17 August

Starter Projects for DIY Home Automation

We Americans love our technology. So much so that we have been looking at creative ways to design smart homes for decades. We want to be able to speak to our appliances, control our lighting without having to use wall plates and dimmer switches, and even open and close doors without ever touching a handle. And we want to be able to do it all with inexpensive DIY home automation packages.

Some of the futuristic home automation devices we envision are still not here yet. But others are. In fact, the global home automation market is growing at an incredible rate. Revenues in 2016 are expected to top out in excess of $3.6 billion. U.S. market penetration, which currently stands at about 5.8%, is expected to exceed 18% by the end of the decade.

If you have been considering creating your own smart home, you may be like millions of others who love the idea but have no clue where to start. Well, the best strategy might be to start with easy projects that will help you become familiar with the technical aspects of home automation before you start investing in more expensive projects.

Automating Landscaping Features

Not many people think about landscaping features as a place to start with DIY home automation. But it’s actually as good a place as any. The advantage of automating landscaping features is that you are not risking anything inside your home, including your personal security, should you do something wrong. Landscaping elements make an excellent testing ground for home automation neophytes. You can automate everything from irrigation systems to landscape and pool lighting.

Automate Your Heating and Cooling

Another great starter project is to install a smart thermostat. Keep in mind that a smart thermostat is vastly different from a programmable thermostat. Smart models are easier to set up, capable of being monitored remotely, and even capable of learning.

What makes the thermostat a good starter project? You can always maintain manual control over temperature while you are learning to get the programming right. For the average homeowner, it only takes a couple of days to get things set up the way you want them. Once they are set up, you can virtually forget about your heating and cooling.

Automate Your Water Pipes

It is now possible to automate your water pipes with smart sensors that use electronic valves to turn the water on or off. Why would you do this? If you live in an area prone to freezing pipes, a smart valve could mean the difference between a flooded basement and a dry one. Also, snowbirds benefit from automated water pipes by being able to turn their water on off with a smartphone rather than having to do so at the source. And if the snowbird is half-way to Florida only to realize he forgot to shut off the water, he can do it on-the-fly.

Automating water pipes makes for a good starter project because it requires very little setup. Furthermore, smart valves do not require any human input in the event pipes burst. They will shut off the water instantly.

The three projects listed here are a good starting point for DIY home automation newbies. Master them and you will be ready to move on to more complex projects – such as automating your entire lighting system to the extent that you are able to create scenes and customized lighting schedules. Once you get the hang of it, you will be ready to automate just about anything that strikes your fancy. If it runs on electricity, it can be automated in some way.