Some TechEasy Advice for Canada-bound Saffas!

By Teneal Bird

There are many things in Canada that we as South African’s need to adapt to, including the electronic department. From the change of plugs (or electronic outlets as most people call them) to the voltage of your South African items. We wouldn’t want you wasting your money by bringing unnecessary items across.

That’s why we’ve asked the folks from TechEasy to give us a few pointers on just how different the country is from an electronic perspective, what items will become a necessity, and what advice they can provide to help you along with this new journey.

The most important question is whether you can bring your electronics over from South Africa, and the answer is yes! You can get some of them, but not all of them. Modern power devices like laptops, computers, etc., are likely to auto-detect and auto-adapt to different voltages. High-power devices that generate heat cannot handle different voltages.

These include:

  • Hair Dryers,
  • Baby Bottle Warmers
  • Kitchen Appliances.

Your electronics from South Africa have a whopping 220 Volts to carry, while Canada’s electronics only run on 120 Volts. It’s a substantial difference that requires you to take some extra steps in preparation for your trip. Thankfully, many of our devices can switch to the network voltage automatically. Mobile phone chargers are multi-voltage, but it’s encouraged to check before using them. You must pay attention to your device’s voltage because connecting electronics to the wrong voltage, in the luckiest cases, will cause the device to break or stop working – but in the worst case, it could lead to electrocution and fire hazards.

You will need to invest in a step-up voltage converter device that plugs into 120 Volts. Pay special attention to the maximum power output of the converter and the maximum power consumption of the device.

Doorbells and Security

Something glaringly apparent in Canada is a doorbell. It’s a luxury in South Africa, one would think. Here it’s seen on almost every door. They’re a necessity in Canada and all over the world for three main reasons:

  • To remain safe and secure. A smart doorbell will allow you to stay safely tucked away inside your home. When someone rings it, you can communicate with them without ever opening the door. Most smart doorbells come with a camera, a speaker and a microphone, and finally, it has integrations with connected home security devices like a surveillance camera. In this way, you can set up an entire innovative home security system complete with a doorbell, cameras, sensors and more.
  • These systems allow you to keep an eye on things while you’re away. You can check in and ensure your front door or entryway is safe. Notifications are sent to you when mail or packages are delivered. You can also talk to the delivery man or woman and tell them the best place to put your items until you can return home.
  • They’re more convenient than a regular doorbell. You can answer from anywhere in your home, or even not at home if you want. You need to open the smartphone app and look at who is waiting for you. The application will send you notifications and alerts when someone rings the bell. So, on top of hearing the bell, you’ll be notified on your phone. If it’s someone soliciting or someone you don’t trust, you never need to stop what you’re doing. You can look on the app, ignore them or ask them to leave.

Canada is significantly safer than South Africa in terms of crime, but the sale of security services and appliances is a necessary feature and often comes with internet packages. Break-ins and thefts do happen sometimes, and they can be a massive headache. Having devices like a video doorbell or an intelligent security system significantly reduces the likelihood of those activities. Home insurance providers also offer a discount to homeowners with security features like alarms and video cameras installed on their property.

An image of devices that make up a smart home network such as Google Nest

Cooling and heating systems.

The seasons over here are drastic, but one thing that is not commonplace in South Africa that is common here is thermostats. It never gets cold enough to need a constant heating system flowing through our house, so all these unique brands and tools are foreign. But there’s more to a thermostat than regulating temperature.

You’re able to save on your heating and cooling bills and save the environment at the same time. A smart thermostat can save you up to 23% annually on your heating and cooling costs. Reducing your home’s overall energy consumption can benefit the environment in a significant way. Researchers estimate that if everyone in North America installed a certified smart thermostat, we could offset 13 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions, which equals the emissions of 1.2 million vehicles.

Thermostats are equipped similarly to doorbells, or at least the intelligent thermostats are. You can control the temperature from anywhere, whether you snuggle in your bed or jet-setting around the globe. Top brands like Google Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell and Emerson Sensi offer an app that acts as an intelligent thermostat remote control on your phone, tablet, or computer. Users can monitor their home’s room-by-room temperature, adjust timer settings, and understand how much energy their home is consuming.

These thermostats combine with your other smart home devices, such as an intelligent smoke and carbon monoxide detector. If a fire gets detected in your home, the Google Nest Protect signals the connected Nest Thermostat to turn off the heat to keep the flames from spreading. The device checks its batteries and sensors over 400 times per day are from your smartphone. The Nest offers other smart home integrations, including a smart doorbell, security cameras and home locks. Ecobee offers an intelligent light switch, and Honeywell sells intelligent home security cameras.

The best place to start when it comes to connected technology is with a robust home internet network. There are many decisions to make regarding services providers, wired vs wireless, required speeds, the number of devices and a whole host more that can become incredibly confusing. TechEasy recommends working with a company to help you put a system together to work for your specific situation. That’s why we support our customers end-to-end in designing, installing, and supporting high-quality home internet networks. TechEasy can help with anything from WiFi boosters to business-grade network infrastructure.

If you would like to learn more about TechEasy or consider setting up your innovative home systems once you arrive in Canada, go ahead and look at their website. Alternatively, have a look at this checklist to see what you will need to bring before you arrive.

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