Tasker tips

Name your smart devices

“When it comes to controlling all your smart devices, you want to make sure those devices are named correctly in each room so you don’t get confused which room you are operating.”Rodney Diamond, www.automateyourcrib.com 

For more tips from Rodney, check out his big list of home automation tips and tricks.

Smart thermostats work best with a c-wire

Smart thermostats that have a big screen and a WiFi connection require lots of power. A c-wire allows the thermostat to get that power from the wires without disrupting the HVAC operation. If you don’t have a c-wire, you’re asking for a headache. Don’t worry though, it’s not a big problem to solve. Here’s what I recommend.

Protect your privacy

“Buy products from brands you trust.  And always consider self hosted options first to ensure you’re in control of your data.  A good example would be security cameras that record locally and don’t require a paid cloud service.” Matt Ferrell,  Undecided with Matt Ferrell 

Leverage communities for help

If you have questions about a smart product, Facebook groups are a wonderful resource. Popular products like SmartThings, Philips Hue, and ecobee have their own dedicated fan groups. Join the group and you will find more than just casual fans. You’ll find fanatics and gurus and probably get 10 answers to any question.

Check for rebates with your power company

In many states, power companies offer rebates when you buy a new smart thermostat. I’ve seen rebates that range from $25-$100. The additional rebate can make buying a smart thermostat a no-brainer. You may also be able to score a discount from your homeowner’s insurance for security related products.

Smart thermostats are usually the biggest money saver

A typical home spends close to half the energy bill on heating and cooling. Smart thermostats are designed to take a big chunk out of that. How much you can save depends on your current habits, but a smart thermostat is one smart product that has the potential to pay for itself.

Try a wall mount for your Echo Dot

There are several vendors that sell low-cost ready-made mounts. I make use of several Echo Dots throughout my home. The sound quality of the Dot is limited, but one of these mounts makes a notable improvement.Additionally, it can be a real space saver for space limited locations like a countertop or bathroom.

Minimize battery use

Whenever possible, put in the extra effort to connect your smart home devices to a constant power source. When you first start building a smart home, you may be inclined to use the cheapest and easiest option for powering your devices. That usually means batteries. But, as you get more devices, battery maintenance can become a real pain.

Go cross platform

“Look for devices that offer integrations into major services like Amazon, Google, HomeKit, Smartthings, etc.  They’ll give you the flexibility to jump between platforms as your smart home evolves.  Basically, stay flexible and try to avoid getting stuck with hardware that only works on one specific platform.”Matt Ferrell,  Undecided with Matt Ferrell 

Smart switches don’t need to be wired together to work together.

Smart switches can replace any switch and can be linked to any other smart device. For example, my kitchen has two sets of lights that aren’t wired together. Normally it requires me to flip two switches to turn all the lights on. With smart switches, I can set it up so that flipping either switch turns on all lights.