Angie's List: Home automation system

A home automation system can integrate all the features of your house from your audio/visual, lighting and even your alarm system.

Annie Reist and her family were moving into the house that her grandmother had lived in for 45 years so they decided to do some home automation while remodeling. "We did the home security, surround sound, speakers, audio system throughout the house and Savant control so with that we can control everything from out TV to our alarm to music to audio all on our iPhones and iPads,” Reist said.

According to Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks, "The great thing about home automation is you can do a piecemeal, so you can add things that are most important to you and then add additional things later, which allows you to do it with in your budget."

There are many subsystems that can be brought together by one simple interface that can be used anywhere on your tablet or smartphone.

“A home automation system simplifies your daily routines by integrating together your security, your lighting control, your climate control and your audio/video,” explains Ryan McDaniel a home automation system installer. McDaniel says, “Imagine leaving your house for the day and simply by pressing an away button on your way out, it can arm your security system and it can turn off all the lights in your house and it can turn off your televisions and music and set back your thermostat, saving energy while you are gone."

Home automation systems are not only convenient they can provide you some savings.

"If you are thinking about putting a home automation system in and you are concerned with the cost, check with your homeowner's insurance,” Angie Hicks suggests, “What you might not realize is that there may be discounts available to you on your homeowner's insurance because you have one. So be sure you are understanding the full costs and benefits before installing."

For homeowners like Reist getting a system is not too expensive, "I want to say our particular homeowners insurance is a 20% so it pays for itself really, so that was nice to get that."

You can find some systems that are cheaper and do-it-yourself projects, but make sure you know what you are doing and you test it to make sure it is working properly. If you hire someone, do your homework.

When hiring someone to install a home automation system, you have to do your research on your company. Angie's List collects reviews on this category, for example. And get estimates, especially this time of a year when everyone is thinking about buying the latest gadgets. You want to be sure the person doing the installation work is experienced and that your house isn't the guinea pig.

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