The Layman’s Guide to a DIY Smart Home

Smart technology has allowed people to utilize phones and tablets to connect with friends and family all across the globe. With a simple tap on the screen, we can share pictures, videos, text messages and a plethora of other social communications. This evolution in tech development has taken traditional single-purpose devices, such as cell phones, and turned them into a portal to the world right in the palm of your hand. How do we surmount the high bar that has been set for our current state of technology? What could we possibly control next with our mobile gadgets?

The Possibilities are Endless

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We have satisfied the need to communicate with others more efficiently by using dedicated apps on our smartphones. The next logical step would be to design applications with which we could effectively control certain elements of our homes. Just imagine having the ability to unlock your home’s backdoor by pressing a button on your tablet. It could be accomplished by attaching a web-connected mechanism to the sliding barn door hardware that would allow it to lock, unlock, open, and close.

Imagine having the capacity to effortlessly adjust the temperature in your dwelling from anywhere in the world, simply by using an app. Research and development on this subject has sparked the growth of several companies whom are dedicated to manufacturing products that could eventually convert you house into a modern smart home.

Where Should the Automation Begin?

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To begin converting your dated house into an automated abode, let’s focus on two common utilities that can become more cost-effective by installing automation devices: HVAC and sprinkler systems. Your home’s heating and cooling system can be fully automated by installing a Nest thermostat. Easily control the temperature by way of an app and Nest will eventually program itself to predict exactly what condition is most comfortable in your home at any given moment.

The system is completely plug-and-play and has the potential to save you money on heating and cooling expenses throughout the year. By optimizing itself to be used only when the right conditions are met, the worry of wasting financial resources is completely eliminated. As an added bonus, Nest has began to expand its product line by adding an array of products to help you continue building your smart home. With the implementation of a smart thermostat, your home is one step closer to becoming fully automated.

WiFi Connection is Crucial

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In respect to sprinkler systems, there is a company based in Colorado that has come up with a solution to wasteful water usage. With the current water crisis in California, this subject is especially critical to address. The Colorado company, Rachio, has created a WiFi-connected sprinkler controller that allows the user to control every aspect of their lawn’s watering system from a smartphone with internet access. It is estimated that roughly fifteen million homes across the United States have underground sprinkler systems and a large majority of them are structured to operate on a timer.

The drawback to these outdated systems is that whether or not your lawn needs watering, the system will initiate on the prescribed time and will not stop until the set stop time. Just as a Nest functions on an algorithm, Rachio’s Iro device only allows the distribution of water when your lawn actually needs it or when you command it to begin operating. It works by communicating with an online weather service and collecting information on current and future weather conditions. Based on actual need, Iro will activate, disperse water throughout the lawn, and shut itself off when finished. This can be a completely hands-off solution to watering your grass, but you still have the ability to override the system via the app.

Having home automation not only comes with inherent benefits, but unexpected ones too. Having home automation may increase the value of your home. Home automation can be a great selling point and a great way to persuade potential buyers when you show them all the bells and whistles of your system.

In some cases, having home automation can even save you money on your homeowner’s insurance. Many elements of home automation can make your home safer, not to mention, outdoor cameras are likely to dissuade potential burglars.

With these two easily installed tools, your house will be closer to becoming a fully autonomous smart home.

Check out these other related articles:

“The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Energy Efficient Homes”

“4 Little Know Home Improvement Hacks”

“DIY Interior Trim Project”

“Caring for stone on your new home”

“Home maintenance tips for your air conditioner”


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