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Wiring for the Future: Is Your House’s Electrical System Smart Home Ready?



With the 21st century well underway, it’s a good time to decide whether or not you’d like to be a futurist. Are you someone able and willing to keep up with the crazy speed of technological advancement? And, on this eve of the age of Artificial Intelligence, a second question arises: what about your house? Is it ‘smart home’-ready or is your electrical system just plain old out-of-date?

The Future is Here

The robustness of your home’s electrical system may not be top-of-mind but it matters more and more. Why? Because though the energy efficiency of appliances and our favorite gadgets is increasing, the sheer number of electronic devices in our home zooms ever upward.

If you’re building a new house, chances are it will be a smart home. In a smart home, a skyrocketing selection of hubs and controllers is available that can put the operation of everything from speakers, clocks, and lights to appliances and windows at your fingertips. You can even choose voice activation options and whether to connect your device into the Internet of Things (IoT).

Such technology is best served by the right type of switches and outlets, so be sure there’s a qualified electrician on your planning team to confirm the appropriate home automation-friendly infrastructure is installed. For more on what to know when you’re building a new home, look for our upcoming post Wiring for the Future 2: Don’t Forget Electrical When Planning your New Home for more details. If you can’t wait, just give us a call to set up a smart home electrical consultation!

Getting Up to Speed

If, on the other hand, your house is not newly constructed, smart home renovation is a possibility.

But even if you’re not necessarily interested in home automation, but are renovating your home, it’s time to get your electrical up to speed.

Here are some questions you should consider to help evaluate whether your system is present safe and future-ready.

1) Are Your Appliances and Electronics Protected?

Today’s electronic equipment — be it TVs, surround sound systems or computers — aren’t manufactured to handle the quirks that come from old-fashioned electricity systems. Outdated wiring can cause power surges that can damage your tech items.

You might think that you can protect your computer and peripherals with multi-outlet ‘power strips’ or any old surge protector, but that is a shortcut not worth the risk. If you’re getting up to speed and want to be future-ready, instead you should consider having your electrician add more outlets.

Futurist Gerd Leonhard Essential Illustrations 2018

2) Is Your Appliance Load Posing a Danger?

If you live in a home built before 1980, chances are your electrical system is capable of powering outlets, but completely insufficient for modern appliances like energy efficient refrigerators, washers, dryers and dishwashers. Did you know that to prevent the fire hazards that come from electrical overload, today’s tech doesn’t just need adequate power supply but up-to-date wiring and proper connectivity with an electrical panel?

3) What’s Up with Your Wiring?

If you have old-fashioned ‘knob and tube’ or aluminum wiring, or outdated/insufficient wiring, there is a much higher possibility of electrical fires. If needed, a professional electrician can get rid of the old, corroded stuff and DIY-patches introduced over the many decades and install a completely new electrical system.

But often modernizing can be just a matter of installing new wiring for things such as computer networks, media centres or areas of your house that will need to handle heavy electrical loads, like a garage workstation. (Note to DIYers or those who don’t usually check credentials: remember that using a professional electrician will guarantee that your new wiring is done correctly and meets the highest of safety standards.)

Smart is Financially Intelligent

Let’s face it, not everyone is naturally a futurist. We know many may be thinking: “Is investing in a robust modern electrical system worth it?” Well, apart from safety and the convenience of automation, a new or professionally upgraded electrical system that is smart home-ready has some big co-benefits. A) It’ll noticeably increase the value of your home; and B) in this day of rising Hydro rates, it will save you money on your electricity bills because modern and efficient wiring conserves power!

Doesn’t it seem like smart home-ready electrical is an intelligent thing to begin planning?

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