What Are the Best Tips for DIY Home Automation?

Alex Newth

Do-it-yourself (DIY) home automation is a good way to make a house work for its owner, but setting up and installing the automation systems can be difficult. One thing that may make it easier is for the homeowner to write up a home automation plan, so he or she knows exactly what installation is needed. Finding automation programs that can control several things at once also may help, because this decreases installation costs. While there are wired automation platforms, wireless systems tend to work better because the programs can communicate more readily. Setting up a separate computer or server for the automation systems also may be a good idea, because the systems need to be on all the time.

It can be difficult to run automation programs on family computers that are constantly in use.
It can be difficult to run automation programs on family computers that are constantly in use.

There are varying levels of DIY home automation; a homeowner may want to automate just the lights and garage door, or the entire house. If a homeowner writes down all the things he or she wants to automate, it can help him or her keep track of how much work will be needed. It also allows the homeowner to make realistic plans for when the DIY automation will be complete.

Many home automation programs exist, some controlling a specific device and others automating electrical current through several devices. The latter typically is harder to install, but it tends to work better in the long run. Its control of electrical current means power can be sent to several different devices, so less overall installation will be needed. At the same time, if a homeowner has trouble setting up such programs, then single-device programs may be more feasible.

In the broadest sense, DIY home automation is either wired or wireless. Between the two, wireless typically is more efficient. With wired automation, the homeowner may need to cut out sections of a wall to install the system, and the devices cannot talk to one another. Wireless systems communicate, and range typically is better.

To run home automation, a computer is needed to control the programs. While they can run on a family computer, this presents several problems. Automation programs must constantly be on and, if people are using the computer, then it may run slowly or the automation programs may accidentally be shut off. If someone accidentally shuts down the computer, then all automation programs go offline. A separate computer is easier to maintain, though it may be better to get a server that does not have a sleep mode function to prevent accidentally shutting down the programs.

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