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There are plenty of myths and lies about smart homes 7 Common Smart Home Myths That Simply Aren't True 7 Common Smart Home Myths That Simply Aren't True Smart home devices are no different than most other gadgets -- and there are many misconceptions that people have about them. Let's clear those up! Read More floating around, but one of the worst misconceptions is the idea that smart homes are nothing more than gimmicks. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

We’ve explored the practical benefits of a smart home Save Energy and Money With These Smart Home Devices Save Energy and Money With These Smart Home Devices One of the biggest benefits of a smart home is the energy saving technologies available. As well as saving money, you’ll also be pushing toward a more sustainable, convenient living situation. Read More on many occasions, but did you know that there are health benefits as well? That’s right. One or two smart purchases could drastically improve your quality of life at home.

Skeptical? That’s fine. I just ask that you keep an open mind as we explore said health benefits in this article. You may be pleasantly surprised by how reasonable and non-gimmicky they are!

1. Better Quality Sleep at Night

As I write this, I’m suffering through an intense heat wave that’s been going on for close to two weeks now. For most people, the worst part of a heat wave is the sudden spike in cooling costs to reach a comfortable home temperature.

For frugal folks like me, the worst part of a heat wave is the onset of restless nights and the inability to get a good night’s sleep.

home-temperature-humidity-heat-wave

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But as we all know, insomnia isn’t an issue that only occurs during heat waves. In 2008, NPR claimed that “roughly 60 million Americans are affected by [insomnia] each year” — or just under 20% of the population. That number is likely higher now.

As it turns out, recent research shows that sleeplessness could be caused by sleeping at the wrong temperature. Most people think that colder is better, but too hot and too cold can harm sleep quality.

When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature — the temperature your brain is trying to achieve — goes down. Think of it as the internal thermostat. If it’s too cold … or too hot, the body struggles to achieve this set point.

If the room becomes uncomfortably hot or cold, you are more likely to wake up … [and] the comfort level of your bedroom temperature also especially affects the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the stage in which you dream.

So what’s the ideal range for sleep? Between 68-72 F.

Fortunately, there are smart home devices that can automatically set your home’s temperature to a comfortable level while you sleep, all without wasting energy unnecessarily. We’ll explore some of these devices below.

2. Prevent Growth of Mold and Bacteria

According to the University of Central Florida, there are four critical requirements for the growth and spread of mold:

  • Presence of mold spores. Mold spores are not only too small to see with the naked eye, they’re literally everywhere in the air and there’s no practical way to escape them, so don’t worry about this.
  • Food for the mold. Most molds can live off of anything that’s organic, but you’ll mostly find mold in areas with wood, paper, and organic fibers. Keeping clean can stave off mold.
  • Warm temperatures. Mold tends to grow at the same temperatures that are comfortable for humans, so unless you’re prepared to be uncomfortable, temperature control isn’t a good way to prevent mold.
  • High humidity. Most molds need a lot of water to thrive — a relative humidity of 70% or higher — which is why mold is common in bathrooms and in areas hit with water leaks.

Bacteria also need water to thrive, and can start growing with exponential speed at a relative humidity of 50% or higher. Mold can be an irritant (e.g. eyes) and can cause respiratory issues while bacteria can cause serious illnesses (e.g. Legionnaires’ disease).

By controlling the humidity in your house, you can limit the amount of mold and bacteria and thus improve your health.

3. Alleviate Physical Discomfort

Temperatures and humidities outside of the optimal range for humans can cause a lot of direct discomfort as well.

I mean, most of us know what it feels like to suffer through a prolonged heat wave or to be surprised by a cold snap that we weren’t prepared for, right? The unlucky among us have to deal with both swings year after year.

But did you know that humidity also plays a huge role in our day-to-day comfort at home? Indeed, humidity — the amount of moisture in the air — can be more impactful that you might think.

home-temperature-humidity-dry

When the air is too dry, you can experience discomfort in the form of your eyes drying out Fact or Fiction? 6 Myths About Screens & Monitors (With Verdicts) Fact or Fiction? 6 Myths About Screens & Monitors (With Verdicts) How many of these screen-related myths have you heard? How many do you believe? You might be surprised at which ones are true and which ones aren't. Read More , inflammation in your sinuses and your airways due to dry mucous linings, and your skin becoming chapped or irritated due to lack of moisture (“winter itch”).

Low humidity is a big problem during the winter due to rampant heating, but it can also be a chronic circumstance if you live in a dry area. So what’s the ideal relative humidity for your house? Between 30–50%. Any higher will feel muggy and encourage the growth of mold and bacteria.

4. Increase Work Productivity

The last benefit of carefully monitoring and controlling the temperature and humidity in your home is all mental. An optimal environment can have a positive influence on your mental state, leading to more positive thoughts and actions.

On the one hand, this seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? It’s hard to do good work when you’re hands are frozen and shaking, just as it’s tough to concentrate when you’re hot, sticky, and melting in the heat.

But if it’s so obvious, let me ask you: what is the ideal temperature for optimal work productivity?

home-temperature-humidity-productivity

If you answered with “room temperature” — or approximately 68–70 F — then you’d actually be wrong! Room temperature is the best temperature for sleep quality, but it’s not quite optimal when it comes to getting work done and minimizing the amount of mistakes you make.

And if you answered below room temperature, you’d also be wrong. In fact, according to a 2004 study by Cornell University, warmer is better:

When the office temperature in a month-long study increased from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, typing errors fell by 44 percent and typing output jumped 150 percent.

At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were keyboarding 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but at 68 degrees, their keying rate went down to 54 percent of the time with a 25 percent error rate … Temperature is certainly a key variable that can impact performance.

So if you want to be more productive — whether you’re working from home or stuck in a cubicle — consider raising the temperature to several degrees above room temperature.

How to Monitor Home Temp and Humidity

Now the main question is, how can smart home products help you take advantage of these temperature- and humidity-related health benefits? Here are a few devices to know about. Feel free to cherry-pick the ones you find most interesting.

Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately) Buy Now At Amazon $98.85

Nest Learning Thermostat: The Nest is one of the most practical smart home devices you could ever buy. Not only can it significantly reduce your energy spendings, but it can increase the value of your home Installing These Smart Devices Can Increase Your Home's Value Installing These Smart Devices Can Increase Your Home's Value In this article, we take a look at which smart technology you should install that will let you add those extra few thousand dollars onto your asking price. Read More .

You can also do a bunch of other neat things with it 13 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With a Nest Thermostat 13 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With a Nest Thermostat You may be surprised just how many little tricks you can accomplish with your new Nest thermostat! Read More if you like tinkering. And the best part? It’s extremely easy to install no matter who you are How to Install and Use the Nest Thermostat to Automate Energy Savings How to Install and Use the Nest Thermostat to Automate Energy Savings If you've ever considered getting started with home automation, purchasing a Nest thermostat is the perfect way to start. In just a week of using it, we cut our energy consumption in half. Read More .

Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, Wi-Fi, 2nd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, Wi-Fi, 2nd Generation, Works with Amazon Alexa Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold separately) Buy Now At Amazon $218.51

Ecobee3 Smarter Thermostat: If the Nest doesn’t appeal to you for some reason, then check out the Ecobee3. There are several other alternatives to Nest out there Looking to Buy a Smart Thermostat? 5 Nest Alternatives Looking to Buy a Smart Thermostat? 5 Nest Alternatives When it comes to controlling the temperature of your home, the Nest smart thermostat is king, but there are plenty of options out there. Here are 5 you should consider if you're looking to buy. Read More , but none are quite as excellent as this one.

In fact, in our comparison of Ecobee3 vs. Nest Ecobee3 vs. Nest Thermostat: A Head-to-Head Comparison Ecobee3 vs. Nest Thermostat: A Head-to-Head Comparison Did you know that a smart thermostat can boost your home value? It's one of many reasons why a smart thermostat is well worth the initial investment. But which one should you get? Read More , we actually thought the Ecobee3 was on par, if not slightly better. Very good at keeping your home temperature in check while minimizing your energy bill.

Elertus Smart Sensor Alerts + Remote Temperature Monitoring System Elertus Smart Sensor Alerts + Remote Temperature Monitoring System Remotely monitor temperature and doors from your phone, tablet, and computer. Perfect for monitoring your home, cabin, sheds, garages, and more. Connects to your existing Wi-Fi network. Buy Now At Amazon $357.00

Elertus Remote Home Sensor: This sensor isn’t as useful as having one of the full-blown smart thermostats above, but it can still come in handy at times. Mount it anywhere and you can check in on it remotely with your smartphone.

The Elertus can monitor temperature, humidity, door status, light status, and movement. You can also create custom alerts (push, text, email) based on these, allowing you to effortlessly maintain optimal conditions at home.

SensorPush Wireless Thermometer / Hygrometer for iPhone / Android - Humidity & Temperature Smart Sensor with Alerts SensorPush Wireless Thermometer / Hygrometer for iPhone / Android - Humidity & Temperature Smart Sensor with Alerts Easy one-time setup: Install our free app (iOS 8+ or Android 4.3+) and hold the sensor against the screen Buy Now At Amazon $49.99

SensorPush Thermometer & Hygrometer: This tiny sensor is wonderful for any home or apartment. Stick it wherever you want to know about humidity/moisture levels and you can check in on it from anywhere using your smartphone.

Like with the Elertus, you can set it to push alerts to you when it detects anything out of the ordinary. Great for catching mold-prone conditions ahead of time, making it one of the best home investments you could make Attention Homeowners: 5 Smart Home Features Worth the Extra Cost Attention Homeowners: 5 Smart Home Features Worth the Extra Cost Which smart home features are worth it? Which ones can be safely tossed aside and ignored? Let's take a look at a few that are actually worth the money. Read More .

Holmes Smart Wifi-Enabled WeMo Whole Home Humidifier, HCM3888C Holmes Smart Wifi-Enabled WeMo Whole Home Humidifier, HCM3888C 2500 sq. ft. coverage ; 6.75-gallon output per day, 4-gallon water capacity Buy Now At Amazon $189.00

Holmes Smart Home Humidifier: If you live in a low-humidity climate, a humidifier is a must-have purchase — and if you’re going to get one anyway, why not make it a smart humidifier?

This 4-gallon one from Holmes can humidify homes up to 2,500 sq. ft. in size, or you can opt for the single large-room alternative. Using the Holmes app, you can program and control it using just your smartphone.

In addition to all of these devices, you should also think about ways to automate home climate based on the weather How to Use the Weather Forecast to Automate Your Home How to Use the Weather Forecast to Automate Your Home Many people think that "smart home" automation is only for geeks who have a pile of gadgets around their home, but there are some automation tricks you can do without loads of sensors. Read More as well as improving your air quality at home 4 Gadgets That Can Boost Indoor Air Quality and Keep You Healthy 4 Gadgets That Can Boost Indoor Air Quality and Keep You Healthy Let's take a look at checking your home's air quality, then filtering, and humidifying or dehumidifying. We'll also look at some impressive devices to help with each step. Read More , which comes with its own set of other health benefits.

A Smart Home, A Healthy Home

A lot of people fret about the potential cost of a smart home How Much Does a Smart Home Really Cost? How Much Does a Smart Home Really Cost? A smart home could change your life – freeing up time in your day and regulating your routine so you don't have to remember what needs to be done. But how expensive is it, really? Read More , but remember that you can pick-and-choose which devices to use. Want to spend under $100? Go for it! You’d be surprised by how affordable a smart home can be 6 Types of Home Automation You Can Actually Afford 6 Types of Home Automation You Can Actually Afford Are you ready to join the smart home revolution but worried that it's beyond your budget? Smart homes aren't that expensive, and there are plenty of components that the average homeowner can afford. Read More .

Just remember to stick to reputable smart home brands 9 Reputable Smart Home Brands With Products You Can Trust 9 Reputable Smart Home Brands With Products You Can Trust The modern world is moving toward all kinds of smart home automation, and the longer you hold out, the more difficult it's going to be when your day of conversion finally comes. Read More , at least as far as circumstances allow.

What do you set the temperature and humidity in your home to? And what do you use to set them? Do you think these devices are worth it? Share with us below!

Image Credits: Desert via Shutterstock, Laptop Sleep via Shutterstock

  1. Rob de Koter
    August 2, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Good article, one point: Dedicated smart thermostats like the Goodman Comfort net for Goodman heat pumps and AC's are usually more efficient then one size fits all like the Nest.

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