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Breaking Down the Cost of a Smart Home

smart home

It wasn’t that long ago that smartphones and tablets were a foreign concept to many consumers. Now, with more than 3.4 billion people around the globe in possession of at least one smart device, a new era is emerging. Smart home technology is gaining popularity and giving average homeowners the ability to control everything from the TV and lights to the coffee maker via any Wi-Fi enabled device.

As cool as it sounds to transform your house into the home of the future, purchasing and installing the necessary technology may seem daunting. Believe it or not, if you go about the process wisely, making your smart home dream a reality isn’t as difficult as you may think. Let’s look at a few examples to help you get a grip on the costs.

Example #1: Smart Lighting

Safety and energy savings are some of the primary reasons people transform their homes into smart homes. A common starting point for this is smart lighting technology. Basic smart lighting platforms allow you only basic control, such as turning on an interior light from your phone.

More complex systems allow you the controls listed above, as well as the ability to dim and brighten lights throughout the house, from floor lamps to recessed lighting fixtures. The Philips Hue starter pack is an example of a complex system that gives you total control. The cost of the system is $200 and it includes a bridge that provides a central control for the lighting. You can control up to 50 different bulbs in the home and access them from anywhere in the world on the Hue mobile app for iOS and Android. But additional bulbs for the system (the starter pack comes with 3) are $60 each.

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Of course, the Philips Hue is a complex system. The Belkin WeMo Switch allows you to convert your current lighting systems rather than exchanging all your bulbs for smart bulbs and it’s available for just $49.99 retail.

Example #2: Smart Climate

Arguably the greatest potential savings for your smart home technology comes in the form of better climate control. Regulated thermostats allow you to set times for activity and inactivity on an average day. For example, you can keep the heat higher during the morning and evening hours and allow your home to cool off a bit while everyone is at work or school. But these thermostats require manual settings and adjustments when necessary.

The Nest Thermostat is arguably the most popular smart thermostat on the market today. Over time, it learns your heating/cooling patterns and adjusts them on its own so you can quite literally enjoy set-it-and-forget-it climate control in your home. Our own HomeAdvisor pricing research found that Nest Thermostats average $249.

You can expand your Nest to include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as security cameras with 130-degree views of your home. But these extra features come with device costs. Detectors average $99 and the cameras are $199.

Example #3: Smart Home Security

There are several security services that are improving their offerings to meet the smart home demands of homeowners. From ADT to AT&T, you can control your front door locks, garage door, exterior lights and even monitor alarms in your home from afar. All you need is Wi-Fi access.

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Frontpoint is just one example of a smart home security system. Frontpoint is supported by more than 200 manufacturers and is compatible with more than 600 different devices. Also, there are no installation fees and you’ll enjoy a full range of security upgrades. The system is flexible, and will meet security needs for most home styles. The components often cost less than $100.

Example #4: Smart Tech

While the systems mentioned above are intensive and cover multiple items in your home, you don’t have to invest time and money installing those items when you can purchase a few individual items to start transitioning your home to a smart home. For example, iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners are available for $600 and can be scheduled to clean your house once a day or once a week. It will automatically start working when scheduled to and return to its charging dock when it’s done.

If you don’t already have a Smart TV, Samsung offers one of the most reliable Smart TV brand lineups. They can connect to the Internet via an Ethernet connection or Wi-Fi and are available in models ranging from 32-inches ($490 average retail) to 75-inches ($2,230 average retail). Just load the Smart TV App and launch, it’s that simple!

Keep in Mind

Services such as security systems, in particular, often come with annual costs for monitoring and surveillance. While there are often periods of free installation from some providers, there are times when you’ll pay for installation, equipment and/or monitoring services all at once. HomeAdvisor found that the average costs associated were:

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. $35 to $70 for monthly service.

. $200 to $500 for activation fees.

. $179 to $299 for cloud automation setup.

Both HomeAdvisor and MakeUseOf found the average costs of smart home technology equipment and installation to range from $1,282 to $1,400. Compared to other home improvement projects such as a new furnace ($2,500 to $4,800) or upgraded windows ($350 to $700 per window), installing smart home tech is a reasonable and valuable investment in your home.

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