Your Smart Home Study Sheet

Written by Eric Murrell from Xfinity Home

Homes have changed a lot over the past few decades. Whereas the fundamentals of solid homebuilding have stayed the same, the products and systems that homeowners integrate into their homes can vary dramatically, which can affect your job as a home inspection professional. This is especially true since the turn of the millennium and the rise of our modern “gadget culture.” As appliances, security systems and HVAC systems become smarter and more automated, the way you evaluate a home’s functional integrity and general efficiency may change. 

The good news is, the benefits these connected devices provide more than make up for the initial investment of learning how to use them. Here are some ways you can use smart home products to your advantage while inspecting the homes of today. 

Detecting Water Leaks and Faulty Appliances 

As obvious as the damage from water issues can be, it can sometimes be perplexing to uncover the source. 

Many smart home systems support the use of moisture sensors, and a few of these placed strategically around the home can serve as a vital first alert system that notifies homeowners the instant a water leak is detected. Even better, most smart home hubs keep a detailed timeline of when and where moisture was spotted, giving inspectors a useful trail of breadcrumbs to more quickly track down the source of moisture problems—or to help reassure potential homebuyers of a leak-free home. 

In a home that is equipped with smart appliances, you’ll have even more information at your fingertips. Many of these high-tech appliances pair with simple companion smartphone apps, giving users a fantastic interface for changing settings and viewing important diagnostic tests and warnings. Smarter tools mean quicker troubleshooting and problem-solving. 

Tracking Down Drafts and HVAC Health 

Thermostats have undergone a revolution in recent years, and the smart control panels found in many modern homes provide far more useful information than the clunky boxes that they’ve replaced. Although homeowners benefit most from being able to schedule and adjust temperature settings from afar, the diagnostic tools tucked in the device’s settings menu can serve up a treasure trove of valuable information for technicians. With the use of the smartphone app, you can see which zones of the home are most efficient and easily test the system’s reaction to a new setting with the swipe of a finger. 

Many smart thermostats use battery-powered temperature sensors, which can provide additional insights on hot and cold zones throughout the home. They can help homeowners and inspectors more readily identify where drafts are getting in. 

Catching Pests Red-Handed

Everyone understands the importance of a good home security system, but if a homeowner invests in a system that uses smart cameras, there are a few other useful applications that you might not expect while inspecting the home. Today’s modern cameras typically include night vision recording, and they’re surprisingly adept at catching annoying household pests. 

Whether it’s a mouse sneaking into the pantry or bats making a mess in the attic, a few strategically positioned cameras can catch these pests in the act and make it a lot easier to track down the ways they’re entering the home. As an added benefit, many of these cameras also feature air quality and temperature sensors, making them equally useful for tracking HVAC deficiencies and allergy-causing issues.

Of course, current homeowners will need to grant access to this data. For sellers interested in doing a pre-inspection to resolve any issues before putting their home on the market, or for sellers under agreement who have a positive story to tell, cameras can be a useful tool in your inspection toolkit. 

Smart Tools, Smarter Outcomes

Although smart home gadgets may seem like complex systems to learn, their powerful automation tools and sensors can work under one connected interface that can be integral to evaluating a home. Consider thinking outside of the box and working with the sellers that have these smart home devices so you can access some of their insights on your next home inspection project. They’ll help you work smarter, faster and will give you a more accurate account of the home.


Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to XFINITY Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating smart home automation and security in their homes on his blog At Home in the Future.   





Date : 2/13/2018