In a world where most people have a smart phone, there’s an app for almost every aspect of your life— even for the home. So, put your feet up while JLife rounds up some of the best mobile apps to streamline your home life.
Blowing Hot and Cold?
It’s becoming increasingly important to monitor how much energy we consume. Rather than sticking to rigid timers, plug-in devices and apps can be used to intelligently transform your heating or air-conditioning by making them work for you. Here are a few options:
What: Probably the most recognisable smart thermostat in the UK, Hive is the creation of energy provider, British Gas.
How: This high-profile energy-saving option installs a new thermostat that can be controlled remotely by an accompanying app, making sure it’s nice and warm for when you arrive home.
Around £249 with installation, Hive includes the option to upgrade to motion sensors, door and window sensors, smart plugs and smart lights alongside its handy mobile phone app.
With: Heating and hot water boost, geolocation capability to send you reminder notifications when you’re near to home, timer schedules and holiday mode so you can return from your travels to a toasty home!
What: Hive’s main rival for those concerned about their home efficiency is Nest. Retailing at £129 without installation, it works much like Hive (a thermostat controlled by an easy-to-use app), but has been created with the option to add extra features to your service in the future.
How: Powered and created by Google, Nest claims to create an ‘ecosystem’ within your home, allowing multiple devices such as Nest Protect, which is a smoke alarm, and a new security camera called Nest Cam to monitor and control appliances within your living space.
With: Comes with the ability to control your heating from your laptop/ tablet as well as your phone and an auto-schedule setting that can predict your weekly heating habits.
My Home is My Castle
Your house is home to everything most precious to you. We’ve found a nifty new app to deter wrong-doers as well as make use of your old phone…
What: This surveillance app grabbed headlines last year, claiming to be instrumental in catching burglars in the act.
How: By turning your old smart phone into a video monitoring camera, you can get live feeds of your home on your new phone, as well as automatically recording anything that may move with motion sensor technology. You can also set notifications to appear on your phone when it detects suspicious behaviour. Never wonder who’s nabbed something from the cookie jar again!
With: You can store all your video recordings in the cloud as well as set the areas that you would like to exclude from the motion sensors. There is a basic free plan and multiple upgrade plans to get you started.
Available on Android and iOS
Your Home Improved
There’s nothing like a bit of DIY, but why do everything yourself? These home improvement apps put the ‘handy’ in handiwork…
What: Thinking of transforming a room in your house? One of the most arduous tasks can be measuring everything in sight, from window frames to ceiling heights. MagicPlan takes away your old tape measure and measures your house up in seconds.
How: You simply point your phone’s camera and let it measure your room. Useful for working out exactly how much carpet you will need to purchase or to check if that sofa you’ve spotted will ever really fit through the door! It’s also ideal for estate agents, craftsmen, architects and interior designers, etc.
With: 2D and 3D floorplans to configure your project— to which you can add objects, annotations and attributes with no need to move furniture.
Available on Android and iOS
HOW YOUR HOUSE WORKS
What: Ever paid for a professional to give their expert opinion on something, only for it to be a fault you could have figured out with just a little know-how? How Your House Works is described as a homeowner’s visual guide to home repair and maintenance and is essentially like having a home repair expert at your fingertips.
It certainly pays to be an informed consumer, and How Your House Works is a formula to quickly understand what you’re dealing with when solving an urgent problem, talking to your repairman, or planning your new home or remodelling project.
How: This app provides easy to understand explanations of how many things in a house are put together and how each item functions – from plumbing to electrical, heating and air conditioning, appliances, and doors and windows.
With: Much like an e-book, you can search for key words or topics with ease and bookmark them for later.
Priced at £2.29 and is available on Android and iOS