Homeowners are often on the lookout for ways to save money and many families need dual incomes just to make ends meet. Energy bills are on the rise and with the recent attention to saving the Earth's environment, saving energy is becoming a priority as well.
A trend that is becoming more popular is automating your home so anything electrical will use energy more efficiently. Not only does this apply to the amount of energy the appliances use but what time of day they run. Sometimes depending on your provider running your washing machine or dishwasher during the peak midday hours will give you a higher electric bill because the rates can be higher during these peak hours.
What Is Home Automation?
The term "home automation" simply means wiring all the electronic aspects of your home in such a way as they can communicate with each other and can be programmed to use energy at certain times of the day. This automation process can be used on individual components of your home, such as new appliances as they are purchased, or an entire network can be installed. Imagine having your computer linked in to your home automaton / security system so you receive a notification and view a webcam image of any suspect events happening in or around your home.
Examples of Home Automation
One of the most common examples of home automation is the programmable thermostats. Setting the heat to start before you come home from work has two benefits: the heat will not run while the house is empty, thus saving you money, yet the temperature can be comfortable by the time you get home from work. The same holds true for the air conditioning.
The ability to close your window blinds automatically can provide privacy and safety as well as being energy efficient. For instance, they can be programmed to close at dusk so you have automatic privacy when you arrive home from work. They can also be programmed to close when you leave the house and set the security alarm, which makes a burglar's job more difficult. Or they can be programmed to close after the morning sun hits your home, meaning you do not have to run the air conditioning for so long.
Automatic lights provide both safety, more energy savings. No more walking into a darkened home after work or worrying about burglars breaking into your home while you are on vacation. Programmable lights will give the appearance that someone is at home. They can even be linked to your garage door opener so with one push of a button, when you arrive home, your garage door will open and lights will turn on inside.
The Science Behind Home Automation
So, how exactly do all these things seem to communicate to each other? One standard is called X10, which primarily uses power lines and radio frequency to transmit digital information. Everything you want to automate needs to have an X10 module installed and programmed with your specifications.
While professional installation is recommended, keypad controllers allow homeowners to make easy changes to the chosen programs and keychain controllers allow control over devices with just one click of a button.
Although home automation might seem like an idea from a science fiction movie, it is a practical way for homeowners to save money and energy while enhancing their own privacy and security. These are just a few simple ideas of what can be automated in your home. Use your imagination to develop a customized home automation plan that will suit your needs.