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TECH4 Blog

Should I DIY My Smart Home Or Get Pro Installation?

by Craig Walker
Should I DIY My Smart Home Or Get Pro Installation?

Deciding whether to complete a project by yourself, with an electrician or with a smart home installation professional can be a daunting task.

We feel that it can be answered quite simply with a simple question....

"How far do you want to go?

It starts with an understanding of what you want to achieve and who can competently complete each component.

For example....

Smart Bulbs, Voice Assistants, Smart Speakers DIY
Smart Light Switches, CCTV Cameras, Ceiling Speakers, Smart Heating DIY, Electrician, AV/IT Installer, CCTV Installer
High End Control System (Lutron, Crestron, Control4) Professional Custom Installer

 

That's not to say that all custom installers will only touch big projects, or that electricians will only do small projects. It's just to give a few examples of the differing levels. There are lots of competent electricians whom can install full on systems these days. 

There are a few ways a smart home project can be completed...

 

DIY Solutions (Do It Yourself)

It's now easier than ever to automate lights, add security cameras and home entertainment options without ever speaking to a professional installer.

There are a whole host of consumer level, plug & play products such as Philips Hue lighting smart bulbs, Kami smart cameras and Smart Life plugs & bulbs all of which can be set up by your average computer literate home owner.

You can quite easily tie these together with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit & IFTTT and achieve an overall "smart" home. Often quite a comprehensive smart home too!

But you'll find some issues such as using multiple apps, potential WiFi issues and compatibility issues, plus the time and effort put in to learn the systems and set it all up.

You can also build your system bit by bit, adding a bulb or smart plug at a time so it's great for lower budgets and simpler requirements.

 

DIT Solutions (Do It Together)

If you want to go a step up and have a slightly more advanced system then you should start looking for someone to "DIT" (Do It Together).

Partnering with a value added retailer (such as TECH4) or an installer such as a smart electrician can add a lot more to your project whilst keeping costs reasonable.

For instance, we (and a few other similar retailers) can help you piece together a slightly more advanced smart home system such as LightwaveRF or Fibaro Z Wave.

We'll listen to what you want to achieve, the problems you want to solve with technology and can help ensure you get all the right components and can achieve all of your main goals. You'll then get assistance with technical support by phone, email and live chat throughout installation, setup and ongoing use.

Some companies, including us, will also be able to pre-program systems such as Fibaro so that it's pretty much ready to go once installed by a competent electrician, with whom we are happy to liaise directly with.

This format works really well for mid-level smart homes with lighting control, CCTV etc. where you have a reasonable budget but also a reasonable level of IT competence and are happy to be involved.

 

DFY Solutions (Done For You)

If you've got a large requirement, want on going support, don't want to do it yourself or simply don't know one end of a screwdriver to the other then we'd strongly suggest that you seek professional help, even if it means we can't help you on your project.

For smaller more basic systems such as smart light switches, LightwaveRF etc. you can often find a decent local electrician who can undertake the project (with a bit of help from us if needed), and there are lots of approved installers for systems such as Lithe Audio and LightwaveRF that we can put you in touch with.

When looking at larger high end control systems we suggest that you always use a qualified and authorised dealer to ensure that the project is completed correctly and well supported.

We do not recommend self-installing systems such as Control 4, Lutron Homeworks, Crestron etc. (if you could even get your hands on the kit anyway....) we've seen too many cases of DIY installation leading to things not working and being blamed on the product itself, which is often not the issue.

Unfortunately we don't offer such an installation service as we stick to the smaller renovation, extension and DIY market, but would recommend looking for a reputable local company.

Look out for good reviews and feedback, look for case studies and check their previous work and finally make sure they fully understand what you want to achieve before engaging with an installer.

Most of the products and systems that you'll find here at TECH4.co.uk will fit under the DIY and DIT banners. We carefully curate consumer friendly tech that we trust.