It’s now possible to take control of household appliances remotely simply by using apps on our smart phone. Also clever monitoring devices are helping to spot problems such as leaks, and lessen the worry when we leave our homes empty during the day or for longer periods of time.

We take a look at the latest technological innovations for our homes:

Someone’s at the door
What are the chances of the delivery man turning up when you need to pop out for a pint of milk? If you’re out, you’re out, right? Not entirely.

Video doorbells allow you to answer your doorbell without being the other side of the door. When someone rings your doorbell, you get an alert via your phone, tablet or laptop. A video camera and two-way mic on the doorbell allow you to see and talk to the person calling, whether it’s to tell someone to leave your parcel in a safe place or to give the impression that you’re home and can’t come to the door, should the caller look a little suspicious.

You can also get cameras that record, so you’ll be able to capture the image of anyone who comes to your door. They can also alert you to any motion detected if someone walks to your door but doesn’t ring the bell.

Fancy a cuppa?

A smart power switch is one of the simplest ways to get a smart device in your home. It plugs into your wall socket and then you can plug your household appliance such as a lamp, fan or kettle into the switch. It’s easy to set up and you can turn the attached electrical device on and off remotely. They can also monitor electrical consumption.

You create a schedule to turn the plug on and off, and it has an away mode that will turn your devices on to make it look like you’re home. Many plugs can also be linked to other smart home devices.

It’s getting cold in there

You can now buy a range of smart products, from cameras to thermostats, which can talk to each other – and other products while monitoring things in your home.

We all know how nice it is to walk into a toasty home when it’s freezing outside. You can use apps that monitor the temperature around home and alerts you if the temperature drops. You can use your smart phone to pop the heating on earlier than normal so you don’t have to sit in your coat when you first get home.

Smart smoke and COalarms are especially useful because they can let you know remotely if they detect smoke or high levels of CO2. Some can also distinguish between steam while cooking and smoke so they won’t go off while you’re busy in the kitchen! The connected app allows you to enter an emergency contact number, so you can just tap the alert to notify the fire brigade or National Gas Emergency Service, without having to look up the number.

Connected cameras allow you to monitor your home 24/7 while you’re away. They are often smart enough to differentiate between sounds, such as a dog barking and a person talking, and alert you to any unusual activity.

What’s that noise coming from the pipe?
In the days before smart technology, if there was a leak while you were out at work or on holiday, the first you’d know would be when you walked in a room with water pouring through your ceiling.

It is now possible to buy a device which alerts you to the smallest leak before it becomes a serious issue. It is fitted to the pipe near your stop tap. When it spots a change in the flow of water through your pipes, you’ll receive a message to let you know. Some products also have an app which can help arrange a repair person to come to your house to fix the problem.

What’s a connected home?

While all these devices are really useful on their own, what takes it all to a new level is how they can ‘talk’ to each other and combine in fascinating ways. You can connect all your smart tech together and use one device to control them, whether you’re in another country or on your way home from the office.

You can also purchase plugs with USB ports so that you don’t have to use up space charging your mobile or tablet devices.

Don’t forget your home insurance
While some of these devices can help alert you to problems in your house, it’s still important to have home insurance for when you need it most such as accidental damage or theft.