Did you ever watch that episode of The Simpsons where Marge transformed the Ultrahouse 3000 home with the voice of Piers Brosnan? The house was all wired together and could do pretty much everything by itself, or at the request of the resident. While that might have seemed very futuristic at the time (it first aired in 2001), we are now very close to having it as a reality thanks to the advent of ‘the smart home’. As more and more people hop on the smart home bandwagon, we wanted to answer some basic questions – like what is a smart home? How will it benefit me? And how do I do it properly?
What Is A Smart Home?
The answer to that one is very easy and very complicated at the same time. Simply put, a smart home is a home that uses internet-connected devices to help the resident monitor and manage the appliances and systems in their property. Just a few examples of smart home technology include:
Smart thermostats come with built-in Wi-Fi technology, which allows you to schedule, monitor and remotely control your home’s temperatures from an app on your smartphone. This means you can:
- Adjust the temperature if you’re too hot or cold
- Turn the heating on or off from a remote location (like if you go away and forget to turn it off, or if you’re on your way home and want the house warmed up when you get back)
- Even schedule the time you want it to come on, so your house is nice and toasty when you get home from work in the winter months.
These devices learn your habits over time, so they can automatically modify their settings based on your preferences, as well as reporting energy use, reminding you to change filters and other things. There are a few companies out there offering smart thermostats, including Nest, Hive and Tado.
It is what it says on the tin really. Smart lighting systems allow you to control the lighting in your home from an app on your phone. But it can do more than just turn on and off. It can detect when people are in the room and adjust accordingly, you can dim the lights with a slider on your app, and if you have smart lightbulbs you can set the colour of light given off, adjust the colour temperature, or they can self-adjust based on the amount of daylight available.
Smart locks can be put on pretty much any door, including your garage, and allow you to grant or deny access to visitors without having to go to the door. This is particularly useful for people with disabilities or injuries that prevent them from moving around quickly. Smart locks can also detect when a resident is near, using an RFID chip, and automatically unlock the door for them – no more struggling to unlock the doors when you’re loaded down with shopping!
Security is a big concern for a lot of people these days. Smart security systems include cameras, motion sensors and other intruder detecting kit. These all allow residents to monitor their home when they aren’t in or are away for a long period of time. Smart motion sensors can also tell the difference between residents, visitors, pets and burglars, and can be set to record footage and alert local authorities if they detect suspicious behaviour.
These are systems that monitor what’s going on in your home. Don’t worry – we don’t mean you! A smart home monitor might, for example, sense an electrical surge happening, and turn off your appliances to protect them until it passes, and then turn them back on. It might also sense things like water failures or freezing pipes and turn off the water so that you don’t end up with a flooded house. They’re a bit like an early warning system for your house.
Wow, listing everything out like that makes it sound as though we’re living in some sort of sci-fi future. And to some extent, we are. But even though these smart devices might feel so futuristic that they don’t need you, there is still some groundwork that needs to be done if you want it all to work properly.
The Key To A Good Smart Home
All of those things sound great, right? But here’s the thing. If you install one of those things incorrectly, then you could be in for a whole heap of trouble. It could be something as simple as the device not working properly, all the way up to fires caused by faulty wiring… wiring is the key to a good smart home. You might think that because it’s all wireless, wiring doesn’t really matter much. But you couldn’t be more wrong.
If you want your smart home to function seamlessly, then you need to have a proper wired infrastructure to support it. That means hiring an electrician to help you design your smart home framework and install the cabling for you. Your electrician will work with you to create a plan of your smart home needs, create a simple plan and install it all safely and securely, the first time. Plus, a professional electrician will be able to design an effective wiring network that has your current and future needs in mind, so you don’t have to re-do the whole thing in five years so you can install the latest smart home gadget.
At HRHislop, we love a smart home. We think they are the perfect way to keep your home safe, and give you complete control of the environment you live in. But we also know how challenging it can be to install all of these things properly, and getting them all to work together can cause problems in itself. That’s why we offer a full smart-deceive install service, to help you bring your smart-home dreams to life. Our experts can work with you to decide the right positioning of your smart devices, install them safely and even help you configure them, so you can get started right away. Remember, even though using smart home devices is simple, things can often go wrong if you haven’t installed them correctly. If you would like to know more about our smart home installation services, or you have a question about turning your home into a smart home, just get in touch with the team today.