Getting started with Z-Wave Home Automation is easy and it really comes down to your expertise, time and money. Review the two approaches below and decide what may be best for your particular situation:
DIY APPROACH – You can go with the DIY approach and select your own controller and purchase Z-Wave accessories as you automate various parts of your home. this method requires you to be somewhat tech savvy yet it typically offers more extensibility and interoperability with various Z-Wave certified devices.
You first start with a Hardware Z-Wave controller – such as the MiCasaVerde Vera3, HomeSeer HomeTroller, or other type of Software Z-Wave controller such as Homeseer for Windows that runs on your PC. It’s up to you on what type of controller you would like to use, although we prefer the hardware controllers due to their low power usage, stability and relatively small size.
Once you have your controller you can start to add Z-Wave accessories such as thermostats, lighting controls, irrigation controls, motion sensors, temperature sensors, water and freeze sensors, remote controllers, and the list goes on. With products such as the FortrezZ MIMO, you can integrate almost any type of device into your Z-Wave network. The best thing about the DIY option is that they are cheaper to install yourself, work with almost any device you choose, and there is typically no monthly fee associated.
FULL SYSTEM APPROACH – You can go with the full system approach and you get everything in one package, typically along with installation and training. Companies such as ADT, Schlage, Vivint, Evolve, as well as some major broadband providers such as Comcast and Verizon are also offering Home Automation and Security Packages. Keep in mind that many of these systems maybe limited in what devices you can control or add into your system. Even though the device may be 100% Z-Wave certified, the “closed systems” from these companies only allow products sold by them. This saves them money on support, but mostly it’s a marketing ploy that simply assures you buy devices from them. With the full system approach, you’ll be paying for the system itself in most cases, professional installation as well as a montly fee for monitoring and/or remote access.
Time to get Started – The best way to get started with Z-Wave home automation is to plan it out and decide what types of devices you’d like to automate. Most start with lighting, or you can start with a simple door lock installation for your vacation home. Below are some great places to start shopping for Z-Wave Devices and Controllers: