Smart homes are the next wave of technology coming to us in the form of actually having our homes be smart and do activities for us. Home automation is becoming more and more popular, and now there are tons of different companies out there that make automation easy. In the past, smart home devices were bulky and buggy because it was bleeding edge technology, so people tended to shy away from them in fear that they would spend thousands of dollars to have a home that would only work half the time, and the other half would be spent on the phone with technical support or scouring Google. Some home automation can be setup in a matter of minutes, while others can take days or weeks to do properly. It really depends on how smart you want your house to be, and how much time and money you really want to invest in taking your home to the next level.
Is Setting Up A Smart Home Expensive? On average, to setup your smart home to turn on lights, control thermostats, and do a small amount of other household tasks will normally cost you under $1000 dollars depending on the type of lights and other equipment you want to buy. Some items like light bulbs can range from $10 dollars to $50 dollars or more, so it depends on how big your project is, and what type of equipment you want. Home automation is the type of project where you have to pick a budget and build your home around it because the sky is literally the limit when it comes to what a computer can do for your house. Plan on replacing any thermostats in your house, as well as getting something like Amazon Alexa or Google Home to control everything for you. These smart hubs are the brain of your home automation, and everything you buy “ala mode” will connect to it. Most devices or accessories are compatible with all the name brand hubs, but you should always check with the manufacturer to ensure anything you plan on running will connect to it.
Types of Smart Hubs
There are quite a few brands of Smart Hubs out there to choose from, so after picking a budget and finding out what you might want to have your smart home do, it is time to pick a HUB. Here is a list of some of the better known brands of HUBS on the market right now for 2018.
- Amazon Alexa: (very popular)
- Google Home
- Samsung SmartThings: (Rated Number 1)
- Wink Hub 2
- Logitech Harmony Hub: This is for home theater only.
- Apple HomePod
Some of these hubs can control lights and blinds, while other can control your whole house down to the television, stereo, and home theater portions of your house. Most of the hubs are under $500 dollars, and are a great base to whatever needs you are wanting to fill.
Typical Items Purchased
After you purchase your HUB, you will want to start looking at different things that you can purchase to start attaching to your smart home. There are usually two categories that these are put into, the small and easy, and the big and bulky which are things as easy as door locks, and bluetooth speakers, to the big ones like whole home security cameras and automated blinds. Here is a brief list of some items that are segregated into the two groups:
- Bluetooth speakers
- Light bulbs
- Door Locks
- Window Blinds
- Home theater systems
- Security systems
- Multiple wireless cameras
- Garage doors
As you can see, there are things that you just need to plugin, and things that with a little DIY, you can do yourself, to the bulky items that require you to hire people to come setup and install for you. Depending on how crafty and handy you are will determine how much of this list you can do yourself. Most projects take a couple hours to a full day, but it can take longer for security systems and garage doors.
How It Typically Works
Typically, you will buy a smart hub and then start attaching devices that you bought to it, and assigning tasks like “Turn on the lights”, or “Turn on my stereo”, and the smart hub will do your task for you. This is usually called setting up an activity on the smart hub and attached device. Some activities are very intuitive and easy to setup, while others can be a bit more daunting. No matter the size of the project, all smart hubs offer great customer support and will help you every step of the way usually. Some smart hub makers can actually go in and view your device and help you right over the phone with an activity that is broken or not working correctly. Your home wifi or bluetooth is used to control most devices in your home, so you will almost never need or see wires other than a power source.
How Long Does It Take
The typical DIY project for setting up a smart home is a couple of hours. Once you get the smart hub setup and actually working over wifi, things like light bulbs, blue tooth speakers, and vacuums can take less than two hours to complete, while setting up window blinds and home theater systems have taken me a day or more to get running correctly. With home automation, it really depends on your comfort level of technology and DIY crafts that will set the pace for how long a project takes to complete. If you have never touched a computer before and want an automated home, it could take you days of googling to complete, so having someone come install it may be your best bet. If you are a tech savvy person, You should be able to handle it easy as long as you read the directions carefully. I love technology and getting my home theater setup with autmation took me a good solid weekend.
How Much Money Can I save With A Smart Home
How much money can I save with a smart home? When you think about saving money on a smart home, you need to think about devices that will control things while you are actually away from your home. A great example is the Nest Thermostats because they actually can tell when you are away from your home, and will turn off the heat or AC, and can tell when you are arriving home and will turn on the heat or AC so you do not walk into to an ice box or a lava pit. This can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year on your electric bill. Another good one is the smart lights that can turn off an on automatically, so if you accidentally leave a light on, you can automatically turn it off so it does not stay on all night, or while you are away from your home. As electrical bills rise, it is going to be more and more important to save as much electricity as possible.