10 Questions to Ask When Considering a Home Automation System
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March 13, 2009 by EH Staff

When you consider the prospect of having an automation system for your home, your initial thoughts might be that you would need to completely rebuild your home and digest volumes of instruction manuals to learn how to use the automation features. Home automation is growing in popularity, and while it might seem financially out of reach, companies like Control4 develop systems that are both affordable and easy to use. The following are 10 things you might want to know when considering home automation.

1.What Do You Want in Home Automation?
As with most purchases that affect your lifestyle, you want to clearly define how you will benefit from the purchase. With a home automation system, your primary consideration is deciding what part of your life you want to enhance and simplify. Home automation systems are designed to provide convenience and efficiency to all aspects of your home including your home theater, multi-room music, lighting, heating and cooling, and security systems. You can also think about your priorities in terms of effortless entertainment, comfort and convenience, or peace of mind.

2.Where Should You Begin?
The beauty of home automation is that it is modular. You do not need your home to be fully automated for you to enjoy the benefits and convenience of home automation technology. You can start small and add other features over time. One of the more common starting places is your home theater where you have the ability to control all of the audio and video components and lights with a single remote. This same single-remote capability can apply to all areas of your home.

3.Do You Have to Build a New House to Enjoy Home Automation?
Today’s home automation systems can be easily installed in existing homes because they leverage standards-based wired and wireless technology. For example, you might want to automate the lighting throughout your home. This process does not require massive amounts of rewiring, the smart lighting system is retrofitted to function with your existing house lights and multipurpose key pads are used in place of your wall switches.

New homes under construction do not require any special wiring to accommodate automation. Electricians wire the home the same as any other home. In fact, the automation systems are not installed and configured until the home is complete.

4.Will You Need to Replace Your Current Entertainment Equipment?
Automating your entertainment center or home theater does not require the purchase of all new components. Control4’s technology is designed to integrate your existing audio and video devices. Even as technology advances, Control4’s products will always accommodate your current entertainment resources such as DVD and Blu-ray players.

5.Will Home Automation Technology Be Difficult to Understand?
You do not need to be a computer scientist to understand and use home automation to its full potential. The control mechanisms are all in the form of intuitive and easy-to-use keypads, touch screens, remotes, and TV screen menus. There are also navigation applications for iPhones, iPods, and Web browsers.

6.Will Home Automation Be More Costly to Use?
Home automation systems are designed to reduce energy consumption by giving you more control over your lighting and temperature control devices. Despite our best intentions, we waste energy by leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms and leaving the thermostat up when we leave the house. Home automation can virtually eliminate this waste by activating the lights and thermostat only when you need them and turning things off if you forget.

7.Is Home Automation Compatible With an Existing Security System?
Control4® technology is designed to incorporate virtually any existing security system. It can even make the system more convenient to use by letting you control the system from the same central control mechanisms that control your home’s other automated features.

8.Can You Access and Monitor Home Automation Features Remotely?
Home automation systems have numerous features that can give you peace of mind. Whether you are across the street or across the country, you can access your home automation system through a Web browser. This option lets you confirm or modify any pre-selected settings. For example, you might have arranged for someone to go in and water your plants after you have already configured the system for vacation mode. You can access your system from a browser and allow temporary access to a specific person. You can also check Internet Protocol (IP) cameras to see if anyone has been on the premises.

9.Will Home Automation Be a Major Lifestyle Adjustment?
As mentioned earlier, home automation is modular so you can ease into automation one room at a time. For example, you might want to start with a home theater system, which includes automating the theater equipment and lighting system in your theater room. Since you can control all the components and room lights with a single remote, your movie viewing experience will be much simpler. From there you can incrementally expand your system to other parts of your house.

10.Will Current Home Automation Systems Be Compatible With Future Technology?
Control4 is reputable for developing full-home automation systems that are readily compatible with products from a variety of manufacturers. Their technology is designed to integrate both legacy systems and future trends in home automation.

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