5 common smart home problems and how to fix them
Even if you follow our ultimate smart home guide step by step, it is likely that setting up your connected devices will require some troubleshooting. And even with unifying initiatives like Matter promising to make your smart home more cohesive, you’ll likely still be faced with common smart home questions and concerns.
Whether you are new to the best smart home devices or already live among dozens of voice-activated gadgets and apps, getting your smart home to work exactly the way you want it can be a challenge. Having trouble pairing your last smart home purchase with your Wi-Fi network? Worried about spending too much on everything related to IoT? Stuck at square one struggling to understand the difference between the best smart home platforms?
We know how to answer your questions because we have asked them ourselves at some point. We have set up a DIY smart home, after all. Here are the five biggest smart home problems and how to fix them.
I can’t connect my smart home devices to Wi-Fi
Perhaps the most common problem when setting up a smart home device is its failure to bring it online. Whether you own one of the best Wi-Fi routers Where best mesh Wi-Fi systems, you need your smart home device to recognize your Wi-Fi network so that it can communicate with other connected products you own.
There are several reasons why you may see error messages related to your network. First, not all smart home devices are compatible with the 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands – in fact, most will only connect to the 2.4GHz band. You can check which band your configuration device (your smartphone) is connected to by viewing your network profile or settings.
Alternatively, you might need to read on how to make your Wi-Fi faster Where where to place your router for the best Wi-Fi signal. Your network may be blocked or not reaching the location of your new smart home device. In that case, you might just need one of the better Wi-Fi repeaters. And if all else fails, try restarting your router – yes, the off / on method sometimes works.
I can’t punch holes in the walls
Do you rent out your living space? You may face restrictions on even minor renovations. Maybe you can’t even punch holes in your wall. Fortunately, all best smart home devices for renters can be powered by batteries or using your existing outlets. No need to learn what is a neutral wire Where why you need a C-Wire.
You will probably want to avoid installing any of the best video doorbells Where best smart thermostats, and replace existing switches with smart switches is a lot of work for a temporary living place. Instead, consider boosting your home’s IQ with smart speakers, lights, and outlets. Or by using fixed cameras instead of video doorbells. The routines then introduce automation that anyone can do with the right equipment, even in a rented residence.
Check best smart speakers, best smart bulbs and best smart plugs to create a smart space without damaging your rental’s door, walls or wiring.
Should I be using Alexa, HomeKit, or Google Home?
You can use Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Home, if you want. Not all, but a lot of best alexa enabled devices are also the best Google Home compatible devices and best HomeKit devices. Still, when it comes to building routines and an organized dashboard to control your smart home (who wants to download a dozen different smart home apps?), It can be worth committing to a single platform.
In our DIY smart home, we chose Alexa over Google Assistant because of services like Alexa Guard and Alexa Hunches. But we also have use HomeKit more regularly, because it integrates easily with iPhone and Apple Watch. And if you use Google services on a daily basis, you might want to use Nest devices and Google Assistant instead of Alexa or Siri.
Either way, you’ll probably want one of the best alexa speakers, best Google Home speakers or one HomePod mini to lay the foundation for your smart home. Before purchasing any new smart home devices, take a look at the packaging or the fine print to make sure they support the platform you choose.
I have a tight budget
Building a smart home doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, going the DIY route can help you save thousands. All best cheap smart home devices cost less than $ 100, and often much less. Smart plugs cost around $ 20, as is a bundle of smart bulbs. The Echo Dot costs just $ 49. There are even brands like Wyze that are committed to providing affordable gadgets for every part of your home. Have you heard of the $ 25 Wyze v3 camera?
So don’t feel like you have to splurge Philips Hue lights if they are out of your budget. Of course, inexpensive devices could, and often do, have their share of caveats. We suggest you stick to well-known brands and smaller setups within your budget.
Should I be concerned about privacy?
Smart home devices often use our learned behavior to better adapt to our needs and routines. Many have built-in microphones, so they can wait for a command or stay alert for suspicious sounds. Some even have cameras that you can watch anywhere from your smartphone.
So yes, you have to be concerned about privacy, but it’s not out of your control. The vast majority of smart home “hackers” are the result of people using bad passwords. When setting up accounts for your various smart home devices, be sure to read on how to create strong passwords. It could give you the peace of mind of purchasing products with physical mute switches or shutters, so that you can mute the microphone or camera whenever you want.
Also run firmware updates as soon as they are available for your devices. Firmware updates can protect your devices from possible vulnerabilities or hackers. You will want to know how to secure your wifi, too much.