The planning and design phases are the ideal time to consider adding smart home functionality. When planning new home automation, it’s important to take your ultimate goals into account. After all, you’re designing a house that matches virtually anything you could ever want, including features that will make living easier, at the end, you know when to buy your dream house it just feels right.
It may take a bit of extra planning, but the benefits in terms of convenience, peace of mind, and comfort all make it worthwhile.
Preparing for New Home Automation
There are several items to consider in your home design in order to make sure it’s ready for home automation. Here are a few things to consider:
Wiring is probably the biggest consideration for preparing a home for automation. Most home automation systems require neutral wiring in order to function properly. Most electricians use neutral wiring as standard practice, but it’s important to double-check and make sure the specs see it used throughout the entire home. Otherwise, you might have some problem outlets that could get in the way of your new home automation plans.
It’s important to install extra junction boxes throughout the home. These accommodate the in-wall switches used in your home automation system, so it allows for future expansion of the system. If you don’t intend to use the junction box right away, a simple faceplate will keep it concealed.
It might be helpful to consider installing a few deep junction boxes as well. While many home automation systems only need standard junction boxes, it never hurts to have options. Deep boxes allow for a wider range of technologies, and they make the installation of switch panels much easier.
Many distributed systems require specific types of cables beyond the normal electrical wiring. These include audio-visual cables (speaker and video wires), network cables (ethernet is the most commonly used), phone lines, or any other appliance-specific cabling.
These run specific cable conduits that are separate from your normal electrical conduits. It’s important to have a conduit running to every room you plan to have home automation functionality.
These conduits provide hardwired connections throughout your home network, which are much better in terms of speed, reliability, and security. Installing them during new home construction provides this capacity without having to tear up the walls.
Servers, distribution panels, and other apparatuses are necessary for many home automation systems. It’s best to house everything in a wiring closet that’s easily accessible and centrally located in the home.
The closet should be big enough to store everything while still leaving room to move around. It will also have a number of termination points for your wiring. This is best installed during construction – it can’t be an afterthought.
In any smart home, it’s important to separate your electrical load in two. One to handle all your automation technology and another for everything else. Every appliance, light, and the automated system uses electricity, so diversifying the loads can help prevent electrical fires and other problems.
As we mentioned previously, some smart home systems use regular neutral wiring to communicate signals. If there’s a refrigerator, dishwasher, or laundry appliances sharing that wiring, it could create interference. Planning ahead will not only prepare your home for a home automation system during construction but make it easier to expand in the future.
Advantages of New Home Automation
To fully understand the advantages of installing smart home functionality during the construction phase, it’s helpful to compare it with a post-construction install. You can avoid most of the pitfalls and limitations that come with installing tech into an existing home.
The biggest advantage of pre-wiring your home automation system is that it makes installation much, much, easier. For network appliances that rely on hard wiring, installation may require the technicians to tear out entire sections of walls for a post-construction install. Not only is this inconvenient, but it takes longer and is more expensive.
Putting that kind of functionality in place during construction, or even just designing your home to accommodate a system later, leads to a much simpler installation process. With conduits and wiring already in place, the technicians can breeze through it.
A hard-wired network allows for much higher transmission speeds than wireless networks. While a wireless network has its benefits, namely an easier install post-construction, it just won’t have the same speed and reliability as an ethernet cable.
For homes that want to stream in 4K or plan to have multiple devices operating on the same network – you’ll want to implement a hardwired system wherever possible.
Improved Network Security
Wireless systems are also more likely to be compromised than hardwired one. The only access point is through a direct physical connection with the network, meaning your network is far more secure.
Because you won’t have to deal with interference from other signals mixing with those emitted by a wireless router, the system will also be more stable. This means the network is less likely to fail while in use, keeping data secure.
Easy installation + improved security and reliability = cost savings.
Performing the same type of installation after construction will take more time, and more money, and be far more intensive than completing it as part of the construction process. The reduced risk can also translate into savings later on as your system and private information are kept safe from loss.
Convenience, Comfort, and Ease of Use
Whether you’re entertaining guests, relaxing after a long day of work, or simply getting around the house, home automation makes it more convenient. With the added comfort and security of a smart home system, you can live life with greater ease.
Setting up a new home for automation takes full advantage of the construction process, minimizing the costs so you can enjoy all of the benefits right away.
Let’s Get Started…
To get started with home automation for your new home, you’ll want to consider a few items first:
- – What systems will I want to use?
- – Where will these systems be used most?
- – What will I install now? What might come later on?
- – Are there smart home features am I not quite sure about?
- – How will the cost compare to the added convenience or savings from home automation?
- – What features does my family need on a daily basis? Any that might just be nice to have?
- – What appliances will go where? Which ones will be part of the home automation system?
Once you have a clear idea of the types of features you’ll need and where you want them, you’ll have a starting point for working home automation into your construction design.
From there, you’ll want to enlist the services of an experienced home automation installation service that can make your plans a reality and make sure all your needs are met. The right installer will work with your contractor to make sure the system goes along with the current floor plan.
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