Guest Blog: DIY Smart Home Projects For Less Than $1,000

by Jenny Zhu
Many homeowners may have been apprehensive about investing in smart home technology, perhaps because of the seemingly steep price point or the hassle of installation. However, thanks to recent and continuing innovations, smart home gadgets are now available to the average consumer, with a variety of inexpensive versions and DIY instructions.
Let's take a look at some of the more popular gadgets that can be installed by most homeowners:

Smart home lights

Smart Lights
Smart light bulbs can be installed into standard outlets, just like regular bulbs, but that is where the similarities end. These lights are controlled by a smartphone app or a digital home assistant, like Alexa or Google Home so they can be controlled remotely on your phone or by your voice. Some smart lights can even be scheduled to turn on at a certain time or whenever someone enters a room. Others can be dimmed to a certain brightness or changed into a different color altogether. In addition to being convenient, smart lights are also more energy efficient than traditional light bulbs, saving you money on your utility bills. Basic starter kits can be purchased online and from home improvement stores for as little as $70 and can be installed with a minimum of skill and time.
Smart Security Systems
Security systems have definitely come a long way in the past few decades. Many of today’s smart security systems are controlled by a smartphone app, alerting you if someone has tripped an alarm, even if you are away from home. These systems also come with a variety of additional features, if you ever need an upgrade, including doorbell cameras and outdoor cameras, which you can monitor at any time and from anywhere. Self-installation of one of these systems ranges from $300 up to thousands of dollars, and the monthly service cost averages about $30.

Security cameras

Smart Security Cameras
Smart security cameras can be used with a security system or as standalone monitoring devices. Some models are capable of storing a week of footage using their low-light optimized optics and circuitry. Aside from monitoring the outside of the home, they can be used to keep an eye on things inside as well, like a nanny camera. The price of these cameras range from $150 for a basic model to over $2,000 for long-range infrared-capable options.
Smart Thermostats
As one would guess, smart thermostats can be adjusted from any smart device. But their benefits go beyond making the house a comfortable temperature on remote command. Some of them can learn the family's routine and make its own adjustments. Many have the ability to display real-time energy consumption and tweak themselves for optimum efficiency and comfort. A great smart thermostat costs between $250 and $500 and is almost as easy to install as a regular thermostat.

Home locks

Smart Locks
Smart locks vary from simple keypad-operated locks to locks that are operated remotely by smartphone or Web apps. The keypad locks are more secure than regular locks because, even if used in tandem with a key, they cannot be picked. Remotely operated locks can be unlocked from a car for quick and convenient entry into the home or be used to allow a guest or house sitter in without having to hide a key somewhere outside where a burglar can find it. Most smart locks are in the $150 to $500 price range.
Smart Plugs
Smart plugs are the cheapest and, with basic electrician skills, simplest smart gadgets for your home. They can make virtually any appliance smart. A coffee pot, crock-pot or lamp that is plugged into a smart outlet can be turned on from anywhere in the home or from clear across town with a tap on an app. The possibilities are almost endless. Basic smart plugs can be found most places for about $30, and only basic tools are needed for installation.
Smart Home Hubs
A smart home hub is the brain that controls all of the smart devices and systems in a home. While not necessary, a hub makes things simpler by linking everything so they can all work together and be operated from a single app. Installation is generally as simple as plugging the hub in and connecting all of the other gadgets to it, much like connecting devices to a Wi-Fi router. Most hubs hover in the $100 range, but as hub technology evolves, there will be many more advanced and pricey options available in the near future.
Home automation does not have to be an expensive or difficult endeavor. With a little research and basic DIY skills, transforming your home into a “smart” home can be both fun and affordable.

About the Author:

MaricellaMaricel Tabalba is a freelance writer who is interested in writing about smart gadgets, emerging tech trends and environmentally friendly advice. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago. You can check out her latest writing here
 
 
 
 
 

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