Insteon Smart Home System

Insteon Smart Home System

Insteon Smart Home System – So you are looking for the best Smart Home products, Insteon Smart Home System is the best. Insteon is made by a company called Smart home, itself a subsidiary of Smartlabs, a California-based company founded in 1992. Competition for the “hub” or the brains of your home is fierce. With its acquisition of SmartThings (Mountain View, California), Samsung entere d the market in a big way in 2014 and makes all sorts of “things” to automate your home. Central to its strategy is the Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub. Wink Labs Inc (New York) is another strong player — launching a new v2 version of its well-reviewed Wink Hub.

Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

Insteon Dimmer Keypad 2334-232
A new Insteon Keypad. A neutral white wire is required in your home’s electrical wiring.

Cloud technology and lower prices are key factors why the smart home is finally within grasp of the mainstream. Unlike years past when contractors might quote you $10,000+ for a custom Crestron system to control lights and cameras, these things are DIY friendly, and don’t require you to take out a second mortgage.

But there’s another reason why the time is now for home automation:

Voice control.

And we can predominantly thank Amazon (Alexa and Echo) and Google (Google Assistant and Google Home) for that.

With a voice interface, we can now interact with our home in a natural way. Better still, we can combine multiple hubs, and switches from various manufacturers and need only control it all with, say, an Amazon Echo Dot (“Alexa, turn on kitchen lights”). In my experience, it works especially with Insteon.

But more on all of that in future posts. For now, if you’ve just bought a hub, or are researching the home automation market and considering what to do, here’s 10 things I’ve learned over the past 10 years working with Insteon.

Smart Home: Top 10 tips for getting started with Insteon

1. Buy only the latest revisions of Insteon hubs, switches and modules

Insteon Tips and Tricks
Each Insteon device has a revision number. Be careful to only buy the most recent ones — they are vastly improved in quality and performance.
Old and new Insteon dimmer comparison
Old and new keypads. Note the newer Insteon branding on the right. That’s another clue, along with the revision number, you’re buying a newer model.
Insteon Tips and Tricks
3 Insteon dimmers for kitchen lighting.

This is important. Insteon (the brand name for Smarthome’s line of home automation products) has been around for a while. I bought in early, in 2006. Products were in their infancy and it showed. Reliability was a big issue — software and hardware. Dimmer switches often failed. Communication between the hub and devices was iffy. Flash forward to 2017 and the situation is dramatically improved. Insteon Smart Home System..Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

So, please be sure to buy the latest revision (or as close to it as possible) of any Insteon device.

How?

Each Insteon device has a version label, usually placed on the front of a switch, or the rear of a plug-in module. Check that. Then use a Google search to verify the latest versions.

For instance, the most recent version of the 6 and 8-button keypad controllers (models 2334-232 and 2334-222 respectively) is at least 8.0 and from what I can tell they were manufactured in 2017. The latest version of the Insteon Dimmer (2477D) that I’ve installed this year is 8.2.

My understanding is that if you buy Insteon products from Amazon you will get the newest stuff so long as you select the seller as: “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.” That’s key. if you buy from a marketplace seller or a third-party that is fulfilled by Amazon you may get old switches as many suppliers will try to move old inventory.

If you buy on eBay (a good place to sometimes look for deals on Insteon switches), again, look for the label. A good seller with include a photo of the switch with the label so you can verify it’s a later version.

This is my #1 tip for Insteon.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Insteon, but in recent years it’s been mostly love because the newer, 2nd generation (Dual Band) products are vastly improved over their iffy predecessors. Today, I find Insteon to be very stable, and reliable — so long as you heed this advice and only buy/install newer versions of their hubs, switches and modules.

2. Keep it simple

Insteon Dimmer and Keypad Tips Review

Complexity can really create problems when it comes to the smart home. For Insteon I’ve found that keeping scenes (groups of multiple devices that turn on together) as simple as possible ensure that your home network won’t get overloaded with commands and create slowdowns and errors. Insteon Smart Home System

In particular, if you’re adding devices to an Insteon Keypad (6 or 8 button switch) just know that if you set one of the buttons as a “controller” and assign, say, 10 devices, the hub will then create 20 links, a two-way connection between each device. This can multiply exponentially if, for instance, you want multiple buttons on keypads around the home to act as a “controller” for the same scene. It can get messy really fast.

Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

One solution is not to use Keypads. Instead just use dimmer switches and plug-in modules. Besides, with Alexa you can simply ask your Echo to turn on a scene (“Alexa, turn on evening mode”). I still use two keypads as I like to see the status. And sometimes hitting a physical switch is all you want. But I don’t create mega scenes, and ensure that the scenes I do create are a minimal as possible, and typically have just one “controller” defined (the rest being a “responder”).

Note: a controller in Insteon speak can control all the devices in a scene meaning it can turn the entire thing on or off and also control brightness. A responder merely responds to the controller. For example, you have a button “All On” and set it as a “controller” and group 20 devices (dimmers and plug-in modules connected to lights throughout the home or condo) into a scene each as a “responder”. If you tap the “All on” button all 20 lights will turn on. Tap again and, of course, everything turns off. However, if you turn off the switch for any of the assigned responders (say, a living room light) it will only turn off that individual device, not the entire scene.

3. Avoid Android: You really want to use the iOS version of the Insteon app

Insteon App for iOS / iPhone

If possible use the iOS Insteon app. it’s miles better than the Android equivalent. It looks better. It runs better. It just a better overall experience.

This is where you can feel the roots of Smarthome, an A/V company founded in the 1990’s. Unlike many new home automation players who are software-centric, with many based here in Silicon Valley, Smarthome has had to morph over the years. Thankfully, the latest version of the Insteon app for the iPhone is good. Not phenomenal. But definitely functional, with a few design quirks to be sure. However, in my experience it does the job and is reliable. Just take your time and spend some time learning the layout and you’ll be fine.

 4. Setting local dim level and ramp rate is very easy with Insteon

Insteon 2477D Dimmer Indicator Light - Adjust dim and ramp rate

I still believe Insteon makes the best all around dimmer switches. They look modern and clean, and are easy to install thanks to the included pigtail cables (4 in total).

Perhaps best of all is this little trick:

You can easily set the local dim level and ramp rate for any Insteon dimmer switch:

  • To set dim level (the brightness of the light when you turn it on) simply set the switch to the desired level and tap the set button (below the paddle) once. It will beep. Next time you turn on the light it will go to your preferred brightness. Easy.

To adjust the ramp rate — the speed  at which a light turns on:

  • To set ramp rate set the light from near off for a slow ramp or up to on (100%) for instant on, or anything in between. Then double tap the set button. It will beep. Now your light will turn on at the rate which you set. Insteon Smart Home System

Once you’ve done this a few times it’s very easy. For some reason I can’t find similar features in other dimmers from the likes of GE, Lutron and Leviton. Yes, of course you can customize dim and ramp when you create a scene, but unlike Insteon it seems hard if not impossible to actually set them on the dimmer switch itself.

5. Double tap On and Off

Want instant on light? Just double tap top paddle. Or double tap bottom to turn off instantly without waiting for dimming to ramp down.

Another nifty trick. Double tapping the top or bottom of an Insteon dimmer switch will instantly turn the light to full brightness or turn it off — convenient if you don’t want to wait for the light to ramp dimness.

6. More Insteon devices strengthen the network*

*but quickly deplete your bank account

Insteon Home Control Starter Kit
Insteon Home Control Starter Kit is a great value. You get the Hub plus 2 dimmer switches.

Another thing I like about Insteon is that it is dual band. That is, it communicates using two methods: (1) power line (white neutral wire); and (2) wireless RF signal (proprietary).

Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

In my experience, it’s extremely reliable and very fast to respond. I now have 37 Insteon devices across a small home. As I add new lamp modules and dimmer switches (and, more importantly, replace older ones from 2006!) the Insteon network actually gets better. That’s because each device extends the range, and also adds another communication point to send/receive commands. I’m no expert, but it’s something called a “mesh network.” Like me, you may not want or need to know all the details. Just know that Insteon is not wi-fi based, and it provides serious performance, especially as you expand the number of devices throughout your home. Insteon Smart Home System

7. Leak sensors and alerts: Your new best friends

Insteon Leak Sensor by Refrigerator
Placing leak sensors in high risk areas around the home is a great way to get started with home automation.

Quick tip to avoid costly home repair. Put Insteon water leak sensors in places prone to potential flooding: the refrigerator, washer/dryer area, shower, hot water heater, etc. If you were unable to avoid the unexpected flooding in your home, you should contact flood cleaning experts to help you with the cleaning. Occasionally, Smarthome direct or Amazon run 2-for-1 specials and you can get these sensors inexpensively. I sure do wish I had one a few years back when a line from our hot water tank burst.

Place the sensors on the ground next to these areas. Don’t worry, they’re white and fairly unobtrusive. Then after you’ve added them to the Insteon Hub, be sure to setup alerts in the app. Slide them to on, and add your email address. If a sensor detects wet, it will immediately email you. Then you can start freaking out.

8. Go deep with Stringify to create conditional Insteon programs (“flows”)

Stringify App - Insteon Flow Example
The Stringify app, like IFTTT, provides an easy way to create custom notifications, scenes and integrations with other apps and home automation devices. Here, in this “flow”, a simple notification is sent when the garage door opens.

You might have heard of IFFF (If This Then That)? Unfortunately Insteon is not yet supported on that platform (though other hubs are supported, including Samsung SmartThings and Wink). You can use a competitor app called Srtingify. It’s available for iOS and Android and can really take your smart home to the next level.

I won’t go into details here, that’s for another day. But you can do things like switch lights on randomly late at night while you’re away to make it look like someone’s home. Or detect if your garage door is open for 20 minutes and have it automatically close. Or have your irrigation system not run if rain is detected. And on and on… and on and on and on. The possibilities are near endless.

With Stringify (and IFTTT) and Insteon the sky is the limit and you can really do some interesting things. It’s definitely not for the plug-and-play crowd, but it’s there if you want to do more advanced things with your IoT things. It really is a thing.

9. Insteon is closed and proprietary while most of the competition is based on open standards

Insteon review and tips

This one is not really a tip, but something to be aware of.

If you own an Insteon Hub you already know that you can only use it with Insteon products. You can’t mix and match with other manufacturers. So dimmers from Lutron or Leviton or GE are a no go and aren’t compatible with Insteon.

Much of the competition, however, is based on open standards. The most prevalent — and one that appears to be gaining even more momentum — is known as Z-Wave, with the more recent standard dubbed Z-Wave Plus.

Samsung SmartThings and Wink 2 are hubs that support Z-Wave Plus. When you buy into the system you can mix and match from a variety of vendors: Nexia, GE, Lutron, Leviton, Ecolink, Honeywell, Schlage, Kwikset, and dozens of others. A lot of brands make Z-Wave enabled smart home devices.

Something to keep in mind.

In a sense, Insteon is like Apple. You buy in, and you buy only Insteon.

Z-Wave is more akin to Google and Android. You buy in, and can buy a variety of devices made by partner companies.

Neither approach — like Apple and Google’s business models — is necessarily better or worse. If you really have your heart set on that Lutron Caseta dimmer switch (Z-Wave based), then you’re choice is made and it’s not Insteon. Go with the Samsung SmartThings or Wink 2 hub. If you appreciate the look of Insteon switches and don’t mind buying only that brand then it’s definitely a strong option.

10. THIS IS BIG: Use Alexa and Amazon Echo, Dot and/or Show to control Insteon lights (Hint: it’s a home automation nerd’s dream come true)

Insteon with Alexa and Amazon Echo Dot: Tips and Review

Finally, but not least: voice control.

When I first tried out an Echo Dot I wasn’t a fan. It sat on a tabletop mostly unused. That is, until I discovered it could work with Insteon. First, I had to update to the latest hub. A bit of a pain because I needed to re-add all my devices and setup scenes from scratch. But it was worth it.

It’s as simple as this: Alexa a game changer for home automation. Together with Insteon I’m in a la-la land of smart home nirvana. I couldn’t near imagine this stuff possible even 5 years ago:

“Alexa, turn on the downstairs lights.”

“Alexa, dim the front lights to 50%.”

“Alexa, turn on movie mode.”

“Alexa, turn on sleeping.”

and my favorite…

“Alexa, turn on the espresso machine.”

It works so well that I was absolutely flabbergasted. Yes, we’ve had Siri and Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana for a while now. But to now have this capability in the home, available anytime to control lighting is a dream come true… at least for this home automation nerd.

The best part of Alexa voice control and Insteon is that the setup is a breeze.

  • First, enable the Insteon skill in the Alexa app.
  • Then tap “discover devices” under the Smart Home section of the Alexa app. In about 20 seconds the app will import all of your Insteon scenes and devices.

That’s it. You can start asking Alexa to control your lights. Plano Texas Handyman offers advice and suggestions for all your Smart Home Products. Call us at 214-507-3414 for more information. Insteon Smart Home System

Smart Home Design

Smart Home Wiring Design

Smart Home Design – Build a Network for Your Smart Home – Today’s average home has a plethora of connected devices. And all smart home products, such as laptops, smartphones, TVs, electronic door locks, and thermostats, require a solid, reliable networking infrastructure to function at their full potential.  Plano Texas Handyman has the expertise to install a system to keep your home running smoothly, call Ted at 214.507.3415 today for more information on Build a Network for Your Smart Home or visit our website for all our capabilities.  Build a Network for Your Smart Home. Smart Home Design

Most home networks today are usually comprised of an Internet connection to the house, which links to a wireless router with which everything else—smartphones, smart light switches, surveillance cameras—communicates. This setup functions adequately when the only products connected to the router are laptops and Xbox gaming systems. Today, in many households these legacy devices have been joined by a new generation of connected devices, including media streamers, home automation hubs, cloud storage services, security systems, and other products which the industry has come to refer to as the “Internet of Things,” or “IoT.” As the number of IoT devices on a home network increases, it becomes increasingly more difficult for the network to function well. Problems such as buffering in video streams, latency in music streams, and signals that don’t reach their intended destinations can result. Build a Network for Your Smart Home.  Smart Home Design

Thankfully, there are solutions and our company can install these in your home for optimal internet and gaming performance.:

1.  Install a Good Wiring Backbone
A connected smart home generally starts with an incoming cable, fiber, or standard phone line (DSL). This wire connects to a modem and that connects to a router (or combined modem/router) which has Wi-Fi capability. Where that wire enters your home is important. If it comes in far from the central part of your house, like a deep corner of the basement or at the far end of a guest wing, latching on to that Wi-Fi signal is going to be difficult for devices located far from the router.

To solve this issue, leave the modem provided to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) where it is, place a router in a central spot, and connect the two with high-quality Ethernet cable.  Smart Home Design .

For devices that stream HD video (as well as other smart home devices), nothing beats the communications reliability you’ll get from a wired connection between the devices and the router. This will involve fishing either Cat 5e or Cat 6 cabling to wall jacks in tech-heavy areas like a media room, home office, bedrooms, and a utility room where you might stow A/V and automation equipment. Terminating the wire to an Ethernet jack is straightforward. Match the wire colors to the jacks. Be sure to test the connection with an Ethernet cable tester. In areas where several smart home devices might exist, like a home theater, plan on plugging those components into an Ethernet Switch.

An Ethernet Switch is intended to work in tandem with a router by connecting multiple devices in the same vicinity to your home’s network, and is able pass traffic through as quickly as possible without too much interference. A gigabit switch, like the Netgear Prosafe GS108, when used with a gigabit router will allow you to use your local network at speeds up to ten times greater than the previous generation (10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet). If either of these components, however, is not gigabit rated, the entire network will be limited to 10/100 speeds. So, in order to use the maximum amount of speed your network can pump out, you need every single component in your network (including your computers) to be gigabit compliant.  Build a Network for Your Smart Home.  Smart Home Design

If you are building a new home you should plan on running at least two Cat 6 cables to each Ethernet jack (one for the network and one for future use). Locate these Cat 6 cables in places where you plan on putting your TVs, computers, security cameras, and other devices. And if you plan on adding a home control system, pull a Cat 6 cable to the wall light switch locations, as well. Should you ever replace these light switches with home control keypads, they can be easily wired into the network. Each run of cable is then “homerun” back to a central point, usually in an attic, basement, or garage. Here you generally will locate your router in a rack along with network switches and other gear. Plan to spend between $100 and $150 per cable drop. For a finished home, fishing cabling will be more labor intensive, and therefore, more expensive: between $150 and $500 per cable drop.

2.  We think of your home’s network like a highway system.
A wired network is a multilane highway. Multiple cars can have their own lane and travel at the speeds they want without impacting others. Not so with Wi-Fi. It’s like a two-lane highway. The slowest device dictates the speed of all the others. Invest in a router that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Having the second band (5GHz) helps as it gives you two additional lanes. Also available are routers with two 5GHz bands so you can have a total of four lanes in the 5GHz space.  Build a Network for Your Smart Home.  Smart Home Design

3.  We provide systems for getting better Wi-Fi coverage
Today the most common Wi-Fi standard (third-generation) is 802.11n, which has a maximum speed of 450Mbps (megabits per second). The newest deployed standard is 802.11ac. It has a maximum speed of 1.7Gbps (gigabits per second). The good news is the ac standard is backwards compatible, which means that the devices you currently own (which most likely are n) will work with the newer ac-based wireless routers.

Additionally, Wi-Fi works on two different wireless radio-frequency bands. The most common is 2.4GHz (gigahertz), and the newer and much less crowded is 5GHz. People who live in congested areas, like cities or neighborhoods, will certainly experience interference when using a 2.4GHz router, so be sure to invest in a dual-band model, which supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Routers that support 802.11ac are even better.  Build a Network for Your Smart Home.  Smart Home Design

However, even the best router won’t ensure adequate Wi-Fi coverage, so in many homes it helps to add range extenders (often called repeaters, although they don’t actually repeat) and access points. Range extenders connect to your home’s network and then broadcast a new signal with a slightly different network name (often they add “EXT” to your existing SSID). This will allow you to connect to the web, and stream video or audio to new rooms of the house that your existing wireless signal can’t reach. Range extenders should be placed where a moderately strong Wi-Fi signal already exists to ensure that they can lock onto Wi-Fi and provide a stable extension.

4.  We can add a Network Bridge
Multiple Ethernet ports are built into some range extenders and access points. On range extenders these ports can connect non-wireless devices to your network. This is called a Bridge. Network Bridges can also be purchased separately for the sole purpose of connecting a non-wireless device to your network.
Access points connect to your home’s wired network, thus negating the performance issues of range extenders. They can be set to the same SSID as your main network and can provide a seamless roaming experience. Multiple access points can be added, even outdoors (be sure to look for weatherproof models). This is the preferred way to extend a network.  Build a Network for Your Smart Home.  Your Smart Home

Know Your Limitations
Be mindful of Wi-Fi limitations and understand that the more smart devices you add to a wireless network, the more bandwidth will be used. You can beef up the bandwidth with a high-quality router and complementing it with range extenders and/or access points. Still, Wi-Fi can be finicky so, whenever possible, connect your home’s smart devices via a wired network. Depending on your home, you might not be able to fish wire to every device, but this could still help lighten the load of your wireless network and enable it to function more reliably.

Plano Texas Handyman has the expertise to install a system to keep your home running smoothly, call Ted at 214.507.3415 today for more information on Build a Network for Your Smart Home or visit our website for all our capabilities.  Build a Network for Your Smart Home.  Smart Home Design.

Your Smart Home

Structured Wiring for New Construction Homes

Build a Network for Your Smart Home

Your Smart Home – Build a Network for Your Smart Home – Today’s average home has a plethora of connected devices. And all smart home products, such as laptops, smartphones, TVs, electronic door locks, and thermostats, require a solid, reliable networking infrastructure to function at their full potential. Plano Texas Handyman has the expertise to install a system to keep your home running smoothly, call Ted at 214.507.3415 today for more information on Build a Network for Your Smart Home or visit our website for all our capabilities. Build a Network for Your Smart Home. Your Smart Home

Most home networks today are usually comprised of an Internet connection to the house, which links to a wireless router with which everything else—smartphones, smart light switches, surveillance cameras—communicates. This setup functions adequately when the only products connected to the router are laptops and Xbox gaming systems. Today, in many households these legacy devices have been joined by a new generation of connected devices, including media streamers, home automation hubs, cloud storage services, security systems, and other products which the industry has come to refer to as the “Internet of Things,” or “IoT.” As the number of IoT devices on a home network increases, it becomes increasingly more difficult for the network to function well. Problems such as buffering in video streams, latency in music streams, and signals that don’t reach their intended destinations can result. Build a Network for Your Smart Home. Your Smart Home. If you would like to invest in some property because you need a new floorplan then you can check out Parc Clematis Floor Plans which will be a great investment to build a plethora of connected devices in!

Thankfully, there are solutions and our company can install these in your home for optimal internet and gaming performance.:

1. Install a Good Wiring Backbone
A connected smart home generally starts with an incoming cable, fiber, or standard phone line (DSL). This wire connects to a modem and that connects to a router (or combined modem/router) which has Wi-Fi capability. Where that wire enters your home is important. If it comes in far from the central part of your house, like a deep corner of the basement or at the far end of a guest wing, latching on to that Wi-Fi signal is going to be difficult for devices located far from the router.

To solve this issue, leave the modem provided to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) where it is, place a router in a central spot, and connect the two with high-quality Ethernet cable. Build a Network for Your Smart Home.

For devices that stream HD video (as well as other smart home devices), nothing beats the communications reliability you’ll get from a wired connection between the devices and the router. This will involve fishing either Cat 5e or Cat 6 cabling to wall jacks in tech-heavy areas like a media room, home office, bedrooms, and a utility room where you might stow A/V and automation equipment. Terminating the wire to an Ethernet jack is straightforward. Match the wire colors to the jacks. Be sure to test the connection with an Ethernet cable tester. In areas where several smart home devices might exist, like a home theater, plan on plugging those components into an Ethernet Switch.

An Ethernet Switch is intended to work in tandem with a router by connecting multiple devices in the same vicinity to your home’s network, and is able pass traffic through as quickly as possible without too much interference. A gigabit switch, like the Netgear Prosafe GS108, when used with a gigabit router will allow you to use your local network at speeds up to ten times greater than the previous generation (10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet). If either of these components, however, is not gigabit rated, the entire network will be limited to 10/100 speeds. So, in order to use the maximum amount of speed your network can pump out, you need every single component in your network (including your computers) to be gigabit compliant. Build a Network for Your Smart Home. Your Smart Home

If you are building a new home you should plan on running at least two Cat 6 cables to each Ethernet jack (one for the network and one for future use). Locate these Cat 6 cables in places where you plan on putting your TVs, computers, security cameras, and other devices. And if you plan on adding a home control system, pull a Cat 6 cable to the wall light switch locations, as well. Should you ever replace these light switches with home control keypads, they can be easily wired into the network. Each run of cable is then “homerun” back to a central point, usually in an attic, basement, or garage. Here you generally will locate your router in a rack along with network switches and other gear. Plan to spend between $100 and $150 per cable drop. For a finished home, fishing cabling will be more labor intensive, and therefore, more expensive: between $150 and $500 per cable drop.

2. We think of your home’s network like a highway system.
A wired network is a multilane highway. Multiple cars can have their own lane and travel at the speeds they want without impacting others. Not so with Wi-Fi. It’s like a two-lane highway. The slowest device dictates the speed of all the others. Invest in a router that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Having the second band (5GHz) helps as it gives you two additional lanes. Also available are routers with two 5GHz bands so you can have a total of four lanes in the 5GHz space. Build a Network for Your Smart Home. Your Smart Home

3. We provide systems for getting better Wi-Fi coverage
Today the most common Wi-Fi standard (third-generation) is 802.11n, which has a maximum speed of 450Mbps (megabits per second). The newest deployed standard is 802.11ac. It has a maximum speed of 1.7Gbps (gigabits per second). The good news is the ac standard is backwards compatible, which means that the devices you currently own (which most likely are n) will work with the newer ac-based wireless routers.

Additionally, Wi-Fi works on two different wireless radio-frequency bands. The most common is 2.4GHz (gigahertz), and the newer and much less crowded is 5GHz. People who live in congested areas, like cities or neighborhoods, will certainly experience interference when using a 2.4GHz router, so be sure to invest in a dual-band model, which supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Routers that support 802.11ac are even better. Build a Network for Your Smart Home. Your Smart Home

However, even the best router won’t ensure adequate Wi-Fi coverage, so in many homes it helps to add range extenders (often called repeaters, although they don’t actually repeat) and access points. Range extenders connect to your home’s network and then broadcast a new signal with a slightly different network name (often they add “EXT” to your existing SSID). This will allow you to connect to the web, and stream video or audio to new rooms of the house that your existing wireless signal can’t reach. Range extenders should be placed where a moderately strong Wi-Fi signal already exists to ensure that they can lock onto Wi-Fi and provide a stable extension.

4. We can add a Network Bridge
Multiple Ethernet ports are built into some range extenders and access points. On range extenders these ports can connect non-wireless devices to your network. This is called a Bridge. Network Bridges can also be purchased separately for the sole purpose of connecting a non-wireless device to your network.
Access points connect to your home’s wired network, thus negating the performance issues of range extenders. They can be set to the same SSID as your main network and can provide a seamless roaming experience. Multiple access points can be added, even outdoors (be sure to look for weatherproof models). This is the preferred way to extend a network. Build a Network for Your Smart Home. Your Smart Home

Know Your Limitations
Be mindful of Wi-Fi limitations and understand that the more smart devices you add to a wireless network, the more bandwidth will be used. You can beef up the bandwidth with a high-quality router and complementing it with range extenders and/or access points. Still, Wi-Fi can be finicky so, whenever possible, connect your home’s smart devices via a wired network. Depending on your home, you might not be able to fish wire to every device, but this could still help lighten the load of your wireless network and enable it to function more reliably.

Plano Texas Handyman has the expertise to install a system to keep your home running smoothly, call Ted at 214.507.3415 today for more information on Build a Network for Your Smart Home or visit our website for all our capabilities. Build a Network for Your Smart Home. Your Smart Home

Home Automation Products

Smart Home

Home Automation Products – Home automation and home automation products is nothing new, but a recent boom in smart home tech has thrust it straight into the spotlight. (Smart home) kits, sensors and gadgets have been a dominating presence for Plano Texas Handyman for the past two years, with big names like Apple, Google, GE and Microsoft right there in the thick of it. That’s not surprising, given that market experts predict that the smart home’s market share will be worth tens of billions within the next few years. Call Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 to arrange for a home automation review. Visit our website to get a complete picture of all our capabilities. However, if you are somewhere outside of the US, for example, in the United Kingdom you could try something like Crestron London. Home Automation Products

All that action adds up to a rapidly growing number of things in the internet of things, along with a variety of platforms competing to control them all. That might make the idea of getting your smart home started a little bit overwhelming, but don’t worry. It’s actually easier than ever to start automating your home — provided you know your options. Home Automation Products

“Smart home” is a very broad term, covering a huge number of connected gadgets, systems and appliances that do a wide variety of different things. “Home automation” is slightly less broad, referring specifically to things in your home that can be programmed to function automatically. In years past, those automations were pretty basic — lamp timers, programmable thermostats and so on — but that’s fast been changing thanks to the recent sprawl of smart home tech aimed at mainstream consumers looking for SmartHome (Smart home) technology. Today, we can install a devices to allow you to control a variety of devices:

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  1. Doors – Your doors and access to your home, skip to door locks, know when doors are open and closed, allow people to enter your home when your at work or away, monitor your homes doors.
  2. Windows – Monitor and receive text alerts (push notifications) when windows are opened or closed, skip to window sensors.
  3. Temperature – The devices from gajotres.net can control your homes thermostat from your smart phone or tablet device 24 hours a day. Skip to temperature controls.
  4. Leak and water sensors – Leak Sensor’s function is simple: it detects water leaks. Skip to Leak sensor.
  5. Smoke and CO detectors – First Alert OneLink Wireless Smoke Alarm or Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detector with Voice. Perfect for Bedrooms, Playrooms, Garages, Offices, Basements, and Attics. Skip to Smoke Detectors.
  6. Environmental – We can install freeze detection devices, humidity and room sensors, and moisture sensors.
  7. Perimeter Sensors – Sensors and alarms to protect your home and property perimeter.
  8. Security and wireless cameras – With brilliant HD video quality, two-way audio, live streaming, free cloud recording, instant alerts, and other smart features, the Arlo family of smart security cameras lets you watch over what you love from every angle, indoors and out, day and night. Read more Security Camera Reviews
  9. Air Ducts – People often have issues with air ducts and have to get a company like Willard Power Vac to come out and clean them. Instead of using a thermostat to control the comfort level in each zone, the user can open or close specific dampers with a wireless remote control Skip to Air Duct Controllers.
  10. Pool Equipment – Now you can control your pool’s pump, lighting, and/or heater from within the comfort of your home? How about from your Smartphone or Tablet? Skip to Pool Equipment Controllers
  11. Sprinkler System Controller – Water with precision. Rachio uses specific yard details, advanced watering algorithms and proven irrigation science to create accurate schedules customized to the particular needs of your yard. Skip to Sprinkler System Controllers
  12. Hose and Exterior Watering – Directly control your yard watering from a tablet, PC, or iOS/Android smartphone, whether you are at home or away.
  13. Summer Patio Mist Systems and Drip Irrigation – Drip irrigation watering systems have many benefits, such as being ecologically sound, cost effective, provide a higher success rate and promote healthier plants. Patio misting systems can reduced the summer-time heat on the space as much as 20 degrees. Read More on Drip Irrigation
  14. Lighting – Your smartphone is your best friend. And with the Insteon Hub., your smartphone is your Wall Switch’s best friend, too. Use your smartphone or tablet to control and configure your switch for the ultimate in remote control. Skip to Lighting
  15. Plugs / Receptacles – With the SmartHome On/Off Outlet, you can control either the upper or lower outlet independently – from a wireless remote in the same room – or from your smartphone on the other side of the world.
  16. Open and Close Devices – Open/Close Module is the first SmartHome (Smart Home) device designed specifically for up/down and open/close 110V motor-controlled appliances.
  17. Garage Doors – When the SmartHome Garage Control & Status Kit is used with the SmartHome Hub, you will always know whether you forgot to close the door to the garage. Skip to Garage Automation
  18. Smart Home Hubs – Perhaps the most overwhelming thing about the smart home revolution is the fact that so many of these new gadgets come with their own separate apps and control hubs. If you buy more than one or two, you’ll end up needing a whole bookcase to store all of the blinking control centers plugged into your router, not to mention the fact that your various automation rules and schedules will probably be scattered across several different apps and websites. Wasn’t home automation supposed to make things easier? With several multipurpose smart hubs already out there, and even more coming on the horizon, here are the ones we’ve been keeping tabs on. Skip to Smart Home Hubs

Everyday, more and more products are introduced to the market in the SmartHome (Smart Home) revolution. We will try to add these products to our list as they become available. In the meantime, have a great time envisioning your new SmartHome (Smart Home) Home Automation Products

The possibilities are immense, ranging from lights and locks to cameras and coffee makers. The common denominator is automation, and a promise that these devices can save you time, save you money or make your life a little easier. An automated lamp might turn on by itself as soon as you walk into the room. An automated thermostat might turn the heat down when it detects you’ve left for the day, then back on when it thinks you’re on your way back. Home Automation Products

Doors and Windows:
Lock and Unlock Your Home’s Doors from your Smartphone or Tablet

Door AssemblyRemote Control – Anchor: door locks Control access to your home from any SmartHome device in your home. If you’re not at home, you can use a smartphone, tablet or Apple Watch to lock and unlock your doors when paired with the SmartHome Hub.
Lock Compatible – Our Lock Controller is compatible with a wide-range of SmartHome door locks and deadbolts in an array of finishes that are designed to match your home’s existing hardware. (Smart home)

A wall Keypad is a unique blend of wall switch and multi-button remote control. When you replace your existing wall switch with an SmartHome Keypad, you keep control of your light fixture while simultaneously adding remote control of other SmartHome devices. (Smart home)

We offer a central controller for compatible operation; a simple and straightforward device that connects you to your home from any smartphone, tablet or Apple Watch, anywhere in the world. Control light bulbs, wall switches, outlets, and thermostats at home or remotely and receive instant email or push notification alerts from motion, door and window, water leak, and smoke sensors while you’re away. Just start with the Hub, select the devices for your home and enjoy.

Designed to be Invisible When Monitoring Doors – Peace of mind – that’s what Hidden Door Sensor brings to your home. With Hidden Door Sensor and the centralized hub, you will always know whether the front door has been opened or if you forgot to close the door to the garage. (Smart home)

Control Four or More Devices from Anywhere in your Home – Lightweight hand-held mini remote, make it a tabletop control for your nightstand, counter or coffee table. Control light bulbs, dimmers, switches, and plug-in or receptacle dimmers.

Window MonitorsAnchor: window sensors The SmartHome Wireless window/door sensor allows you to easily monitor windows on all levels of your home, sun-rooms or any other room you would like to monitor. Plus, add another level of monitoring for doors in your home or garage. When a window or door is opened, an immediate alert is sent to your smartphone and tablet.

Perimeter Sensors -Incorporate an added level of security to your home by installing a wireless driveway probe alert, 6 beam curtain sensor, twin beam curtain sensor, and motion sensors.

Home Environment:
Remote Temperature Control, Remote Water Sensors, Remote Fire Protection

Thermostat AssemblyTemperature control Anchor: Temperature Why go through the hassle of having to get out of bed when the temperature can be adjusted wirelessly? Here are a few ways to adjust a home’s thermostat from a remote control.

Access a home’s thermostat from a smartphone or tablet device
Use a smartphone to access a home’s thermostat and set it to a preferred temperature setting. This allows a home to be at the perfect temperature upon arrival. (Smart home)

Use any web-enabled device such as a smartphone or tablet device to communicate with the SmartHome (Smart home) Hub, which sends signals over your homes existing power wires, and then to the SmartHome Thermostat. Easily expand the SmartHome network to control lighting with plug-in lamp dimmers, wall switches, and more.

Instant temperature control from anywhere within a home. Home Automation Products

Replace a home’s thermostat with an SmartHome (Smart home) Thermostat and use an SmartHome Mini Remote to operate a home’s heating or air conditioning system and recall a favorite temperature preset with the touch of a button from anywhere within a home.

Leak and Water SensorAnchor: leak sensor Protect your home from evil water pipes. Simply place the water leak sensor near a potential water leak and avoid one of the most common home insurance claims that leaves homeowners suffering millions of dollars in losses every year. When used with the SmartHome (Smart home) Hub, you will receive instant alerts the instant a water leak is detected, and you can immediately close the water supply valve. One of the sensors you hope you never have to use in your home, Leak Sensor’s function is simple: it detects water leaks. Place one by your water heater, under every sink, by your clothes and dish washers and behind the toilet for total protection. When used in conjunction with an IO Module and electronic water shutoff valve, it can automatically stop a water leak as it happens. Home Automation Products

Smoke and CO detectorsAnchor: smoke The SmartHome Smoke Bridge monitors First Alert OneLink Wireless Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detector with Voice. When used with the SmartHome Hub, you’ll receive instant alerts if Carbon Monoxide or smoke is detected. It all starts with a First Alert OneLink Wireless Smoke Alarm or Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detector with Voice. If one of these detectors senses smoke, fire or carbon monoxide, they sound an audible alarm and send out an RF signal to other OneLink Smoke Detectors. (Smart home)

Outdoor living:
Controlling and Automating Pool Attachments

Pool EquipmentAnchor: Pool Have you ever wanted to control your pool’s pump, lighting, and/or heater from within the comfort of your home? How about from your Smartphone or Tablet? The versatility of SmartHome allows you to modernize your home, including its amenities, with automation beyond what was previously possible. This solution will provide you with the essential steps needed to automate and remotely access your pool’s pump, heater, and lighting using the latest SmartHome dual-band technology. Let’s get started! (Smart home)

Step 1: Replace the existing pool lighting switch
Replace your pool lighting switch with the SmartHome SwitchLinc.

Step 2: Connecting the SmartHome 220V/240V 30 Amp Load Controller
Connect the SmartHome Load Controller to your pool’s pump or heater. Depending on your pool’s configuration, this step may require a different configuration than what is outlined here. It is important to note that multiple SmartHome Load Controllers will be needed when connecting a pool cleaner and pool heater. One SmartHome Load Controller will be needed for each heavy duty pool related appliance being connected.

Step 3: Integrating the SmartHome Hub
Setup and configure the SmartHome Hub. After setting up the Hub, follow the onscreen instructions to link your SwitchLinc and 220V Load Controller. Your pool equipment should now be controllable from your smartphone or tablet. (Smart home) Home Automation Products

Step 4: Relax and enjoy
Now, you will be able to not only control your pool’s pump, lights, and/or heater from a comfortable and convenient location from within your home, but also schedule, automate, and access all connected pool related SmartHome devices from the palm of your hand with a smartphone or tablet. Once you’ve setup remote access you can even log into your home before you leave the office and get the pool ready for your arrival.

Air Ducts:
SmartHome 2-Zone Damper Kit with Hub and Thermostat

Anchor: air duct The SmartHome Wireless Zone Control Dampers allows an HVAC controller and affordable zoning for your home. Available is a zone control damper with a wireless power-open/power-close motor. Once the damper is installed into the duct work, all that needs to be done is to plug it in. The dampers feature an indicator light that glows greeHvac Asemblyn when the damper is open and red when the damper is closed. The damper is beneficial in open areas that have multiple diffusers and one thermostat.

Instead of using a thermostat to control the comfort level in each zone, the user can open or close specific dampers with a wireless remote control (pictured to the right.) The remote can control up to 32 different dampers. It’s worth to note that due to these dampers, it would take more maintenance to clean separate ducts, so it could be beneficial to look into HVAC maintenance professionals such as Boulden Brothers or others local to you. The remote can be digitally set to control the actuator/damper from 0% (fully closed) to 100% (fully open.) SmartHome sells factory direct to HVAC professionals nationwide. However, whether or not you have to a home smart, it is still important to make sure that your air ducts are properly fitted, cleaned and repaired should they break. There are a lot of repair services out there that might be of interest to those who need their help for example if they come from somewhere like the twin falls and boise areas as well as more local areas. (Smart home) Home Automation Products


Remote Lighting Control

Plug-in Easy

lighting assemblyAnchor: lights Representing the lowest barrier to entry, plug-in devices usually connect between your existing lamp and the wall outlet, functioning as a remote control for the attached light. For these devices to work, you leave the switch on your lamp permanently in the On position – the plug-in module will deal with turning the lamp on and off. In just a few minutes, you can remotely control a few lamps in your living room, bedroom or any location where your light fixtures plug into a power outlet. (Smart home)

Dimmable Lights

If your lamps use dimmable bulbs, a plug-in dimmer module lets you not only control if the light is on or off, but the brightness, too. Do check your bulbs, though, as many CFL and LED bulbs are not compatible with dimmers.

Non-dimming Lights

Most bulbs purchased today are not inherently compatible with dimmers. Chances are, if you use CFL or LED bulbs, an On/Off Module would be a better choice. You won’t get nifty dimming features but you also won’t have to replace all of your bulbs.

LED Bulb Replacement

If you’re looking to replace your aging incandescent bulbs, you can opt for a controllable LED Bulb instead. With these bulbs, you get all of the benefits of a plug-in dimmer module and a bright, energy-efficient light bulb. (Smart home)

Add Some Control

Plug-in devices on their own don’t go very far; you still need a way to actually control your newly-controllable lamps. Depending on your needs, you can use something as simple as a wireless remote or something as advanced as your computer

Painless Remote Control

It might seem decidedly old school, but Mini Remote is a great way to control plug-in devices. With a few taps to link your plug-in modules and Mini Remote, you can brighten and dim (or turn on and off) your plug-in lamps from anywhere in your home.

Automatic Lighting Control

Adding a Motion Sensor introduces some automation into your budding smart home. A few taps to link your devices together an Motion Sensor will automatically turn on your plug-in lamps when you enter a room and off when you leave.

Smartphone Remote Control

Now you’re starting to explore the high-end: control of your home from your smartphone. The Insteon Hub acts as a bridge between your smartphone or tablet and your plug-in devices, letting you control and configure them from almost any mobile device. Home Automation Products

Wire-in Benefits

Taking it up a notch, wire-in devices give you control of hardwired lighting throughout your home. Most wire-in devices take the form of light switches but others are available including multi-button keypads and wall outlets. Just like with plug-in modules, multiple types are available based on the type of lighting you intend to control – primarily dimmable and non-dimmable. While a plug-in module can be installed in seconds without any experience, wire-in devices require a bit more effort. Most home owners can install a replacement connected light switch in less than 20 minutes but your mileage may vary depending on your home’s wiring, your familiarity with household electrical and the sophistication of your automation desires.

Spouse-Friendly Switch

By far our most popular seller, connected wall switches give you remote control over your home’s recessed lights, chandeliers and sconces. Because they replace a wall switch, you can still control the fixture just as you always have.

Wire-in Plug-in Module

Like plug-in modules, connected wall outlets excel at controlling devices that need to be plugged in with the added benefit of being practically indistinguishable from a regular outlet

Multi-device Control

Keypads replace your existing wall switches and add extra buttons to control additional devices throughout your home. There’s still a button dedicated to the hardwired light, but the additional buttons can be configured to control anything in your home.

Advanced Wire-in

When you’re ready to jump off into the deep end of wire-in control, there are all manner of devices that give you control of less-than-standard lighting. These devices are usually for the automation enthusiast who is already controlling their home with a smartphone or computer but that doesn’t preclude their use in more humble setups. Like wall switches and outlets, these devices require familiarity with household wiring and may take more effort to install than simply replacing a light switch. If you’re imagination is open to the possibilities, these devices offer a completely different level of custom automation. Home Automation Products

Automate Existing Switches

Micro modules install inside of a light fixture – either behind the switch or inside of the junction box where your fixture is mounted. With a micro module, you can add automation smarts to your existing light switches, whether they are regular toggle switches or vintage antiques.

Garage:
Remotely monitor and control your garage door

Garage Automation AssemblyAnchor: garage Know if you accidentally left the garage door open and remotely close it if necessary. When the SmartHome Garage Control & Status Kit is used with the SmartHome Hub, you will always know whether you forgot to close the door to the garage.

Remote Control
Whether for convenience or security, your smart phone and tablet allow you to control your garage door from anywhere you may be through the SmartHome App.

Instant Alert
With SmartHome Garage Door Control & Status Kit, you can receive instant alerts via email or notifications the moment the door is opened. Requires the SmartHome Hub and a home internet connection.

How It Works
I/O Linc’s output relay wires to your garage door motor just like your existing button, allowing you to remotely operate your garage. The included garage door sensor mounts to the garage door and is wired directly to I/O Linc’s sensor input. Receive instant alerts when using the Insteon Hub (sold separately).

Yard irrigation:
Sprinkler systems, foundation watering & Irrigation systems

Anchor: Sprinklers Highest-rated, best-selling. The smart watering category leader, overwhelmingly recommended by users.
Easy to control anywhere, anytime. Get complete access to monitor and adjust your sprinkler system from your phone, tablet or laptop.

Automatically adapts for weather. Rachio continuously adapts to local weather forecasts and changing seasons, automatically optimizing watering schedules.

Save water and money. Save up to 50% of your outdoor water use while keeping your plants healthy. EPA WaterSense Certified, eligible for rebate options up to 100% of retail value.

Water with precision. Rachio uses specific yard details, advanced watering algorithms and proven irrigation science to create accurate schedules customized to the particular needs of your yard.

Connect with top smart home platforms. Extend your smart home out into the yard. Rachio directly integrates with the best-connected home platforms (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Nest, and more), so you have more options and more control. Smart Home Technology Home Automation. Home Automation Products

Perhaps the most overwhelming thing about the smart home revolution is the fact that so many of these new gadgets come with their own separate apps and control hubs. If you buy more than one or two, you’ll end up needing a whole bookcase to store all of the blinking control centers plugged into your router, not to mention the fact that your various automation rules and schedules will probably be scattered across several different apps and websites. Wasn’t home automation supposed to make things easier?

It’s a reality that’s created a bit of a jump ball in home automation: whichever hub can best consolidate all of these smart devices into a single, dependable system — complete with a killer app — is going to be positioned especially well as the connected home continues to move into the mainstream. With several multipurpose smart hubs already out there, and even more coming on the horizon, here are the ones we’ve been keeping tabs on.

Smart Home Hubs:Anchor: smart home 

Homey
No clowning around — this funny-looking gizmo wants to manage all of your connected devices, and it promises voice controls, to boot. A crowdfunding hit from Netherlands-based start-up Athom, Homey recently raised more than twice the amount of money it was seeking on Kickstarter from supporters around the world. Of course, it won’t be shipping out to them until April of next year at the earliest, but still, Homey is a hub we’ll be keeping an eye on. Read our first take of Homey.

Insteon Hub
We found a lot to like with Insteon’s comprehensive, fee-free network of home automation devices when we reviewed the system last year, but we thought that the veteran smart home network needed more in order to remain competitive. Enter Microsoft. In May, the tech titan announced that it would be teaming up with Insteon to bring smart home controls straight into the Live Tiles of phones, tablets, and PCs running Windows 8, and to bring a plethora of kits and devices (pricing varies) directly into Microsoft retail outlets. It’s a smart home marriage that has us intrigued, and it might be just the jolt this automation old dog needed. Read our full review of the Insteon Hub.

Lutron Smart Bridge
New this summer in the US, Canada, and Mexico, the Lutron Smart Bridge transforms Caseta Wireless plug-in lamp dimmers, Pico remote controls, and Serena battery-powered window shades into Wi-Fi-enabled home automation products. Moving forward, there’s plans to support products like the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, too. Read our review of the Lutron Smart Bridge.

Revolv Smart Home Solution
Revolv, currently available only in the US, scores big for its fun, funky design and its playful app. Plug one in at home, and you’ll be able to control your smart lights, smart locks, connected thermostats, wireless cameras, and more, all from within a single ecosystem. We also love the way Revolv incorporates geofencing to trigger your automations as you come and go. The only problem: at a price of $300 (which converts to £175/AU$320), Revolv is competing with a new generation of hubs that make similar performance claims — and cost a lot less. Read our review of the Revolv Smart Home Solution.

SmartThings
SmartThings is the rare crowdfunding success story that managed to live up to the hype. With a wide array of sensors for monitoring activity around the home and a robust, growing list of third-party device support, this is a powerful system with a lot to offer, especially if you’re willing to get creative. International shipping beyond the US and Canada isn’t available just yet. Read our review of SmartThings.

Staples
Staples Connect Hub (D-Link Edition)
We liked what we saw from the original Staples Connect Hub last year, and this year, the retail giant is taking another big step into the smart home. The new D-Link version of the hub retails for $80 (which converts to and boasts a bold, eye-catching new design, along with added support for Zigbee and Bluetooth LE-based devices. Staples will roll out the new flagship device into 500 stores across the US, while cutting the price of the original Linksys model down from $100 to $50 (converted to £30/AU$55). Read our first take of the Staples Connect Hub (D-Link Edition).

Wink Hub
It’s been a busy year so far for the Wink brand, with the launch of Quirky-branded smart home products ranging from connected air conditioners to app-enabled egg trays. Now, the Wink name is stepping out on its own from under the Quirky umbrella with the $50 (converted to £30/AU$55) Wink Hub, available now in Home Depots across the US. Along with controlling those aforementioned Quirky devices, the Wink Hub promises to wrangle popular third-party gadgets from big brands like Honeywell, Kwikset, and Lutron, as well as notable products like Philips Hue LEDs and the Dropcam Pro. Like the significantly more expensive Revolv Smart Home Solution, you won’t need to keep it plugged into your router — a nice flexibility perk over other hubs