Home Automation seems to be the “in” thing right now and “smart phones” have made it easier to get your home automated so you can check on your home, control lights, thermostats, lock doors, etc from the convenience of your phone. It’s even easier to get your home automated with various technologies utilizing Apple’s iPhone. Check out Apple’s available accessories for home automation.
Problems with Home Automation
- There is an initial cost you have to pay to get your home automated which can be expensive since you have to buy all the related products (certified Z-Wave Devices) to control each device you want to control.
- There is typically a monthly or yearly service fee to automate your home.
- If you decide to automate your home that doesn’t have a service fee (like the product that my family uses), you typically have to setup each product with your server and install software to be able to program your devices that you want to control. Most users may have a difficult time with this option if you are not tech savvy and willing to experiment.
Mi Casa Verde (is now called Vera Control)
When we bought our home automation product several years ago, it was called Mi Casa Verde but now the company is called Vera Control, Ltd. We currently use the product that is equivalent to the VeraLite Smart Home Controller which allows us to control our lights, Nest thermostat, power for the garage door. We also installed cameras so we can see what’s going on at home.
Setup and Creating Scenes
My husband easily setup the controller and had to pair up each Z-Wave device with the controller. My job was to setup the software and create scenes. I only setup two scenes. Now that I’m thinking about it, I have to create a morning scene which will turn on the lights in my children’s rooms to help wake them up, turn on the power to the garage, and have the thermostat running at the right temperature.
For now, I use two scenes. The first scene is activated by the time of the sunset. This scene basically has several of the lights turn on in various rooms throughout the evening [which basically acts like a timer for the lights but the cool part is that you can control the lights (turning them off or on) from any where using your phone]. I like making sure the house has at least one light turned on during the evenings. The second scene is my “good night” scene. I programmed the controller to turn off all the lights by the time I sleep including the power to the garage door.
Simplify Your Life
I have to admit that having a home automation system has helped simplify our lives and has been helpful every time we go on vacation. We basically can check on the house any time from any where in the world. My husband never liked traveling during winter but is more at ease now that we can control the thermostat temperature from our phone, control lights, and view what’s going on in the house. Peace of mind is priceless. If you are looking into home automation and can afford it I would highly recommend automating your home.
Using the Vera mobile application on my phone (see screen shot above) helps me to monitor what is going on in my home. I can easily control which device I want turned on and off.
Do Your Own Home Automation Research
Do the research and install the home automation products that will work with your budget and take into consideration how comfortable you are with technology. If you don’t know how to connect a controller to your wifi you may have to hire a service to do everything for you (which will cost more) but the applications on your phone will typically be more user friendly. If you can do everything yourself you will be able to save a lot more money. Fortunately my husband and I were able to save money by setting up the home automation controller and devices ourselves.