As a very basic definition of home automation you could consider it to be anything that is able to be controlled in your home. If you have a remote or you have automatic control over the operation of devices within your home, you have home automation.
Today’s standards are high. There are actually a number of different ways that you can install this type of automation into your home. What’s important to know is that most of the automation that you will do will not require hard work. It won’t require tearing apart your home or spending thousands of dollars on a simple system.
Home automation is something that the average person can do. Most of the products that you will find are simple to install and they don’t have to be more than a few hours worth of a project.
What you need to know now, though, is what’s available to you, why you should be considering this, how to get started and where and what to purchase to make it happen.
First, determine your needs, wants, and budget. It’s important for you to take into consideration the vast number of tools that you have at your hands. Depending on what your goals are, you could transform your home into something truly amazing.
Home automation can allow you, and your computer, to make the things that you need and do in your home easier to accomplish. Perhaps you want to control your security system? Or, maybe you want to voice automate the lights in your home so that you can get into bed and then turn the lights out. You may even want to remotely control your sound system from any place in your home.
No matter what it is you are looking to accomplish, home automation products are most likely available to help you to make it happen.
The technology that you need to make this happen is quite accessible to most individuals. One way to purchase it is through kits that are already designed to include everything you need to set up the home automation and to get it running.
This will include the hardware and software you need from things like timers to the wireless devices you’ll need.
You can and you should consider the purchase of these kits. They aren’t your only option though. You can do all of the hardware work yourself and simply purchase the software to set it up. You can configure your own system completely using the tools that are available on the market.
But, when you take advantage of the automation kits, you are likely to get a more affordable price and its just simpler to make happen. Since most kits can conform to your specific needs, there’s little to worry about. Of course, there are several options available for each individual, which allows you to select what?s right for you and your home.
A Quick Look At Options
Home automation tools can truly range the gamut. Some of the leaders in this technology offer choices so that you as the homeowner can select the pieces that make the most sense for your needs. Packages are available for:
- Simple remote control units that work no differently than your television remote.
- Motion sensors that work with security systems to detect movement.
- Video surveillance equipment that allows you to monitor virtually anything you want to.
- Thermostat controls to allow you to control how warm or cold you want it.
How Do These Kits Work?
Most of the home automation kits will work in a similar fashion. While some of the latest technology takes you farther, most installing home automation features for the first time should consider what the kits have to provide to you. But, first, let’s take a quick look at the technology that is involved in making these home automation kits work for you.
The two main types of automation technologies used currently including X10 and remote control units.
X10: Your Communication Tool
X10 is a communications protocol. It allows your appliances to talk to each other, which means that they can communicate your needs between each other. They do this by using the standard electrical lines you have in your home. X10, which is named after the company that created it is a technology that has the most talking. Although it was designed some twenty years ago, today’s packages are more likely to please you.
Take into consideration, for example, the X10’s ActiveHome Pro, which is a home automation system that is one of the very best selling on the market today. What makes it even more amazing is that its about $100. That’s it!
If you look into this product, you’ll likely get all that you need. Here’s what comes with the purchase, at the time of this writing:
- Adapters, (aka modules). One of these adapters will be a transceiver. These modules simply plug right into your wall’s outlet. Depending on which appliance you want to automate, that’s the outlet you would use for the module. There are different modules for the various types of appliances that you have. For example, you may get one that works for your lighting.
- You may also get a key chain style of a remote to use regularly.
- A PalmPad remote control to control the appliances as you see fit.
- A motion sensor which can help you to really automate your home’s function.
The process is very simple, actually. As with this example, you simply will use the modules to turn your appliances on and off. The modules that work with lighting also have the ability to dim as per your control. You’ll be able to do all of this by using the downloadable software that you’ll get from the company’s website.
But, don’t worry; you don’t have to have your computer running all of the time. In fact, you only need it to install the software and then to adjust your settings as time goes on and you want to make changes. To use the automation devices, you’ll use your two remotes, the PalmPad and the key chain device.
Is it that easy?
Really, it is. To get started, you’ll need to purchase the automation tools that you want to use. Then, download the software that’s required to use them. This is simple too, and doesn’t usually take much time or space. Once you get it on your screen, you will then be able to assign each of your appliances to the module.
To do this, you simply label the icons that appear in the software to the appliances that you have in the home. You’ll keep them organized, too. Just click and drag them into the room on the screen that they are located in. Its easy to do and keeps each item completely organized.
Now, when you get the modules installed, you’ll simply plug them into the outlets that your appliances plug into. These modules allow the computer software to communicate with the appliance through an interface unit.
This unit generally connects to your computer through a USB cable. The unit gets information from your actions on the computer.
From there, it tells the appliance what to do through the electrical wires in your home. The final set will be testing the remotes to insure that they are working correctly, which generally speaking will be. As simple as this sounds, it does become a whole lot of fun, too!
You’re Not Limited!
You may be curious about those appliances that don’t have an outlet plug. Take for example, the ceiling fan in your bedroom. Don’t worry, its easy to automate this, too. In this case, you will simply remove the light bulb, insert the appropriate module into the ceiling fan’s light bulb socket and then screw the light bulb into the module.
This makes it easy to use automation specifically that of X10 anywhere you want to.
It Gets Even Better
Now, just this type of automation would be okay, but once you get it installed, you’ll want to play with the Macros it offers too. Macros are a series of commands that are linked. With the use of macros, you can make one button on your remote do several things, in a series of actions. The best part is that you design how it works and what you want it to do.
There are several ways that this technology can work for you. For example, you can set up your outdoor lighting with the use of macros. You could program it to follow a specific set of instructions. It may turn on your outdoor likes when the sun goes down and then an hour later can dim them.
It would finally turn off at the time you set. But, you can configure into this mix the ability to turn back on if the lights detect any motion in their range, creating safety and security.
Or, you can use macros to help you to set up a series of function within the home. Let’s say you are coming in the door and want to relax. By setting up macros to turn on the lights to the appropriate level, to turn on your favorite CD and even to get the bathtub running, you could easily enjoy that.
Not only is it fun to do these types of things but it just makes life easier for you. With this type of technology, home automation allows you to make the most out of what life has to offer to you.
Now, remember that X10’s home automation system that we are using as an example here isn’t your only choice. There are other companies and products that are available.
But, you can clearly see just how simple it can be to set up and take full advantage of a home automation system. While some of these systems do have a few quirks to them, you are never going to reach for that toggle switch to turn off the lights again!
Today’s automation for the home can be done in numerous ways. What you are going to learn in the next chapters includes your options and the vast number of benefits that come from automating your home.
While you may be a couch potato that is looking for a way to just make life simpler, you may also have other needs to address, too. Home automation has been credited with helping countless individuals make life livable by helping to reduce stress, increase the amount of movement they can do and it can save you time.
As with the X10 system we talked about, you’ll find that most of the home automation that you are able to do is quite affordable to do. Just take a look at the options that you have. Consider what works best for you and then implement it.
What home automation means to you?
Its important to realize that home automation also allows you to make life fit you a bit better. But, don’t think that there is just one product on the market to serve the need that you have. You’ll find many to choose from. Since home automation is a large and growing field, there are many brands, styles and various technologies at play. You are likely to find yourself comparing models to determine which offers what you are looking for in the best possible manner.
This makes home automation that much more enjoyable and beneficial, too.
Now, that you know the basics about this system, consider how you can use it to enhance your life.