The Pros and Cons of Home Automation Systems

Home automation systems. What’s not to love about automatically controlling sprinkler systems, coordinating outlets, managing security systems, and turning appliances on and off while away?

Although these devices are certainly not new to the market, many systems have become much more affordable in the past few years, and the use of home automation is now more widespread than it has ever been before.

But is it right for you? Here are a few pros and cons to help answer that question.

The Pros
1. Energy Savings
Home automation systems have definitely proven themselves in the arena of energy efficiency. Automated thermostats allow you to pre-program temperatures based on the time of day and the day of the week. And some even adjust to your behaviors, learning and adapting to your temperature preferences without your ever inputting a pre-selected schedule. Traditional or behavior-based automation can also be applied to virtually every gadget that can be remotely controlled – from sprinkler systems to coffee makers.

Actual energy savings ultimately depend on the type of device you select and its automation capabilities. But on average, product manufacturers estimate the systems can help consumers save anywhere from 10 to 15 percent off of heating and cooling bills.

2. Convenience
In today’s fast-paced society, the less you have to worry about, the better. Right? Convenience is another primary selling point of home automation devices, which virtually eliminate small hassles such as turning the lights off before you go to bed or adjusting the thermostat when you wake up in the morning.

Many systems come with remote dashboard capabilities, so forgetting to turn off that coffee pot before you leave no longer requires a trip back to the house. Simply pull up the dashboard on a smart device or computer, and turn the coffee pot off in a matter of seconds.

3. Security
Remote monitoring can put your mind at ease while you’re away from the house. With remote dashboards, lights and lamps can be turned on and off, and automated blinds can be raised and lowered. These capabilities – combined with automated security systems – can help you mitigate the risks of intrusions: you will be alerted immediately if something uncharacteristic happens.

The Cons
1. Installation
Depending on the complexity of the system, installing a home automation device can be a significant burden on the homeowner. It can either cost you money if you hire an outside contractor or cost you time if you venture to do it yourself.

2. Complex Technology
Automating everything in life may sound extremely appealing, but sometimes a good old-fashioned flip of the switch is a lot easier than reaching for your smart phone to turn lights on and off. Before you decide which system is right for you, think about how far you really want to take home automation in your household.

3. System Compatibility
Controlling all aspects of home automation from one centralized platform is important, but not all systems are compatible with one another. Your security system, for example, may require you to log in to one location to manage settings, while your smart thermostat may require you to log in to another platform to turn the air conditioner on and off. To truly leverage the convenience of home automation, you may need to invest in centralized platform technology to control all systems and devices from one location.

4. Cost
Even though the price of home automation systems has become much more affordable in recent years, the cost to purchase and install a device can still add up. Consumer Reports offers a wide range of information and insights – including costs – on the best home automation systems on the market.

See the full article here and check out these other helpful resources before deciding which system to buy:
2016 Best Home Automation System Reviews
Home Automation Consumer Reviews
CNET’s Best Smart Home Devices of 2016

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