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A Beginner’s Guide to DIY Smart Home Projects in 2018

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 4.49.17 PM
DIY October 24, 2018
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Arthur Brodskiy

Installing smart home devices by yourself? You’re in for a treat.

DIY projects are fun. You step back, hands on hips, and admire your craftsmanship. You feel like you just engineered your very own bionic home!

There are some things you should be aware of before choosing a product to DIY. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

 Hub Integration

Some devices require their own unique hub to operate on.

Make sure when you choose a device, you choose one compatible with yours. The most popular hubs are Samsung SmartThings, Google Home, and the Amazon Echo, all IFTTT-compatible.

Setup Process

Watch installation videos online before you buy your device. This will prevent you from running into common snags like having different wiring or network settings than what’s in the installation instructions. Doing your research first will ensure a smooth setup.

Wi-Fi Requirements

Find out how much bandwidth your device will need. Most devices use a modest amount. But gadgets like HD security cameras can use a lot of bandwidth, which can slow down your internet connection.

And finally, make sure to install your smart device as close as possible to your router to ensure the best possible performance.

So which devices are the easiest and most useful to DIY? Here are our recommendations:

1.  Smart Locks and Security Systems

Specifically, Schlage smart locks. They’re one of the top-rated locks that are easy to install, easy on your internet, and are now compatible with Amazon Alexa. You can control your locks remotely, get burglary alerts, and log a history of door locks/unlocks (perfect for spying on your kids).

And here’s a big bonus you get with DIY smart security:

You’re not bound to a multi-year service subscription. Many installers require you to sign up for their security service, and they make a big buck by making your device incompatible with add-ons from another brand. When you DIY, you can sidestep these constraints.

2.  Smart Lights and Speakers

You can’t go wrong with these. Audio streaming doesn’t use much bandwidth, and most smart lights don’t use wi-fi. Bluetooth is all you need, and you can create the perfect ambiance for your day. We recommend Philips Hue smart bulbs for their function and the Google Home Mini for its affordability and Bluetooth compatibility.

3.  Smart Thermostats

Speaking of compatibility, the Nest Learning Thermostat will connect to your Google Home Mini so you can control temperature with your voice! Installation is as simple as removing your old thermostat and connecting a few wires. Within a week, Nest will memorize your indoor climate habits and save you 10-15% on your energy bill.

 

 New DIY Gadgets for 2018

Leviton Decore Smart Switch

These little guys let you control your lights and dimming from your phone. You can also schedule times for your lights to automatically turn on and off. The paddle switch is cheap, simple, and great for beginners who want to work on a DIY project that requires some wiring.

Flo Leak Detection System

 Fascinated by plumbing? This is a smart valve you can attach to your main water supply line to monitor water usage and detect leaks. It has three sensors that continuously monitor water flow, pressure, and temperature, and allows you to control water supply remotely from your phone.

Not sure whether to DIY?

With any DIY project, make sure you do thorough research before installation. But if you don’t have experience, hiring a trusted plumber or electrician will ensure proper installation.

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