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Smart homes are convenient and powerful. From self-locking doors and automatic lights to video intercoms and voice control, there’s so much to love here. But sometimes owning a smart home can be incredibly frustrating. Here are some reasons why.

Your home cannot be connected to SmartHome Gear

Breaker period showing only line and load wires
This light switch wiring is far from code.

Sometimes owning a smart home is like becoming a part-time electrician, only without the proper training. There are all sorts of «bugs» in older homes, and some of the problems you may run into are outdated wiring, broken doorbells, and thick walls that kill signals. You may even find that you can’t use a wired video intercom at all — and it can be too expensive to fix it.

Take it away from me. My house was built in 1956 and I can’t use smart switches because there are no neutral wires in half of the rooms in the house! Most smart switches need a neutral wire, but in the 1950s electrical code did not require neutral wires. The work done on the house has resulted in several rooms being fixed, but they are inconsistent at best. If your home doesn’t comply with the code, getting it there means calling an electrician. They will have to run wires through your house, which can be difficult or impossible, and you will spend a lot of time working alone.

You can use smart bulbs instead, but they are expensive. Every light fixture you want to make smart is going to need a light bulb, and after you spend that money, you’ll have to stop using light switches, perhaps by setting a guard.

Wiring a doorbell is even more difficult as you run into similar issues and many points of failure. If your doorbell transformer needs replacing, good luck finding one. There’s no standard location for transformers, and it’s not uncommon to completely disable access to them when finishing a basement. You could spend a lot of money paying an electrician to find a transformer, only to see it, after all, it just can’t be replaced. In this case, if you want a smart doorbell, it must be battery powered. But they have fewer features and are larger, so they may not even be suitable depending on the layout of your home.

Older houses with thicker walls create signal problems

Are you having problems with Wi-Fi in your home? Do you find it difficult to connect on another floor or in the far corners of your house even after placing the router in the center? You will face similar issues with SmartHome technology.

While some devices rely on Z-Wave or Zigbee to create mesh systems, anything that depends on Wi-Fi (such as speakers, some light bulbs, and smart plugs) will be equally difficult to connect to the Internet, as the rest is yours. WiFi devices. The most effective way to overcome this problem is to use a mesh Wi-Fi system, but they can be expensive. For example, the best Eero system costs $500. Even if you back down, it’s not uncommon to spend $300 on mesh systems.

And if you have stucco or stone walls, it’s difficult at best to make the necessary changes, such as enlarging vessels to make room for oversized switches with smarts in them. And while cutting a hole in drywall to catch wire or look for a transformer isn’t a big deal, you don’t want to try this with plaster or stone walls at all.

Your Smarthome devices may stop working

Boxes for Wink hub, nest tromostat and smoke detector, schlage smart lock, Echo hub and Google Home

Your SmartHome hardware may stop working and there is nothing you can do about it. We’ve been reporting the demise of Lowe’s Iris and Stringify platforms in recent months. Wink doesn’t look too healthy lately — we can’t recommend it anymore. Prior to this, the Revolv Center had been discontinued. Even if the company is stable, it can accidentally break your smart home, as Logitech did with the Harmony hubs.

You can try to minimize this by relying on hubs that don’t use the cloud, and there are some great options like Hubitat, Homeseer, OpenHab, or Home Assistant. But as good as these solutions are, you need to be tech-savvy to get the most out of them. We have yet to find a cloudless smart hub that is as easy to assemble as Wink

Worst of all, even if the company isn’t the problem, your devices can fail. I learned this firsthand when I woke up in the middle of the night with a strange clicking noise. I found that one of the smart switches in my living room was out of order and the light was quickly turning on and off again and again. In the middle of the night, I had to turn off the power, remove the breaker, and install a new breaker for fear of electrical fire.

CONNECTED: Your Smarthome installation may break and there is nothing you can do about it

Your family may hate your smart home

When all is said and done, your smart home is only useful if the people who live in it want to use it. And if you don’t put a lot of effort into proper naming and grouping of devices, you may find that your family doesn’t want to talk to your home. You can automate your home to stop talking to it, but too much automation can feel creepy or intrusive. A smart home that anticipates needs also requires participation, or you might find a bathroom turning off the lights when someone takes a shower.

Even if your family members accept smart components, your extended family and guests may not. The easiest thing to do in this case is to make your house seem stupid when they are around, but then why do you need a smart home at all? If you have infrequent visitors, such as college-going kids, they may find it difficult to track changes when changing room names or changing smart devices. This, in turn, can make them feel less at home. You can make it easier for other people to use your smart home, but that will require extra work – both for you and your family or guests.

Smart homes are amazing and fantastic when everything works right. But, unfortunately, the homemade nature of this technology, combined with the huge variety of home ages, layouts, and materials, makes it difficult to get a stable and reliable SmartHome system at best. Before you take the plunge, it is important to be fully aware of what you are getting into and the level of commitment you need to make.

RELATED: How to make your SmartHome easier for other people to use

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