Automating Your Home

Home automation doesn’t need to be a gigantic project that requires hiring professionals who charge enormous amounts of money – a lot of people enjoy turning their houses into integrated homes as an ongoing project that can be a fascinating hobby. Automating your home offers a lot of great benefits including increased security and reduced energy costs as well as greater control over your surroundings, environment and appliances. Here are some easy ways to get started with your integrated home.

Automated Home DIY

First define the objectives for your automation. Do you want to control the entire house from your smartphone and check your fishtank’s pH balance from anywhere in the world, or just be able to turn your television and stereo system on from any room in the house? Start by deciding your ideal home automation scenario – while most hobbyists will start out small, knowing where you want to end up is really key for proper planning. Think about the features you require, Hi-Fi or home cinema?

automated home

You need to choose a home automation standard, which is the technology your house will use to communicate with different parts of itself. The two dominant standards in the industry are X10, which tends to be cheaper, and Insteon, which provides a richer variety of data to make use of. There are a variety of options for communications including powerline and wireless, and different types of software support, so do your research thoroughly here.

Make sure you install in phases – the idea is to make your life simpler, not end up overcomplicating things until you want to tear your hair out! Plan every part of your installation in phases so you can test things thoroughly and ensure that everything behaves as you want it to before you move onto the next phase. Keep schematics and documentation on hand to keep things organised and make life easier when it comes to troubleshooting issues.

Next choose your software and set up a home automation computer. X10’s Activehome is a pretty good option and isn’t that expensive, but it does have limited functionality. More advanced systems like Powerhome can be great if you want to take things to the next level, but the learning curve on these tends to be very steep. If you aren’t au fait with writing macros and adding functions at a programming level, it might be time to stop and call in the professionals here. Remember that the computer which controls things will need to run 24/7 so bear this in mind when setting up.

Finally, you need to put in the various modules for home automation – lamp modules or switches, appliance modules or Universal Modules which can be used with X10 for things like garage door openings. Most of them just plug straight into the wall like a normal electrical outlet, or you can install more advanced elements into wall switches as well.

Need help with Automated Home?

If all this sounds a bit daunting but you’re still determined to automate your home, it is always worth calling in an integrated homes professional like the experts at Grahams Hi-Fi in London, who handle everything to do with home automation and not just multimedia centres as their name suggests. To take a look at their home automation services visit their website at www.grahams.co.uk or give them a call on 020 7226 5500 to see if they can help you realise your dream automated home, whatever your budget or objectives may be.

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