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|Home Automation Review - Question & Answers|
|Written by Peter|
If you're one of the many people considering home automation, but you aren't quite sure where to start or what the best technology is, this article is for you. It seems as though the majority of information about home automation is either extremely technical or focused on one specific product offering. There is no 'perfect' system in home automation, but that's the beauty of it too - the parts work together to achieve what you want your house to be like, not what someone else thinks it should be like. Read on for the top questions asked when starting out with home automation...
Question: What is the best home automation technology?
Answer: While there is no definitive answer, there are certainly best ‘fit’ products depending on your needs. For the average user, Insteon offers low price, high reliability and many software options that don’t exist with other home automation solutions. For people with older houses using knob and tube wiring, Zwave is the best solution since it does not require any expensive electrical modifications to function (it uses wireless communication exclusively). Zigbee is still emerging as a technology and as such has a limited supply of devices available. HAI is targeted towards professional installations and as such is the most complicated to design, install and maintain however if done correctly it can be one of the most flexible solutions as well.
For the majority of people looking for a solution, Insteon will be the best choice with its inexpensive, easy to use modules and backwards compatibility with X10.
Question: How difficult is it to install?
Answer: If you are comfortable with replacing a light switch, installing a home automation system is within your reach. The basic process is: switch off the breaker to the switch (or your whole house to be safe), unscrew the cover plate and switch, disconnect the two wires from the old switch, connect the wires to the home automation switch and replace the cover plate. Once you turn on the breaker again, you can test the switch locally and then using the remote. If it works, move on to your next breaker and light switch. If the switch does not work, check your wires for a solid connection and ensure that if you are connecting a three-way switch (ie. A stairway switch with one at the top and one at the bottom) that you selected the right wires (there are three wires used in these circuits) according to the included diagram.
Question: What can I control with home automation?
Answer: That depends on the manufacturer, but taking Insteon as an example we can control the following:
For more home automation articles, see the ‘related content’ section on the left.