10 Great Home Automation Ideas for Your Home
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Posted September 6, 2019
When it comes to ways to automate your home tech, HVAC is at the top of the list. An intelligent HVAC system can replace outdated equipment in your home, saving you thousands, and improve your air quality and comfort. So with smart HVAC out there, what home automation ideas actually work? Here are the top ten ways to figure this out and more.
1. Smart Thermostats
There are some killer heating and cooling services out there. But how can you automate these processes? A smart thermostat is one great place to start.
Okay, you might not want to build and program a thermostat from scratch. So you can begin by buying a thermostat that you can use to automate the heating and cooling in your home.
Say you’re on the go and want to come home to a cozy warm house. You can do this by buying an app-driven smart thermostat.
Let’s say you’ve programmed your thermostat to operate on a regular schedule. You can do this, and by making that an option your AC won’t always be on, saving you many dollars by the end of the month.
In earnest, an intelligent HVAC system can be determined by the efficiency of your thermostat. After all, the stat acts as your switch for energy management and air-flow. So if you target your automation methods at smart thermostats, you’re on a good track towards a better HVAC system.
If you go this route you can check with your HVAC provider to see if your smart thermostat works with your home conditioning and heating units.
2. The Imaginative Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi can act as an automation controller that creates real smart home technology.
You can link your Raspberry Pi to your Alexa, Google Home devices, and your thermostat to actively monitor and adjust your home air quality.
Beyond that, the Pi can be paired with home assistants that operate via a touch screen to change settings like:
- Specific room settings
- Home security
- Airflow automation, (say that once you unlock and open your door, the AC turns on).
- And much more!
Okay, what things do you need to introduce Raspberry Pi to your home? The list is simple and the installment can be too. Here are some resources:
- microSD card
- Functioning power supply
- A high-quality Raspberry Pi Operating System
Still, the Rasberry Pi isn’t limited to linear tasks, you can create a network of Pi Sensors throughout your home to replace most thermostat tasks.
For instance, it’s possible to create pi-heating-sensors that measure air temperature. If you were to place a network of connected pi-sensors, you could display and regulate your home temperature without needing a traditional thermostat.
3. NFC Tag Triggers
NFC Tags are like small box-shaped barcodes. Except, these guys are programmable.
That means if you’re using a tool like Tasker (more on that later) then you can program that tiny bar code to do whatever you want when you activate it.
But what does the NFC Tag trigger?
Whatever you want! The NFC can be linked to your thermostat, to your home assistant, even to a Raspberry Pi that controls your home security (door locks, for instance).
You can stick NFC tags in different areas of your home to control your air quality too. One thing you could do is program your NFC tag to alert you anytime your AC Unit has shut down.
Meaning, if you don’t want to walk all the way to your thermostat or AC, you can place an NFC that sends this data to you in your room! That way, you just have to stand up, trigger the tag, and get the necessary data packet.
Just remember, NFC’s require a secondary device to cause a tag to perform its function, so be sure to pair your phone, or tablet with your NFC tag before going further.
4. Improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
It’s possible with the tools on this list to regulate cleaning cycles. This would mean a few key things for you:
- You could automate your thermostat to send you updates every time your air-flow is slowed or clogged.
- Receive reports on what temperature ranges lead to lower IAQ ratings.
- Target the heating issues that improve air quality and make those your primary settings.
- Have a setting that allows you to contact your HVAC specialist whenever you need to clean your airways.
- You can adjust humidity levels with the tap of a finger.
These are smart home automation techniques that are possible, but it’s important to establish the issues that affect IAQ as well. If you know the problems plaguing your IAQ you can find smart solutions:
- A dirty home can contribute to poor air quality. This includes uncleaned floors, bathrooms, and furniture. Anything that can send dirt particles into the air can be put on this bullet. So find the dirty spots in your home.
- From 2012 – 2016 an average of 7 people died of house fires per day. Some of those were strongly linked to poor ventilation. Improving your home ventilation is key to IAQ and your overall safety. So finding an automated solution is a big priority.
- Organic Pollutants. These could come from bacteria, foods left out, and the trash.
So how do you improve indoor air quality using home automation?
One key effort can be made by creating settings that resolve these issues. You can program your thermostat to recognize the build-up of excess pollutants and dirt.
On top of this, with the help of a micro-controller, the Raspberry Pi, you can use an electromagnet to open and close your windows while you’re away, further preventing poor ventilation.
5. Zone Control
Zone Control systems can allow you to heat and cool individual rooms. This allows you to optimize your energy usage and prioritize comfort.
Say you have a study, you can use Zone Controllers to decide that room is a heated priority.
Why is this useful beyond comfort?
While you’re heating your home, you’re only using a portion of that energy for yourself.
If your house is heated throughout yet you’re going to bed, then every room is full of wasted energy. With Zone Control you can automatically set priorities on only the rooms that are being used.
You can also use Zone Control to regulate the other settings that you’ve created such as:
- Overall energy usage
- Heating settings per room
- If you know you’re going to be in a space every day at a certain time you can add scheduled Zone Controllers to each room.
6. Voice Assistance
Alexa, Google Home, Siri – these are just a few voice-command home assistants that can be used to automate your energy usage and overall comfort.
You can combine all the tools above into a voice assistant, then just by speaking make the results you need.
For instance, if you’re unable to get out of bed, or don’t want to use an app to control your heating system, you can simply speak to a voice assistant to perform the same functions.
Though in this case it’s recommended that you create settings that are short enough to be spoken.
Voice Assistance can also be used to send you alerts. If you won’t be checking your phone or the thermostat, VA can report vital information to you.
How do you know when your HVAC system needs to be replaced?
There are simple signs like unseemly noises and weird run time. But those might not tell you the actual issue.
You can automatically update your phone or thermostat with maintenance checks to prevent worry and extra repairs. In the event of an actual replacement, you could link an “update for replacement” text to your phone so you can call your provider.
8. Device Ecosystem
You might have heard of the term “ecosystem” used in electronics. This simply implies that you have a load of devices connected to each other.
When it comes to your heating and cooling system you can make sure your home assistant is connected to your phone, your Raspberry Pi, and your thermostat.
This makes sure that every device updates to the changes you’re making in your home and gives you the freedom to choose which device controls your HVAC.
One use for the rising number of devices in your home is to delegate each device to a task. For instance, your home assistant can act as the master device to all the others you have, while your NFC’s specifically regulate heat.
You can regularly swap these out per season, such as in the winter when the heating bill becomes very important to monitor.
It’s also necessary to figure out which devices in your ecosystem match with others. Siri, for instance, will not be compatible with some of Google Home’s options, etc.
9. Create A Humidity Setting
You can use your AC for more than just cooling you down. If you connect your home assistant to your thermostat, it can capture the humidity rating outside, and report it to your stat.
Once this is done, if you create a setting on your thermostat that responds to high humidity, then you can turn the AC on blast.
This can be done anywhere in your house, including the bathroom. Each time the bathroom gets fogged up (potentially creating mold) you can start up the AC in the bathroom.
This would eliminate high humidity in your home and improve your air quality.
10. Heated Air Circulation
If you have a fireplace or the kitchen is warm from cooking, you can create an air circulation setting from your home assistant or similar device.
That way, if one room is especially heated you can cause your house to jump-start and blow that warm air through the rest of the home.
Another option includes fan automation. If you don’t want to use the large energy expenditure from an AC unit you can use fans instead.
This would simply require that you install an NFC tag or something similar to an electric fan, and cause your NFC to act as its switch.
11. Smart Detectors For Harmful Gases
Carbon monoxide detectors have been around for a while. But once you start thinking like a home automation expert you can think a few steps back, starting at your home’s ability to detect harmful gases:
- Install a smoke detector or monoxide detector in the spaces that would gather unwanted gases.
- Create a task using a tool like Tasker (an automating tool you can install from your phone) that opens your garage door, or unlocks your windows.
- If you ever hear your alarm go off you can start your Tasker and voila.
Your Home Automation Ideas
These home automation ideas can help you take control of your energy usage and home comfort without any manual hassle.
Starting with an intelligent HVAC system can ensure that you properly understand your heating and cooling imperatives, and how to fulfill them from the luxury of your phone.
So what do you say?
This is your home! Get clever and start pulling a MacGyver; by the end of the process, you’ll feel like a real master of your domain.
Now that you know what you can do, you need reliable service to get you the rest of the way. Contact Hiller for more details to see if your smart home automation ideas are compatible with your heating and cooling system.