A home automation DIY project may seem a bit daunting, but it can actually be quite simple to get started. There are many devices available on the market that are easy to set up, making them perfect for beginners. In this article, we’ll talk about the essentials of a home automation DIY project.
First Things First: How a Home Automation System Works
To get started, let’s cover the basics of how a smart home functions. A home automation system has three components:
- A central control hub where everything on the network is managed
- An app or remote used to access either the hub or individual devices
- Smart devices that do cool stuff
The complexity of your system depends on what types of devices you want connected to it. If you want smart lighting or AC in your home, it’s usually fairly simple to set up. On the other hand, voice-operated distributed AV with connected screens in every room would get more complicated.
We’re just getting started, so we’ll stick with the basics. The first of these is your central hub.
The Central Feature: Your Smart Hub
The core element of any home automaton DIY project is a central smart hub. The hub is what controls your network of devices, and it helps tie everything together. The hub you choose will depend on your needs and price range. Some center around one or two basic functions, while others provide general compatibility.
Since we’re just starting out, we’ll focus on general use hubs. The most popular of these include:
- Samsung SmartThings, which is compatible with many devices
- Amazon Echo, which has high quality voice recognition technology built in
- Google Home, similar to Echo but at a lower price
It’s worth doing some research to determine which smart hub will work best in your home. Be sure to check the strengths, weaknesses, and compatibility of each device to make sure it will meet your needs.
When setting up your smart hub, you’ll need to connect it to your home’s network, typically by Wi-Fi.
The next item in a home automation DIY project is a control system, which may be an app, remote, or similar device. The control method you use will depend on the types of devices you’re using. Samsung SmartThings, for instance, is controlled using a downloadable app, giving you access to all connected devices through your phone.
With Echo and Home, you’ll be able to control everything with voice commands. For times when you’re not home (or when your hub is in another room), there are still apps you can download that allow you to control your system remotely.
Some systems include specialized remotes. Whether you use the remote, a smartphone app, or voice commands is up to you. Whatever system you choose, just make sure it works for you.
Choose Your Smart Devices
The final components of your home automation system are smart devices. The most common (and generally the simplest) devices a DIY home automation system includes are:
- Lights, such as Philips Hue and Lutron Caséta lighting systems
- Thermostats, the most popular of which is the Nest Smart Thermostat
- Security systems, including cameras, smart doorbells, and smart locks
Most smart hubs are compatible with a wide range of devices, so you should be able to find devices that work with your chosen system.
If you only want one smart system in your home, that may influence your decision as well. For instance, a Nest smart thermostat is still functional without a central hub, and it can be controlled remotely with its own dedicated app. Lutron has starter kits that can be set up and controlled without the need for a separate central hub.
The key in these cases is to figure out what systems you want and whether you’ll need room to expand in the future.
Getting Started on Your Home Automation DIY Project
Now that we’ve gone over the basic components of a home automation system, there are a few questions you’ll have to ask yourself as you get started:
- What are your needs? Do you need multiple devices with room for expansion, or do you just need one or two smart devices? Are you going for a whole home system, or just implementing it in a single room?
- What’s your tech savvy? How comfortable are you with setting up networks? Some devices may be simpler than others. The items listed in this article are best for beginners, but if you know what you’re doing, it may be worthwhile to go a little crazy with high-tech features.
- What’s your budget? If money is tight, you may want to forego fancy functionality in favor of the basics. On the other hand, some higher end items may be worth the extra cost.
The answers to these questions will help you decide which devices you need. As such, they’re worth considering as you determine how to start your home automation DIY project.
As you look to incorporate smart technology into your home, it’s also worth considering how a home warranty can help. Appliance warranties can help keep your smart devices running properly for decades, so take some time to consider your options.