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4 Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing an Automation System

May 12, 2017

Choosing a system to automate your home can be similar to choosing your first home. Several smart products are flooding the market, and you need to separate the devices you need from the devices that will just clutter your home. Here are questions you should ask before you choose an automation system:

Do you understand automation?

At the initial stage of your decision-making process on what automation system you need, you will have to put aside all the knowledge you already have about automation. People make a lot of mistakes by ignoring this first stage and end up buying expensive systems that add hardly any value to their lives. For instance, a system with a poor network can make connected devices slow to respond your voice commands.

So, put aside your preconceptions about automation and any thoughts about what technologies you want to use or what products you want to buy. Instead, do thorough research about automation and plan the foundation for your system. This will help you avoid getting confused by the home automation jargon that vendors may use to confuse you to make you buy products you do not need. Use Enlight’s blogs to help you decide which protocols and devices fit your lifestyle, as well as deciphering industry jargon. Enlight also offers PDFs and videos for individual products and will release a unique system builder for users to put together their ideal automation system.

Another reason for doing research is the constant change in automation market. The device you thought was high-end today could be quickly replaced by a better one tomorrow.

Where do you live?

Do you live in an apartment, are you a renter or do you own your home? If you are a tenant living in an apartment, then you may not be able to install some smart devices in your home. For instance, if the apartment complex you live in has old wiring, it may be hard to install the latest smart switches you want. Be sure to research the switch to see if it is compatible with your current wiring.

If you own the home, then you can update old wiring to accommodate newer switches. Owning your home allows more flexibility with your choices since you can make necessary changes without permission. Although, we do suggest asking your wife before you take on any major electrical renovations!

What devices do I need?

Go to the room that you spend a lot of time in and sit down. Once comfortable, look around and identify any objects that you would want to automate. For instance, if your favorite room is your garage, you may decide that you need to automate your garage door and your garage lights or replace the old radio with a smart speaker like Sonos.

This will be the starting point for identifying the smart automation devices you need in your home. Once you automate one room, then you can confidently automate the rest.

How will you control your smart devices?

It is much easier to choose the right control method before you buy them rather than trying to change it after installation. You can select a hardwired control system that offers a reliable and fast response. But such a system requires running wires from a sub-system controller to each device. The devices and system controllers are often expensive and installing it into existing homes can be both time consuming and costly.

You can opt for a system where control signals are transmitted through existing power lines of your home for lighting, HVAC, or motion sensors. They are less expensive than hardwired systems and have easy-to-install wall switches and lamp modules. However, power line fluctuations can make your devices slow to respond, which affects reliability.

Wireless control hubs for lighting, appliances, HVAC, motion sensors and cameras feature easy installation and only need a good router. Place these hubs in a central open area within your home where they can disperse signals easily. One hub we love is the Samsung SmartThings Hub.

Once you have picked the right system and installed it, you can then sit down and enjoy. With your research, you will know what to do if something doesn’t respond fast enough and so on. For more information and guides about home automation, visit our website today.

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