Stories & Advice for Homeowners

Don’t Hire A Pro: DIY Home Automation Projects You’ll Love

Like any smart homeowner, I enjoy saving money and cutting costs where possible. DIY may or may not be your thing, but almost anyone can do these simple DIY home auto projects to increase the value of their home, the convenience of their lives, and for less cost than hiring a pro.

Most homeowners are jumping on the home automation wagon—and for good reason. It makes life a 100xs easier. And the best thing? I didn’t need to hire a pro. I just did some research, budgeted, and implemented my smart home equipment over time.

Here are some DIY home automation projects you can get started on this weekend!

Smart Home Hub

There are a plethora of smart home hubs out there! And you will need a hub for almost any home automation device. I picked Amazon Alexa to start out with because it was affordable, popular (meaning equipment would be easy to find and integrate with that hub), and could be controlled by both voice and iPhone/smartphone.

Whichever hub you choose, it should make your home more cost-effective, simple, and it should be able to integrate a large selection of smart devices. I had to research equipment to figure out which tech was a good investment and which were fading out.

I have made a couple mistakes over time, which has caused a bit of a hassle (and sometimes wasted money). But for the most part, if I take the time to educate myself on cutting-edge tech, I can save money in the long-run with quality equipment. Overall, it’s important that you can understand and work with your system, as you will be troubleshooting and working with it for years.

Smart Lighting

Definitely, the easiest way to go for home auto DIYers. Simply replace your old light bulbs with app-controlled, LED, smart bulbs.

Lightbulbs like the Phillips Hue White from BestBuy can easily integrate with many different popular hubs like Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Nest, and SmartThings, among a few others. When you have a central hub, you can voice command your lights.

I use my smart light functions often. I can change the color and brightness to how I like it according to the time of day and turn them on/off from my iPad or iPhone. Any type of LED smart bulb is going to be much more energy efficient, save you money on energy bills, and last for many more years than regular bulbs. Yes, they’re a little more expensive, but they give you a lot in return over the long haul.

Automated Smart Valve: Protect Your Pipes, Prevent Disaster

A little bit of plumbing knowledge is good for this project. I was very easily able to do this project on a Saturday afternoon.

Basically, you replace your regular valves with smart valves, which then allows you to use your smartphone to shut your water off. I recommend getting the valves that have a water sensor attached to them. If they sense water on your pipe, they’ll turn your water off for you before your pipes burst. Disaster averted.

I did a few hours of research to find smart valves that would work well for me and my level of knowledge. I like this LeakSMART valve, which also has the water sensor and a central hub.

Depending on your insurance, having these valves may help your insurance premium go down, which can save you money over time. Not to mention the small fortune you’ll save in disaster prevention. Better safe than sorry, I say.

Smart Thermostat

My smart thermostat has been a great energy saver, and it has greatly contributed to my comfort. I enable autoaway or schedule the temperature around our activities, which lowers the temperature to my minimum setting when my family and I are out of the house all day or for vacation.

This set-up took a little longer for me. I take a little longer with electrical because it’s not something I want to mess up what with all those wires…but it was still manageable on a weekend afternoon. The basic idea is to turn off the power/furnace (don’t want to electrocute yourself), disconnect your wires and slide off your old thermostat, slide the new one on, connect the wires to the new one, and then program it accordingly. It would be a good idea to look up some videos on how to do your equipment safely, and so you don’t damage your new equipment either. It costs enough the first time!

Home Security

Safety is a big reason we use home automation. I like that I’m able to keep an eye on things while I’m away from home. It was quite an adventure to get a home security system that really worked for us.

A good amount of research should be done when it comes to the safety of your home. I would recommend getting an excellent alarm monitoring company with 24/7 service. My neighbor bought a home-setup service from Amazon. The security company you could set up with were not there in the evening when her alarm malfunctioned, and they did not have good customer service when she called the next day about it. So just be thorough in your research.

Home security systems could be as simple as a camera you set up outside your home, all the way to complicated systems with entry sensors, alarm monitoring, and several cameras.

There are DIY kits you can buy on Amazon. Many kits have poor ratings from other customers. Some equipment simply didn’t’ fit my door frames or windows. And the alarm monitoring on others was crappy or inefficient.

But I love a good DIY challenge, so I kept trying out different equipment until I struck gold.

You should only DIY security if you’re certain about alarm monitoring companies, system security, troubleshooting, and technical problems. This is the one area that I looked into some professional help in addition to my own research since it’s about security. Mainly from an alarm monitoring company.

Now we have a great system with a great company, and we couldn’t be happier.

Still Don’t Know Where To Start?

You may just want to start with a smart home starter kit. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of selecting your own beginning system.

A good kit will have a hub, WiFi capabilities (linking up with smartphones), and at least 5 pieces of equipment to get you started. The kit you want will depend on which equipment you need for your own customization. I would just make sure that the hub can support popular technology such as Z-Wave, Apple, and Zigbee. That way you can easily integrate new devices later.

While some people may want to hire a professional to set up their equipment, or to supply their equipment, I enjoyed making it my own personal project I could work on over time. I saved some money, and I know my system inside and out so troubleshooting when things go wrong isn’t bad at all.

Disclaimer: I am not being paid to promote any equipment or company over another, and everything in this article is merely my opinion. You may like something totally different.

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