How to Turn Your Home Into a Smart Home
When you plan on improving your home, you often think of renovations and upgrades, services ranging from replacing damaged bricks to remodeling your home kitchen. And while the physical condition and layout of your home is important, many homeowners fail to realize their home’s true potential. Specifically, they are missing the opportunity to turn their home into a smart home.
For many, automating your home feels like it’s something out of science fiction. The idea of being able to turn your home into a smart home seems almost impossible, something that would require an incredible amount of work, and money, that only a few people would be able to manage.
If you think that, you’re not alone. But you’re also wrong! While the sheer number of smart devices out on the market might be overwhelming, but not if you have a plan, and stick to it. At the end of the day, turning your home into a smart house can vastly improve your daily interactions with technology (while increasing your home value).
Choose Your Automation Hub
An automation hub serves as the “nerve center” of your smart home. While you can have a smart house without a single automation hub (since every smart device comes with its own hub or app), a single automation hub can truly make your home feel fully automated.
Essentially, you can use an automation hub to control all of your smart devices, no matter the make or brand, through a single source or app. Some types of automation hubs include Amazon Echo, Google Home, Wink Hub 2, and the Samsung SmartThings Hub.
Read the reviews and see which hub seems best to you. Once you’ve made that choice you can start building out your automated home in earnest.
Determine What Type of Smart Devices You Want to Install
Every day, there are devices coming out that can automate something new in your home. While some might want to automate anything that they possibly can, other homeowners might want to pick and choose and only install items that will have a noticeable impact on their day-to-day lives.
Just about every smart home involves a virtual assistant (which usually will come with your automation hub) as well as a smart thermostat (like Nest) and a smart speaker. From there, you have a variety of options at your disposal.
Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs or similar smart lighting systems are a great purchase for owners who want to have smart control over their home’s lighting system, and are a must-have for many smart home owners.
Additionally, you can automate your home’s security, with devices such as Ring automatically providing you with surveillance footage the moment someone walks by your front door, and smart locks can let you enter your home securely, and without having to fumble for your keys.
A Roomba, or other robotic vacuum cleaner, can start cleaning your home with the push of a button on your phone, and uses machine learning to eventually “map” your home to know where to vacuum most efficiently. And you can even go a step further with a robotic lawn mower, if you were so inclined.
There are also ways to connect your washer and dryer to wi-fi, smart garbage cans that can suck up debris from the floor and open at the wave of a hand. The sky is really the limit—products like Flume can measure your water usage (and warn you of any leaks) while an entire array of smart electrical plugs can turn anything plugged into them into a smart device you can turn on and off through your phone.
Ultimately, you can decide what smart devices you want in your life.
Choose Your Smart Products
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of products that can help make your home more smart. Once you’ve figured out what sort of smart devices you want, you’ll need to determine what specific products to choose. There are multiple options for just about any smart device.
Read through reviews, and when possible try using devices made from the same company—a lot of your decisions will likely be made depending on what automation hub you initially selected. You can decide between brand loyalty, or focusing on the lowest price items. Just make sure they are compatible with your home, and your automation hub.
Make Sure Your Wireless Internet Is Strong Throughout Your Home
All of your smart devices need a strong, secure internet connection. For larger houses, this might be a little difficult. That’s why you want to do whatever you can to boost the strength of your internet connection throughout your entire home to make sure that all of your smart devices will be connected and effective.
One way to ensure your connection speed is ideal is to invest in a mesh network. What’s a mesh network? Well, according to TechHive’s, Glenn Fleishman, ”Mesh networks solve a particular problem: covering a relatively large area, more than about 1,000 square feet on a single floor, or a multi-floor dwelling or office, especially where there’s no ethernet already present to allow easier wired connections of non-mesh Wi-Fi routers and wireless access points.”
By implementing connection extenders throughout your home, you can strengthen your internet in a way that’ll not only improve your smart home’s performance, it’ll make your general internet usage faster and more enjoyable.
Install Your Devices
Now that you have your devices, and a robust internet connection, it’s time to install your devices! Thankfully, most smart devices are incredibly simple to install. Many simply require you to download an app and plug the device into an outlet.
Even more “daunting” smart devices, like a smart thermostat, have videos that show you how to install in a matter of minutes. Most homeowners assume that smart devices require heavy installations and a handyman’s mentality, but in fact, installing your devices might be the easiest part of the whole process!
Program to Your Preferences
Once your smart devices are installed, it’s time to set your preferences to truly make your home a smart home. For example, if you’ve installed a smart thermostat, you can set temperatures to be lower in the evening and higher in the day, or set a temperature to maintain when you are away from your home—all of which has real savings on your energy bills.
Similarly, you can program your lights to turn on when you get home, set a schedule for your robotic vacuum cleaner, or set alerts from your Ring for whenever someone walks by your house.
To really bring your smart home game up a notch, you can set up IFTTT, which stands for “If This, Then That.” It sets up applets that essentially create a list of items for a series of connected devices to perform.
For example, you can have your Nest set to raise temperature the moment it senses you’ve arrived home. Your IFTTT can then tell your smart home that when Nest raises its temperature, your lights and smart speaker can turn on automatically to greet you as you get home.
Most homeowners are fine simply programming their devices individually, but if you want to really have a “futuristic” experience, IFTTTs get the job done.
Keep Looking for New Devices
After you’ve chosen your automation hub, chosen and installed your smart devices, made sure your internet covers your entire home, and set your preferences, congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of a smart home!
But your quest for a smart home doesn’t stop there. Stay vigilant looking out for new and exciting smart products to add to your home. You’ll likely never run out of ways to automate your home, which is part of the fun of owning a smart home. You can always find ways to make your home smarter.
About The Author: Jeff Good is a writer and content creator with a passion for research and using writing to learn about new things. A lifelong Chicago resident, he loves writing, cooking, and his beloved Cubs.
Photo by Sebastian Scholz (Nuki) on Unsplash
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