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A Beginner’s Guide to Smart Home Tech Features

Hand holding a smart phone in front of two story building.

Smart home technology, often called “home automation,” refers to any devices in your house that control home processes. By connecting to the internet or a local network, smart home technology helps you save energy by regulating security, temperature, and other home functions.

Whether you use smart home devices to monitor your thermostat or make your morning coffee, smart technology offers a wide variety of potential benefits. Apart from energy conservation, smart devices can also help you save money and time, while offering you full control over your own home. They can also positively contribute to your property’s resale value, and help protect against home security risks.

How Home Automation Works

As smart home devices are added to your home, they form a network that collaborates to regulate home functions. Typically, you can install smart home devices through your phone or computer. Afterward, they maintain a connection to the internet, allowing you to control them from anywhere in your home.

You can often install and repair smart home automation technology through a single mobile application. To begin, reference the instructions found on the back or bottom of your devices. You may need to install the Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Home, Samsung Smart Home, or other mobile applications to complete the setup process.

Other smart devices are linked to a physical remote, or a remote control function available through your smartphone. Many smart televisions and smart audio systems operate this way. Depending on your devices, remote control installation and repair may follow a similar setup process as above.

Smart home devices can also be set to perform certain functions on a schedule. For example, your automated coffee maker might brew your morning coffee at 6:00 a.m. each morning.

Your smart devices only come with a few requirements to work properly. They will need access to the internet — and sometimes to your other devices — and should also be connected to a power source. Some also need access to a central control system, or hub, through which they receive and transmit data. This is the case for many smart home security devices, which operate independently when you are not controlling them through the hub.

Types of Smart Home Technologies

Depending on your individual needs, you can deploy many different types of home automation technology in your house. From security to lighting to smart appliances, there’s no shortage of home automation devices.

The individual types of smart home technology can include:

  • Blinds
  • Door locks
  • Home security cameras
  • Lighting
  • Refrigerators
  • Speakers
  • Televisions
  • Thermostats
  • Window locks

These and other smart home technologies can help make your life easier in a variety of ways. The best smart home devices help to create a convenient home, one that helps you save time, money, and energy through smart home automation.

Building a Smart Home: Where to Get Started?

Building a smart home means deciding which smart devices will help you create an ideal in-home environment. Before you get started, you’ll want to identify your available budget, and the amount of time you can commit to the project. Since many smart devices are more expensive than non-smart appliances, you’ll also want to identify which devices will have the greatest positive impact on your home.

First, take the time to establish a budget for your smart home. If you have trouble determining how much you’re willing to spend on each device, consider how much energy and money the device might save you over its lifetime.

Creating a smart home also requires a time investment and some smart home devices might need to be installed before others. Purchase and install primary devices like hubs before you begin installing add-ons.

Smart home technology from Google sometimes has limited communication with Amazon and Samsung devices, and vice versa. Although these devices cannot often communicate directly with one another, they are sometimes compatible with third-party applications. This approach can help you create a fully automated smart home network with devices from multiple manufacturers.

Creating a smart home can take time and effort. Sometimes, the smart home installation and repair process is ongoing, as devices receive updates and require upkeep. If you’re experiencing issues during the installation process, consider reaching out to device manufacturers for tips on simple installation. Alternatively, some electricians with smart home experience can help you streamline setup.

Controlling Your Smart Home

You can control your smart home in a variety of ways. If your smart home devices are connected to a central hub, you’ll be able to control devices from a single, physical location. Alternatively, you can also control a majority of smart home technology through a mobile application. No matter where you are in the home, you can control your smart devices easily through your phone.

Smart devices are well-known for their associated voice commands. Be sure to check with the manufacturer of your smart home devices, to determine what those voice commands are and whether or not you can personalize them.

In general, you can control Google smart home devices by saying “Ok Google” or “Hey Google,” followed by your specific command. Similarly, you can regulate your Amazon smart devices simply by saying “Alexa,” followed by whatever it is you want your device to accomplish.

Which Part of Your Home Needs Smart Tech?

Almost every room in your house can benefit from some sort of smart technology integration. Whether you’re looking to regulate the temperature or run more efficient loads of laundry, there’s a smart home device that can help you accomplish your goals.

Consider accessibility when determining where to place devices within your home. Smart speakers that rely on voice commands might be better situated in a living room or kitchen, as opposed to a second-story bedroom. On the contrary, smart home security devices like cameras and window sensors should be placed in discrete locations, to avoid compromising your home’s natural look and feel.

Other smart home technology requires placement in specific areas of your house. For example, your smart washer and dryer should be located in your laundry room. A smart coffee maker belongs in the kitchen. In general, place your smart home devices in rooms and spaces where they can benefit all residents equally.

Privacy and Safety Considerations For Smart Homes

When you connect your smart home devices to the internet, you make life easier in several ways. However, you’re also opening yourself up to a few security risks.

You may have some concerns related to smart home devices. If you’re going to create a smart home network, it’s important that you take steps to protect yourself and your family from these risks. These can include:

  • Encrypting your home internet connection
  • Changing your smart home passwords regularly
  • Updating smart devices regularly
  • Installing two-factor authentication
  • Changing the default settings on your devices

Even if your home doesn’t experience a power outage, you can also perform regular electrical safety checks on all of your home’s smart and non-smart devices. This process doesn’t take long and offers you one more layer of protection against issues with your devices’ hardware.

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About Mr. Electric

Established in 1994, Mr. Electric® is a global franchise organization providing electrical installation and repair services. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its “Franchise 500,” Mr. Electric franchisees provide these services to both residential and commercial customers at almost 200 locations worldwide. Mr. Electric is a subsidiary of the Neighborly® family of service franchises.

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