By Justin Schwartz, Founder and CEO of SAGE AV
Thanks to fairly low costs and easy installation, entry-level home automation products are now available to almost everyone. While these products are ideally suited for the DIYer, there are also a wide assortment of more advanced home automation systems that homeowners should have professionally installed. The challenge for homeowners is deciding when to DIY and when to hire the help of a professional.
Here’s a look at DIY technology versus what should be professionally installed to help you make the right choice.
Easy DIY Tech Upgrades
For homeowners who are dipping their toes into smart home technology for the first time, there are plenty of affordable products, like those listed below, that can be installed with the assistance of a professional installer:
The Nest line of products includes thermostats, security cameras and more. The Nest programmable thermostat connects to your home Wi-Fi and allows you to change the temperature in your home remotely via an app on your smartphone. Additionally, the Nest thermostat will identify your preferences and anticipate your temperature needs. The system also has a security option, which allows you to set up and monitor cameras inside and outside of your home. All of these cameras can also be accessed on your smartphone. Nest products are all fairly simple to set up and connect, some in 30 minutes or less.
Ring is a standard looking doorbell that can be placed just outside your front door. It puts an end to second-guessing who’s at the door. It has a camera and microphone built in so you can use your phone or another device to see and talk to whoever’s ringing, even if you’re miles from home. The Ring doorbell offers plenty of technical support in the box and online, so installation should not be hard for the average DIYer. All one needs to do is line up the mounting bracket, drill holes, place the doorbell on the mounting bracket, and tightens the security screws.
Sonos is a wireless speaker system for your smart home that you can control from an app on your smartphone or tablet. Sonos Play:1 or Play:5 speakers require only an electrical outlet and a Wi-Fi connection. A threaded mount allows you to put it on the wall or a speaker stand if you wish. You can pair either speaker with an Echo or Dot and play and control songs, shuffle playlists, and tune in radio stations or podcasts.
The Problem with DIY
Most homeowners who take a DIY approach tend to choose technology for single-device control instead of whole home automation. When problems arise, DIYers are relegated to phone or online customer service options to diagnose and fix problems. This can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience.
Why Use a Professional?
As mentioned above, there are certain smart home appliances that just need to be plugged to work and can be easily set up by DIYers. But, if you want your technology upgrades to start working together, things get a bit more complex. To start with, you’ll need to ensure all items you purchase are compatible with one another. When designing your system, you must plan not only for your current needs but for any additional upgrades you might want to make in the future. Professionals keep up with the latest trends and can help you create the best smart home environment for today and far into the future.
Also, as a homeowner, you have many options and may not be aware of them. This is where a professional comes in handy. A home systems professional can evaluate your lifestyle and explain the best options that deliver what you need within your desired budget.
The following smart home technologies should be set up by a professional:
Lighting Control Systems
It’s now possible to automate every light in your entire home and unify them behind a single, easy-to-use lighting control system. A professionally installed system will give you control over all of the lighting in your home. This includes table lamps, desk lamps, ceiling lamps as well as ceiling fans. The system will allow you to remotely access and have control over the lighting with a small remote control device or an integrated wall system. You can program motion detectors to identify when you walk into the room, turning on the lights and then after a time you have specified, they will also turn off or dim the lights.
You can also combine other smart lighting devices to create an array of effects. From colored accent lights to bedroom lamps that can wake you up by simulating the sunrise, your possibilities are virtually endless.
Motorized Shades and Window Treatments
When it comes to smart window shades and treatments, customization is key. A professional can help you choose the perfect system that marries both style and function. The best motorized shades and window treatments allow you to schedule adjustments at certain times or adjust them using just the touch of a button, voice command or your smartphone.
Distributed Audio Systems
A properly designed and installed audio system allows you to broadcast sound throughout the entire house, creating the perfect balance from room to room. Setting up a distributed audio system is no small task. It goes far beyond simply plugging in a few wireless speakers.
In fact, designing a great system requires the skill and knowledge to combine the proper speakers, receivers, amplifiers, and other components while taking into account the dynamics of each individual room as well as the vast design experience and deep product knowledge.
Unified Apps and Integrated Controls
With all of these different types of smart home devices, you will need a way to control them. Remember the frustrating days of multiple remotes? Today, home automation systems integrate various subsystems into unified apps and interfaces that bring you complete connectivity and control for every smart device.
DIY or Professionals?
The goal of any smart home installation is to make various devices work seamlessly together. This is where DIY tends to fall short. In order to fully experience the benefits a smart home can offer, it’s best to work with a professional who can coordinate with your contractor, interior designer, and electrician. They will work with you to design a system that meets your needs, using their knowledge of the latest smart technology for the home. By outsourcing this task, you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing your system is set up for optimal power, performance, and reliability.