It’s amazing to think that all the automation features you learned about for the “Home of the Future” are actually available to today’s homeowners. Almost every function in your home can be controlled by a switch, device or smart phone, and there are considerable benefits for automating certain operations. You can make your place more secure, save on energy bills and home insurance, and generally make everyday life more convenient around the house. Have a look at some basic information if you’re ready to get started with home automation.

Start with a smaller-scale system. You don’t have to install a household-wide system to gain the benefits of home automation – and it’s an especially unwise move if you’re new to this type of technology. Go with some of the basics, such as:

  • Lighting: Technology has come a long way since the plug-in timers that you used to turn lights off and on from the outlet. You can opt for a system that controls your entire home with just a switch, including settings that take into account the seasonal nature of sunrise and sunset.
  • HVAC: Home automation systems help you maintain a constant temperature that’s comfortable while you’re at home and energy-efficient while you’re away. You’ll save on heating and cooling costs by automating your HVAC to operate at the levels you set for the time of day and season.
  • Outdoor sprinklers: Installing an irrigation system is smart if you’re currently manually watering your landscaping. Most devices run on a timer, but more advanced systems can detect weather conditions and will adjust their on-off operations accordingly. 

Add automation components for remote or in-home controls. The latest in home automation enables you to control your major systems while you’re at home or away – and via smart phone applications. 

  • Security systems: Your family’s safety is a paramount concern, so an automated security system should be at the top of your list for home automation. Many systems include cameras, alarms, sensors, motion detectors, control panels and more; you can also choose a wireless or hardwired option. A typical system can send notifications to your smart phone or computer, ranging from an alert about a simple power outages to the presence of an intruder.
  • Home entertainment systems: An automated home entertainment system is so convenient you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one. You can distribute sound from one room to another, control volume on individual speakers and access movies and music in any space. Many systems also include storage for all your audio and video media, eliminating the clutter of plastic cases and gaming components.

The future is here when it comes to home automation, especially since homeowners on any budget can take advantage of these features. It’s wise to start small rather than implement an all-encompassing system that’s beyond your capabilities and controls you, rather than you it.