Even if you follow our ultimate smart home guide step by step, it is likely that your connected devices configuration will require some troubleshooting. And even with unifying initiatives like Matter promising to make your smart home more cohesive, you’ll likely still face common smart home questions and concerns.
Whether you are new to the best smart home devices or already live among dozens of app and voice-enabled gadgets, getting your smart home to work exactly the way you want it can be a challenge. Having trouble pairing your latest smart home purchase to your Wi-Fi network? Worried about spending too much on anything 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 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 the inability to bring it online. Whether you own one of best wifi routers Where best mesh wifi systems, you need your smart home device to recognize your Wi-Fi network so that it can communicate with other connected products you have.
There are several reasons why you might see error messages related to your network. First off, 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 setup device (your smartphone) is connected to by looking at your network profile or settings.
Alternatively, you may need to read on how to make your wifi faster Where where to place your router for the best Wi-Fi signal. Your network may be bogged down or not reaching the location of your new smart home device. In that case, you might need one of the best Wi-Fi repeaters. And if all else fails, try restarting your router – yes, the off/on method sometimes works.
I can’t drill holes in the walls
Do you rent your accommodation? You may face restrictions on renovations, no matter how minor. Maybe you can’t even drill holes in your wall. Fortunately, all best tenant friendly smart home devices 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 probably want to avoid installing any of the best video doorbells Where best smart thermostats, and replace existing switches with smart switches that’s a lot of work for a temporary dwelling place. Instead, consider boosting your home’s IQ with smart speakers, lights, and plugs. Or using fixed cameras instead of video doorbells. The routines then introduce automation that anyone can achieve with the proper hardware, even in a rented home.
Check best smart speakers, best smart bulbs and best smart plugs to create a smart space without damaging your rental door, walls or wiring.
Should I use Alexa, HomeKit or Google Home?
You can use Alexa, HomeKit, and Google Home, if you want. Not all, but many of best alexa-enabled devices are also the best google home compatible devices and best HomeKit devices. Still, when it comes to creating 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 just one. 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, as it easily integrates with iPhone and Apple Watch. And if you use Google services daily, you might want to use Nest devices and Google Assistant instead of Alexa or Siri.
Either way, you’ll probably want one of best alexa speakers, best google home speakers or one HomePod mini to lay the foundation for your smart home. Before buying new smart home devices, examine the packaging or fine print to make sure they support the platform you choose.
my budget is tight
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 does a pack of smart bulbs. The Echo Dot is just $49. There are even brands like Wyze that are committed to affordable gadgets for every part of your home. Have you heard of the $25 Wyze Camera v3?
So don’t feel you have to splurge Philips Hue lamps if they are out of your budget. Of course, inexpensive devices can, and often do, have their share of caveats. We suggest sticking to well-known brands and smaller configurations within your budget.
Should I be worried 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 worry 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 how to create strong passwords. It could give you the peace of mind of buying products with physical mute switches or shutters, so 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 hacks. You will want to know how to secure your wifi, too much.