SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
edubya

POLL: Have you installed home automation / smart tech?

Emily H
2 years ago


Paseo Ferrelo · More Info


If so, we'd like to learn more about what you installed to create a more connected home, and your experiences with the technology. This includes appliances, home security systems and other functions that you can wirelessly control via a smartphone or tablet, as well as lights, thermostats and other features that adjust automatically.


Vote and tell us about it below!

Yes, I have.
No, I haven't.
Other, tell us about it!

Comments (99)

  • artemis_ma
    2 years ago

    Toronto Veterinarian

    I don't know why they put some things where they do.......I've seen some outdoor gardening threads in the "Organizing the Home" section!

    Houzz is not really clear about what they are doing, yet.

  • sandyjack
    2 years ago

    You should NOT install these products in your home. They are not secure and give very easy access to your network and home computers for hackers. I come from an IT background and network security is not a priority for these devices.

  • Related Discussions

    What whole house automation system do you recommend me?

    Q

    Comments (3)
    You can take control of your backyard experience with control systems from Jandy, which can integrate with home automation systems for both indoor and outdoor enjoyment, and can be controlled with any smart device, such as your iPhone or iPad, anytime from anywhere in the world! I am not familiar with their offerings outside of the U.S., but you can explore your options below and contact Zodiac directly with questions! Good luck! http://www.zodiacpoolsystems.com/Products/Controls/Control-Features.aspx
    ...See More

    POLL: Does your house have a name?

    Q

    Comments (279)
    Ours is called "Singing Gables" because - when we moved in, it was a very windy day and we found that a ventilation pipe at top of Gable that vents attic made the most eerie, high pitched moans! Its scared one of our movers too death and he ran! Sounded exactly like you would expect an old Devonshire moors ghost from a Gothic novel to sound! Now we kind of enjoy this unique feature of our otherwise pretty boring subdivisionish, stucco house. Although it does scare my grandchildren sometimes in middle of the night.
    ...See More

    POLL: Have you made any changes to save energy at home?

    Q

    Comments (136)
    Bought a new build house in London, Ontario about 14 years ago. Upgraded the insulation in the attic to R60. Finished basement with R10 rigid foamboard along the concrete wall, and R13 batt insulation between the studs (R23 wall). Added Lifebreath 155ECM HRV for fresh air. Changed tank water heater to a Navien NPE-210A tankless (beware if you have teenagers, hot water never ends!). Added 3M window film to master bedroom windows (5 of them facing southwest). Sprayfoamed wall between garage and main floor, and sprayfoamed the garage ceiling (bonus room is master bedroom above garage). Fully insulated the garage with ROXUL, it can be -20C outside, and temperature in the garage is -4C. Planning to purchase 10 triple-paned (North Star) windows this week, krypton gas filled, with two low-e coatings on them for the upstairs of our home. We'll likely buy 5 more triple-paned windows this fall to complete the house. Added a fibreglass door from the main floor to the garage. Blower door test was 3.14 ACH 50pa about two years ago, hoping to get that under 3 with the new windows.
    ...See More

    POLL: How many TVs do you have at home?

    Q

    Comments (89)
    I personally have one small tv stashed in the corner of my bedroom along with other debris items. It's about ten years old. I used to retreat there to watch some videos and DVDs. Now I just retreat to the room. Have not used it in over 10 years. How many tv's are there in our house? More tv's then there are people. There is one in my nieces room. One in the guest room one in main living room, one in family room area, two in main bedroom and the one in my bedroom. Then you add three laptops 2 iPads, one desk top and 4 smart phones all of which are outside the question but all of which get heavy use. And they wonder why I retreat. I quite happily lived without a tv for many many years when I lived in an apartment of my own. My sister ultimately gave me a tv for Christmas as she could not conceive of life without one. I did start watching for a few years but have to say that I realized later that a lot of the time watching was time I had used doing other things that gave me a lot of pleasure. Now when I am home alone the tv's may all be here but they are all turned off until other family members start to arrive and switch on the ones they use and cannot live without.
    ...See More
  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 years ago

    " you dig deeply into your cel phone you will find the precautionary statements about proximity during use."

    Absolutely! That's why you should use it with earbuds or on speakerphone as often as possible, to minimize the time you keep it near your head. And try not to carry it in your pocket (easier for women than men, I suppose).

  • Lars
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    We don't have much, but we do have what we think we need, which includes Honeywell thermostat that can be controlled by Smartphone or tablet plus a security light that came with a camera that I can control from my phone and save videos if I want. When traveling, we turn our thermostat off and then turn it back on remotely about half a day before we will return. If we forget to do that, it's not a big deal, as we live in a very mild climate, and so it will never be excessively hot or cold in our house even without cooling or heating.

    We have Wifi for our internet, but my own computer is hardwired, as the Wifi does not like to go through my walls. When the internet goes down, as it does once or twice a year, I have to reset it manually in order for the thermostat and security light to be reconnected. Our sprinkler system is controlled manually, and I probably should have put that on Wifi also, but I don't think I need it, as it is not that critical. There is very little adjustment that needs to be done with that - we turn it off when it rains but leave it on most of the time.

    I don't feel I need anything else to be "smart" in my house, and I do not mind turning lights on and off manually. The backyard lights come on automatically, however, as they are on a solar timer that turns them on at dusk and then turns them off at a manually preset interval, such as two or four hours - two hours in the summer and four hours in the winter.

  • ninigret
    2 years ago

    what happens when wifi is down while you are away.... does the thermostat know what to do? or does it just keep going at whatever setting it was, day or night... or does it forget to ever turn the heat back on?

    a few years back we were looking to buy a fridge for our summer house. we passed on the 'smart' one which required you manually turn it back on after a power outage. we were dumbfounded as the saleman didnt think it would be an issue... 'well, when the power comes back on you just push these two buttons on the panel". and we're like we might not be back for 4 more weeks, will the fridge just sitting there warm til then?

    every time you buy a smart device, you are counting on whoever designed it to have it do the 'right' thing regardless of the wifi, or if power goes out to come back on the way you want it to.

  • PRO
    studio h2o
    2 years ago
    No, I have not installed any spyware in my home and I never will. Why would anyone allow these devices in their home? I’ve even given my televisions away because they have listening, and in some models, video monitoring, devices.
    In fact, I’ve gone in the opposite direction and built a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) room in my house. Take that, Big Brother!
  • fringedweller
    2 years ago

    We have timed irrigation and motion detection outdoor lights, but everything else is non-networked. We don't have, and don't want cell phones.

  • daneejela
    2 years ago

    My husband and I are both software developers...our family and friends are so surprised when they see that in most things we have chosen the most simple and low tech version.
    We just feel overwhelmed with technology in our daily work that we really appreciate simple things like a sound of a gas countertop (compared to higher tech countertops).

    That being said, I still think there are some applications where high tech can be useful, but as with everything in life - it's good to be selective.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 years ago

    "We don't have, and don't want cell phones."

    Could I ask you why? Given that public phones are getting harder and harder to find, why wouldn't you want the opportunity to have a phone available to you when you're out of the house? It used to be relatively easy to find payphones, but not anymore! If you don't want people to call you on it, you can turn it off when you're not using it.

  • DAG DAG
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    No way. Although in the past I have purchased several hand held remotes or dimmers, the cost to do my entire (and small home) with smart devices is not justified. To pay $30 or $40 (or even more) per switch or appliance just so that I can activate a light by voice is not worth the expense. And, since many are activated only by an app or cell phone, it's just one more way you are tied to another device. I do not even want to think about what would happen if a person's home was hacked in some way. And I am not interested in some device eavesdropping on EVERYTHING we say in my home. My cell phone is only used for emergencies or when I am on the road...not to turn my house lights on and off.

  • TeresaD
    2 years ago
    We just bought a fridge and it was my techie husband who said no to the smart one. I feel that until this idea is perfected I don't want to go there. I skip the early beta yrs. of most technology.
  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 years ago

    Although it's not relatable to the Houzz site, I'm facing the same question looking at cars! How much tech do I want?

  • DAG DAG
    2 years ago

    RE: Car tech. The keyless entry w/push button start (not just the remote door locks) scares me. Big bucks if it goes wrong after warranty is over. Just as an example. A GM key fob with ONLY the remote door locks is $75 each (and you need two (2) remember even if if you lose only one) and then $125 to program it (depending on the dealer of course). A new NAV system/screen can be THOUSANDS of dollars.

  • kaaak
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I have a Roomba and I LOVE it - that's about it. If you have any qualms about smart tech you should watch 'Do You Trust This Computer', the documentary interviewing some of the smartest minds in tech today (Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking RIP) . Very scary stuff. It touches on AI being able to use benign smart tech in our homes to fulfill purposes that we cannot predict as mere humans. A.I.s today learn things we are not trying to teach them - in one sequence scientist talked about how a wee robot they were experimenting with; getting it to walk, chopping off one leg to see if it could learn to walk without it. While the scientists were observing the robot they discovered it was using its built-in camera to observe them and to recognize their facial expressions. This industry is totally unregulated and experimental. AIs have learned some of the worst things from humans on the internet. They learn at a remarkable speed. They are tantamount to psychopaths since they have no feelings. Sounds like scifi but it is present-day tech. It sent shivers down my bio-spine!

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 years ago

    I read an interesting article in the NY Times about how some victims of domestic abuse are more frequently reporting that "smart home" technology is being used by their abusers.

  • noisycats
    2 years ago
    Interesting comments.
    As for me. Streaming audio in every major room via Alexa. Allows audio command of two ceiling fans with built in lights, TV and TiVo. Four additional smart bulbs that operate via schedule and voice, as well as Nest thermostat and doorbell, also respond to voice. And the final is a smart switch that starts my coffee as I climb out of bed (which is too variable for a static timer).

    If I never have to flip another switch again, I’ll be a happy man.
  • PRO
    René Lara Espinoza
    2 years ago

    The better choice for homw automation is Vantage from Legrand; its easy, intuitive and integrate Light control, temperature, security, AV and more

  • Whitney Adkins
    2 years ago
    How do I find out if someone else purchased something on here ?
  • PRO
    Bravehart Interiors
    2 years ago

    We did our first 'full' smart home for a client recently. The benefits are enormous. The house is south facing with large spans of glass (to invite nature inside which is our design approach). The solar blinds which can be activated either remotely or on a schedule or manually at home save on energy (AC) in summer.

    The sensors for water leaks under each sink in the house are invaluable.

    The whole home sound and "picture" management via a tablet or phone is magnificent.

    I loved working in the house when my husband, the GC, turned on cool music for each room, depending on our taste.

    The house even 'wakes up' with gentle rising of blinds (by increments) and gentle music which starts very low and then increases as client wishes - all set on a 'wake up' mode for everyday gentle awakening.

    The video doorbell is great for the owners security.

    Cameras and other security features great.

    The 'room off' switch is great for teenage kids who tend to leave lights on- and the 'whole home off' switch at front door great for saving power.

    We also installed a solar system which feeds back into house so client can power devices from the sun!!!

    What a great way to live.

    The house is a sanctuary and the smart home contributes to it.
    There is no Alexia and I use no Siri on my iphone, lol!

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 years ago

    "The house is a sanctuary "

    Or a cocoon. Or both.

  • PRO
    AZ Quality Wholesale Cabinets
    2 years ago
    Yes,
    Smart Tech,
    7 Wi Fi thermostats Honeywell Lyric 2.0 ‘ controlling 2 AC units with Zone controls that allow each room to call and demand its own Temp. Wi Fi on water heater and some Lighting is Wi Fi, also some Smart Locks Wi Fi controlled for Door locks.
  • Sauve
    2 years ago

    We began installation of a Smart Home system 2 years ago. We live in France and the system we have chosen is named Somfy. We are also in the process of personalizing our home. I made that name up because our home is only 6 years old, we have lived here 4 years, so we are customizing certain areas to our own preferences. But that is another story. Right now the front entrance drive gates are on Somfy, The exterior access doors, as is the shade screen for the veranda as is the lighting system there in. This year we will install central air-conditioning and it will be added to the Somfy as will the current heating, the garage doors, the exterior rolling blinds on the house and the veranda, and the lighting in both the interior and exterior. My hubby wants a camera system on the exterior and I want the lawn/gardening automatic watering also added but it is not yet possible. This enables us to 'be' aware of our home even when we are away. Our cellphones, actually just my cell, enable me to be able to operate the different systems when we are on vacation and no where near our home or just from the comfort of our sofa or my computer.

    If you are wondering why we would go to this extent, because we are going to age in place here. I'm already 68, have a minor mobility problem, so it makes more sense to me to do this now. My husband who is 15 years younger attributes this intelligent house to me being a geek. What I know, is if I fall and break my hip next year I will be able to let the handyman in so he can take care of the lawn/gardens and do a walk-through of the interior mechanisms, all from my hospital bed even if my husband is in China or the USA. I can check on my cell from the hospital, if necessary, on what is happening on our grounds or in our home.

    Our home is was designed for accessibility of aging in place. It's looking pretty good for aging in place.

  • everdebz
    2 years ago

    Today in paper I read about car key fobs not safe, if thief 'reads' it, to open your car door. If in purse or pocket, covering it with aluminum foil should be enough. Night - keep in coffee can. What?....

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 years ago

    "if thief 'reads' it, to open your car door. If in purse or pocket,
    covering it with aluminum foil should be enough. Night - keep in coffee
    can. What?.
    ..."

    Sounds like there are RFID chips in them, like in some credit cards?

  • decoenthusiaste
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I'm investing in treatment centers for those who go into withdrawals when the plug gets pulled! Anyone want to back my 5G-blocking clothing line? What's the latest on the smart homes that went on lockdown in CA when the state turned off the electric as a precaution during the raging fires out there? I understand some owners may have been trapped by their own home. True???

  • Rob O'Daniel
    2 years ago

    We have a Vivint security system with the Skycontrol panel that we added a Schlage smart lock on the front door so our son can go to/from school just a few blocks away without needing to carry a key that can be lost. The Vivint system included a Ring-like smart doorbell that has camera and duplex audio, so we know if packages are being left, visitors are arriving, etc. And it also came with a Nest-like smart thermostat that works well for us.

    Separate from that, we have a set of 3 Blink wireless cameras to keep an eye on comings/goings via the main exterior doors and to monitor any activity in the pool area.

    I'll admit that I reluctantly agreed to all of this mostly at my wife's somewhat paranoid and overprotective urgings, but I've found it to be pretty convenient too at times.

    Most recently I replaced a Rainbird sprinkler controller that died with a B-Hyve model that's wi-fi enabled so it keeps tabs of weather forecasts and avoid watering when rain is eminent and can offers loads of scheduling options that flex with the differing lawn demands of the seasons.

  • Donald
    2 years ago
    I have...I can call out, “ honey, get me a beer please” or “honey, could you answer the phone” but it isn’t terribly reliable and the instruction manual is impossible to decipher.
  • sfieldscullowhee
    2 years ago
    Our electric company, Duke Power, offered a special price for Nest thermostat and a free Google Home Mini, a product that competes with Alexa. The Nest directions are thorough and superb, even recommending that one take pictures of the wiring at all steps in order to avoid unrecoverable errors. The Google Home Mini, on the other hand, although free is insidious. Only when you are in the middle of programming it do you discover that Google, not just the device, wants your WiFi password! Who would be that trusting or stupid as to think that is a good idea! I uninstalled the device and repacked it. I hesitate to give it away just because I don’t want some other unsuspecting user to allow Google access into their secure firewall.
  • writersblock (9b/10a)
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Nest is wholly owned by Google, you know. So it's collecting that data from your Nest, just the same. Why do you think they bought the company a few years ago? Their business is data collection, not thermostats, not self-driving cars, not home automation. Those are all just collectors of data to them.

  • DAG DAG
    2 years ago

    If you can't trust a kid to keep a key and not lose it to get entry into the house after school, I would question if he/she is responsible enough to be in the house alone. Now, no disrespect intended, lost keys happen at any age (as do lost phones remember). But that certainly is one part of home automation I do not understand the genuine need for. People have been losing keys for decades, and yet we have still managed without an app on our phones--or smart technology--to get in. Hiding a key, or leaving one with the neighbors are simple (and less costly) alternatives. Now maybe, just MAYBE, a push button activated door look would work, because I do understand that need for an occasional home repair or a handyman needing access occasionally. But to be tied to my cell phone all day long (esp since many people CANNOT use them at work) is just one part of home automation that is not part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Putting that, or my refrigerator, on the internet, also scares me. I love the commercial with people using their home security systems to see if the kiddies are doing their homework while mama is at work--or if dad needs to pick up milk because we can now tie into a camera in our refrigerators. But really...is that just a feel good selling point by the salesman to make you feel better and sell you overpriced technology that 10 years ago, we all managed to live without?

  • Marcia
    2 years ago

    Control 4 system for the second time in a house. It has improved greatly since our first home installation. We use it for lighting and as sound system access for radio and satellite radio. Connections through wifi are great. We don't use it for the interior environment because we have radiant heat and no cooling system. I particularly like the app for my phone & iPad. the timer functions are terrific. My big problem is that I cannot adjust the programming myself.

  • catsmeow77
    2 years ago

    Not interested in taking control of house functions on line. Just another thing for someone to hack.

  • md1948
    2 years ago

    I have a robot vacuum (not hooked up to the internet) and I just bought a Nest thermostat because the one in the house doesn't really work. And I'm planning on getting one of those doorbells that record whoever's at your door -- that's because a neighbor in my subdivision posted the video of a man who came to his door, waited, then started yelling and cussing out his dogs! Well, the cussing man is my next-door neighbor! I got to thinking that it might be a good idea to have some proof of what happened if he showed up at my door and acted similarly [he's been verbally rough with me before]. I'm 70 years old and I take care of my disabled daughter who's in her 40s. I need a bit of IT help as I age; it's not that I'm thrilled with it, but it's a big help so that I don't have to rely on other folks, who are busy with their own lives and situations. Also planning on redoing my automatic irrigation system this fall, after I redo my backyard [planting lots of fruit trees and raised veggie beds].

  • abqlady
    2 years ago

    We started with the Nest thermostat, added the Nest Protect. Love them. Have Google home and Hue lights, so we can control lights while away. Never have to come home to a dark house. Kitchen lights come on in the morning.

  • Scott
    2 years ago

    We are building a new custom home, about a month from completion, and are incorporating home tech that includes: video/audio/app doorbells with cloud-saved video and audio, configurable sound door chimes, remotely controllable keypad entry door locks, security floodlights with video cameras and cloud-saved video, integrated and remotely controllable thermostats for 9 zones in the home, remotely controllable garage door opener/status, WiFi-enabled/wireless sound systems in multiple rooms, and Internet-based monitoring of our solar panel array and other energy production/usage systems.

  • pstapleton
    2 years ago

    We live in a 55+ community being built out by Lennar Homes. Interestingly, the builder put in smart locks and a thermostat, both controlled by Z-Wave. I had not heard of Z-Wave, but more interestingly, neither had the builders or their sales reps here! Seems that someone had a good idea, but didn't pass it down to the troops! Z-Wave must have a controller, as it is not simply WiFi controlled, so I bought a Vera controller, and connected both the front door lock and the thermostat to my Vera smart home controller. To that, I added a leak detector at the basement sump pump, as well as controllers for wall plugs for lighting. Not a bad system, and all controlled from a Dashboard on my smartphone.

  • PRO
    Turner Electric
    2 years ago

    Many of the consumer products are based upon RF transmission and internet connectivity. Companies like nest have made a great product for every type of home. If you go with the non consumer, non "off the big box store shelf" product, many operate on an internal network and only access the outside line if it is the desire of the owner. We use products like Lutron Lighting controls which do make hardwired & RF versions. The RF versions only transmit when a button is pressed and the signal is live for less than a second. Nice benefit for those that are worried about Wifi and RF signals in their homes. If it is installed correctly, you can enjoy energy savings, less maintenance costs, which put together can help your pocket book and the environment

  • pennydesign
    2 years ago

    No....whyever would I want my house to be smarter than I am ??

  • PRO
    Creative Visual Concepts, Kevin Strader
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    We have a programmable thermostat. I had a regular router with a booster that was not doing a good job of giving me wi-fi coverage throughout the entire house. I recently changed it to the Netgear Orbi system with two satellites and I now have great coverage (faster too) throughout the entire house.

  • PRO
    Rain Shadow Woodworks, Inc.
    2 years ago

    Here's a recent article that discusses gadgetry obsolescence:


    http://nymag.com/selectall/smarthome/very-happy-article-about-smart-homes-waste-and-obsolescence.html


    Yet another reason NOT to depend on Internet-connected conveniences. Motion activated lighting, timer controlled sprinklers and similar devices that do not use radio frequency radiation or are connected to the Internet can all be extremely helpful, particularly to those whose mobility is restricted, but for the rest of us, simplification is the best long term path. And remember: in all choices of how we use technology, Nature batts last.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 years ago

    I'm not sure that future obsolescence is a reason not to use technology.......if that were the case, we'd be missing a lot of benefits in our world today, including the internet we're interacting on right now. As for waste? Yeah, that's always a problem, but it's not just (or even majorly, IMO) related to e-waste. It's more about the mindset of people who prefer to replace than reuse, and prefer to throw something in the garbage than try to find a way to reuse or recycle it.

  • pennydesign
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I don't think it's a case of preference to replace. We have no choice...obsolescence and a very short life span is built-in.

    Plus we have become a society who needs instant gratification. Clicking is addictive.

    I had difficulty finding a manual timer for pool equipment (to replace the same that had rusted badly). I want simple both for ease of use and for longevity. Plus I can actually recycle the 20 year old one.

    As long as it does what I want, I'm good.

  • PRO
    CAP Construction, LLC
    2 years ago

    We installed smart security systems, doorbell camera, door lock, scene lighting, thermostat, surround sound system, and smart shower controls.

  • David Smith
    2 years ago

    I have this guy, he does everything and it does not cost me anything. His name is Manual!

  • PRO
    Happy Haute Home
    2 years ago

    We installed a Savant Media Automation system for our TV's and theatre, while it is complicated, it has simplified life at the same time. www.happyhautehome.com

  • leslieg2013
    2 years ago

    My head hurts just reading all this the techno-speak. No smart anything in my house. I have an Iphone6, but it's getting dumber by the day.

    Oh, and a Roomba does not count as "smart" technology.

  • llugguss llugguss
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Not yet but I am considering an automatic bowl feeder for my cat :). That cat is whiskas eating menace trust me, soon he won't be needing legs to walk he'll just roll :). And he so lazy. sometimes I think that I am his slave who gets punished with dumps in his shoes whenever I forget to feed him in time. The biggest problem occurs when I leave home for several days and my carpets become the scapegoat of his rage. That's why I want to buy an automated bowl feeder for this tyrant. A small price to avoid chaos I guess.

  • Mars SC Zone 8b Mars
    4 months ago

    I have

  • PRO
    JessicajK
    10 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    Not something completely abusive when it comes to our privacy. Mostly lights on and off stuff and Alexa. I recently started getting more interested into automation for my business and home as well. You get to that point where the demand pushes you to get automated motors in order to have your production done faster. The motors I had were a bit old and rusty and in order to be faster with my clients I had to get a few quotes from https://www.automationstop.com/buy-allen-bradley with details and specifications of several models to choose from. I'm just glad I was able to get things going again!