Home automation has been one of the hottest trending topics of the last 10 years and it’s only going to get hotter in years to come.
For many homeowners, however, home automation is a bit of science fiction. They can either find it confusing and don’t know how to take the first steps, or they may be wondering why they should consider automation at all.
This post will hopefully help clear up that confusion and get you started on the path to automating your home.
What is home automation and why you should consider it?
If you think that home automation is simply being able to turn your lights on or off using your smartphone instead of the light switch, think again. Home automation is so much more and it can provide benefits for many Australians.
While your lights are one aspect of your home you can automate, it doesn’t stop there. Devices such as your entertainment system, security, curtains, heating, cooling, doors, gates and garden watering system can all be made ‘smart’ and connected to a home automation system. When connected, you can then control the devices, either automatically via a programmed schedule or via input from a smartphone or other device.
Yes, you can turn your lights on simply because you’re too lazy to get off the couch, but you might also turn your lights on and off while on holiday to simulate someone being home. Or you might turn your heating on during a cold day when you’re on your way home from work. Or turn on the watering while on holiday. Or let a tradesperson into your house while you’re at work and monitor them until they leave.
There’s so much that you can do with home automation and it can help your life in so many ways.
Our top tips for automating your home
- Decide how far you want to go with home automation. If it’s to start small, which is a good option (see below), you probably won’t need to do much planning, but if you want a fully automated home it will require careful thinking and lots of research.
- For starting small, a good step might simply purchase a ‘smart’ lamp or two, or smart plugs that you can connect existing lamps to. You can turn on and off the lamps using your smartphone or a smart speaker.
- Most home automation systems rely on the Internet and if yours isn’t up to scratch (you have regular drop-outs and dead spots in your home, for example) it’s likely you’ll need to fix this sooner rather than later.
- Once you’ve taken some small steps, you’ll probably also want to invest in a smart home platform, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Not only do these give you voice assistant and smart speaker capability, they also provide features that can help you control your home automation devices.
- When you’re setting up your devices on your system, most will give themselves a generic name that might not be easy to remember or help identify the device. So, always give each device a logical name, such as front door, lounge lights, front yard watering system, etc.
- Once you’ve made some small steps and decided that home automation is for you, think about how home automation can really help you life. For example, if you love your garden then automating the watering would make perfect sense. If you’re away from home a lot and worried about security, motion sensors and security cameras will help give you peace of mind.
- Talking about helping your life, there’s perhaps no better examples than robot vacuums or lawn mowers. Unless these are jobs you really enjoy, these are two of the first home automation investments you should consider.
- Some smart devices used for home automation, such as door locks and smart doorbells, rely on batteries. Make sure you have a reasonable supply of batteries on hand to ensure you smart devices don’t become dumb devices!
- Like a lot of things in life, you do get what you pay for. Generally buy reputable brands from reputable dealers, which can take a bit of research. Cheap often doesn’t equal good value.
- Turning lights on or off using a smartphone or your voice is handy, but even better is having motion sensors that detect movement and turn on lights when you enter and turn them off when you leave.
- You’ve probably heard about securing your home network and if you get into home automation it’s something you really need to do. After all, you don’t want someone to hack your network and be able to control things like your front door.
- Home automation can be fun and often handy, but in some cases it can truly help lives. For example, a person with hearing difficulties can have the lights blink when someone is at the front door. Home automation can help a vision-impaired person check to make sure the doors are locked simply by using their voice.
- If you have a pet you probably don’t like leaving them at home for long periods of time. With home automation, you can check on them regularly on your smartphone, say hello to them and even give them food.
- When updating appliances around the home, see if there is a ‘smart’ option. We all know about smart televisions, but what about a smart oven that can help you cook a cake or a smart refrigerator that could remind you to buy more milk?
- Our last tip, which leads nicely into our last paragraphs, is to get help from an expert. It will save you a lot of time, hassle and money.
Adelaide Urban Electrical can help you with home automation
Adelaide Urban Electric has many years of experience in home automation and can help you with expert advice and making important decisions.