Most of us have heard about the wonders of home automation. Just imagine a house where you can turn the lights on or off via voice commands, windows that automatically open and close according to weather conditions, etc. This type of house is commonly referred to as a ‘smart home.’ It is not just a concept, smart homes already exist.
Would you like to turn your house into a smart home? Although it might seem futuristic or part of a sci-fi movie, smart home technology is readily available. Shortly, most home appliances will be equipped with communication capabilities to interconnect with each other. These networks of appliances and devices are already standardized in what we call ‘Internet of Things (IoT).’
The IoT paradigm will allow smart homes to become ‘smarter’ by learning and adapting to the behavior patterns of their inhabitants. Multiple sensors will gather the necessary data that a controller will analyze to determine the needs of the home inhabitants. Then, through electronic commands, appliances, and devices equipped with actuators will respond accordingly.
However, you do not have to wait until the IoT technology is fully implemented. You can start automating your home little by little with the gadgets and equipment already available. What about some smart lights to begin with? Or a minimalist standing desk for your home office? Below, we describe the necessary steps to get an automated home.
Table of Contents
Step 1. Get Information about Home Automation
You already know a smart home utilizes several gadgets wirelessly connected to simplify your activities at home and make life more comfortable. But that is not enough to start implementing a smart home. You must get well acquainted with the smart home products in the market. It will also help to learn about the technology such products use.
You do not need to become an expert in home automation; but for example, knowing the different communication protocols these devices use can come in handy when deciding which devices you should buy. With all this information, you can determine whether you need to replace all your appliances with ‘smart’ ones.
In many cases, you can buy kits including the necessary devices for automation. Such an integrated solution is easier to install, more energy efficient, and requires less maintenance. Yet, you still need to get familiar with these kits’ characteristics so you can compare and choose the most convenient for your house.
Step 2. Decide Which Parts of Your House to Automate First
Once you start reading about home automation solutions, you will inevitably feel the urge to buy all the smart devices you see announced. But think about whether you need fancy automation gadgets right now or if they can wait for a while. The best thing to do is to determine which parts of your home you want to automate first and assign them priorities.
As a suggestion, you should prioritize the automation of:
- Lighting (both indoor and outdoor).
- Thermostats (for cooling and heating the house).
- Security systems.
Then, you can think about automating your kitchen, home entertainment center, bathroom, and other spaces. Fancy devices like a smart coffee maker that automatically prepares a cup of coffee as soon as a sensor detects you wake up can wait at the end of the list.
Step 3. Set a Budget for Automation
Contrary to what most people believe, automation is not necessarily super expensive. However, you must invest some money to get optimal results. Hence, the best practice is to set a budget for your home automation project. This way, you can choose the gadgets you actually need and not all things that you want.
Also, consider energy efficiency. When you add many sensors and smart appliances to your electric network, your monthly energy consumption will increase. Choose devices that consume the least possible to keep your operating costs within your budget. Whenever possible, include maintenance costs in your budget.
Step 4. Ensure the Viability of Your Home Automation Project
Upgrading your home by installing sensors and automation gadgets will need the alteration of some spaces. If you live in your own house, drilling on a wall to install a sensor might not be a big problem. But if you rent, you have to consult your lease contract to ensure whether you are allowed to make such alterations. Likewise, if you live in an apartment, you must verify whether your building allows the changes you plan to do.
Likewise, you must ensure all the devices you will use can be interconnected. Verify your Wi-Fi connection is reliable and that the signal level is adequate in all spaces at your home. If you think the Wi-Fi connection is not entirely reliable, consider installing a wired Ethernet connection for some devices.
Step 5. Consult Home Automation Experts
Unless you are an engineer or technician with the necessary knowledge, abilities, and tools, you should work with automation experts. In many cases, automation needs electrical wiring, the configuration of telecommunication equipment, and other technical tasks. To avoid damaging devices you have already bought, let professionals install them if you are unsure of your skills.