Smart homes are all the rage nowadays. What’s not to love? Automation, ease of use, and the prestige of having the newest tech.
Neutral wires are important because they allow the electricity to run to the switch itself, even after whatever device the switch controls is turned off. This is essential for smart devices.
Assuming you are starting from scratch, this isn’t too much of a problem. Neutral wires on light switches are a common sight on homes since the 1980s so you are good to go so long as you are dealing with a trustworthy realtor. Just make sure to account for as many features as you can foresee using. Even if you don’t get all the hardware immediately, it will be important to have proper electrical sockets in all the right places.
If you are planning a home renovation of an older home, electrical socket positioning and neutral wires are definitely chief considerations.
Use LAN Liberally
Yes, wi-fi is everywhere, but consider the possibility of interference, range, and dead spots. Make it easy on yourself by running a cable wherever it’s convenient. If you have high bandwidth devices running in your home this is particularly important. For example, security cams coupled with a few members of a household streaming videos at the same time is a concern.
Mesh networks are more robust the more devices you use, while wi-fi gets congested with a multitude of devices. If you foresee using a large number of smart devices, a mesh network is probably the way to go, rather than wi-fi.
Smart Switches Over Smart Bulbs
Smart bulbs are great, but once someone turns off the wall switch, it turns right back into a regular lightbulb. On the other hand, smart switches can be used both ways, whichever way anyone prefers. This leads right to the next point
Whether you are with someone right now, have a family, or are single at the moment, chances are you will share your home with other human beings. If that seems like a likely scenario for you, consider their needs and preferences.
You may be a techie, but some people prefer “dumb” tech. They may even be freaked out by smart homes. Consider which smart home functionalities suit whom and negotiate.
Smart Thermostats Are The Biggest Money Saver
Heating and cooling accounts for about half the energy a home spends. Integrating a smart thermostat with your home heating system will put a dent in that number and pay for themselves.
Moreover, power companies in many states offer rebates for buying a smart thermostat. This is an additional financial incentive for going smart.
Just like in the case of smart switches, there is a hardware consideration to take into account. C wires ensure that a thermostat will function properly and not interfere with the HVAC system.
While we’re on the topic of money-saving, homeowner insurance offers discounts for security smart products.
If you’ve opted for Alexa, you’d be missing out if you didn’t try its routines system. A voice command, a condition trigger, or even a trigger by motion sensor will set off a preset chain of actions. For example, you could program your smart blinds to open in the morning but close at night for privacy.
Couple this with the geofencing feature to trigger a set of actions when you leave or arrive at your home.
For your own convenience, adopt a naming convention that helps you quickly navigate among your devices. You could separate your devices by room, floor, functionality, or any combination of those.
Last, but certainly not the least consideration is safety. Simply put, smart homes can be hacked. Depending on which smart devices you are using, your home could be unlocked, cameras could be interfered with, thermostats could be tampered with, and really anything else that might occur to hackers.
Two-step authentication will help secure your smart system, as will a thumbprint or eye scan system.
Don’t skimp out on the router and network safety just as you wouldn’t on regular locks and you will be able to protect your home from hackers.
The best use of smart devices requires forward-thinking and planning. Consider functionalities, consider other occupants, and consider safety above all. Pick among the smart ecosystems if you have a strong preference but know that third-party devices support multiple standards. Above all, get excited about your new home and enjoy your gadgets.