Home Automation For Moms : Simple & Easy Way To Smartify Your Home
Hey, this is Sarah. Last month on TV I saw this show where it talks about a home which is completely automated. Lights, air conditioning, doors, windows even toilets are automated. Ever since that show, my mind was locked on to this concept of home automation. I want some level of automation in my home. So like every housewives and mom I asked my hubby. Of course, he promised me that he’ll look into it and that was 30 days ago. Last week at dinner I said I’m gonna do it alone, I’m gonna make my home a smart home. Straightaway they laughed and made fun of me.
So I took it as a challenge, code-named the project as “Operation Home Automation” – not much of a code name but anyway, I have a master plan and this is how I’m gonna do it. Enjoy!
Almost anything and everything can be automated. For instance, any device that works on electricity can be automated or at least turned on and off via commands sent through a Wifi network. In fact, any objects with some sort of mechanical movements can be automated. Let’s take the case of a gate. Easily a gate can be opened and closed using an electric gate opener.
The point is if you want you can do a full home automation.
Even though this article is about simple home automation. I want to let you know that more advanced level of automation can be done to your home. Which includes dismantling the traditional wiring and rewiring in a different manner which is more centralized and in tune with the concept of a smart home. So if you are building a new home or rewiring check out the video below from SuperhouseTV. But beware the following video is pretty complex and advanced level home automation. I know that is not the intention of this article but as I said I want to let you know that such advanced level of automation can also be done if you want to.
Luckily a house can also be automated with existing wiring structure as well. And that’s what we are gonna do. We are gonna do the automation process as easy as possible without any complex procedures.
So what are my objectives?
I’m not an expert in electronics and electric systems. I’m an ordinary housewife. So my objectives are simple.
- I should be able to reduce my workload
- Improve efficiency in household activities.
- Improve safety.
- Finally, bring some level of peace of mind.
Making the list
With this in mind, let’s make a list of my daily household activities and areas where I think there is a need for some level of automation.
- Ventilation and Lighting
- Air Conditioning
- Saftey and Security
- Pet care
Basics of a home automation system
There are different ways you can control a smart or smartified device. You can use the individual mobile app that came with your smart device or you can control it with voice command using either Amazon Echo or Google Home or you can use a central hub like Samsung Smart Hub to control all your smart devices.
But there is no perfect world. We have to use a combination of all different ways mentioned above to achieve our goals. This is because there are some devices which may not work properly with a centralized hub. Such devices may have to be controlled using either their individual mobile app or via voice control through Amazon Echo or Google Home. (This problem can be avoided if you go for more advanced automation I mentioned above).
The first step is to get the central units that can be used to control all the smart devices
In my case, I’m going to use Samsung SmartThings Hub along with a Voice Control device (Amazon Echo or Google Home). So the smart devices I’m gonna use for my home automation project are those which can integrate and work with either the Samsung Hub or the Voice control unit or with both.
Next step is to take the list you already prepared and find out what are the automation options available.
- Robo Vacuum Cleaners
- Robot Mops
Robot Vacuum Cleaners
You want automation with dusting? robovac is the answer. Robotic vacuum cleaners are available for a price as cheap 69 USD to high-end models costing as high as 1600 USD.
We want good results. So there is no point in buying low-end Robot Vacuums. So you should be ready to spend at least 200 to 1000 USD. And you should select models with Wifi connectivity. So that you can control them from the central control units.
But again I have to say it is not necessary to buy very expensive robot vacuums with Wifi connectivity. Because most robot vacuums have an inbuilt scheduler. So you can simply set days and time to clean the vacuum itself. It will start cleaning at the scheduled time and go back to its charging station charge itself and continues the process.
Anyway, I will list the best robot vacuums with and without Wifi connectivity.
Following are some of the best Robot vacuums with Wifi connectivity
Samsung PowerBot 9350 – 899 $
IRobot Roomba 980 – 649 $
Dyson 360 Eye – 985 $
Neato Botvac D5 Connected – 479 $
Ecovacs Deebot N79 – 229 $
iRobot Roomba 690 – 274 $
Some of the best budget vacuums (No Wifi)
Eufy RoboVac – 249 $
Neato XV-11 – 250 $
ILIFE A4s – 219 $
Deik Robot Vacuum Cleaner – 189 $
All the Robo Vacuums mentioned above has scheduling capability. Once scheduled just leave the robot alone, it will do the job for you. You just need to clean the bin once every 3 to 4 days.
And the models with wifi can be triggered using the native mobile app, voice control, and Hub.
IRobot Braava Jet 240 – 280 $
iRobot Braava 380t – 299 $
Bobsweep – 244 $
I personally recommend iRobot Braava 380t. No matter which type of floor, Braava will do the job for you.
So for automating the cleaning department all you have to do is buy your preferred Robot vacuum and Mop. Use their inbuilt scheduler to set the time and date Voila! they will do the job for you.
As I have said earlier, If you want more control over your devices , then buy the models with Wifi connectivity.
Next on the list is:
All most every kitchen appliances are now smart. And they are expensive as well. So you have to decide how much automation is required in your kitchen.
If I can bring some level of automation in following things, I would be very happy.
- A morning coffee ready and prepared to be enjoyed when I wake up
- I should be able to cook perfect restaurant style food
- I should be able to order groceries easily
To achieve above-mentioned goals I have the following options
1 . Behmor Connected Customizable Temperature Control Coffee Maker priced at 111.98 $
This is a smart coffee maker. It can be remotely controlled via mobile app and through voice control using Amazon Alexa. So all you need to do is ask Alexa to make a morning coffee. Alexa will activate the Behmor and your perfect coffee is ready.
The Dash wand is a food scanner. This device has Alexa built into it. The main purpose of this scanner is to order groceries and other items through Amazon. You have two options with the Dash Wand to make the order. You can either scan the bar code using the scanner or tell Alexa to add whatever you need to your Amazon cart.
In addition, the Amazon Dash wand can also help you with recipes.
Watch this video to get a basic idea of what Amazon Dash Wand can do for you.
You can buy Amazon Dash Wand for 20 $. But once you register your Dash Wand you will instantly get a 20 $ discount on your next purchase from Amazon. So basically the Amazon Dash Wand is free.
You know what a slow cooker is. The Crock-Pot Smart slow cooker is an intelligent slow cooker with network connectivity. What it means is that you can control all the aspects of a slow cooker like temperature, cooking time etc remotely.
I guess you are familiar with Sous Vide cooking method
3. The Sous Vide method of cooking is a process by which food is cooked in a vacuum sealed plastic pouch. If you like Sous Vide, the Anova WiFi Sous Vide Precision Cooker can bring some level of automation in the whole process. This intelligent cooker is available for 99 $.
Check out the review by Michael OHara.
I will list one more smart kitchen device which is, in fact, a magic device that can assist you in your kitchen
This smart scale helps you make Professional chef level food in your kitchen. Check out the video below to know what this wonder scale can do for you.
Ventilation and Lighting
As far as ventilation is considered you have one decent smart vent option. The Smart Vent from Keen. You can get Keen Smart Vent for 139 $ a piece. These vents can be paired with Samsung smart-things Hub. What that means is that you can control this smart vent from its mobile app as well as through voice control. Watch the video below about installing and setting up The Keen Smart Vent. FYI ! the video also talks about a device called keen smart bridge, which is used to connect the vent to the internet. Don’t worry about it because if you have Samsung smart things hub you don’t need that bridge. The only problem is you won’t be able to control your vent from the Keen’s native app. But you can control it via SmartThings app and voice control.
As far as Lighting is concerned you can do it in multiple ways.
Here is the thing there is nothing wrong with asking for a little help. Because for the first method I’m gonna talk about, I think you may have to get some help from an electrician. Because you have to play with Electric wiring for this method to work, which is in fact little dangerous.
With this method, not just lights, basically, you can turn on and off any devices connected to your main wiring system. All you need is to buy Samsung Smart Things compatible smart switches.
The GE Z-Wave Wireless Smart Switch is the best bet. One of the top seller on Amazon. This smart switch costs about 38 $ a piece. You can pair these switches with the Samsung Hub and you can do a whole lot of home automation. For instance, you can control the switch via voice commands, turn the lights or any device On when the door is opened or when there is activity in the room etc.
*Note: You may need Samsung smart things sensors like Motion sensors and Door sensors to trigger advanced controls mentioned above. By the way, these sensors are cheap and can be easily paired with the Samsung Hub.
Similar Smart Switches and Dimmers
Check out the video from Tech With Brett about installing GE-Z-Wave Switch (You need an electrician)
The Second Method is simple You could buy some Smart things compatible Bulbs and replace your old bulbs with it or you can buy some Smart Outlets and plug your devices into it.
1) Philips Hue White Smart Bulb Starter Kit – 69 .97 $
3) Aeotec by Aeon Labs ZW098 – 54 .99 $
Check this video from SmartHomeDB for connecting Aeotec Led Bulb with SmartThings.
1. Samsung SmartThings Outlet, F-OUT-US-2 – 45 .99 $
3. GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Outlet – 34 $ (works with smart things hub and voice control systems. Amazon top seller. *Electrician required)
1. Ecobee 4 Thermostat (Compatible with Smarthings and Voice Control) – 199 $
*You may need professional help for installation.
Watch the video from Mother Daughter Projects to learn how to install Ecobee smart thermostat.
2. Nest T3008US Learning 3rd Generation Thermostat (Professional Version) – 249 $
*Works with Amazon Echo
Security and Safety
As far as security and safety is concerned, I’ll have peace of mind if I have some level of automation, control and notification features in the following areas.
The smart locks mentioned below are two of the best sellers on Amazon. They are compatible with Samsung SmartThings and Voice control. * You may need professional help for installation.
1. Schlage Z-Wave Connect Door Lock – 178 $
1. Arlo HD camera by NETGEAR – 149 $
Works with voice control and completely wireless HD camera. Easy installation.
2. Arlo Q Plus HD camera by NETGEAR – 248 $
Works with SmartThings. Easy installation.
3. Ring Video Doorbell Pro – 229 $
Top seller on Amazon. Works with SmartThings (you may need an electrician)
Smoke & Gas sensors
Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm – 118. 98 $
Recieve notifications on your phone. the Nest Protect doesn’t beep when there’s danger, the Nest Protect talks to you and alerts you to what’s going on. Whether it’s burnt toast in the kitchen or carbon monoxide in the living room, the Nest Protect uses clear spoken messages to alert you to the danger.
Watch the video for setting up nest protect :
Watch the video for installing nest protect:
I’ll list some of Amazon’s bestseller automatic pet feeders.
Petnet SmartFeeder for cats and dogs – 119 .99 $ (Works with Alexa)
PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder – 179 .95 $ (can control via mobile app)
I request you to check out my article on Organic Gardening and read the Sustainable and Eco- friendly irrigation section.
Read my Home Automation Setup Post.
So that’s it, people. All I have done for my home automation project is to find smart devices which can be easily installed and put to work for us. All devices I listed in this article have their installation and setup guides easily available on Youtube. Some of which I have embedded in this article. So If you have any doubts no need to panic just search it on youtube.
Home automation is not just about automating each and every devises on our home. It should have some practicality. So decide which areas you need automation and find out smart devices in the market which can cover for you in those areas.
So, friends, I think my home automation project is a success. I reduced my workload, improved my family’s safety, I’m cooking delicious food. And I’m very happy, satisfied and peaceful.
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