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How to make a smart home

Smart homes are all the rage and can make our busy lives a lot easier. Find out exactly what's involved in creating a smart home and you can make your home a smart one.

What is a smart home?

A smart home is a property that uses internet-connected devices to monitor and manage appliances and systems within the home from a remote location.

Typical smart home devices include home appliances, thermostats, lights, plugs, speakers, home entertainment systems, doorbells, cameras, and outdoor and landscaping equipment.

A smart home normally relies on three components:

  • A smart hub
  • A smartphone application
  • A smart device

An example of smart home technology is a smart thermostat.

Even when you’re not at home, you can control your heating from your smartphone.

This means you can turn your heating on before you get home, or scale back the power if no one’s in.

What is a smart home hub?

A smart home hub allows you to access all the rooms in your house based on the smart devices within them.

A smart home hub is like the command centre for all your smart home devices. It connects all your individual devices and helps them communicate with each other.

Smart home hubs are becoming less popular now, as many smart home devices can be interconnected via the hub apps and controlled via voice-activated smart speakers.

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The benefits of a smart home

Technology can assist us in many ways and a smart home is no different.

As well as making our lives more streamlined and convenient, smart home technology has the ability to:

  • Increase energy efficiency
  • Improve home safety and security
  • Save you money and time

smart home hub with homeowner

How to make your home a smart home

Wondering how to make your home smart? There are so many options on the market, it can seem confusing knowing where to begin.

When planning your smart home technology, it’s often best to think about what you want it to do for you.

  • Do you want a smart device that can improve your home security?
  • Do you want a smart device to help improve energy efficiency and reduce your bills?
  • Do you want to install smart devices that will offer you greater convenience?

Once you have a clearer idea of what you want the technology to achieve, you need to ensure compatibility with your mobile devices.

Some of the leading players in this arena include:

  • Amazon (works with Alexa)
  • Google Home (works with Google Assistant)
  • Apple HomeKit (works with Siri)
  • Samsung (works with SmartThings)

When selecting your smart home devices, check for wording that states they are compatible with the smart home platform you choose.

Smart thermostat in use

How to set up a smart home

There’s no one app that’ll control everything and there’s no perfect mix, so consider what you need your smart devices to do within your home.

It’s recommended to start small when setting up a smart home, perhaps choosing one or two smart devices and building up from there. Depending on your requirements, you can:

Automate old home products and devices

Control your existing devices, such as your coffee machine, with the addition of a smart plug, and control your lighting with smart bulbs.

Adjust your heating and/or air con remotely

Smart thermostats have the power to reduce your energy bills through intelligent technologies that can increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Enjoy the ultimate convenience in home entertainment

Voice-controlled smart TVs are becoming more and more popular. While smart speakers play a pivotal role in many households.

Improve your home security

Devices such as smart locks, smart doorbells, and indoor and outdoor security cameras, improve home security and provide added convenience.

Take home appliances to the next level

Appliances such as smart vacuums and smart refrigerators can increase both productivity and efficiency within homes.

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Get help making your home smart

While many smart devices are designed so you can install them yourself, for a professional job, it’s worth getting the experts in.

Firstly, they can advise whether the smart devices you’d like to install are compatible with your existing setup.

Secondly, they will, of course, make sure your smart devices are properly fitted, working correctly, and fully integrated.

For a stress-free experience in making your home a smart home, use our free search feature to find a list of approved experts in your local area.

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How much does it cost to make a smart home?

Individual smart devices generally cost more than their traditional counterparts. For example, a standard light bulb might set you back around £5, whereas a smart light bulb is typically around £15.

The cost of making a smart home depends on the size of your home, i.e. the number of rooms, and the scope of the job. The products you select and the level of customisation you opt for will also impact the overall cost.

To give you an idea of the cost of creating a smart home:

  • A simple installation of heating and lighting controls in one room, WiFi based (not hardwired) costs, on average, £500
  • A simple smart home that controls your lighting, heating, and security alarm can cost in the region of £10,000
  • A high-end, complex system, professionally installed, e.g. Crestron, can cost around £100,000

For more detailed information on how much it costs to build a smart home, please see our smart home cost guide.

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