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What You Need To Know About Home Automation

Posted by Alexa Lerner on Apr 24, 2024 3:45:00 PM

How To Make Your Home Smarter

Home automation is no longer a luxury. It is about everyday comfort, convenience, security, and savings. When you are building a new custom home or remodeling, it is essential to discuss your home automation objectives with your builder during the earliest stages of planning and design. Having proper wiring and wireless access points installed during the construction phase will ensure that your systems will run optimally when your custom home or remodeling project is finished.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation

1. Smart Home Automation Systems

So, what exactly is home automation? The term refers to utilizing smart home devices together to create events or complete tasks automatically. A home automation system typically operates through a central hub that is connected to your wireless or wired network, allowing you to control your electronic devices remotely.

Do some research to find a home automation system that suits your needs, is user friendly, and is compatible with the brands and devices you want to use. There are many systems at varying price points on the market today made by companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and more.

As you begin to research these systems, evaluate your goals for home automation. Are there specific tasks that you want to automate or certain features that are most important to you? Do you want to automate your whole home or only certain rooms? What is your budget? Once you answer these questions, finding the right system to make your home smarter will be easier.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - Smart Home Systems

2. Smart Audio-Visual Systems

Smart audio-visual systems allow you to listen to music and watch TV from almost anywhere in your home. These systems can be controlled from your smart devices for total convenience.  Some work wirelessly, but they may not offer top-notch sound quality because there is a possibility of lost connections, bandwidth limitations, and interference problems. In-wall wires provide higher-quality signals and output throughout your home than wireless systems. With proper advanced planning, your homebuilder can install wiring, speakers, and other audio-visual equipment while a remodeling project or custom home construction is underway.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - Smart Audio Visual Systems

3. Smart HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning) Systems

A smart HVAC system uses wireless or wired technology to facilitate communications between multiple devices and sensors in your home, allowing for automated adjustments based on your settings and desired schedules. Investing in a smart HVAC system can provide you with greater comfort, convenience, and energy efficiency. For example, a smart system will be able to detect changes in the weather conditions outside, such as fluctuations in humidity and temperature, and make your home more comfortable inside. Some smart systems can tell you if it’s time for maintenance work; you may get a reminder on your smartphone that you need to replace a filter or schedule a professional service call. At the end of each month, you can generate a report that details your energy usage so you can set your system to run more efficiently, which can lower your heating and cooling costs over time.

At the center of a smart HVAC system is a smart thermostat. The thermostat connects to your phone, tablet, laptop, or voice-activated home automation hub, and from there you can synchronize the other climate control products you have installed so they can operate in unison. For instance, smart sensors allow your HVAC system to detect where people are in your home based on the location of their phones so you can set varying temperatures in different rooms with pre-programmed preferences. This geofencing technology also allows the system to raise or lower temperatures when you are leaving or approaching your home. 

Air quality in your home is crucial for your overall well-being. A smart air purifier is able to detect pollution levels and allergens in the air and work to reduce them so you can breathe in fresher and cleaner air. Connecting a whole-home humidifier to your smart thermostat will allow your HVAC system to optimize the levels of humidity so that the air is not too moist or too dry as the seasons change. Adding smart air vents to your system will allow it to detect the environment in each room in your home and redirect air where it is needed the most. All of these components can be controlled and monitored directly from your smartphone, laptop, and/or tablet.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - HVAC

4. Smart Indoor and Outdoor Lighting

Smart lighting is comprised of an integrated system of devices that controls a variety of lights (task, accent, ambient, etc.) in a single room or throughout an entire home. These lighting systems can be linked to your home’s wireless or wired network and operated remotely via smartphone, tablet, laptop, or smart home device. Along with a myriad of other benefits, a smart system gives you the ability to manage the lighting inside and outside your home at the push of a button. You can schedule the lights to turn off during the day while you’re at work and turn on at night when you get home to save energy.

In addition to being energy efficient, home lighting automation improves the safety and security of your home. An automated system can be programmed to turn the lights on and off in different rooms at various times of the day and night while you’re on vacation, helping to deter break-ins by making it appear like your home is occupied. Additionally, light controls or motion sensors can keep you safe by turning on lights when you enter or exit your home, or when you walk through a dark hallway at night. Installing automatic dimmers will help reduce energy consumption and costs, while providing a calming environment so you can relax in the evenings. 

Another way to ramp up your home's energy efficiency is to replace your standard light bulbs with smart ones. Smart light bulbs are energy efficient and can change colors to create a customized ambiance in a room. Some even light-up and sync with video games, movies, and music.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - Smart Lighting

5. Smart Window Coverings

Certain motorized blinds, shades, or drapes can be connected to your smart devices so you can control them remotely. They can be programmed to open, close, or tilt at predetermined times. For instance, you can schedule your shades to open each morning at a time of your choosing and close at night when it is time for bed. 

Automated window coverings can adapt to the position of the sun, ensuring that you have the right amount of light without having to manually adjust them. Programming your shades to close when the days are hot throughout the summer can reduce heat transfer, lowering your air conditioning costs. During the winter season, your window coverings can be set to open during the day to capture the rays of the sun and close when it gets dark to hold in the warmth, which will help to minimize your heating expenses.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - Smart Window Coverings

6. Smart Security Systems

Smart security systems can be wired or wireless. These systems include door locks, indoor and outdoor cameras, video doorbells, water and heat sensors, sirens, and lights that are all controlled remotely. Some security systems are designed to cover the whole home and require professional installation, but many are do-it-yourself. Depending upon your needs, you can select a system that you can monitor on your own, or you can pay a fee to have professionals surveil your home's security system 24/7 and contact local fire or police departments when the alarms are triggered.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - Smart Security Systems

7. Smart Kitchen Appliances

Today’s high-tech kitchen appliances can make your life simpler. For example, smart refrigerators are available with built-in electronic grocery lists that connect to your phone so you will know what you need before heading out to the store or placing a delivery order. Some models have internal cameras so you can see what is inside without opening the refrigerator, and others have both hot- and cold-water dispensers on the outside of the door. 

If you love a latte in the morning and your countertop coffee maker just isn’t cutting it, the answer for you may be a smart hot beverage center in your kitchen. These systems have a high-end, luxury look and free-up counter space in your kitchen because they are integrated into your cabinetry.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - Smart Kitchen Appliances

8. Smart Cleaning Appliances

Cleaning your home, doing laundry, and washing dishes takes so much time out of your day. Certain appliances can do your chores for you or make them easier to accomplish, so check them out. 

Vacuuming keeps dust and allergens at bay and crumbs off the floor. An automated vacuum cleaner can be programmed to do the work for you and dock itself when the work is complete. All you have to do is empty the dustpan.

Automated mops use water and disposable pads to clean hard surfaces like wood, laminate, and tile. They can be programmed to mop for up to two hours on a single charge. 

Robot window cleaners cling to vertical surfaces as they move across them. They have sensors to detect the edges of the glass as they give your windows a deep clean. Apps allow you to set a cleaning schedule that suits the type of glass in your windows. The reusable cleaning pads save on paper towels, too.

Many dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers available today have smart home technology. You can turn the machines on and off remotely, download specialty cycles, and see your energy usage over time by using an app on your phone, tablet, or laptop.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - Smart Cleaning Appliances

9. Smart Bathroom Technology

Smart technology can add comfort, convenience, efficiency, and enjoyment to a bathroom. Some smart products even offer health benefits. Many cool gadgets and gizmos made especially for the bathroom can improve your quality of life, so investigate your options as you plan for your remodeling or custom home project.

For example, warming drawers maintain a constant heat to make your towels, robes, and slippers extra cozy and can be turned on from your smartphone. Smart shower systems start the water flowing at a certain time each day and take it to the perfect temperature before you step in. Smart monitors can inform you about your water usage and some can even regulate the time you spend in the shower. Smart toilets have programmable seat warmers that can be comforting on a cold winter day, and they use less water to help reduce your water bills.

Voice-activated lighting allows you to switch between various modes for different purposes. For example, you can turn on “office” mode to be sure that your makeup is optimal for indoor and daytime lighting, or change to "evening" mode when you will be going out at night. To relax after a long day, turn on your aromatherapy diffuser, controlled via Bluetooth technology, to make your bathroom smell heavenly. Smart systems that cool the interiors of cabinets can keep your medications at the perfect temperature so that they remain effective until their expiration dates.

Smart televisions can be installed in cabinetry or mirrors so that you can relax in the tub or shower and watch your favorite show as you start and end your day. Bluetooth speakers can be incorporated into your bathroom design so that they are hidden from sight.

A smart ventilation system will turn on and off automatically to regulate the humidity level in your bathroom, which prevents the build-up of mold and mildew. Touchless toilets and faucets allow you to flush or turn on the water with just a wave of your hand to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. To keep on track as you monitor your health, purchase a smart bathroom mat or scale that can measure your weight and body-mass index and send the information directly to an app on your phone.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - Smart Bathroom Technology

10. Smart Irrigation Or Sprinkler Systems

Irrigation or sprinkler systems have made caring for your lawn simpler and more efficient. They have underground pipes and motorized valves that are attached to a controller. Older systems had to be turned on and off manually. Newer smart systems give you the ability to control your sprinklers remotely. To prevent over- or under-watering of your lawn, smart controllers connect to weather apps and use real-time data to automatically adjust the frequency of watering, which keeps your lawn and garden looking great and your water usage at optimal levels.

What You Need To Know About Home Automation - Smart Irrigation or Sprinkler Systems

Technology changes at the speed of light, so do some research and speak to professionals before investing in home automation equipment. If your budget prohibits you from purchasing everything you want at the time of construction, make sure that your home's infrastructure is set up to accommodate additional smart system components later on.

At Meridian Homes, we specialize in luxury remodeling and custom home building in the Washington, DC area. Our mission is to create exceptional residences that exceed expectations. Our highly personalized design process and careful management of every project have earned us a reputation over many years for outstanding client service and solid, beautiful craftsmanship. Contact us today to begin your custom home or remodeling project.


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