Saturday, April 22, 2017

How far can you automate your home with $1000 dollars?

I have alway loved the idea of home automation, and there has been a lot of progress recently. Shows like Eureka make you want it even more. If you haven't seen that show, you need to start it right now. Basically, the idea of having a home that you can talk to and has a personality as well as being able to control every aspect of your home is amazing. It is interesting though that many people don't even like talking to Siri yet alone their home due to the lack of privacy and awkward feelings. Although that is another story.

So where to start. First off you won't be able to have everything for $1000 dollars. This type of budget virtually eliminates the possibility of most smart appliances, but what it does allow is a few nice features around the home.

Let's start with lighting. First, you will need a starter kit. The Philips Hue starter kit is one of the best, they have been around for a while now and are currently in their third generation. If you want to have a real smart home feel you will need color which also adds a lot to the price. At the time of writing this $199.97 and you will need more than the 3 bulbs included with the kit. At about $50 dollars for each additional bulb, your budget won't go far with all colored bulbs so you may want a few white bulbs at $30 dollars a piece to fill in. My 2 bedroom home needs 3 colored bulbs for the living room and about 2 bulbs for each bedroom plus 1 white bulb for the hallway and 1 for the entry way. Just for lighting, we are up to about $460.00.
Next, let's talk about the thermostat. One of the best thermostats around is the Ecobee3 the kit that comes with 3 sensors which are perfect for my home and can monitor temperatures in all of the important rooms. The kit is expensive at about $277 dollars. It will monitor whether a room is occupied and keep the heat/ cooling on longer or shorter in order to better control the temperature in occupied rooms.

A nice option to control your smart enabled devices is the Echo Dot about 3 will cover a home quite nicely all for about $130. This gives you the ability to control lighting and temperature settings with your voice as well as the many apps it natively works with. You can do anything from asking it to play music, what the weather is or even order pizza.

Finally, you will need a smart lock for your door. One of the best options right now is the Schlage Connect. This offers passcode entry as well as the ability to connect up with Alexia giving you the ability to lock and unlock your home anywhere. No longer do you need to worry if you locked the door. This product comes in at $150 it's expensive but its one of the best smart lock products around.

So how did we do?

$460 for lighting
$277 for the thermostat
$130 for the Echo Dot
$150 for the smart lock

For a total of about $1017. Now if we had a slightly larger budget we could do a lot more such as replacing appliances and improving heating and cooling systems, but this could give anyone a great start in automating their home. I will continue to post more on cool home automation innovations as they come along since innovations seem to be coming almost daily in this area.

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