HVAC For Beginners

Smart Home

A Guide To Home Automation

A smart home is one in which the appliances, security systems, home comfort systems and other systems can be controlled by a phone or computer. The "internet of things" is a term that has been developed to describe how most everything in our world today has the ability to be remotely controlled through the internet. A home automation system controls these devices and allows them to communicate with each other.

Smart Home Basics

Components of a Smart Home

Smart Thermostats

These devices learn your habits and preferences, automatically adjusting the temperature to your liking while saving you money on energy costs.

Smart Lighting

With smart lighting, you can set schedules and automate your lighting to turn on and off at specific times.

Smart Security Systems

Smart security systems allow you to monitor your home remotely, providing peace of mind when you're away and ensuring that you do not come home to a nasty surprise. They typically include features like motion sensors, door and window sensors, and cameras. Many also include alarms and sirens to scare off intruders.

Smart Appliances

Virtually everything in the home from refrigerators, washing machines, cleaning systems, and ovens, can be controlled remotely and often include features like voice commands and automation.

Smart Speakers

Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home allow you to control your smart home using voice commands. They can also play music, answer questions, and provide information on the weather, news, and more.

What are the benefits?

One of the benefits of these systems is convenience because the parts of a home can be programmed to operate without you even thinking about them. Another benefit is energy savings as devices can be automatically turned off when not required. Home security is a major concern these days and most home automation systems provide monitoring through cameras as well as traditional security systems. This can provide peace of mind as well as saving you money on your insurance. With a home automation system, there is virtually unlimited ability to customize the home to your own tastes and needs. Finally, installing a smart home system can increase the value of your home, by making it more attractive to potential buyers looking for a modern home.

How does it work?

A cell phone with the proper app is the usual interface between you and the home automation system. In many cases, the hub will use the geolocation feature in your smartphone to determine if you are at home, leaving, or returning and performed pre-programmed tasks. The heart of the system is the controller or central hub. This device receives signals from a computer or cell phone and transmits them to the various components in the home. The signals from the hub are sent through the home's electrical wiring, by Wi-Fi or both to the devices and their controllers. These local controllers turn appliances and systems on and off based on theses signals. In addition, sensors such as door position, motion detection, smoke detectors, flood detectors, etc send signals to the hub when they detect an abnormal situation in the home. The hub then sends alerts to the cell phone and can cause appliances to turn on or off.

What does a smart home system cost?

The price of the system varies by brand and the amount of sensors and controllers you intend to use. The price for the hub ranges from 50 to 300 dollars. Some systems require professional installation and a monthly monitoring fee but most do not. Before you purchase a smart home system, you can check out our reviews of the different brands of controllers.