Z-Wave Smart Home Blog

You have smart home questions, we have... well, smart answers

You have smart home questions, we have... well, smart answers

Have questions about getting started with smart home technology and feeling a little overwhelmed? You came to the right place, because we have answers. We recently spent a few days asking wanna-be smart home owners what they wanted to know. Here are answers to a few of the most common questions they had for us.

I see different terms, like "smart home," "home control," and "home automation," which all seem to refer to the same thing. What’s the difference?

The answer to this could be an article in itself, but the short version is this: home control and home automation are the things that smart homes do. Home control means being able to operate your lights and locks and thermostats and so forth remotely, from a single device like your smartphone. Home automation is the process of programming those devices so that they operate automatically, in ways that best suit your lifestyle.

Can I add smart home tech to my existing house without having to tear down walls and add new wiring?

Absolutely! Technologies like Z-Wave work wirelessly, so while you may need to tap into the existing wiring in your home to replace your existing lights and thermostat with smart equivalents, you won't need to add any additional wiring.

How do I know which smart home devices work together?

The easiest way is to look for products with the Z-Wave logo. Z-Wave products are built to be interoperable. That doesn't mean that you're limited to only Z-Wave products, though. Some hubs, like SmartThings and Wink, support several different standards. So your best bet is to check the website for your hub's manufacturer and see which products it supports.

Will wireless products like Z-Wave interfere with my baby monitor?

Most likely, no. Baby monitors in North America operate on frequencies around 49 MHz, 902 MHz, or 2.4 GHz, and those in the middle could potentially overlap with Z-Wave's operating frequency of 908.42 MHz. Your best bet, if you have concerns, is to opt for a baby monitor that has selectable channels, or buy one that operates at much lower or higher frequencies.

Will smart home technology affect my internet speeds?

Not at all. While most smart home systems rely on your home network for some functions (like remote access and communications between your smartphone and smart hub), the bulk of the home control action takes place on a separate wireless network that doesn't interfere with Wi-Fi at all.

Does smart home technology make your home hackable?

Any technology that uses the internet to communicate can be susceptible to intrusion. However, with Z-Wave, it’s very unlikely. With its 128-bit encryption and advanced security framework, a Z-Wave smart home system is likely more secure than your Wi-Fi network.

This still sounds scary. Isn't this how the machines eventually take over and create Skynet?

Not a chance. While we talk a lot about "smart" home technology, a Z-Wave system isn't really intelligent. The smarts come from the very simple programming you do: for example, "If I unlock the front door, turn on the foyer light." Beyond that, the system can't make its own decisions. You can use it to freak out your friends, though.

Still have questions? We have more answers. Be sure to check out the Z-Wave FAQ to learn more about getting started with your own smart home.

Tags

Z-Wave, smart home, smart hubs, how-to, learn about, one touch living, home automation





5 ways Z-Wave works with Amazon Echo

5 ways Z-Wave works with Amazon Echo

If you're not one of the 3 million homes with an Amazon Echo in it, there's a good chance you're coveting one. I mean, who doesn't want to be able to tell a lovely woman named Alexa to add things to their shopping list, play a favorite song, tell you the weather forecast AND turn on the lights in the living room?

The Who, What and Why of Z-Wave

The Who, What and Why of Z-Wave

If you're one of the roughly 50% of homeowners looking to add smart home technology to your home in the coming year, chances are good that you've either put a lot of thought and planning into your purchases, or you're absolutely daunted by the staggering number of options. It isn't always easy to know unless you look for the Z-Wave logo.

Linear - Z-Wave Wall Mount Dimmer Switch

FIBARO Smoke Sensor




Building Your Smart Home on a Small, Medium & Large Budget

Building Your Smart Home on a Small, Medium & Large Budget

How much does smart home technology cost? It's not an easy question to answer. It's not as if you can walk into your local big box store and ask for a medium-sized lighting system with a side order of climate control.

How my Z-Wave Smart Home Saved the Day

How my Z-Wave Smart Home Saved the Day

Ellen Farrow is a Z-Wave customer whose experience serves as a reminder for just how powerful a smart home can be. Ellen explains in her own words how on one day in February this year, her Z-Wave system helped save her home.

Linear - Z-Wave Wall Mount Switch

ADT Makes Your Smart Home a Safe Home




Smart Home and Home Automation: What's The Difference?

Smart Home and Home Automation: What's The Difference?

Oftentimes you'll see the terms "smart home" and "home automation" used interchangeably, which may lead you to wonder why there are so many terms for the same concept

Z-Wave vs. Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth: A Breakdown

Z-Wave vs. Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth: A Breakdown

One of the easiest ways of explaining an unfamiliar technology is to compare it with something people already understand. That's why you might hear things like: "It's like Wi-Fi, but…" or "It's similar to Bluetooth, but…" when talking about Z-Wave

Best Smart Locks of 2016

Tom's Guide

Of all the different types of smart home products — lights, thermostats and cameras, to name a few — smart door locks are among the most popular. Going beyond the simple key, these locks can be operated using your smartphone, and can be connected to a larger smart home system to make your life easier.

Get Smart With Stacey: How Do I Set Up Automatic Blinds?

PC Mag

I have Somfy motorized blinds, and I ended up buying a Z-wave controller that translates Somfy's proprietary protocol to Z-wave so I could control it with the Echo, $179.99 at Amazon using a hub like SmartThings or Wink, $60.28 at Amazon for voice control.

How to Build Your Smart Home: A Beginner's Guide

PC Magazine

Home automation is what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a simple push of a button (or a voice command). Some activities, like setting up a lamp to turn on and off at your whim, are simple and relatively inexpensive.

15 Gadgets To Make Your Home Smarter

CrookedBrains

The Fibaro Smart Z-Wave detects temperature, light, and more. It alerts you on your smart device when it detects activity.

What's New

Open Sesame: Smart Locks to Keep Your Home Secure

Digital Trends

Yale Real Living Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt With Z-Wave ($165) - We put the Yale's touchscreen lock at the top of this list because it checks all the basic requirements for a good smart lock. It's easy to install, works with smart home systems such as SmartThings and Honeywell, and the backlit digital keypad eliminates the need to carry around house keys.

Simple Home Automation Solutions With Design in Mind

Huffington Post

If you're still manually turning your lights on and off, 2016 should be the year you finally dare to embrace home automation. Smart home solutions can help you streamline your life to be more efficient and productive. Plus, with fewer home tasks to worry about, you'll end up with more time, energy, and money for the things that really matter.

7 Ways to Prepare Your Smart Home for the Winter Months

Electronic House

Here are 7 things homeowners should consider as they prepare for seasonal adjustments to optimize home performance.

7 Ways to Save Energy (and Money)

Techlicious

One of the best reasons for upgrading your home with smart devices is to conserve energy (and money spent on energy bills). And there's no better time than now