Turning your home into a smart home with an integrated home automation system seems overwhelming. After all, who would not like to be free from turning off lights, adjusting thermostat, wondering if you locked your front door properly, etc.? Here is how to start your journey into home automation to make life simpler.
Start with things you really want to do
The simplest way to get into home automation is by focusing on what you actually want to do. Once you decide this, you will be able to determine your budget, method and the time you are willing to invest in setting things up. You can automate almost everything in your home but it is best to start with what you actually want to, such as:
- Automating your lights to turn on and off, either on a schedule or remotely
- Setting your air conditioner to control your home temperature and saving energy when you are away
- Opening you garage doors with voice commands
- Setting your daily use appliances like coffee maker, oven or iron.
These are few things that you do repeatedly almost every single day of your life so it’s best to start with automating these.
Automate the Easy Way
Home automation would get easier if you buy tools that are specialized to perform certain tasks such as simple timers and sensors to operate devices. Use a simple, wireless automation unit, like the WeMo that can be plugged into your power outlet, connected directly to your WiFi and then can be controlled with an iOS or Android device. An automation unit gives more flexibility than simple timers by allowing you to activate switches manually and monitor their status with a remote. You can also set the schedule too with the help of these timers.
Smart thermostats also function best for the beginners in home automation. They can be used to control temperature and know your temperature preferences. It also has a function that automatically disables your heat/AC when you are out. You can reactivate it remotely a few minutes before reaching home so that you always get to enter in a pleasant climate after work or after a day out. In addition to increasing comfort and convenience, these can also help you in saving money on your utility bills and save energy resources to a great extent.
Step up with a good Network Protocol
Once you have started home automation with simple timers and then automation units and smart thermostats, now it’s time to get to more advanced systems. You need to start with looking out for a good network protocol that can allow you to control a variety of devices from just a single, central device. Some of the best and reputed protocols in today’s world of home automation include names like Z-Wave, Insteon, Zigbee and X10.
You will often hear different people speaking different names when it comes to the best protocol. You need to decide which one would suit your needs best by analyzing what you want in your home automation system to accommodate all your home automation needs. Do your research well before picking up one.
After you have Chosen your Protocol
Once you have chosen a protocol that suits your home automation requirements, you need to look for software to run and support its control system through your desktop, smart phone or tablet. You can either buy dedicated devices or use open source software to monitor and control everything at your home.
You also need a coordinator to support communication between your master control software and peripherals. It is usually a box having a set of devices that are efficient of giving wireless commands to your network.
The third most important element is the sensors, switches and peripherals that actually will work on the commands that you issue from the master software using the coordinator. You need to install wall switches, replace door lock and do the needed light maintenance for automation.
A home automation system is the best thing you’ll ever choose to convert your home into a smart home. It will not only provide you extra comfort and convenience, but will also help you save on the money you pay for your monthly utility bills, your time and the precious energy resources.