There’s no denying it, smart homes are cool. But are they worth the money? Well, that really depends on why you’re getting a smart home and what features you decide to add. Everyone’s situation is going to be different so there’s no “one size fits all” solution. What we can do however, is look at each different element of smart homes and try and get a broad estimate. Some people might think that you can get a couple smart lights and some controllers and, poof, your smart home magically completes itself.
That’s not really how it works at all. Not only does the setup take some trial and error, but actually planning out all of the features you’re going to want in your home will take some research and critical thinking. Not planning out your smart home is a great way to add a bunch of expensive smart home features you never needed.
Before you start planning your smart home, it’s probably a good idea to understand exactly why you’re planning on getting a smart home in the first place.
Why Do I Need a Smart Home?
Well to be honest, you probably don’t ever “need” a smart home, but there are plenty of reasons someone might want one. Right now, adding automation to your home can be a little expensive, but depending on why you are thinking of getting into it and what features you want to add, it might be worth the cost. Some reasons you might want a smart home:
I’m sure that by now you have heard of people saving tons of money on their energy bill by using smart thermostats. Well, this is actually one of the biggest reasons that people get in to smart homes. Not only can you set routines, but you can actually do things like have your thermostat turn on automatically when it sees that you are approaching your home. That’s just one of many examples of cool things you can do with smart thermostats. This technology has also been a huge help to the vacation home rental industry. Smart thermostats combined with smart locks make renting out a home almost fully automatic.
I remember when I was a kid my mom used to turn on the lights to make me wake up for school faster. Well, with smart lighting you can combine your lights with a wake up routine that will turn on the lights for you. Or have a motion detector that turns on dim lights in the hallway when you’re walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Another cool thing is to connect your lights to an Alexa and have it do a fancy light show when you say something like “Alexa, it’s party time!” The point is that there are a ton of cool reasons you might want to get smart lighting in your home.
Home security is a big one. Since smart home usually rely on a central hub, it makes sense that you would have your entire smart home appliance setup attached to a security hub. On top of that, you can utilize smart home features to give special access to guests or automatically arm your home when you are away. You can even connect your security cameras to your smart home setup and see who is at the door from your phone, talk to them, and unlock the door from across the globe.
Of course with any new technology, there are going to be those who are excited about it for the sake of its cutting edge features. Smart homes are a great project for technology enthusiasts because there’s pretty much an endless amount of possibilities. You can even create your own smart home hub with something like a Raspberry Pi and open source platforms like Home Assistant or openHAB. This was you have complete control over the smart home features and if you’re willing to do the extra work, you can probably cut down on the total cost as well.
Obviously convenience is a huge factor in the home automation industry. Things like asking your voice assistant to play a song for you or have your garage door automatically open when you pull into the driveway are just a few of many examples.
Calculating Home Automation Costs
So now that you have a good idea of why you would want a smart home you can start to break down the different features you might want to add to your home. Adding something like a smart thermostat is pretty obvious; you spend a couple hundred now and save thousands over the course of ten years.
Security is another pretty obvious addition. You spend a couple hundred on advanced security, you can think of it as a type of insurance. It may be a little bit more expensive to have a doorbell camera, but you’ll certainly be grateful if you prevent someone from stealing those expensive packages from Amazon. And of course, you can see if there’s a salesman at the door, which I would pay for.
Door locks and garage door automation kind of depends on your situation. If you have children that come home from school before you get home from work for example, having an app on your phone to unlock all of the doors could certainly come in handy.
Then of course you have your voice assistants, smart lighting, and entertainment centers, which are really more for fun than they are practical. I mean sure you can save some money if your lights turn off when you’re not home, but with LED bulbs these days you likely not going to save much. So these features are going to be more for the hobbyist.
Why Smart Home Security
You can do a lot with a little with home security, so why go all in and integrate security with a smart home anyways? Well again, you don’t really ever need a smart home, but having smart home security can help out in a lot of little ways too. Keeping track of who comes and goes with door and windows sensors or detecting carbon monoxide are a few examples of data you would send to your smart security hub. I’ve read stories about people having smart security warn them of a carbon monoxide threat that they would have never known about otherwise.
If you’re interested in getting smart security consider getting a free quote online with Protect America.