How to Wire Your House for Smart Home Automation

Modern homes are designed and built for the modern family, and technology plays a major role in everyday life. Home automation or smart home systems create safer, more comfortable living spaces with all of the conveniences that we’ve come to expect. Your house can be wired for smart home automation, encompassing nearly every electrical system including lighting, heating and cooling, phones, security, entertainment and home appliances.

Benefits of Home Automation

Smart homes use computers and other electronic devices to control the various systems in your indoor and outdoor living space. At one time homeowners used timers or motion sensors to control lighting, and relied on traditional thermostats to trigger the heating and cooling equipment. Now all of those elements can be programmed into a home automation system and fully coordinated with the other systems within the building.

Smart homes tend to be safer and allow for a greater sense of independence, especially for those dealing with physical limitations. Home automation saves time and energy, and can facilitate communication between those who live in the home.

Elements of a Smart Home

Smart home technology simply combines a device or system within your home (such as the furnace or television), an operating system (such as a computer) and an interface (such as a button or switch). The system is then activated by the operating system using the interface.

In most cases each system in your home will need to be set up individually. A computer might be the operating system for the security system, home entertainment and telephone systems, while other parts of your home are automated through independent means.

Motion sensor lights are considered part of an automation system, as are programmable thermostats and garage door openers. Even remote controls for your TV and stereo are components of a smart home. Your task when wiring a smart home automation system is to be sure that each element is looked after and included in an efficient overall system.

Lighting in a Smart Home

Most of the lighting in your smart home will be wired in the same way as standard lighting. The only difference is that timers or motion sensors will be added, either hard-wired in or simply plugged into the circuit.

Some light fixtures will need to be installed in areas where home automation systems exist. Have garage lights set to turn on when the garage door opens and ensure that your home security system includes exterior lights set with motion detectors. Security systems that can be activated and controlled over your mobile phone may allow for lights and other electronic devices to be switched on and off from a remote location. This system requires the same wiring as standard lights.

Doors and Windows in a Smart Home

You’ll need to wire up various openers for the doors and windows in your home. From garage door openers to automatic sliding doors and windows that open in hot weather, these systems are hard-wired into the electrical system of your home. Consider including an additional sensor in your garage door opener – an alarm that detects when the door is left open provides even greater security.

Automated windows can be closed remotely when a storm hits (using a mobile interface, like your cell phone) or windows can be programmed to open once the interior temperature hits a certain level.

Work these components into your smart home step by step, installing one door-opening system at a time. Garage door openers are convenient and safer in the winter months, while automatic windows help control heating and cooling bills, saving you money over time.

Security and Safety in a Smart Home

Home alarm systems have been used for years, available in either monitored or audible alarm designs. Today’s alarms can be connected to your mobile phone and personally monitored through a home computer system. Hard-wired designs will need to be hooked into the grid, while wireless systems have to be placed in locations that fit within the parameters of the system.

Personal alarms help protect the elderly and those with physical disabilities. When accidents occur or you’re unable to get to the phone and call for help, personal alarms can be activated and alert the internal security system. Some systems are connected with the phone and alert a designated contact via the phone line when the personal alarm is activated.

Hiring the Right Professional for the Job

Wiring a home automation system into your existing home can become complicated. If the current electrical system is undersized or unable to accommodate for the upgrades, you’ll need to plan for some major rewiring.

Hire an electrician to assess your home, calculating whether your service is adequately sized for the changes and deciding on how to incorporate the interface and operating system. From that point you can design a smart home system and begin installation.

Many newly built homes include this type of technology, often using one main computer as an operating system. These systems tend to cost more up front, but they do deliver energy savings and add value to your home.

Expect to pay anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 for home automation, depending on which systems within your home are incorporated into the design.

Your family will be safer and more comfortable with smart home automation built into the house. Hire an electrician to assess the property’s electrical needs and consider the cost of this home improvement as an investment, both in terms of value and in quality of life. Convenient, efficient and enjoyable, home automation is the wave of the future for home renovations.

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