Building a home requires countless decisions—on the layout, finishes, appliances, and wall colors, among other things. All these “must-haves” are what make your new home comfortable and customized just for you. Do you know another must-have these days? Smart home technology, which includes cameras, sensors, and lighting. After all, the home of your dreams should be as safe, efficient, and convenient as possible.
Here are the factors to consider when building smart tech features into your new home from the ground up.
Wire the home for smart thermostats.
With smart thermostats, you’ll have ultimate control over your system, remote control of your settings, and you can allow automatic temperature adjustments based on weather patterns. All of this control means you’ll also likely have lower energy bills than you would with a standard system. Some products even allow you to see your heating and cooling trends over time, so you can adjust accordingly to find additional savings in your utility bills.
Plan ahead for smart home tech down to the wires. The vast majority of smart thermostats require a C-wire that allows for a constant flow of 24 VAC power. Without that wire, the thermostat won’t work. While it can be added in later, it’s not something most people can (or should) do on their own and requires the services of an electrician.
Secure doors with smart doorbells and locks.
Include the wiring for a smart doorbell as well. While it’s great to have battery-powered doorbells, it’s better to have a steady power source. These high-tech doorbells allow you to see and communicate with people who come to the door and keep an eye on package deliveries. When doorbells are paired with a smart door lock, you can see visitors and let them in with a swipe on your phone. Smart door locks will allow you to remotely lock and unlock your doors as well as grant access to individuals with a key fob or special code. Ask your electrician to install the doorbell and locks during the building phase.
Plan for Wi-Fi.
Large homes sometimes have weak areas where the Wi-Fi signal is not as strong as it should be. Just think about it: the signal emits from the Wi-Fi router and travels throughout the home, passing through walls along the way. Each wall causes the signal to lose strength as a result. In many cases, passing through three walls is enough to knock out all but the slightest hint of a signal.
Because your smart home technology requires Wi-Fi to operate, you have a few options. The first is to place the router in the center of the home where it equally reaches all corners. While this can work in some cases, many people prefer the router to be in the home office. The second option is to install Wi-Fi repeaters throughout the home, because these devices capture the Wi-Fi signal and amplify it, increasing the overall signal strength.
In addition to planning your Wi-Fi layout, you’ll also want to plan for the type of smart home tech you want to use. If you already have devices picked out, make sure they’re compatible with one another. If they aren’t, look into a smart home hub. These hubs act as a middleman between devices and allow you to control your entire smart home with a single app. A smart home hub lets you arm the security system, turn off the lights, and lock the front door with just a few taps.
Integrate motion sensors.
One of the core elements of an effective smart home system is the implementation of security features, like motion sensors that trigger a variety of effects. Motion sensors can be programmed to turn on lights, lock the doors, or alert your security system. The majority of smart security systems operate around motion-activated security cameras. Have sensors installed on doors, windows, and fencing during the building process.
Go with smart lighting.
From exterior lamplights to interior recessed lights, pendant lights, and more, lighting is a big line item when it comes to building a home. So, make sure to choose LED smart lighting for the most efficient option. Not only will these lights use less energy, but they’ll also give you remote control from your mobile device and smart home hub.
Build places to store your tech.
With today’s WiFi-enabled technology, you no longer have to worry about hardwiring things like security cameras and speakers, but you do still have to think about where to put them. Build mounts into the wall during the building phase and have them ready to go when you install all your technology. They’ll keep your voice assistants and cameras up and out of the way.
From the ground up, options are limitless.
When you plan for smart home technology in the building phase of a new home, the things you can do are limited only by your imagination. Want to add smart mirrors to every bathroom? Go for it. Interested in smart appliances for the kitchen? Have at it! Before you begin building, determine which kinds of technology will best fit your lifestyle. With today’s smart systems, you’ll find that many devices can work together to make your dream home a reality.
Patrick Hearn is an Atlanta-based tech writer for Xfinity Home. When not researching the latest gadget or home security solution, he can be found at the local coffee shop trying the newest pour-over.