Texas Living

It Doesn’t Take a Brainiac to Create a Smart Home

By Kristy Alpert 3.14.16

You don’t need to be a genius to turn your house into a smart home. It just takes a little know-how to install remote-controlled appliances or set up automated sensors.

When properly installed, smart-home products can save time, money, and make life more comfortable. According to technology research firm Gartner Inc., the number of connected home devices is expected to skyrocket from 900 million in 2009 to 26 billion by 2020. It’s getting easier for homeowners to install these systems on their own, but it depends on which one you choose.

Use this guide to help you decide when it’s smart to go it alone with your installation, and when to call a pro.

  • Size it up. If your home is small or you’re only looking to incorporate simple technology in one room (such as wireless light bulbs or single security cameras), then a DIY installation could be a great way to go. But larger projects including multiple floors, rooms, or integrated features (heating, lighting, and security) could be worth hiring a helping hand.
  • Choose your network. There are typically four types of networks: structured wiring, wireless, power line, and phone line. Wireless networks are generally easiest to install on your own, but they are subject to interference from other devices like baby monitors and cell phones. The other options are more secure, but more complex and require more work. Unless you’re a research fanatic, it may be best to hire someone with experience installing these multi-conductor networks.
  • Decide who has control. Most smart systems can be controlled by any device (tablet, phone, etc.) after you download the appropriate app. If you want to be the sole controller, it may require an advanced system with in-wall touchscreens or encrypted configurations. If that sort of protection matters to you, then call a professional to ensure your system’s security.

Installing a security alarm or updated security system might qualify for discounts on your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance homeowners policy. Contact your agent for more information.