5 Smart Home Upgrades You Can Do Yourself

·4 min read
Ring Video Doorbell
Ring Video Doorbell

Smart home upgrades are the epitome of convenience, allowing you to monitor and control devices directly from your smartphone whether you're at home or away. Just by utilizing a connected app, you can do things like change settings on your thermostat, turn on lights or answer your doorbell.

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But smart devices aren't exactly cheap. For instance, Ring's bestselling smart doorbell, the Video Doorbell Pro, retails for $169.99, and its elite model is $349.99. And SimpliSafe's most popular smart home security system, The Essentials, costs $259, while its full-blown DIY system costs $489.

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Once you invest in the cost of one or more smart devices for your home, calling an electrician or other professional installer to get the device up and going can tack on an additional $100 or more.

If want to make these smart upgrades on a budget, the good news is that, as long as you have a bit of tech and electrical knowledge, you can install many of these devices yourself and stretch your paycheck further.

Last updated: Oct. 22, 2021

RossHelen / Getty Images/iStockphoto
RossHelen / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi-enabled and automatically adjust cooling and heating temperatures according to your preference. They also can switch into an energy-saving mode when you're away from home. Some even have geofencing capabilities, which detect when you're on your way back home and adjust the thermostat to a more suitable temperature. However, no matter what, you can control a smart thermostat from an app on your smartphone.

According to HomeGuide, it costs $40 to $100 an hour in labor for an electrician to install a new thermostat. However, if you have wiring-savvy, you can install a smart thermostat yourself and save money. But be aware that some smart thermostats require a C-wire for installation, which some older homes may not have.

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Freer Law / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Freer Law / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Smart Front Door Lock

You can pair a smart lock with your phone via Bluetooth, which will allow you to lock and unlock your door without a key. These devices also allow you to grant access to your home to others through "virtual keys," which only work for a limited time. The smart lock can also keep track of comings and goings and notify you accordingly.

According to HomeAdvisor, a single smart home lock can cost $60 to install. However, if you have the ability to replace the bolt lock on your front door, you can do it yourself and save the $60.

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Ring Video Doorbell
Ring Video Doorbell

Video Doorbell

A video doorbell is Wi-Fi-enabled and can notify your smartphone or another device when someone is at your door. You do not have to be at home to receive notifications, and most smart doorbells offer real-time video and two-way audio so you can see and hear whoever is at your door. Additionally, many video doorbell manufacturers store video in the cloud, so you can review history.

According to HomeServe, it will cost $100-$250 for an electrician to install a video doorbell. However, you can install it and save money.

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Lex20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Lex20 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Smart Smoke Detector

Smart smoke detectors contain sensors that will alert you when they detect smoke (or carbon monoxide) via an alarm. They also will send a notification to your smartphone, which will conveniently allow you to disable the alarm with a tap. Some models can even pinpoint where the smoke is originating from.

The cost for an electrician to install a smart smoke detector is $30-$100 per hour, according to HomeAdvisor. However, if you can successfully remove the old smoke detector and connect the smart smoke detector to your home's power supply, you can DIY this job.

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Hispanolistic / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Hispanolistic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Smart Security System

If you want to save big on installation and subscription fees that typically accompany traditional home security systems, get a DIY smart home security system. Entry-level DIY kits contain a limited number of door and window sensors, a motion detector and a central hub. You can often buy additional sensors and motion detectors or even build out the system to include garage door openers, sirens, lights, door locks, water sensors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and surveillance cameras.

You'll pay $282-$1,093 to have a home security system installed, according to HomeAdvisor. But DIY kits make it easy to do yourself.

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