HomeServe USA on Tuesday announced the findings of the winter 2019 edition of its Biannual State of the Home Survey, which shows a majority of homeowners – 56% – report having at least one smart home device.

Use of voice-controlled assistant (e.g., Amazon Alexa, Google Home) topped the list at 35%, while 20% report using smart light bulbs. Video monitoring (e.g., Amazon Cloud Cam, Nest Cam, Ring, Arlo) came in at 17% and smart heating/cooling technology is used by 16% of homeowners.

The twice annual survey, now in its eighth edition, also reports on the financial impact of home repairs and the state of the American home. The winter edition of the online survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from Feb. 27-March 1, 2019, among 2,031 U.S. adults age 18 and older, including 1,429 who identified themselves as homeowners. The survey also examined the adoption of mobile device apps to manage the home.

36% of homeowners report using at least one mobile app, with apps that manage smart devices and appliances/electronics (e.g., Alexa, Sonos, Nest, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings) topping the list at 27%. 9% reported using home repair apps (e.g., Centriq, WikiHow, DIY Tip Genius, BrightNest) and eight% use a mobile app to track house cleaning schedules and chores (e.g., Tody, OurHome, HabitHub).

“Smart home technology adoption will likely continue to rise as homeowners get more comfortable using these new technologies,” said HomeServe USA Chief Executive Officer John Kitzie. “That is why HomeServe is committed to offering our customers technology solutions that simplify their lives -- including a new partnership with Centriq to offer a mobile solution to help customers better manage their homes.”

All eight editions of the survey, which first began in 2015, have examined the savings habits of Americans in relation to emergency home repairs. The previous survey, conducted in summer 2018, found that more than one in five (22%) homeowners have no money set aside for a home repair emergency. That number dropped slightly to 18% in the most recent edition of the survey, but is the same level seen in the winter 2018 survey (20%).

Of those homeowners with household incomes of less than $50,000, almost one-third (31%) reported having no savings set aside for an unexpected home emergency. In addition, while some contend that contributing to a “rainy-day” fund is the best way to prepare for an unexpected home emergency, the survey data clearly shows that such a fund is not being utilized by many homeowners. 43% of homeowners reported having no rainy-day fund or emergency savings fund or a specific line item in their budget for home maintenance or unexpected home repair costs. That number increases to 52% for homeowners with a household income under $50,000.

“The trend continues in current edition of the Biannual State of the Home survey – far too many homeowners are not financially prepared for an emergency home repair. This is especially true for homeowners with household incomes of less than $50,000, who, unfortunately, would be the hardest hit by an unexpected and expensive home emergency,” said John Kitzie. “We know that based upon survey results, more than half of homeowners have experienced some sort of emergency home repair in the past 12 months.”

The survey showed that emergency home repairs are an unfortunate reality of homeownership. 54% of Americans reported having a home repair emergency in the last year alone, with heating or air conditioning (HVAC) system repair or replacement (16%), blocked/overflowing toilet (14%), and leaking water pipes (12%) topping the list of the most common home emergency repairs.

For the first time, the survey examined how homeowners identify a service person or company to complete home repairs. 41% rely on referrals from family and friends, while 27% search online. A small number, 5%, reported using smartphone apps to find repair professionals.