Home Automation – Dipping Toe in Water

Sally and I both love our technology. We are both computer professionals, both pilots, both love our cars and both love our techno-toys. So, it is pretty surprising that we have not ventured into any kind of home automation… until today.

Home automation… sounds geeky, sounds high tech, sounds expensive, sounds unnecessary!

Well, it is probably all of those things to varying degrees but not as much as it used to be.

I would like our home to be more connected. We already have a central heating controller than can be programmed and accessed through our computer or mobile phone and even turn our home heating on and off through the internet. At first this sounded a bit unnecessary but we went ahead with it knowing that it was a step into the future. It turns out it is much more of a benefit than we imagined.

Our heating system is more controlled and more fits our lifestyle. If we return home from our caravan unexpected (as we do occasionally) we can have our home heating on and the house warm by the time we arrive back. When we go away the house can be switched to “holiday” mode with the heating turned down and hot water heating off all at a single click on the phone… even if we have forgotten to do it before we left.

All this we can live without but it is just one way to make life less stressful, more comfortable, more futuristic.

So, with the heating system internet connected it is time for us to venture into connecting other parts of our house. Not necessarily to the internet (although that is possible) but certainly to make turning things on and off and creating more comfortable lighting scenes to match our activities and moods.

X10 has been around since the ’70s but with new tech such as z-wave there is a lot more we can do. So we are dipping our toes in the water with z-wave and see how we get on. I have ordered a z-wave USB controller £40), a plug-in appliance switch with power reporting (£40) and a remote controller (£20). I will set up a basic 1 device z-wave network and see how we get on. If it looks viable then the world of z-wave is our oyster.

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