When you consider a home-automation system, your initial thoughts might be that it will provide simplicity and convenience in all aspects of your home life. However, the beauty of home automation is that it can be modular. Therefore, your primary consideration should be what part of your lifestyle you want to enhance and simplify through automation. You do not need full home automation to enjoy the benefits of such a system. Home automation systems are designed to integrate any or all of your home’s devices, lights, heating and cooling, and security systems. The following are 10 things you can do with a home automation system.
Enjoy a Movie Theater Experience in the Comfort of Your Home
Often the most common starting point for home automation is in your home theater. This is an area where convenience and simplicity in controlling the array of home theater components is really noticeable. When you consider the number of different audio and visual pieces that make up your entertainment center (TV, stereo, tuner, DVD changers, and Blu-ray players), you likely have an equal number of remotes to operate each of them. With a home-automation system developed by a company like Control4, you will need only one remote to control all of your components. For example, when you settle in to watch a movie, you can turn down the room lights, start the movie player, and adjust the volume from just one remote. If you need to leave the room during the movie, you can stop the movie and gradually turn up the lights without having to stumble through a dark room to find the wall switch.
Distribute Your Music Equally
Your household music collection might have as many different genres as there are people. A home automation system lets you accommodate your family’s eclectic music preferences by compiling your different music sources (CDs, MP3s, and streaming music services like Rhapsody) and allowing everyone to access their favorite music from select rooms throughout your house. For example, from a central control, you can select a style of music that lets you relax in a quiet room. Meanwhile, from the same central control, your teens can select the music they need to practice their dance program in another part of the house. Or you can set a playlist for a birthday party to play in the kitchen, living room and out on the patio so your guests enjoy the same entertainment everywhere.Both styles of music are distributed to the different locations without you needing a separate audio player for each person.
Control Lighting With the Touch of a Button
Historically, automated lighting systems were installed in only new homes during their construction. Now, lighting control systems can be installed in existing homes. Both exterior and interior lighting systems can be controlled from a standard switch, a touch screen, or a remote control. Some control solutions even allow you to manage lights from your iPhone. A home-automation system can also tell you which lights are on anywhere in the house, the garage, or throughout the landscape and let you turn them on and off manually or automatically according to a set schedule.
Set Custom House Lighting Scenes
One of the most convenient lighting scenes lets you turn off all the lights in the house with a single command. Or you can shut off all the lights in the basement as you walk out with just one touch. But there is a virtually unlimited variety of lighting scenes you can create to enhance your life. For instance, you can set the lights in your bedroom to turn on slowly at a certain time as part of a wake-up scene. Or you can set lights in a child’s bedroom to dim as they go to sleep. You can also set “welcome home” lighting scenes that trigger when the garage door opens so you never have to walk into a dark house again.
Probably the biggest causes of inefficient energy consumption is your home’s heating and cooling control systems and regularly leaving lights on in unoccupied rooms. This often occurs when you leave your house for an extended period of time and forget to adjust your thermostat or turn off the lights. You can rely on your home-automation system to reduce energy usage by configuring your system to adjust your thermostat and turn off some or all the lights when you leave. Motion sensors also help ensure that lights are only on when someone is in the room.
Enjoy More Peaceful Mornings
Your home-automation system can help ease you into the day by making your morning routine a little more temperate. Instead of waking up to a blaring alarm or radio that engenders all the tranquility of a jackhammer, your home-automation system can gradually bring up selected house lights or window shades and gradually increase the volume on the television or a music source. You can also program it to wake your kids up by playing their favorite music – or even something they hate!
Enhance Your Home Security
Your home-automation system can integrate with your security system and let you set or disarm the system from any interface. You can also configure your home-automation system to turn on certain lights when the garage door opens so you don’t have to walk into a dark house. You can set your lights to turn on and off in random rooms while you’re on vacation to give the illusion that the house is occupied even when it’s not. Many home automation systems include security cameras that are strategically placed around the premises. These cameras not only detect movement around your property, they can also show who appears at your door.
Enjoy a Little Extra Peace of Mind
You can add features to your home-automation system that check for open doors – including the garage – and send you an alert. You can install water sensors in your basement that will alert you in case of a flood, and you can have the system shut off the water main in case of an emergency. If you have a wandering teenager, sensors on the windows and doors will alert you if they are trying to sneak out, or in, at night.
Check Your Home Automation System from a Distance
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 set the system for vacation mode. From a browser, you can allow temporary access to a specific person. You can check IP cameras as well.
Configure Your Home for Night Mode
With home automation, you no longer need to patrol the entire house each night looking for lights that have been left on. You can view and adjust all the lights in the house from a single interface. You can set the temperature to automatically adjust, and double check that the doors and windows are shut.
Home automation experts, such as Control4 develop their systems to be compatible with components from a variety of manufacturers. This gives you more choices to ensure a better fit for your home. The beauty of home automation is in designing a system that best accommodates your needs and lifestyle.