It’s amazing how quickly a home that seemed too small when it was inhabited by children, became a gaping empty nest once they were gone. Now we rarely use more than a few rooms of our house. It’s not that it’s a large home, no it’s only about 1800 square feet, it’s because there are just two of us now and we stick to the same few rooms.
Unfortunately our 1970’s heating system doesn’t know that we’ve closed off and stopped using parts of the house. With its outdated technology it barely goes beyond off and on. We did give it a technology boost by installing a smart thermostat last year, which I highly recommend to everyone, for the added scheduling functions and being able to access it online to control the household temperature. But what the smart thermostat can’t do is create zones in our home so that only the rooms we use are heated.
We didn’t want to continue heating the entire house when it wasn’t necessary, so we have been using space heaters to bring up the temp in our favorite rooms while leaving the furnace’s job to come on only when the house is in danger of frost or when we have company over. Our portable heaters work fine, but none of them are “smart.” Some have remotes, but that’s the limitation on their features. It also means that because they have to be turned on and off manually, if we forgot and leave one running when we leave the house, we have to worry the whole time that we might cause a fire.
Now there’s another way. A smart space heater that adds one more layer of functionality making our home just a little bit smarter. It’s the new Holmes® Smart Console Heater enabled by WeMo®. It’s accessed by a free app that’s available for your mobile device which allows you to turn it on, off, or change the temperature. It also allows you to schedule it to automatically turn on/off on the days of the week and at the time your choose and offers a “Frost Prevention” option which turns it on any time the temperature in the rooms reads below 40 degrees. But why would you want to access your heater remotely? So that you can arrive home to a warm room, or to warm the basement before you head down there to do the laundry or watch TV. If you have kids you can see what the temperature is while you’re away or in their bedroom at night right from your phone.
Holmes® Smart Console Heater, Enabled by WeMo®
I downloaded the free app from the Google Play store for Android (though it works for Apple as well). Installation was insanely easy as I was guided through the process on my phone with drawings that told me exactly what to do and how to do it. It’s probably the easiest setup of a smart device I’ve ever completed. After a few minutes my Holmes heater was available via the free WeMo®app so now I can power it off and on, see the current temp setting, change the temp, and choose from high, low, or eco settings.
What I Love About the Holmes Smart Console Heater with WeMo
The design is fabulous. Hidden inside the legs are wheels so it can be moved easily but because of the design, the typical wobbliness associated with wheels is prevented. A window lets you see at a glance from across the room if the unit is one and LED lights are included on the dashboard. The heater’s thermostat appears to be accurate and it can warm even a large room easily. We still have a chemical odor when we run it, you know the “new heater smell,” but I’m assuming it will go away with more use. It’s very quite and and goes about it’s business of keeping us comfortable quietly.
Holmes Smart Console Heater with WeMo – My Struggles
I was disappointed to see that there isn’t connectivity for this particular product on IFTTT . If This, Then That is a great way to automate a wide range tasks and it works with the WeMo app for other products. I use IFTTT with our furnace’s smart thermostat and I have it scour Craigslist for deals that it delivers to my inbox. I’d love to see IFTTT compatibility added to the Holmes Smart Heater so that it could alert me when a room’s temperature is over, or under, my redetermined temperature – especially important if you have the heater in a room with a child or a senior who may have dementia or other cognitive issues who may have used the controls on the heater to change the temperature. That would give me the chance to turn the heater on/off to prevent damage from extreme temperature. I could also use it to tell the heater to come on/off when the outside temperature changes. It’s something I do with our furnace thermostat now which makes heating and cooling more efficient.
There are a few things about the connectivity you may want to be aware of. For example, if you unplug the unit you’ll need to reconnect it to the app which for me means in addition to manually pushing the button to reconnect on the heater, the app has to be shut down and restarted. Also, the heater stays in a ready mode while it’s attached via Wi-Fi so that you can “talk” to it. If you want to prevent it from turning on while you’re away, you’ll need to turn the temperature down or risk it coming on once it dips below the temperature set on the heater.
I do have a few safety concerns. The first is turning the unit on while you’re away. There’s no way for you to know for sure that it’s got proper clearance and that no one has mistakenly placed something on it. Granted in our home that’s not a problem because when you live with a firefighter you get constant reminders about all the ways you can burn your house down and you learn very quickly not to ever place something on a portable heater or place it closer than 3 feet to any combustible object. Adding a Wi-Fi camera in the room would let you know for sure and is worth the approximately $30 it’d cost for an internet camera.
My second concern is what would happen if the heater is on and the Wi-Fi disconnects so you can no longer access it online. I’m not sure if there’s a safety feature to shut it down if it becomes disconnected, but even then, it may be that it automated shutoff could leave your home in danger of freezing. I checked the user manual and didn’t see an answer for this and I’ve not owned it long enough to have had this situation occur yet. Prefer a low-tech household like my husband? No problem. There’s no remote to lose and all of the controls are available on the front of the heater which makes using the heater manually easy.
Holmes offers several smart appliances including the Holmes® Smart Humidifier and the Holmes® Smart Air Purifier. I hope to add an air purifier to my home this year and this one is definitely in the running! Find out more about the Holmes® Smart Console Heater as well as all of their smart products on their website.
Have you started making your home smarter? I’d love to hear what you’ve done!