How to Make a Smart Home: A Beginner’s Guide
We’re living in a generation where technology is even making things easier. If you’d want to capitalise on this and have the budget for it, you may want your house to be fully or partially converted into a smart home.
In this guide, we will delve into the basics of making a smart home, including what it is, the devices you have to get, how much it costs, and more.
So, let’s get started!
What is a Smart Home?
A smart home allows you to control many aspects of the house, including the lights, thermostat, blinds, locks, appliances, cameras, and so on. This can be done remotely through an app using your device such as a laptop, tablet, or phone.
Imagine the convenience when you use the phone to open the front door lock, step into the room where the lights switch on automatically.
You can also tell Alexa to turn on the air conditioning and play a Beatles song on your TV, and then also activate the robot vacuum to clean up the small grime your shoes have left on the floor.
With the dozens of devices you’re switching on and off, you may think you’re going to spend a lot more on your utility bills.
That can be true, but you can so plan and set the smart home workings and be able to reduce (or even minimise) your energy use at the same time, which will reduce your environmental impact.
Aside from saving energy, your house can ramp up its security measures.
Think of it: you have more eyes outside your home for any would-be burglars or trespassers. You can even talk through the camera to shoo or discourage them from committing theft or other bad deeds.
Given these three solid reasons of convenience, security, and eco-friendliness, many people are making the switch from the traditional operation to the modern clever technology of their homes.
Setting Up a Smart Home
You can start with a single smart home device and add more along the way, which most people do. Or, you can install a comprehensive smart home technology all in one go.
Either way, they work by connecting to your Wi-Fi network or additional wireless protocols, the likes of which include Zigbee and Z-Wave.
Google Nest and Ring smart home devices come with their own app. While some others are supported by general apps to communicate with your other smart apps through a ‘hub’ app, and a few others can do both, though they may have issues with supporting various security products.
It follows from this that it’s advisable to find a product that supports as many devices in your home as possible. This gives you the fullest control and versatility to enjoy all areas of your smart home.
This way, when it comes time to upgrade your home automation system, you won’t run into any troubles. Meaning, you won’t have to set aside your devices because they aren’t pairable with other gadgets and appliances you have, resulting in higher expenses for a new one.
Anyway, here are some smart equipment you can get. Pick the ones you need initially and get more in the future when your budget permits.
*Tip: If you would need to renovate your house soon, you may want to install your home security system as well. This will save you money since a lot of rewiring may have to be made and it’s more practical to combine the two jobs rather than do them individually.
- Lighting – Changing to smart lights are one of the simplest things you can do to create a smart home. This allows you to control the light bulbs separately or by group as well as modify the brightness level and colour temperature.
- Doorbells and Cameras – Smart doorbells and cameras let you know who your guest is. Compatible devices can be paired together to give you more functions and features through the parent app.
For instance, apart from hearing the bell tone, you’d then be able to refuse the stubborn solicitor in front of your door, record footage in the cloud, and detect movements.
- Security Systems – Sirens, motion sensors, cameras, window and door sensors can all be controlled, activated or de-activated, and customised according to how you’d want to use them.
Because of this, there can be less chance of break-ins without your knowing if you’re out of the house. Just make sure to use a strong password and encrypt your internet router to prevent the security system from being hacked.
- Televisions – With the Internet, you can take control of the TV box to play any movie or music you have the mood for. You can also turn up the volume, power off the unit, and even ask it what day it is.
- Other smart products – there are also smart sprinkler systems to water your lawn or garden when set, robo-vacuums, and even smart outlets giving you the ability to control anything that is plugged into an outlet.
How Much Does Home Automation Cost?
Automating your home involves a lot of cost because of the expensive gadgets, having to rewire the entire house, the possible need to pay a subscription fee, and not to mention the labour needed.
In general, you can expect to pay between RM240 and RM13,600 per month depending on your preferred system brand and kind. There are affordable and reliable smart home systems that would just cost you RM400 a year.
For installation and labour, they are very expensive and can cost as much as RM6,000 for the entire home, but the good news is you only pay it once. And, if you need to replace a faulty device, it is estimated to run from RM120 to a few thousand bucks.
How and When Should I Begin the Project?
We suggest approaching a smart home installer, renovator, or interior designer. They can help you plan where to place the smart products all the while considering your needs and project goal.
Ideally, this should be done before you install the devices or have a tradesman carry out the home renovation, since both that and home automation require rewiring works to your property.