Everyone has a different impression and interest in the home automation game. How hard is this to set up? Where do you start? Is it expensive? Let’s address these questions and show you an easy way to get started with the basics and expand to any level you want. The first step is to consider why you want home automation. It may be:
- getting alerts when kids come home
- home security
- the variety of devices to control
- saving energy & money
- avoiding damage
- peace of mind
- or maybe just controlling everything
The key to simple home automation is a technology called z-wave. By using z-wave components for lights, door locks, thermostats, etc. along with a z-wave base station, you can command all these systems in your home (or vacation home) from anywhere using an app on your smart phone or through a computer browser.
At the heart of it all, you need a z-wave base station. This can be an inexpensive unit like the Vera Lite home controller by Mi Case Verde (available at Amazon.com for less than $150, no recurring fees). You access this via the internet and interact with your z-wave components. This means you must have some internet connection running in your house. Casa Verde connects to the internet by your home wireless network or Ethernet. It then interacts with your z-wave enabled door lock for example, allowing you to lock or unlock your door or maybe you have a z-wave thermostat so now you can monitor and control the heat or air conditioning in your home.
Pairing z-wave components with the base station is easy and very similar to pairing a Bluetooth earpiece with your phone. The device needs to be in ‘discover’ mode and the base station needs to search for it until the device is recognized.
How do you access these devices from your phone or a computer? You log in to your base station (you’ll select a username and password during setup) from a smartphone app or browser and then the available z-wave components are visible for you to control. An alternate type of base station might be your home alarm system. Many are equipped to control z-wave devices as well as manage your home security. Same process, pair the device and base station, then log into your security system from your phone or computer.
There is a wide range of other devices to control. An alert from a water sensor placed below your sink or hot water heater can be a lifesaver in the event of a leak or perhaps you want a sensor that notifies you when your garage door has been opened.
The devices can be programmed to interact with each other as well. Imagine your entry and hall lights coming on when your garage door is opened or as soon as you unlock your front door. If you want to explore the world of z-wave, watch videos or search for a specific z-wave device, go to http://www.z-wave.com.