It used to be that a home automation system could cost $5,000 or more and require an expert technician to install and configure all the devices. They were in the homes of the future or the very rich. But alas with all things technical they eventually become less expensive and easier to install because these companies realize to make a lot of money with a product you need to mass market it and make it affordable for everyone.
Do you want to add home automation to your Beckley WV area home but thought that it was too expensive? A wide range devices under $250 that are easy-to-install have come on the market in the past two years to help you automate your Beckley WV home. These devices typically do simple but very useful functions allowing you to remotely monitor your home, control the temperature, control your garage door, control door locks, and turn on/off the lights and even control lighting color all using your Smartphone, home internet, and a Wi-Fi connection.
1. Baby / Home Video Security System
While there are some specialized baby monitors on the market for Wi-Fi use such as Belkin WeMo Baby Monitor they are still in their infancy and their app gets poor reviews plus it is currently only available for the iPhone leaving Andriod users out in the cold. But we have found a better more affordable solution that includes an incredible mobile app for both the iOS devices and Andriod devices. The Foscam FI8910W Pan & Tilt IP/Network Camera with Two-Way Audio and Night Vision works well for monitoring babies, your kids or your home in general. Couple it with Foscam Blue Iris Professional and a DDNS service along with the Blue Iris app for iPhone or Andriod (which is free) and you have a great scalable and affordable system for remotely monitoring your baby, your kids and/or your home. Blue Iris will allow you to use your home computer as a centralized DVR for recording video and integrating all cameras into a single screen for viewing, monitoring, alerting, and recording.
2. Remote Control Your Temperature and Save Money
Ever leave your home and forget to change your thermostat or unsure if you did and what to check it? Going home at a different time and want to alter the temperature setting to save money and change it later so your home is cool/warm when you get there? Look no further than the Nest Learning Thermostat.
This thermostat learns your habits and allows you to remotely manage your temperature control from your smart phone or tablet.Nest estimates they can save you 20% on your heating and cooling bills by using their product.Nest will work with 95% of home systems but they have an easy compatibility checker before you buy to see if it will work. Their tech support is great and ready to help as well.Most people can install this unit themselves and start saving right away.
3. Remote Garage Door Opener/Closer/Monitor
How many times have your left your home and wondered if you remembered to close the garage door?One, two, ten, fifty, or too many times to reply?What did you do, drive back and check it, call a neighbor to check it or just worry about it all day or worse week?Well not any more. Liftmaster the number one manufacturer of garage door openers has the answer.
Couple a (or two if you have double garage doors) Liftmaster 888LM Security+2.0 MyQ Wall Control Units (compatible with most Liftmaster Garage Door Openers Manufactured in 1998 or after, contact Liftmaster to verify compatibility if you are unsure) and a Liftmaster 828LM Garage Door Opener Internet Gateway and you have a complete solution to monitor, close, and open your garage door from your smartphone or tablet (supports all devices) for less than $100.
Installation is easy and it works flawlessly to provide you control and peace of mind.With additional add on devices you can even control your garage and house lights remotely.
4. Lock Your Home
There are several products in this category that allow you to lock, unlock, and monitor your door lock(s). The most promising and reliable is the KwiksetZ-Wave system.While we are hopeful that Kwikset will eventually abandon the Z-Wave system in favor of Wi-Fi enabled system, for now their Z-Wave locks are the standard for remote control of door locks.They require a Z-Wave enabled lock (door handle lock and/or deadbolt) and a Z-Wave home controller connected to your internet connection to enable remote access.
Remote controlled locks allow you to:
Lock and unlock doors from anywhere: control your lock from anywhere on your smart phone, tablet, or internet connected device.
Get notified when someone enters your home: receive notifications when your loved ones arrive home safely, or monitor people going in and out of your home.
Control when others have access to your home: do you have a contractor coming tomorrow at 9am, or a housekeeper that comes Tuesdays between 10am-12pm? You can assign a specific code and create a schedule that only allows entry to your home during those times.
Be prepared for life’s unplanned moments: no matter where you are – work, vacation, or on the road, if something goes wrong in your home, you can remotely provide temporary access to those who need it.
The Z-Wave system is expandable to include light and outlet controls to allow remotely turning on lights and other devices.
5. Control your lighting and color
While some of the solutions above allow you to control your lights.None of them allow you to control the color and mood lighting.While not a necessity, Hue, from Phillips has one of those gee wiz techno bang for your buck fun things to do.It was voted Forbes product of the year and could easily be someone’s Christmas gift for someone that has it all, because they most likely don’t have this.
Hue is your personal wireless lighting. It enables you to create and control light using your smartphone or tablet. Bringing endless possibilities to help you get creative and help you personalize your lighting to suit your and your family’s lifestyle. Hue can help you relax or concentrate, change the atmosphere of a room, help keep your house safe when you’re out, and even remind you of that magical moment on vacation. The possibilities are endless.
What Can Hue Do for You?
In the morning… Use the timer option and turn hue into your morning wake up call. Set your lights to gradually brighten over time, waking you up in a rather more civilized fashion. Better still, you can create a scene from the image of a dawn sun and turn hue into your own personal sunrise.
Welcome home… If you’re working late or maybe out for the night, you can simply turn your wireless lights on or off remotely. That way you can make it look like you’re home, even when you’re not. You can also set your lights to come on at a set time. Perfect if you’re away on holiday but you want people to think you’re still in. Or maybe just before you arrive home from work. That way you’ll never come back to a dark house again.
Relive a favorite moment… With hue, any photo on your smartphone becomes a palette to paint with light, enabling you to bring back the memories of an epic vacation or capture the vibrancy of a summer day. Drag the picker across a photo to select a color within the image. Or use the white light scale to pick a perfect tone. Your selected wireless bulb will reflect that choice instantly. And once you’re happy with the scene, simply save it to use again.
Any of these solutions offer an inexpensive way to add some useful home automation to your Beckley WV home or other Southern WV area home. Let me know if you have any plans to automate your home and post your solutions/ideas/experiences below.