Do you feel like you’re living in an episode of the Flintstones while your neighbors and everyone are jetting off with the Jetsons?
It might be time to upgrade your home into a smart home.
Many families are making gradual changes and transitioning their homes—equipping them with smart tech until they finally reach smart home status.
Let’s face it. Not many people can snap their fingers and empty their wallets to make a huge leap into the future.
Not only are smart homes the future, home automation also saves homeowners money each year in power bills.
These savings are very attainable for many more Americans today than they were even a decade ago as smart home equipment becomes more affordable and common.
So while not everyone can jump right in, home automation is very easy to build up one home automation device at a time.
Stepping stones into the future.
While many new homes are built with smart home hubs and possibilities, older homes have to get a little more creative. But that in no way means that it’s difficult or impossible.
In fact, it’s easier to take home automation one step at a time.
Smart home might seem like a broad category. In fact, many homeowners aren’t sure how to even start home automation.
And to be even more clear, you can think of smart home as a terms that covers the systems and equipment that do things under your control in your protocol network. And you can think of home automation as anything in your house that can be timed to do things automatically, from lights to ovens. So the two terms are very close to the same thing.
For newcomers, home automation involves “smarting” up your home with remote control of lighting, heating/cooling, entertainment, ovens, camera systems, security, fire alarms, and so much more. Homeowners have power and security over their homes while they are at work, out of town, or even if their kids are home alone for a bit after school until parents can get home from work.
Home automation is so fined tuned today, that a smart thermostat can be timed to bring the temperature down a few degrees while you’re gone, and bring it back up when you’re on your way home.
All smart tech in your system can be controlled remotely, via computer, smart phone, iPad, etc., whether you’re at home or abroad.
For example, you can take advantage of solar power during the height of the day by running your washer, dish washer, or ac just by the push of a button on your iPad or computer. You don’t have to be home. You could be out running errands, at work, or on vacation.
Being able to utilize your energy like this creates instant energy and financial savings.
Worried about CO2 leaks, fires, flooding, burglary? Home automation has the ability to keep you tuned in with your house at all times of the day/night and while you’re away.
Maybe you or a loved one are becoming more forgetful, or have a harder time getting up and down for dinner, heat, ac, etc. Maybe you’re worried about a parent living alone. Home automation can help them and you not have to stress about getting up and down, leaving the stove on, or falling down and getting hurt without anyone knowing.
Home automation is the future as much as when homeowners first got viable gas and electric machines, such as sewing machines, water heaters, dishwashers, vacuums, and other helpful technology. Not everyone got them at once. Not everyone thought they were necessary all at once.
However, they made life convenient, secure, helpful, and it made more time for peace of mind and family time.
Home automation or smart homes are exactly that today. Gradually, everyone will have smart homes and this will all just be a way of life.
It’s really an easy decision to make once you realize this has been done before, and it’s better to just make your life easier earlier than to put it off because the old style of doing something worked just fine before.
Of course it worked fine. But tech is always getting better. And with home automation you can ride on that wave of change and lead the way to a better way of life.
Smart homes begin with a hub on a wall which acts as a connector, or a gateway, to controlling the other smart tech in the house. There are four main protocols to pick from: X10, Z-Wave, UPB, and EnOcean. It’s a natural and smooth transition from there to add smart tech gradually to your home as your budget allows.
X10 uses power lines mainly for its communication to devices, and it is efficient and reliable. It’s a well-established protocol (since 1975), and it has a wide variety of home automation tech available. It’s also established itself as a more affordable protocol with the availability of inexpensive smart tech compared to some others.
Z-Wave is a popular choice because it takes up less band (908 MHz vs. 2.4 GHz), and it isn’t really affected by interference or other activities. Additionally, Z-Wave is great for it’s interoperability. So it’s going to work with Z-Wave devices that are a decade old as well as a new product with very few limits. All Z-Wave devices work together regardless of the version or brand. And there really are a wide range of home automation devices to choose from for Z-Wave.
UPB (Universal Powerline Bus) is a power-line communication between all the smart tech in home automation. UPB communicates over power lines which makes it very reliable, and it’s very easy to put together as for as DIY home automation goes. It is more efficient than X10, yet there aren’t many products on the market in comparison, making it a little less easy to fit into budgets and style.
EnOcean has made its mark as being an energy harvesting wireless technology. Being self-powered means less installation and cost for you. Energy management and efficiency seems to be their goal with battery-less and wireless solutions for home automation.
Usually a homeowner decides which protocol is going to work best in their home, get the correct hub, and then gradually build with that type of equipment over time. So it’s important you do your research on equipment before building from your main hub.
It’s a good idea to look for would be how well your house would work with certain protocols, the design, color, and aesthetic of the equipment, and the ratings and desirability of each tech in the protocol. All protocols are good and have their strengths. So a homeowner needs only find their perfect fit in order to get the most out of their home automation.
In addition to a hub, you also need some network access in order for your devices to communicate. Many home automation systems use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Obviously something like Bluetooth, however, isn’t going to have a far reaching help. So be sure to evaluate what you want to use home automation for and how you want to use it when making those decisions.
You will also want to consider how your devices will need to interact with you. Some home automation comes with Wi-Fi connectivity ability, but not all. Things like lights and locks you will need “smart x,y,z” of whatever it is in order to get them to interact with your network.
So keep these simple things in mind while you’re making the transition. It will save you from problems down the road. And it may sound like a hassle, but it really isn’t. As long as you work within your budget and make the changes you can when you can, then it’s all actually very simple and convenient.
Think of it this way, as long as you have good Wi-Fi and a smartphone then you’re basically half way there already.
If you think about it, home automation has come a long way in just 40 years. They used to be curiosities wealthier people had in their homes. Now they are affordable, accessible, and almost necessary home tech. Like most tech, it starts as a luxury of the wealthy and then becomes something everyone can simplify their lives with.
Think about another 40 years.
By then we probably won’t know how we ever lived without home automation.
Much like we wonder how we ever functioned without washing machines, vacuums, and computers.
Home automation is completely changing the way people are coming home from work, getting dinner ready, or keeping their homes safe. With the tap of an iPhone screen you can check on your kids at home, turn off lights you left on, turn on the oven to start getting dinner ready so that by the time you get home, the smell of a ready dinner is already floating through your house.
In addition to security and energy savings, home automation has the ability to warn you about issues with pipes or other home problems. Instead of knowing about your leaky pipes when your basement floods, home automation can let you know before the disaster happens.
Smart homes are safer and much more convenient.
And they can save you a lot of money and maybe even lives.
Home automation is all about convenience and savings. The savings come from the time, energy, and money saved by these devices, and the convenience comes with NOT having to run, check, or fret.
You can just tap it and know it.