The Worst Things About Owning a Smarthome

Connecting and controlling smart home with devices via the home network.
Andrey Suslov / Shutterstock

Smarthomes are practical and powerful. Self-locking doors and automatic video doorbell lighting and voice control, there is so much to love. But sometimes, having a smarthome is an incredibly frustrating experience. Here are some reasons why.

Your house can not be wired for Smarthome Gear

Interval of a switch, showing only the line and load wires
The wiring of this switch is far from the code. Josh Hendrickson

Sometimes, having a smarthome has the taste of becoming a part-time electrician, but without proper training. Old houses have all kinds of pitfalls and some of the problems you may encounter are obsolete wiring, bells that do not work, and thick walls that kill the signals. You may even discover that you can not use a wired video doorbell and that fixing it can be extremely expensive.

Take it to me. My house was built in 1956 and I can not use smart light switches because there are no neutral wires in half of the rooms in the house! Most smart switches need a neutral wire, but in the 1950s, the electrical code did not require neutral wires. The work done on the house has allowed to code some pieces, but at best, they are inconsistent. If your home is not able to code, getting there means using an electrician. They will have to run cables through your house, which can be difficult or impossible, and you will spend a lot of time working alone.

You can use smart bulbs insteadbut they are expensive. Every lighting device you want to use intelligently will need a light bulb. After spending this money, you will have to stop using your switches, maybe in install guards.

The doorbell wiring is even more complicated because you have to deal with similar problems and multiple points of failure. If your bell's transformer needs to be replaced, good luck finding it. There is no standard location for transformers and it is not uncommon to completely cut them off when finishing a basement. You could spend a lot of money paying an electrician to find the transformer, but you will find that it just can not be replaced. In this scenario, if you want smart doorbell, this must be battery powered. But these have fewer features and are larger, so that they may not even fit the configuration of your home.

Older houses with thicker walls add signage problems

Do you have problems with Wi-Fi at home? Even after placing your router in a central location, do you find it difficult to connect to another floor or to the farthest corners of your home? You will encounter similar problems with smarthome technology.

While some devices rely on Z-Wave or Zigbee to create mesh systems, anything that relies on Wi-Fi (like the speakers of the voice assistant, some light bulbs and some smart plugs) will have as much trouble connecting to the Internet as the rest of your Wi-Fi devices. The most effective way to solve this problem is to use a Wi-Fi mesh systembut they can be expensive. The best of the best Eero system on your mind at $ 500 for example. Even if you retire, it is not uncommon to spend $ 300 in mesh systems.

And if you have plaster or stone walls, it's hard, at best, to make the necessary changes, such as enlarging the bins to make room for oversized and smart switches. And while digging a hole in your drywall to fish for wire or looking for a transformer is not that bad, you would not want to try that with plaster or stone walls.

Your Smarthome devices may stop working

Wink concentrator boxes, smoke detector and Nest smoke detector, Schlage smart lock, Echo hub and Google Home
Josh Hendrickson

Your smarthome hardware may stop workingand you can not do much about it. We reported the death of Lowe's Iris and Stringifier platforms in the last few months. Wink does not look too good either lately …we can not recommend it anymore. Before that, the Hub Revolv was interrupted. Even when a business is stable, your smarthome can be destroyed by accident Logitech did with Harmony hubs.

You can try to minimize this by relying on hubs that do not use the cloud. There are several excellent options such as Hubitat, Homeseer, OpenHab, or House assistant. As good as these solutions are, you will need to be technically savvy to get the most out of them. We have not yet found a cloudless smart hub as easy to set up as Wink.

Worse, even if the business is not the problem, your devices themselves may fail. I discovered this first-hand when I woke up in the middle of the night with a strange rattling sound. I discovered that one of the smart switches in my living room had malfunctioned and that the lights were on and off quickly, again and again. So in the middle of the night, I had to turn off the power, remove the switch and install a new mute switch, for fear of an electrical fire.

RELATED: Your Smarthome setup may stop and you can not do anything about it.

Your family may hate your Smarthome

When all is said and done, your smarthome is only useful if the people who live there are willing to use it. And if you do not do a lot of effort properly designation and grouping your devices, you might find your family reluctant to talk to your home. You can automate your home so that she no longer talks to her, but too much automation can seem scary or intrusive. A smarthome that anticipates needs also requires participation, or you might find a bathroom turning off its lights while someone takes a shower.

Even if members of your household accept smart components, your extended family and guests may not do so. In this case, the simplest thing to do is to give the impression that your home is silly when they are around. If you have infrequent visitors, such as a child attending college, they may have trouble keeping up with changes when room names change or when you replace smart devices. It could make them feel less at home. You can make your smarthome easier to use by other peoplebut it takes extra work for both you and your family or guests.

The Smarthomes are great and fantastic when everything works properly. But unfortunately, the artisanal nature of technology, combined with the great diversity of age, layout and materials of the home, makes it difficult to obtain a stable and reliable system. Before you start, it is important to be fully aware of what you are committing to and the level of commitment you will need to make.

RELATED: How to make your Smarthome easier to use for other people

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