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The WellConnectedHome highlights an average family's journey into building a home with today's technology within a budget an average family can afford.

TheWellConnectedHome was created by homeowners for homeowners. Homeowners are encouraged to write articles to share their experiences with home tech as well.

Home Automation, Where to Start?

If you’re curious or seriously considering using technology for your home, you are most likely overwhelmed by the number of choices and competing brands out there.  Home automation includes lighting controls, thermostat controls, audio and video distribution, interom, energy conservation, and more.  Where does one start?

Bascially, there are two ways you can go about beginning a home automation project:

  1. Hire a professionial installer
  2. Do it yourself

Both options are good and your choice depends upon your budget, curiosity, and inclination.

I am in the process of implementing home automation through out our home right now, which is currently being built.  So these articles are being written as my husband and I learn.   I am a huge technology fan and firmly believe that technology  can make your life easier.  However, troubleshooting technology can tend to take your free time away, so there’s a downside as well.

Hiring a professional
If you have the money and your inclination is low, hiring a professional installer is the right path for you.  Installers have experience installing components and wiring throughout the house.  They are knowledgeable about what is possible and what is a pipe dream.  They also spend many hours learning about new products in the product lines that they sell.  Most likely, they have implemented home automation technology in their homes or showrooms as well as for clients, so they can tell you from first hand experience how things work and what the downsides are.

The downside is that installers typically carry a certain number of lines and most of their education and experience revolves around those product lines.  So the plan they create  for you will most likely be limited to their experience  with other homes they have installed systems for.  Different installers favor different brands, but no installer can keep up with all they myriad of products out there.

Do it yourself
This is definitely a more challenging choice.  If you don’t have experience in home technology, it can be a steep learning curve, but an interesting one if you have the inclination.  In the past, most home automation equipment and programs were proprietary and involved programming that needed to be done by the installer, as it was too complex for the homeowner.  Today, some home technology is changing, becoming more open (so that different brands of products can work with different products) and it can be programmed by the homeowner.  Remember X10?  Yes, it’s still around, but new protocols have come out that are more stable and compatible with many brands.

On the downside, it’s very difficult to find concise information to help you get started on your project.  Alhtough there is a lot of information available, you have to piece things together through home automation magazines, bulletin boards, manufacturer websites, etc.  Although the cost to build your home technology plan should be considerably lower, you don’t have help to figure out how to install the technology unless you happen to have a good friend who already knows how to do it.  Keep in mind the expense for an electrician as well if electricity is not one of your strong points.

TheWellConnectedHome.com is here to help you in your quest for home technology.  We do  not profess to have the answers — only to share our knowledge of what we learn as we learn it.  We are tech enthusiast homeowners writing to homeowners, not technology engineers.  If you have experienced choosing, installing, or operating home technology in your own home, we invite you to become a writer for TheWellconnectedHome.com.  We will share our experiences and report on the best tools and websites on the Internet to make home technology an easier reality for us all.

Need Help Getting Started?
For those of you looking for a template to help you create your home technology wishlist, I have created one to help you decide what technology you’d like and which room it should go in. This is a very handy Excel spreadsheet that you can use to list out all your possible “wants” and needs for each room of your house. If you’d like a copy, please leave a comment and I will e-mail it out to you.

7 comments to Home Automation, Where to Start?

  • Laura

    Hi Lori,
    I would love a template for technology in the house.
    We are in the process of moving and not sure of all our options. Thank you!

  • Charlie

    Lori,

    Thanks for the read and yes, I would be interested in getting a template and any additional information you may have or direction to point for learning about the possibilities to take an old home and make it do some tricks.

    Thanks again,

    Charlie

  • Cesar Galvão

    Laura,

    Thanks for the advices, I would appreciate if you send me the template. Thank’s

  • Bob

    Hi Lori,

    Indeed this can be a bit overwhelming…I’m building my next house and I’m interested in home automation…first time…where to start? I think your template would help. Thank you.

  • Shamla

    Hello

    Would like to receive your template.

    Thanks.

  • Johan

    Hoi,

    I would like to start white home automation but dont know where to start.
    I Would like to receive your template.

  • James England

    I’ve started trawling the internet for home automation ideas and where to start so would love a copy of the spreadsheet please

Leave a Reply to Shamla

 

 

 

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