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Options for Creating a Smart-Home

Date: Friday, 24 April 2015

Many people are taking the opportunity to turn their house into a smart-home. With so many new innovations and technological advances continuing to make houses easier and more fun to live in, now is a perfect time to get started with converting your home into a smart-home. You don’t have to break the bank or your back to add some smart-home changes to your house with these options.

Subscription Based Packages

Certain companies such as ADT and Vivint offer more than just security systems. They also offer various home automation and monitoring devices. Many companies offer these devices as a fully integrated system, but some allow you to pick and choose which features you want. These systems offer automation and remote control over various aspects of the house such as lights, thermostat, appliances and even door locks. You can also remotely activate and deactivate many systems from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

These devices aren’t simply for convenience, either. Home automation, especially for the thermostat and lighting, are great for home energy efficiency. If you don’t need heat upstairs, then you can easily turn the thermostat down for that floor or even specific rooms. If you leave the house and forget to turn off the lights, you can remotely shut them off from your smartphone.

These systems run on subscriptions, but they’re professionally installed and any device that needs monitoring is constantly monitored by trained professionals.

DIY Systems

If you don’t feel like paying a monthly fee or paying for professional installation, there are numerous DIY options that you can install in your home such as systems from SmartThings, Staples Connect, Vera and Wink. These systems offer many of the same features as subscription based packages, and some systems even offer a few devices that you can’t get from subscription based systems. One of the biggest benefits with DIY systems is the customization of the programs. You can set certain devices to perform actions at specified times of the day and you can update programs if you have changes in your schedule.

It’s a cheaper and more customized method of creating a smart-home, but the difficult part is installing everything. Many devices for smart-homes can be installed with little to no trouble, but there are some that require more complicated alterations to your home in order to work properly. Some of the more drastic changes will require proper construction safety training to ensure that you and everyone else involved in the project will be as safe as possible during installation. For example, many z-wave light switches require a neutral wire, which many older homes do not have.

Small Changes to Make a Faux Smart-Home

If you’re on a budget or just not looking to make huge changes to your house for the sake of home automation, there are many small devices that you can put into your home to make your life a little easier and fun.

Motion sensor lights both for indoor and outdoor use are one of the most basic and cost effective smart-home options available.

Smart locks are easily installed on doorways to allow you to remotely lock and unlock your doors from any location. Additionally, you can get a video doorbell that allows you to see and talk with the person at the door even if you’re not at home.

Water Pebble water savers are small devices that you can merely place in your shower or bathtub. They monitor how much water you use and the typical length of your showers to create a benchmark for indicating when you should end your showers to help save water.

The Nest learning thermostat creates a schedule for changes in temperature based on your manual settings over a period of time. Once it learns your routine, it will automate the temperature within the house on its own, which can save you hundreds of dollars in heating bills. If your routine changes, you can manually change the current settings or the schedule from the base or your smartphone.

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Many people are taking the opportunity to turn their house into a smart-home. With so many new innovations and technological advances continuing to make houses easier and more fun to live in, now is a perfect time to get started with converting your home into a smart-home. You don’t have to break the bank or your back to add some smart-home changes to your house with these options.

Subscription Based Packages

Certain companies such as ADT and Vivint offer more than just security systems. They also offer various home automation and monitoring devices. Many companies offer these devices as a fully integrated system, but some allow you to pick and choose which features you want. These systems offer automation and remote control over various aspects of the house such as lights, thermostat, appliances and even door locks. You can also remotely activate and deactivate many systems from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

These devices aren’t simply for convenience, either. Home automation, especially for the thermostat and lighting, are great for home energy efficiency. If you don’t need heat upstairs, then you can easily turn the thermostat down for that floor or even specific rooms. If you leave the house and forget to turn off the lights, you can remotely shut them off from your smartphone.

These systems run on subscriptions, but they’re professionally installed and any device that needs monitoring is constantly monitored by trained professionals.

DIY Systems

If you don’t feel like paying a monthly fee or paying for professional installation, there are numerous DIY options that you can install in your home such as systems from SmartThings, Staples Connect, Vera and Wink. These systems offer many of the same features as subscription based packages, and some systems even offer a few devices that you can’t get from subscription based systems. One of the biggest benefits with DIY systems is the customization of the programs. You can set certain devices to perform actions at specified times of the day and you can update programs if you have changes in your schedule.

It’s a cheaper and more customized method of creating a smart-home, but the difficult part is installing everything. Many devices for smart-homes can be installed with little to no trouble, but there are some that require more complicated alterations to your home in order to work properly. Some of the more drastic changes will require proper construction safety training to ensure that you and everyone else involved in the project will be as safe as possible during installation. For example, many z-wave light switches require a neutral wire, which many older homes do not have.

Small Changes to Make a Faux Smart-Home

If you’re on a budget or just not looking to make huge changes to your house for the sake of home automation, there are many small devices that you can put into your home to make your life a little easier and fun.

Motion sensor lights both for indoor and outdoor use are one of the most basic and cost effective smart-home options available.

Smart locks are easily installed on doorways to allow you to remotely lock and unlock your doors from any location. Additionally, you can get a video doorbell that allows you to see and talk with the person at the door even if you’re not at home.

Water Pebble water savers are small devices that you can merely place in your shower or bathtub. They monitor how much water you use and the typical length of your showers to create a benchmark for indicating when you should end your showers to help save water.

The Nest learning thermostat creates a schedule for changes in temperature based on your manual settings over a period of time. Once it learns your routine, it will automate the temperature within the house on its own, which can save you hundreds of dollars in heating bills. If your routine changes, you can manually change the current settings or the schedule from the base or your smartphone.

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Jody Costello

Americas’ Home Renovation Planning Expert

Home Improvement Expert

eLocal.com

Home Improvement Expert

eHow.com

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