What is Home Automation?
Home Automation is the use of intelligent devices to provide more sophisticated control of portions of your house. Simple home automation can take the form of controlling multiple lights from a single switch or having lights turn on a specific times of the day. More complex examples can include remotely accesible cameras and remote entry controls or water monitoring systems.
Why Automate my Home?
Safety, Security and Convenience are the biggest reasons to automate a home.
- Safety – imagine you’ve gone on vacation in the middle of January. While you’re away you’re furnace stops working and the tempature in your house drops below freezing. You come back from a relaxing vacation to find your home destroyed. Now imagine the same scenario in which you have an automated valve on your water main and sensors by your pipes (or a remote shutoff). Then when the pipes freeze and one of them bursts the water will be shut off automatically, saving your house from tens of thousands of dollars of damage. To take this even further, imagine your thermostat is also part of the automation in your home. When the tempature drops below 50 degrees your thermostat calls your cell phone and informs you that the tempature is too low. This gives you the ability to arrange for someone to repair your furnace before a single pipe bursts.
- Security – the most basic of security is simple items such as motion-sensor activated outdoor lighting. However, this just scratches the surface of available automation devices. Some common examples are timed lighting, security cameras, alarm systems, remote locks, and much more. For example, suppose you have a cleaning service that cleans your house. In order for them to gain entry and clean your house when you’re out they must have a key to your house. This gives them unlimited access to your house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you ever change services you’ll need to change the locks on your house. Wouldn’t it be better to have a lock on the door that used a numeric keypad “combination” that could not only be changed easily, but was different from your entry number? Your entry number would work 24 hours a day but the number you gave to the cleaning service would only work on Wednesdays between 1 and 3 PM.
- Convenience – you pull into your garage with a load of groceries during the cold, dark winter. You load up with bags of groceries and walk into your dark house. Every time you enter a room you have to fumble with the groceries while you turn on a light. By the time you get into the kitchen you’re amazed you haven’t dropped half the bags. Now picture pulling up to the garage door and hitting the garage door opener. While the door is opening all the lights between your garage and your kitchen are turning on at the same time. Pressing one button has lit a clear path between your car and the kitchen. A light switch in the kitchen turns them all off and closes the garage door for you.
What kinds of Home Automation are available?
There are many different home automation products on the market including lighting controls, HVAC devices, security systems, flow control devices (plumbing), and home entertainment. There are many different manufacturers and varying degrees of sophistication. In short, anything you do now manually can be done with automation and many things you can’t do now are possible with automation.
How much does it cost?
Prices vary based on complexity. A simple two light control system is available for installed for under $200. Complex “whole-house” solutions covering all aspects of your house, including home theatre, can be over $100,000 but these are normally only part of new construction or extensive remodeling. Most homeowners will do smaller projects that control on the portions of their houses that are important to them, adding new ideas and devices are their needs change.
Why use EG Technology Corp.?
Many of these devices could be installed by an electrician, security systems or home theatre installer. However, much of the home automation equipment is beginning to resemble computer equipment much more then traditional electrical equipment. While they can install them they often don’t have the expertise to program and maintain them.
Home automation is similar to computer networking. Many of the newer devices even communicate using the same methods your computer uses such as TCP/IP and wireless networking. They are often controlled via a computer running software that requires programming to ensure they function as expected.
While other installers can physically put in a home automation device, making sure it works reliabily requires skills more often found in a computer technician then in an electrician. EG Technology Corp. has been maintaining networks for over 12 years and has the expertise required to ensure that complex networks run smoothly and reliabily for years to come.