One of the greatest modern conveniences is the ability to connect the appliances in your home to your smartphone. Home automation makes controlling and protecting your home easy and able to be done remotely, and can save you money on utilities. However, the process of automating your home can be costly depending on the products and services you choose.
Here are five ways to help you save money when you automate your home.
Use Your Own Audio and Visual Equipment
One way to cut costs on home automation is to use equipment that you already own. Turn a computer monitor or flat screen TV that you already own into a display monitor for your security camera. Connect your existing television and speakers to an automated home theater system to save on paying for new devices. Use Bluetooth or your home WiFI to connect and control appliances or hardware through your smartphone instead of paying to wire them and install a controller. The more that you can utilize hardware that you already own, the more you can save on automation.
Buy the Devices for Cheap and Pay Just for Installation
Paying for a company to come in and outfit you with the devices and the automation system can be very costly. You can often save a significant amount of money by purchasing the hardware you need through online or discount retailers. If you feel comfortable installing the devices and integrating them yourself, this can save you even more money. However, paying for a few hours of labor to have an expert install and connect your devices will still be a less expensive option than an entire automated household package.
Look for Free Trials and Money-Back Options
Another way to save money is to pick providers who offer trial periods or a money-back guarantee. These benefits will allow you to try different hardware and integration options without being saddled with a hefty bill if they don't work for you. When choosing these options it’s also good to look at the timeframes that the free trial spans, the features offered during them, and other comparison points. For example, ADT and Frontpoint both offer this kind of money back guarantee, but ADT's is 6 months, compared to FrontPoint's 1 month. You can also take this time to determine if more expensive options are worth the price, or if less expensive choices will do the job just as well.
Use Timers and Motion Sensors
If you are looking to automate your home mostly for scheduled events or for appliances to turn on at specific times, you can utilize timers and motion sensors. This is ideal if your goal is to have your outdoor lights come on when someone walks by, or to have the lamp in the living room turn on every day in the evening before you get home. These scenarios don't necessarily require hardwiring and connecting to a central command, and therefore motion sensors or timers can be a more economical solution. These options are less expensive than integrating with a whole-house system, and can also save you money on installation.
Buy a Thermostat That can Retrofit to Work With Your HVAC System
Currently, there are many relatively inexpensive thermostats that can connect your heating and cooling system to your smartphone. These thermostats are easy to install and to connect to your devices through your home WiFi. You can then set the temperature, create a schedule for the thermostat based on when you are home, or turn the heat or air conditioning on or off from anywhere using your smartphone. This is a much less expensive solution to automating your HVAC system than installing new vents or ductwork.
Connecting and integrating products and systems within your house does not have to break the bank. These strategies and tips will allow you to automate appliances within your home for a fraction of what you might otherwise pay.
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