By now, you're probably familiar with the basics of what a smart home can do: unlock and lock your doors remotely, control devices like lights and thermostats from your smart app and allow these gadgets to talk to one another and create automated scenes to make life easier and comfortable.

1. Turn on and off the slow cooker

You heard right - you can actually use a Z-Wave smart home appliance module or a smart plug to turn off kitchen appliances at any time and from any location. Maybe you planned on a pork roast for dinner and turned the Crock Pot on before you left. Now it looks like you're going to be late getting home, and your dinner might sit there much too long. If it's plugged into a Z-Wave smart outlet, you can easily switch the slow cooker off from your smart phone and come home to a (still warm) and perfectly cooked meal.

2. Adjust window coverings

Giving your window treatments - whether they are blinds or shades - some smarts, can be enormously helpful in temperature control, lighting and protecting your interior from sun damage. On top of that, being able to customize and remotely control whether your shades are open and shut at certain times of the day is an excellent home security feature. Options for adding smart home functionality and automation to your window treatments can include buying motorized shades with Z-Wave functionality - in addition to newer options on the market like retrofit solutions that add a smart motor to your existing shades or blinds.

3. Get movie night started

When all the things in your home are connected via Z-Wave, all it takes is a touch of a button your smartphone or scene controller to get everything within your home theater system working in sync. Just imagine how great it will be when one simple motion let you control everything in your living room, from the television set and speakers to lights. Homeowners used to spend thousands of dollars on obtaining and installing this kind of functionality, but now doing this is easy and affordable thanks to Z-Wave.

4. Prevent flooding in your home

Whether it's a leaky pipe from winter freeze or unpredictable weather patterns bringing strong rains, any amount of water in the home can cause major damage quickly. Today there are connected devices like flood sensors that can pair with a Z-Wave enabled hub, and will push notifications to your smart home and let you stop the leak as soon as it starts. But what about if you're not home? Connected valve shut off devices can be integrated into your Z-Wave system and set to automatically shut off the water in your home if a leak is detected, preventing any major water damage in the home.

5. Install a sprinkler system that knows the local weather

This is one of the more surprising uses of Z-Wave, and it helps to illustrate just how versatile home automation solutions really are. No matter where you are, you can make sure your flowers and shrubbery are properly watered and maintained. Some irrigation products in the Z-Wave family, when paired with a hub, can pull in the local forecast and adjust the watering schedule based on precipitation and temperature. This not only automates the process of watering your landscaping but ultimately saves money and prevents unnecessary water usage.