Make your dumb home smart

Matthew Grocoff

September 3, 2015

By: Matthew Grocoff, Green Renovation Expert

In: Green Living

CURB smart home

If your home only had a brain.

Without a brain your home can't think. If it can't think then it will do stupid things. The only way you know how stupid it can be is when you're utility company sends you a jaw-dropping electric bill. But the utility company will only send you this information once a month and it won't tell you what your appliances, lights, and a/c are up to.

A new tech company from Austin, Texas wants to give your house the brain it deserves. CURB is the first affordable smart home energy monitor on the market. It will make your dumb appliances smart. By connecting sensors in your electrical breaker box, CURB can monitor every circuit in your home and give you information about how you can be more energy efficient.

There are other energy monitors out there. But CURB is different. First, it really can pay for itself in energy savings. Good monitors can cost $1,000, but CURB devices start at $250. Second, it is certified to work with Samsung's "Smart Things" home automation systems. You can know in real time how much energy your washing machine or refrigerator is using. You can also increase your energy savings by turning off lights or other smart switches through Z-wave and ZigBee wifi enabled devices.

See it in action here.

CURB products

Then there's the mobile app. The app will give you live reports and cost feedback about your energy use. This gives homeowners the ability to manage and track use in the same way a smart watch can track your fitness. You can think of the CURB Energy app as a fitness app for your home energy.

Fitness apps help you meet your goals by giving you instant feedback about your weight, exercise, sleep, and diet. The CURB Energy app gives you the same control over your home and all of your appliances. If your refrigerator starts using more energy than usual, it may be a signal that something is wrong and it needs repair. CURB can recognize these patterns and alert you when your fridge or dryer may be acting up. For example, it might give you a tip that your dryer's spike in energy use may be the result of a chunk of fur balls stuck in your vent. Simply removing the offending fuzz could end up saving you big money and improve the performance of your dryer.

It will also give you "push notifications" about unsafe situations. If you accidentally leave the curling iron on in the bathroom, CURB will ping you. You've got a lot going on. It doesn't hurt to have a smart home to tell you when you've done something stupid.

My favorite part about this energy monitor is that it will give you weekly alerts and forecast your upcoming bill. This let's you take immediate action before getting smacked with a mind-zapping bill from the electric company. You can set your own energy budget and stay on track.

CURB says that customers will be able to set up specific rules based on energy data and other sensors in their home. For example, if the windows or doors in a home are open and the air conditioner turns on, the CURB app will send a real-time update to the homeowner; alerting them and helping eliminate energy waste. There are an endless number of ways customers can configure CURB with SmartThings, making their homes more energy efficient, convenient, and safer.

There are many smart home appliances out there. There are fridges that will tell you when you've left the door open. There are stoves that will turn on and off from an app. There are thermostats that you can set from your phone. With CURB you can make your home smarter now. No need to wait for upgrading everything in your home and you don't have to wait for all the smart tech to arrive. It can truly make your dumb stuff smart. And with the Smart Things integration, you'll still have the chance to get down and geeky in the future. You'll finally have something useful to do with your new Apple Watch.

The first products are expected be delivered in September. You can order them on Indigogo and get your CURB now at: http://igg.me/at/curb.

Images via CURB Inc.

Disclosure: I am an advisor to CURB, Inc. I do get compensated for advice that I give to the company, but opinions are my own and not in exchange for compensation.

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