From energy-saving thermostats to smart phone-accessible security cameras, smart home products are taking the homeowner sphere by storm. While the ever-advancing technology and sheer number of products available can be overwhelming, DIY home automation is easier than you think. You can follow this handy guide to learn the basics of home automation, alongside expert tips for setting up your abode with essential smart home technology.
What Is Home Automation?
Home automation involves installing smart home devices that help make your home more intelligent, even capable of making decisions so you can focus on other things. To do this, many products include motion and temperature sensors that respond to stimuli. For instance, smart surveillance might send you a notification and a video clip when it senses someone entering through the front door. Combined with scheduling that uses your own decisions and preferences, such as setting your thermostat to turn down the heat while you're at work, this creates a seamless smart home experience.
Why Do You Need a Smart Home?
While a smart home clearly adds to the convenience factor, smart tech can also strengthen security and lead to cost savings. With smart devices installed, you can:
Access every part of your home from one mobile device
Control and monitor your house while you're away
Help conserve energy to shave dollars off your utility bills 
With many models saving you 10 to 23 percent on your heating and cooling costs, it's no wonder the smart thermostat is a popular home automation product.  While some have extra features, such as a learning ability that discovers your preferences, most smart thermostats have the ability to:
Sense when you leave or come home to adjust the temperature accordingly
Connect to your mobile device for control from anywhere
Allow scheduling for easy home automation
When shopping for a smart thermostat, you can decide whether or not a large control screen is a necessity. You can also find out whether your chosen model works with your HVAC system, which may involve looking at your home's wiring. If you need any modifications, consider hiring an electrician.
You may never have to worry about accidentally leaving the front door unlocked again. For the best smart locks to help secure your home, look for models that include:
Mobile device compatibility with notifications when a door is opened
Keypads for convenient, key-free access
Key fobs or key fob-functionality of your smartphone for easy locking and unlocking
If you want to control your locks from anywhere, consider looking for models with Wi-Fi connectivity rather than short-distance connectivity options such as Bluetooth. Try to keep in mind that some of these lock systems may charge monthly fees for notifications and other services.
How would you like to dim all your lights at once to save energy or turn them off while you're at work? With smart lighting, you can even program or remotely turn on your porch light with a tap of your smartphone for added home security. A basic smart lighting setup might include:
Dimmable LED Bulbs
Smart switches and dimmers
Smart plugs for lamps and other appliances
Consider looking for bulbs that are compatible with smart switches and other devices. Some may require a home automation hub, which lets you synchronize all your smart products, while others can connect directly to your phone via Wi-Fi.
Security and Surveillance
Keeping an eye on your home at all times is no longer a dream of the future. With smart security products, you can check up on pets or the babysitter, or even receive instant notifications when someone tries to enter your home. Here are the basic components of a smart security system:
When buying your security products, try to ensure that different components are compatible so they can work together for a seamless security system. When in doubt, you can always go for a complete security kit.
While smart control is handy, a voice control system helps give you some added convenience in managing your home, including sound sensors to recognize your commands. Consider choosing a device from a recognized brand to help make sure the voice control hub is compatible with the rest or your smart home technology.
When purchasing your smart home technology, go for trusted brands, and consider making decisions based on the features you are likely to use above all else. Once everything is installed, you can enjoy the countless benefits of an automated, intelligent home.
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