Back For 2017! Our Foray into HOME AUTOMATION!

So, after a long and fruitful 2016...Just kidding, 2016 FLEW by! We managed to up our client list by 200% and we saw a record year for business. Since then I have changed jobs twice, we have a new niece to look after putting the count at 2 and Winter is almost over!

This year we are focusing primarily on hard goods and slightly increasing our client list. We have saturated our summer time with our clients and are at a point where we are needing to hire staff if we grow too much. We feel that could compromise our quality, so we are approaching it slowly. 

Over Winter we have dived into Home Automation in a big way. It is something that can alleviate those incredibly high power bills, increase home efficiency and give you peace of mind when you are away from your castle! We are also offering our services and help to anyone taking on the challenge and encourage everyone to at least get their feet wet with it in 2017!

Each week, we will highlight a component of home automation that we took on, in chronological order. We will highlight the opening, setting up and operation of each device and then outline how easy it was to install, setup and use. 

The first.

Nest Thermostat (Price $200 used on Kijiji)

We bought this to alleviate the Winter power bills and automate our home heating with geofencing (That is where a device monitors your location and does things based on where it knows that you are). 

INSTALL

The install was somewhat difficult. The main reason was the home builder installed a unit, painted around it and mounted it very poorly, resulting in a hole in the wall and some touch up being needed. Forethought towards home automation is not a builders strong suit. Not only was my whole house wired with Cat5, but now this!

Once the old unit was removed, we place up the new unit and test fit the location. Easy enough. The wiring is super straight forward with any modern house, we can't speak for older homes and outdated wiring though. It was clearly indicated as to colour and style of wire and where it would go. The unit can even detect when the wires are connected incorrectly. Cool!

The only downside to this unit is that I had an after-market humidifier, and I had to contact the manufacturer to determine how to run it with the furnace and not the thermostat. But that was easy enough and not typical for a standard installation. 

SETUP

The setup was VERY straightforward. Once the unit had power, it was as simple as following the on-screen directions, a lot of them, to get the unit setup. Set aside 15 solid minutes for this. It would go a lot quicker with a keyboard but since its an over-sized dial, you can't expect much. 

OPERATION

Once we setup our schedule through the setup process, it knew when to turn on, how long it would stay on for and so on. It can detect movement in the house with a proximity sensor and if no movement is detected it will resort to an Away Mode that lowers temp to a desired low limit. We set it at 16C. Eventually, you can set it up and link it to your phone and camera (later) and it can just use your phone locations to achieve the same result. 

So all in all, a great device that saved us about $10 a month on heating through the first year. It is also super convenient for when we are away or coming home to turn on the furnace so it is warm when we get in the door. 

 

In the following post we will go on to discuss Nest Cam, Wemo Switches and Hue Lights to name a few. Stay posted for more information and message us if you have any questions along the way! We will respond to them all. 

Have a wonderful 2017!

Terrell Sprecher

Lethbridge, Canada