By now you’ve probably read about many of the new smart home automation products on the market, seen some impressive new gadgets and heard that the Internet of Things is taking over the home. So you’re ready to begin your first home automation project. Where do you start? Visiting or talking to a local CE pro is a great start. From a professional integrator you can learn more about the specific systems available and discuss what might be possible to achieve given your specific budget.
Think about the tasks you do around your house every day—managing your lights and thermostats, enjoying music and video, keeping track of your family, entertaining indoors and out—and imagine which tasks might be made more efficient with the help of a home automation system. Also think about how you would like to connect to the system—are you a smartphone or tablet junkie, or would you prefer to use an in-wall keypad or touchpanel that’s in the same place every time you need it?
Have your integrator show you some options (some integrators use their own homes for client demonstrations, which is really useful to see how these systems actually function in a house) and explain the process. Find out how the integrator can make your dream house come true.
Keep in mind that having a home automation system can be a little addictive. Once you get used to using it, you wonder how you lived without it. Many people who begin with basic functionality end up expanding into more rooms or more subsystems, and that’s the beauty of home automation. It’s there to make your life easier.
Here are a few examples of ways to get started with a home automation project:
If you take the one-room-at-a-time approach, the living room is usually the one you want to start with. Here you can begin with the lighting system, window shades, music and HVAC, so that the room you spend the most time in is also the room with the most convenience built in. For instance, your system could include a couple of wireless smart dimmers, and Wi-Fi thermostat and motorized shades. After you get accustomed to those systems, you can begin to expand to the rest of the house.
One or Two Systems
Another way to take small steps is to begin with one or two subsystems, and then add on as you get used to it. For example, it’s very common for home owners to start with a distributed audio system so they can enjoy music all over the house. Once they get accustomed to the smart interface and convenience of the system, they often decide to add more.
Some applications just seem to naturally go together. Here are a few common pairings and why they make sense.
Lighting and window shades
You probably knew that a home lighting system can be easily integrated, but did you know that motorized shades and blinds can be integrated too? This combination is perfect because it lets you get the most of your artificial lights as well as the natural light of the sun. Your installer can create different lighting scenes (such as morning, evening, dinner, party…) that adjust lights and shades based on your lifestyle.
Lighting and Energy Management
Your home heating and air conditioning systems can work in tandem with your lighting (and window) system to maintain the perfect balance to maximize your home’s energy use. Light and temperature settings can be easily programmed to adjust when you go to work, on vacation or go to bed.
Energy Management and Security
Having your energy and security system synchronized is a smart choice because your security system always knows when you’re home. When you set your security system to Away mode, it can automatically adjust your thermostat to save you money.
Also check out some easy DIY home automation ideas for beginners.