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Home Automation Do's and Don'ts

Without question, 'Do your homework' is always the best advice to follow before taking on any project that is going to result in a considerable outlay of cash, change the way you conduct your life, and reconfigure your home.

Home automation systems are available which use specialized hardwiring, the existing wiring in your home, radio frequency (RF) and Wi-fi, or a combination of all of the above. It's important to research the type of system that is the best fit for you. If you don't understand the information you find on your own, find someone who does understand it and can explain it to you in a way you can fathom.

Don't skimp on the control system. Be aware that things you already own may not be able to be integrated into the home automation system you choose. The cost to own and operate a system, compatibility of components, and ease of use will either make owning a home automation system a true boon or a major bust for you.

In the planning stage, be realistic about what you need from a home automation system, clear on what you want from the features, and aware of what you would simply like and want but not necessarily need. Make a list. Knowing when Miss Kitty uses the pet door is nice, but do you really want to get an email from your system every time she goes out to get some air? Will your elderly neighbors call the cops thinking someone is in your home when you are in Bora Bora and turning the living room lamps on and off remotely?

Weigh the cost savings to be gained against the price of the system components. Does it make good economic sense? Penny wise and pound-foolish is not a new concept.

If you really are a techno-whiz and a handy-man par excellence, as well as being a registered electrician, a do-it-yourself home automation system may be just the thing for you. The price may be more reasonable, and there are components and gizmos available to work your way far along the need-want-like list. You'll have the pride of saying you did it all yourself, not to mention you can be the envy of everyone you know since you could create the coolest house since George Jetson.

For the rest of us mere mortals who want all the advantages a home automation system has to offer, but who cannot do it all ourselves, do not despair. Professional systems are readily available, and choosing the right system, choosing the right vendor offering the services you need to operate and maintain your home automation system, and choosing the right components may take time and study, but it is worth the effort.

A home automation system that integrates safety features with labor saving devices, with an eye toward husbanding environmental resources, is no longer a futuristic dream from a technology standpoint nor from an economic one. Good research and good choices will make it a reality for you.

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