Now that you’ve mastered the fundamentals of setting up your smart home, it’s time to step up your game and optimize it!
Read on for 12 suggestions for improving your smart home configuration, ranging from simple ideas that can simplify things to crucial choices that can prevent you from having to start over completely a few years from now.
1. When possible, use LAN
Even though wireless technology has advanced significantly in recent years, signal interference and range issues are still frequently encountered.
Wire as many rooms in your house as you can with CAT6 to enable wired LAN access. If you have several high bandwidth devices, such as streaming video or security cameras, this becomes especially crucial.
2. Look for dead zones
Using WiFi, many of your smart devices will connect. As more devices connect to WiFi networks, congestion increases. Find the dead spots using your mobile phone and a WiFi analysis app before you go crazy purchasing new networking equipment.
3. Get used to voice control
Feel a little weird talking to Alexa or Siri? The more you do it, the more comfortable, even natural, it will become. In fact, it will likely become the most common way you choose to access your connected devices.
4. Inspect your home wiring for missing neutral wires
Your light switches might not have a neutral wire if your house (and its wiring) is older. The majority of smart switches have issues with this.
While maintaining power to the light switch, a circuit with a neutral wire can turn off a light. The smart switch loses all power when the switch is turned off if there is no neutral wire. A smart switch cannot communicate with your smart home in the absence of power, which is obviously a problem.
5. Make use of both Alexa and Google Assistant
There is no need to pick between the two industry leaders in voice assistants. You can simultaneously connect all of your smart home appliances to Google and Alexa. Use whichever is most practical to control your devices after that.
6. Family approval
If you’re reading this, you’re probably the tech lover in the house, but when optimizing your smart home, consider the non-techies in your family or close friends who frequently drop by. You should design any hardware or automation to be simple to use in ways that people are accustomed to.
Bottom line, never let your family struggle to turn on the lights in the family room or become confused while doing so.
7. Typically, smart switches outperform smart bulbs
You are still able to use the wall switch as an on/off switch with smart switches. In contrast, a smart bulb stops being smart if the wall switch is turned off.
Manual switches won’t be required in the fully automated home of the future. But until it does, there will always be circumstances in which it is most practical to turn a switch. If you have to choose between the two, a smart switch’s usability is typically preferable.
However, you can use smart switches and smart bulbs simultaneously if you’re willing to spend a little more money.
8. Reduce battery usage
Make the extra effort, whenever possible, to connect your smart home devices to a steady power source. When you first start creating a smart home, you might be tempted to power your devices with the simplest and least expensive option. Typically, this means batteries. However, as you add more devices, battery upkeep can be a real hassle.
9. Smart thermostats typically save the most money
The majority of a typical home’s energy bill goes toward heating and cooling. Smart thermostats are made to eliminate a significant portion of that. Your current habits will determine how much you can save, but a smart thermostat is one smart product that might end up paying for itself.
10. Maintaining your privacy
Purchase goods from companies you respect. In order to ensure that you have control over your data, always start by looking into self-hosted options. A good example is security cameras that record locally and don’t need a paid cloud service.
11. Give your smart devices names
Make sure the devices are named appropriately in each room when it comes to controlling all your smart devices, so you don’t forget which room you are controlling.
12. Go cross-platform
Look for devices that can be connected to well-known platforms like Google, Amazon, HomeKit, SmartThings, etc. As your smart home evolves, you’ll have the flexibility to swap between platforms.
Bottom line…keep your options open and avoid buying hardware that is restricted to a particular operating system.