and helpful tips? Check out this “gripping” DIY hack from the Scott Brothers!

Smart technology | Smart home

about Rebecca

Rebecca is a freelance copywriter and editor living in the SF Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She enjoys productively channeling her anxiety into safety-minded articles for home and garden, running with her robot trainer, and advocating on behalf of the Oxford comma.