Home Automation: Where to Begin and How to Get Started

To some, home automation may seem like something out of a science fiction cartoon. You walk in the door of your home and find the oven pre-heated, the lights on the way you like them and the furnace set at the perfect temperature, all with little effort on your part. The fact is, however, that this level of automation is becoming more and more feasible, both technologically and financially. Getting started simply requires a little bit of knowledge and some supplies.


Home Automation

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What Can Home Automation Do for You?

Home automation can do two things for you. First, it can save time. Consider, for instance, pulling out of your driveway only to find that you left your kitchen light on. Rather than turning around, going back inside and turning it off, you can simply use your remote system to turn it off from your car. Energy is saved, but so is your valuable time.

The second benefit of home automation is convenience. You have to decide how much that convenience is worth in your budget, but you will be able to control many systems in your home with one remote device. Once a system is in place, home automation simply makes dealing with the day-to-day aspects of life more convenient.

What Products Can the Average Homeowner Buy?

The interesting fact about home automation is that you can buy just about anything you can imagine, for a price. You can wire your entire home to be controlled entirely by your smart phone, if you wish, but this is expensive. Most homeowners will buy systems to control one major system, such as their lighting, home entertainment, communication, air and heat, or home security.

When purchasing a system, the first decision is going to be the type of technology you wish to buy. Common options include:

1) Powerline

Powerline refers to devices that communicate through the home’s electrical wiring. These connect permanently to the home’s existing wiring.

2) Radio frequency

A radio frequency, or RF, controlled system uses radio waves, not wires. Some devices are a combination of these two.

3) X10 Compatible

X10 is one of the oldest home automation options on the market. Many of the modern automation devices have X10 compatibility so you can integrate them into any existing systems your home has. X10 is a permanent, wired solution for the home.

4) Wireless

Wireless refers to automation that does not require any electrical wiring. Typically, these work with radio frequencies, but new technology is on the market to allow them to work with mobile devices as well.

Getting Started

If you are starting to automate your home for the first time, consider buying a starter kit for the system you wish to automate.  For example, if you want to automate your home’s lighting, purchase a kit that has the switches, plug-in modules, remote control and other pieces you need to set up the system. This will ensure that you have everything you need to get started successfully. You can purchase a starter kit for just about any major home system.  The other alternative is to look into a wireless, comprehensive home automation system, like Vivint.

If you want to automate your entire home, consider a permanent wiring option. While wireless may seem convenient in that you can easily make changes, wired solutions are more durable and protected by your home’s walls. If you own your home, this can be the best choice.

Buying Home Automation Systems

Home automation starter kits can be purchased at technology and hardware stores across the country. They can also be purchased online from retailers who specialize in home automation.

If you opt to have your home automated through a wired system, consider hiring a technician to come to your home to do it. This will ensure that safety is not compromised as you attempt to wire the system into your home’s existing wiring. You will pay a little more for professional installation, but the peace of mind that it provides is worth the extra expense.

Home automation is no longer a vision of the future. Today, it is entirely possible, and your options are fairly unlimited. With one central remote, you can control most of your home’s major systems through the power of home automation.


One thought on “Home Automation: Where to Begin and How to Get Started

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