motely, at certain times of the day, or based on your location.
Heating & Cooling
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is another
natural choice in home automation. One of the most cost-
effective HomeKit-compatible devices in this category is the
iDevices Thermostat ($129.95). Competing thermostats cost
more yet accomplish the same objective, namely setting and
maintaining the air temperature in your home.
Installing the thermostat takes about 10 minutes. The most
time-consuming task is disconnecting your existing thermostat and wiring and mounting the iDevices one. Assuming
that the HVAC equipment in your home was installed within
the last 10 years, you should be able to install it yourself without any problem. For older homes, however, you may need to
call an outside contractor to help you swap out the existing
thermostat for a HomeKit-compatible one.
Once connected, you can use the free iDevices Connected
app (free) to locate and configure the thermostat settings.
When the app identifies your thermostat, pair it by entering
the PIN on the thermostat screen when prompted by the app.
You can then modify the temperature either by toggling the
on-screen arrows up or down or asking Siri to do it for you.
You can use the Home app to create a Scene that sets the
temperature at specified degrees and trigger these Scenes
by telling Siri the name of the Scene. For example, naming a
Scene that lowers the heat to 64 degrees Fahrenheit “Leaving
for Work” and then telling Siri “I’m leaving for work” will activate the Scene and lower the temperature accordingly.
Scheduling temperature changes is also easy via creating a
Scene in the app that allows you to enter the date, time, and
temperature you want to set the thermostat to, thereby automating your HVAC system and saving you money by lowering
your energy consumption when you’re not at home. Once you
have perfected your Scenes, you may never have to touch the
Monitoring Your Smart Home
With lighting and temperature under HomeKit control, let’s
consider devices for monitoring air quality, appliances’ electri-
cal usage, and security. Elgato, a company once known for its
Apple Mac media recording hardware, has since moved onto
the HomeKit automation platform in a big way. The company’s
Eve line of products allows you to remotely trigger power out-
lets; monitor indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, and
air quality; and be alerted when doors and windows are being
opened and closed.
Of all the HomeKit-compatible items discussed in this article, Elgato’s Eve Energy ($49.95) is the easiest to set up.
Just plug it into a power outlet, type its HomeKit PIN into the
free Eve app, and you’re done! In addition to toggling power
to whatever electrical device is connected to Eve Energy’s
receptacle, the device also tracks energy usage so you’ll
know how much it’s costing you to heat that coffee pot every
Eve Room ($79.95) is nearly as simple to configure. Remove the battery cover, insert batteries, type the PIN in the
Eve app, and you will see what the indoor temperature, humidity, and overall air quality is in your room of choice. I placed
one in our basement so I know when it’s cool in the summer
or damp after a rain shower. You can also monitor outdoor
weather conditions using Eve Weather ($49.95).
Another useful monitoring device is the Eve
Door & Window Sensor
($39.95) that alerts you
when a door or window
is opened or closed. Like
Eve Room, setup is as
easy as connecting a battery and typing in a PIN.
Never again will I have
to wonder if I left my
bedroom window open
when it’s raining because
Eve will let me know,
courtesy of its HomeKit
Now that the inside
of your home has been
automated with the lat-