Is Verizon's new home automation system a good way to get into home automation?
December 13, 2011 7:19 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone tried Verizon's home automation system? Or have any suggestions for an easy (and relatively cheap) way to get started with home automation (for energy efficiency, not security)?
posted by blahblahblah to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
X-10 products are what you're looking for if you want to roll your own.

For around $50, you can get an X-10 starter kit from ActiveHome. Their software (back in the day, anyway) left a little to be desired, but there used to be a ton of OSS X10 projects out there. I used to control all of the Christmas lights in the house via cron and the old bottlerocket interface.

Anyway, that kit contains what you'd need to get started - the transceiver and a lamp module (to control a light). You can add lamp (and appliance) modules down the road to expand the system out and even start replacing the outlets and light switches in your home to be addressable as well. It's a slippery slope. The principle difference between a lamp and appliance module is that the former allows for dimming, while the latter is more a ON/OFF sort of thing.

When you're ready to go down the rabbit hole, send off for one of the SmartHome catalogs. Then abandon all hope.

Just checked and the kit I started with years ago is still available here. That looks like a better kit than the other.
posted by jquinby at 7:35 PM on December 13, 2011

Yes, it can be. What Verizon offers is customer service. They are a large reputable (insert comment here) organization that will try to make things right if they are wrong. It is more expensive than doing it yourself, but seems like a way to get into home auto as a novice if you don't want to roll your own as per jquinby's excellent suggestion and observations above.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:34 PM on December 13, 2011

Don't know anything about Verizon's products/services, but one cheapish way to get into home automation for energy savings is to get a wifi-enabled thermostat. I just got a Filtrete-rebranded thermostat from Home Depot for around $100, and I can program it from my phone. I can now turn down the thermostat when I leave home, and have it kick back up when I'm getting closer to home, so I can have it off more, more easily - if I'm working late, I can tell it not to turn on at the regularly programmed time. It's a fantastic little device.
posted by dilettanti at 4:53 PM on December 14, 2011

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