Whether you’re building a new home or already living in your dream home on Maui, adding “smart home” features can make living on the Valley Isle a dream come true. If you’re in the planning stages for new construction, you and your architect can incorporate everything into the home’s design. But it’s also possible to introduce smart technology (also called home automation) into an existing home to make things more convenient. But be forewarned that just going out and buying some “smart devices” and without understanding what they are then trying to implement them is a recipe for disaster. That’s why planning is important whether it’s new construction or an existing structure.
What Do You Want Your Home To Do?
The first question to ask yourself is what you want to accomplish by integrating smart technology into your home. A family with small children has different needs from retirees and “empty nesters” who are planning to age in place.
Home automation can be just a few things or can run the entire house from the hub. Again, this comes from what you want to accomplish with installing smart technology. You may just want to have extra control over the lights and blinds in your home, and maybe any climate control.
You’ll also need to consider if your family members will be comfortable using smart home products. Young children and teenagers will likely have no problem adapting to tech-based home equipment. But what if you have an elderly relative living with you—are they tech-savvy and comfortable with new technology? How about your spouse? While technology can make things easier for everyone, they must be able to use it themselves.
Consider your “pain points” and the problem or problems you’d like to solve. For an existing home, begin by walking around and seeing what you’d like to change. Chances are your home was designed before the advent of home automation, and some updates to your home may be necessary to accommodate the equipment. New construction can have these adaptations built into the design.
The most popular smart home devices that people install are:
• Smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
• Sound systems that pipe music and other audio throughout the house
• Home security and doorbell cameras, such as Ring
These devices are easily controlled by smartphone apps and by smart assistants such as Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Nest Hub.
While planning for new construction, or a renovation, discuss the ideas with your architect to ensure that they are included in the overall design.
Once you know what you want to accomplish, you need to know what kinds of devices and equipment you need, how they work, and what they can do. Don’t skip this step, or you’ll be spending more money than you planned.
If you’re of the mind that you want everything to work with a single user interface, you’ll need something called a “hub” that helps everything work together. You’ll also need to ensure that all of the things you’re planning to purchase will all work with the correct hub. Otherwise, nothing will work. Check the manufacturer’s website and information before purchasing a hub so that you’ll know if it works with everything else you’re planning.
Opening an IFTTT account, or, “if this, then that,” allows the action of one service or device to trigger an action by other services and/or devices. An IFTTT account requires a monthly subscription fee and transfers your ”hub” to the cloud, where you create an applet to trigger a specific action.
Set A Budget
It’s easy to start buying smart home equipment without realizing what you’re doing. Like many home improvement projects, the cost can get out of hand very quickly, especially without a cap on spending.
Carefully consider each device you’re interested in and put them all in a spreadsheet so you can compare them. The spreadsheet comes in handy later with a list of the automation. Then create a realistic budget with a stopgap so that you don’t buy more equipment and devices than you really need. Because technology is always updating, it’s also a good idea to start with things that won’t quickly become obsolete, like lighting. Sticking with things that have been around for a while can help you stay within your budget.
Dreaming Of A Smart Home? Let Pro Draft Help
Let Pro Draft help with architecture, drawings, blueprints, permits, and everything else you need to build your new smart home. Make your new home totally smart or just automate what you need. From planning to drawings to construction, we’ll work to make sure your project is done to your specifications and your needs.