The Newbie’s Guide to Home Automation

Remember the Jetsons? How convenient would it be to have Rosie the Robot, a humanlike but subservient robot to attend to our every need? While that time is far away – and honestly, a bit creepy – the age of basic home automation is already upon us. In fact, it’s actually pretty easy.

Home automation won’t cook your meals or dress you, but it can definitely make your life easier and add a personal touch to your home. Here are some of the easy, fun things you can do with home automation.

Devices

By far the easiest use of home automation is the “smart plug.” These devices plug in over existing outlets, turning them into wi-fi enabled switches. Most connect to smartphone or tablet apps, so you can control them remotely or through a tablet in your home. Models exist that fit over light switches, too!

Many devices link to the Echo, Amazon’s room-wide microphone and voice recognition service. They respond to voice commands and integrate with other services like Spotify, Netflix, and Pandora.

There are also smart thermostats, garage door openers, alarm systems, cameras, even lightbulbs! The range of devices extends to just about anything you could possibly use, and some you haven’t before.

Uses and Setup

So you can control devices manually, over wi-fi. But that’s not exactly automated, is it?

For starters, you can rig these devices to turn on under certain conditions. For instance, if you pull in to your house after 7pm, all the lights will turn on. When your alarm clock turns on, your coffee maker starts. Got a solar system? Save energy by automatically doing dishes or laundry during peak sunlight.

Those conditions can include your location in the home. Using near-field communication or Bluetooth, you can have lights dim or shut off when you leave a room, or the TV shut off when you leave the living room after a certain time.

Smart devices can also be used for safety. That water heater in the basement that you never see? Get a wi-fi water detector that will text you when it leaks. Rig up a motion sensor to detect unwanted visitors in your yard…whether it’s a passing dog or someone more sinister.

Getting Started

The best route for DIY home automation is to read, read, read! Places like Lifehacker and /r/homeautomation on Reddit have great project ideas and guides.

Does your next home project require extra construction or renovation? As one of the top custom home builders in the Triangle, Bold Construction can help! Contact us today and let’s discuss your project.