Let's say you have just come home from work. Think of what you do when you get in the door: you drop your keys on the table; you flick on the light switch. You walk to your bedroom; you flick on the light switch. You pass by the television, you turn it on. You grab the remote and check your TiVo recordings. You turn on the stereo speakers so you can hear the television better - all of this probably within the very first minute. How great would it be if you could skip all of these steps and have it all with just one push of a button?

Home automation systems are the wave of the future, but it's something that almost every single home owner can afford. Home automation systems can turn on:

  • Stereos
  • Televisions
  • Many other electronics
  • Lights
  • Security systems

(Note: One thing that home automation systems will not o is turn on your computer as this system can cause irreparable damage to them)

With this system, you have things either turn off and on by use of a remote, or it can be done manually. You can even have these things turn on and off automatically for added safety if you and your family are going to be away from home (this is particularly useful with a security system and with turning the lights on and off at night).

Even if you consider yourself to be quite the handyman, you should consider hiring a professional on for this job. Some complex wiring details may be involved, which unless, you are familiar with that particular brand of system, can be rather tricky and may even cause damage to your home if not installed correctly. You MUST know exactly which wires, controls and connections are to be used and where, otherwise you risk having improper connections that can destroy the system you installed. Some of the systems installed will need additional updates, too.

You can usually find a good installer by asking some professional contractors, electricians, etc. about who they know who has done good work in the past. Or, if there is a particular automation system brand that you definitely want to use, try asking them if they know anyone in your area. Internet searches and phone books are a great resource, though perhaps the best of all are family and friends who have the same system installed and were happy with the professional they hired on.

Once you have picked out a few professional installers, don't be shy; ask questions! It is important to know what sort of education they have in this field or professional experience and how long they have been doing it. Ask them how many of these systems they have installed, and be sure to collect references from them. Lastly, you need to ask what you cannot connect to the automation system so that you know what your expectations of the system itself should be.

When you have found an installer who you are happy with, they should go over the entire system with you thoroughly and explain how it works; what is connected to it and what is not; and how the system works should a power outage occur. If the professional does not mention the warranty, be sure to ask him or her how the warranty may become void (such as hooking up certain electrical devices).