If you are one of the many early adopters of a home automation (HA) system, enjoying the added convenience of controlling a variety of your home’s lighting, appliances and more from your smartphone or desktop computer, transferring your 21st Century smart home to a new residence adds to the typical headaches of the moving process. However, once you understand all the required steps, it isn’t difficult. Creating a checklist for this aspect of your move helps makes things easier, just like the rest of the items on your relocation “to do” list.
A Quick Home Automation Primer
Most typical HA setups let you control a variety of equipment wirelessly using a mobile device or your home computer; you are even able to manage your system remotely over the Internet. Many security companies and home improvement stores offer turnkey HA systems, usually requiring a monthly fee for extra services, like 24/7 professional monitoring of any security equipment in your setup. You can also take the DIY route, piecing together your own system from a variety of vendors; this generally saves you some money, but without any professional monitoring features.
Typical devices included in most smart homes range from a variety of lighting systems, smart thermostats, and automated shades. Smart kitchen appliances, like refrigerators, microwaves, and ovens tend to be more expensive options, but some HA systems support these features. A whole host of security devices are also possible, including door locks, open window detectors, video cameras, and even water detection units which are useful if a busted sump pump leads to a flooded basement.
Most HA systems use a wireless hub as the central point of the system. This hub usually connects to the wireless router in your home Internet network. Software — either apps for mobile devices or within a web browser on your desktop — lets you control all system devices remotely. With some advanced systems, you can create scenes which allow to perform multiple tasks with one command. For example, a scene allows you to shut off all the lights, close any shades, and turn off the TV — all with a simple press of a button.
Those of you who chose an established provider for your system need to contact them to handle the process. You’ll simply need to include all your HA devices when packing for your move. On the other hand, owners of DIY HA setups can follow this simple checklist to ensure their smart home easily migrates when they move.
1. Make Sure your Internet Service is Ready
Nearly all home automation systems rely on Internet access (or a WiFi network at your house) for device control. If you are using the same ISP at your new residence or going with a new provider, make sure your Internet access and wireless network are ready to go before setting up your HA system. Contact your ISP before your move date to schedule a time for installation.
2. Perform a Site Survey at your New Residence
A site survey of your new home gives you a good idea about the placement of the system hub, security cameras, lighting, door locks and any other HA devices. Either perform the survey in person or use a line drawing of your new space. This also helps determine if you’ll need any additional devices for security coverage or if you have more rooms at the new residence.
3. Pack Up and Move your Home Automation Devices
Carefully pack up your system hub and the other HA devices in your current setup. Even if you are using professional movers, it is a good idea to move the system by yourself with any of your computing and home entertainment equipment. Use bubble wrap or other packing materials to ensure the equipment stays safe and sound throughout the move.
4. Connect the Home Automation Hub to your Wireless Network
Once you’ve unpacked after the move and your Internet service and WiFi network are ready, connect your HA system hub to your WiFi router just like when you first installed the system. Install one of your HA devices — a simple light is the easiest — to verify the system itself is working. Try controlling the device using a smartphone or tablet.
5. Install the Rest of your HA Devices
At this point you can install the rest of your system. Since the range of many hubs in HA systems is limited, you’ll need to ensure you are able to control those devices installed the furthest from the hub. If you discover any problems, consider buying a second hub if your setup supports more than one. Also look at the placement of your router and hub, as a centralized location serves best in larger residences.
Moving your DIY home automation system when relocating doesn’t have to cause any additional headaches. Following these simple steps ensures you’ll be controlling your digital smart home in no time.