Home Automation

Home automation allows homeowners to fully integrate and control a number of different appliances and systems in the home; in most cases, the systems can be remotely controlled via a smart phone. Home automation gives homeowners more control over how their home functions and saves energy. In the past, home automation was only seen in high end homes controlling home cinema and security systems. However, the cost of the technology has decreased and home automation is now available at affordable prices. It can not only save homeowners money on energy bills, but it can also give many greater comfort and security in the home.

Check out the cover story on home automation and privacy issues featured in the Summer 2014 issue of BTW Magazine. To view on a mobile device click here.

Home Automation Infographics

Learn what can be automated and why to automate.

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How Does Home Automation Work?
Home automation systems are composed of hardware and an interface. The hardware components include sensors, and actuators. Sensors read and record information such as temperature while actuators control devices such as a lock or light switch. Often, all of the hardware components are connected through a network and linked to a central hub. The interface, such as a computer or smart phone allows the user to control their system or monitor their energy usage.

Is home automation DIY?
In the past, home automation was left to the professionals or savvy electricians and programmers. Wireless technology is now making it easier to automate-by-yourself. For many of the home automation products, it is as simple as a plug-in socket or establishing wireless communication. However, in some cases such as installing a thermostat, it may be advisable to hire an electrician.

Is it worth it? Savings vs. Cost
Home automation can save homeowners money, and many of the products available on the market are relatively inexpensive to purchase. However, it will only save money if used correctly. Pay attention to the temperature settings, use the apps to turn off lights, turn down heat, and turn off appliances. All of these measures can lead to considerable energy savings. It will be worth the investment if the system’s capabilities are embraced and an effort is made to reduce energy consumption.

Where to start?
Decide if you are more interested in energy saving or convenience. Thermostats and smart sockets are simple ways to start saving energy. If security is your main goal, smart locks or wifi enabled cameras can alert you if there is any movement in your home while you’re away. If you have any questions please visit our Ask an Expert section.

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