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How to DIY your smart home (and when to call a professional)

Father holding son in kitchen, controlling smart lightbulb from a tablet

Want to DIY your smart home? There are many ways to do it, from kitchen gadgets that brew your coffee when you wake up to light bulbs that go off when it's time for bed. But how do you know which gadgets you can easily install, and when to call in a pro? We'll break it down for you.

Tech moves fast, but at Asurion, we not only fix and protect the devices you love but also help you stay up to date. Here's our advice on how to DIY a smart home.

Get a voice assistant

When it comes to do-it-yourself home automation, setting up a voice assistant—like Alexa™ from Amazon™, Siri® from Apple®, or Google Assistant™—is one of the easiest ways to start. Voice assistants are apps that come built into your smartphone (and other smart devices). They can check the weather, play music, return a phone call, and control your smart home devices. And if you have a voice assistant with a smart speaker or smart home hub, you can control everything in your home with your voice.

Set up directions are straightforward and depend on your device and model—look for instructions on your device manufacturer's website.

Use smart plugs on your non-smart devices

Smart plugs let you turn the wired devices in your home—lamps, fans, coffee makers—into smart devices you control with your phone. They're one of the easiest ways to upgrade to a smart home.

Installation is easy too. Just insert a smart plug into any outlet, then follow the directions in the compatible app on your phone or tablet to connect to your Wi-Fi. Next, plug your lamp, fan, or any wired device into the smart plug. Now you can control it from your phone, whether you're in the next room or halfway around the world.

For more tips, check out our guide to smart plugs.

Automate your lighting with smart bulbs

Another simple way to DIY your own smart home is to swap out traditional light bulbs for smart bulbs. They last 2 to 3 years longer, are energy-efficient, and let you control individual or groups of lights—all from your phone.

Installation is almost effortless: Unscrew the old bulb, replace it with a smart one, and connect it through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth®. Depending on the model, you may be asked to download a companion app and sync the new smart bulb. To learn more, read our guide to smart lights.

Adjust your home temperature from your phone with a smart thermostat

A smart thermostat is a convenient way to control your temperature and save money on your energy and utility bills. But there are a few key points to consider before trying to install this device on your own.

  1. Choose a model that's compatible with your heating and AC system (many manufacturers include guidelines on their websites).
  2. Many smart thermostats require a C-wire, which powers the device. C-wires are more common in newer homes, so if you live in an older building that doesn't have one, look for a model that comes with a C-wire adapter or contact a professional electrician to install a C-wire in your home.
  3. Setting up a smart thermostat involves working with low-voltage wiring, using a couple of tools, and maybe some light drilling. When wiring is involved, we recommend you hire a professional—doing it yourself if you don't have experience can be dangerous.

To learn more about upgrading your heating and cooling system, read our guide to everything you need to know about switching to a smart thermostat.

Install smart security cameras for peace of mind

Smart security cameras let you monitor your home when you're away, and many models are designed so you can easily install them. Some cameras need to be hardwired, but others are battery-powered, can last for months, and just require you to place them on a bookshelf or stick them to the wall using double-sided adhesive tape. Just choose locations that cover high-traffic areas, like your front door and entryway, and areas burglars might target, like a side door and ground-floor windows.

Once your cameras have a home, you'll need to plug them in (or insert batteries), turn them on, and sync them with an app. There's usually no need to drill into the wall, though a screwdriver may come in handy.

If you go with high-end cameras, you may want to hire a professional to install the system, which can start around $50 but go much higher. Some companies let you speak to a representative by phone to help you do it yourself.

To learn more, check out our guide to the best indoor and outdoor smart security cameras for your home and how to secure your smart home from hackers.

Experiment with smart kitchen gadgets

Creating your own connected kitchen doesn't have to involve large and expensive appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers. From automatic pan stirrers to trash cans with voice and motion sensors, there are small ways to DIY your smart kitchen. Setting most of them up is straightforward and just requires you to follow some simple directions that come with your devices.

Invest in smart home appliances

If you're really committed to creating a smart home, adding large appliances, like a refrigerator, dishwasher, washer, or dryer, is your next step. Installing them can involve working with electricity (or gas for some dryers)—which increases your risk for fires—and should be left to trained professionals.

When to bring in a professional for smart home installation

Everyone has a different comfort level around technology and varying degrees of experience installing it. Even if a smart device is marketed as DIY-friendly, that may not mean you can (or want) to do it on your own. There's no wrong time to hire a professional to help set up your smart home tech—learn more about smart home installation.

Make sure your smart home is protected

An Asurion Home+® protection plan provides coverage for nearly all the technology in your home with one simple plan. Laptops, tablets, TVs, gaming consoles, smart thermostats, and so much more—even future purchases. Plus, you'll get 24/7 live expert support and robust digital security. Learn more about Asurion Home+® coverage and how you can get peace-of-mind electronics protection.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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