10 Tips to install home automation at home

Last modified December 1, 2020

You want install home automation, but you don't know where to start? Here I leave you 10 tips to install home automation at home without dying in the attempt

The trick is to have some Good advices, to help you get started and clarify some ideas if you want to have a home automation.

Do you want to know what I have learned after more than 20 years installing home automation in my and clients' houses?

I think I have learned enough and I have enough criteria and authority to give you some advice that I consider vital when it comes to domotizing your home.

Everyone has an idea how your home automation should be, so I will try to develop these tips so that they are useful for as many people as possible, regardless of what they are going to do a small home automation installation with a couple of elements or that your goal is to have the world's smartest smart home world.

Wearable and friendly home automation

We could say that these 10 tips to install home automation at home are reduced to the golden rule of home automation And if this rule is not followed, nothing else makes sense.

Home automation should not be an impediment to that the house works normally as would be expected of a home without any home automation feature.

You have to ask yourself, if my great-great-grandmother came to live in this house, would be able to handle it correctly with a majority of the normal things around the house?

You have to think that what is «,»Is also evolving. 50 years ago it was not normal for a television to have a remote controlNow yes and nobody stops knowing how to use a TV because it does not have buttons.

Automating everything is fine, but everything should work as if there is no smart element. If you are going to turn a light on or off, you can do it from the switch on the wall of a lifetime, and that it looks as normal as possible and that it is in the place where anyone would look for it.

Fail-safe smart home

It is important to think about keep all the basic things around the house working if there's a problem.

Problems happen and things break down, and it's a matter of time before something breaks down. It is important that, when that time comes, the house continues to function like any other house.

There is nothing worse than spending three days in the dark or without being able to turn on the heating or air conditioning, because the controller has broken and needs to be repaired.

Home automation without installation

Or with easy and minimal installation. Don't complicate yourself with something you may have to replace in less time than you expect.

Home automation technologies, their standards and protocols they change quickly. Home automation manufacturers come and go, appear and disappear. It is a volatile market and, although it takes a long time, it is not a market of large manufacturers and turnover figures so things are not forever. Keep this in mind when getting into construction work or making large investments.

I, like many other people, have done several large and medium-sized works in the houses that I have passed in these years and others for which I have worked or sold projects and, I must say, that I have always worried about putting a lot of extra cables to what I needed at the moment and leaving a lot of empty tubes for the future. It was worth it? No, certainly. It is possible that in some specific moments they have solved a problem for me, but the reality is that I have spent much more time and money in being proactive than the return I have obtained from it.

A few years ago, if you wanted to have a reliable solution, you had to install wired home automation, with installation. Home automation has changed a lot and now you have many wireless systems that work great and they have a reliability almost as high as that of a wired system.

Standards and protocols

Here we get a little technical, but it is necessary to go through this.

There are many home automation solutions on the market, and we have to decide which one to install. This will depend a lot on what we want to do. If we only want to turn on a light with a remote control, it is not necessary for us to complicate our lives. Practically anything will help us to do it.

If we want to install a complete home automation system, we have to think a little further.

  • What home automation systems exist?
  • What home automation technologies are there?
  • What home automation protocols are there?

This is not the right place to develop these three questions, but you will have no problem finding the answers.

Think of today at 90% and tomorrow at 10%

Everything advances. It's okay to think of things you'd like to do in your smart home five years from now, but you know what? Today's technology is probably not the same as it will be five years from now.

Do not complicate your life, think about the things that Really you are going to install in a reasonable time (one or two years) and focus on it.

It's okay to think about the future a bit, but don't make the decision of what you're going to do today thinking about something that maybe you do several years from now.

What home automation manufacturers to use?

I would tell you: none.

My tip is do not focus on manufacturers but on technologies that have many manufacturers. They are usually systems cheaper And, if one of the manufacturers closes or disappears, not that you will be hung with a home automation installation without a future.

Start with the easiest

I don't mean here that you start with the simplest or most limited system, but rather that once you have a more or less clear idea of what you want to do, divide it into phases or stages and start with the ones that are the simplest.

Keep in mind that probably the 80% of what you want to achieve you will get it with the 20% of budget and effort.

Also, if it is your first home automation installation, it will allow you to learn and have clearer ideas.

The vast majority of people who consider domotizing the house, they are not very clear about what they want.

Compatibility between home automation manufacturers (Intercompatibility)

Compatibility between home automation manufacturers is increasingly common for two reasons:

  • There are more and more protocols used in home automation and technologies shared between various manufacturers.
  • There are more and more systems that allow different technologies to talk to each other (like MQTT)

There are two groups of technologies so different manufacturers can be compatible:

  • Open source technologies that any manufacturer can use (X10, ZigBee, KNX).
  • Licensed technologies, where the manufacturer pays a license to its owner to be able to use it in its products (for example, Z-Wave).

If you intend for your home automation installation to grow, make sure to choose elements that can work together. In my case, for example, and after years with several systems that were sometimes very difficult to make work together, everything I install has to support, in one way or another, the MQTT protocol. That way I make sure do not create «islands«.

It's not just a matter of system components working together, like a knob and switch, think about that complete systems work together, For example, think about the advantages of integrating your home alarm with the rest of the system.

Think: if the irrigation system is integrated with a weather station, you can make sprinkler irrigation not activated if it is very windy (it would irrigate where it should not) or that it does not water without it has rained (this rainfall data can also be obtained by the internet system and is another form of integration).

If the alarm is built in, you can do that, If the fire alarm goes off, the home automation system is in charge of turning on the lights at the exit and raising the blinds to facilitate evacuation. You can even give some messages that help in that moment of nerves through your smart speakers.

Negative point for touchscreens

Although everyone has their opinion, I could not, within an article with tips for installing home automation, based on my experience, leave this topic untouched.

Touchscreens attract a lot of attention, but always in my opinion they are very impractical. Over the years I spent a lot of money on touchscreens, the reality is that they were never very practical and my use was minimal.

  • It is difficult to design the screens so that usability is good
  • If it is portable you have to be searching where is it
  • If it is fixed you have to get up up to her
  • For people with vision problems, or with a certain age, it becomes a problem
  • A home automation system is a living system and, if you make changes often, as is my case, you will have to design or modify the interface of the touch screens can be a exhausting work

For companies or building control (which is inmotic, not home automation) touch screens can be very interesting, but that's another story.

Today tablets have practically displaced touchscreens in home automation applications. Much more practical and cheap.

Positive point for voice control

Voice control has come a long way and works really well.

Manufacturers like Google with their Google assistant or Amazon with Alexa You have made great contributions to controlling the house by voice. Apple also with SiriIn fact, it was the first, I can to this day has lagged a little behind.

Voice control is very comfortable for certain things, like turning lights and appliances on and off. For others, such as the control of multimedia equipment by voice, it is still a bit green but things are improving.

In my case, I have six Google Homes in my house, on the main sites, and the truth is that they give me many useful and interesting functionalities in controlling the house by voice. I can do normal things, like turn things on and off, raise or lower awnings, and so on, but I also use it to turn the voice alarm on and off, to adjust thermostats, ask for room temperatures, so the system will send messages via voice to the six rooms individually or together, etc.

Summary of tips for installing home automation

This has been a quick overview of some of the things that, in my opinion, must be taken into account when considering installing home automation at home.

I will delve more into each of the aspects in other articles. If you are interested in the topic, do not stop subscribing to find out about the new publications.

Home automation tips infographic

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