- Not checking for automation issues prior to investing in the equipment
In most situations, once you’ve plugged a module into an outlet and the accompanying controller in a different outlet, you’ve got the basics of automation down. However, in some houses with older electrical networks not conducive to automation, you may need to call an electrician to install a signal coupler, signal amplifier or a whole-home protector.
- Not reading the manuals
If you don’t do enough research, you may end up purchasing a module meant for controlling fluorescent lights even though you only own incandescent lights. Make sure to read the product descriptions when you’re purchasing the equipment and the manuals when you’re installing the devices. Follow the recommendations of manufacturers to make things work.
- Keeping AC and low voltage too close
AC power is high voltage, while the majority of other cables used in smart homes are low voltage. Low voltage systems can be interfered with by the electromagnetic field produced by high voltage systems, so make sure to keep low voltage and high voltage lines at least 18 inches apart; the more distance, the less chance for interference.
- Buying cheap cables
Some smart home owners may feel the temptation to save money and buy lower-quality CAT cables for camera systems and controllers. However, that can very easily come back to bite you later when your network ends up lacking necessary strength in certain areas. If you’re intent on having a fully functional smart home, splurge on high-quality CAT-5e/6 cables.
- Not planning far ahead enough
You may want to save money initially by not upgrading areas of your home or certain systems. But if it comes up later, it may end up being more expensive to fix, so make sure to confirm what is necessary for future builds before you call your work complete.
- Avoiding wiring
Wireless technology is much preferred in the ideal world of smart home owners over wired technology, but you should be careful to not underestimate the value of wiring. Wireless networks can be a great help in places where wiring is more difficult to install, but they shouldn’t be considered an outright replacement.
- Investing in proprietary systems
Make a concerted effort to avoid getting tangled up in systems that will require you to go back to the same vendor to upgrade or modify the product. Of course, there are some instances where you can’t avoid it, or the benefits far outweigh those provided by non-proprietary alternatives, but bear in mind the potential risks of depending on a single vendor.
- Depending on all-in-one systems
Another common encounter for smart home builders is dealing with companies that offer all the equipment you need. This is a convenient option, but one that deprives you of the possibility of seeking better options in certain pieces of equipment elsewhere.
- Not installing conduits
Conduits, usually in the form of PVC pipes with pull wires, are very useful if you want to run new cables in the future. If you forget to install these, you may have to pay more to open up a wall to install new wiring later on. You’re better off preparing for potential future expansion beforehand.
- Forgetting to label the wires
Particularly if you have a wiring closet, labeling your wires will be a great help later on. This is worth doing for both the troubleshooting reasons and the emergency scenarios.