Category Archives for "Smart Home Basics"

Should you use a Powerline Adapter to extend your home network?

In order to create an awesome smart home that is reliable and easy to use, you have to have a robust home network. If your WiFi router is leaving you with spotty, unreliable coverage, a powerline adapter may be able provide the extra coverage you need.

Ideally, a home would have ethernet cable drops in every room. However, that’s not the case for most people. What we do have in every room is electrical outlets. A powerline adapter let’s you use your home’s electrical wires to transfer network data.

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Is a Smart Smoke Alarm worth it?

Regular smoke alarms are dirt cheap. The cheapest models can be bought for about $5. The city I live in actually gives them away for free.

So why would anybody pay $100 or more for a single smoke detector? Well, because it’s a smart smoke detector.

I love connected devices. Heck, I created an entire website dedicated to them. However, I’m not entirely convinced that spending this kind of money is worth it.

There are low cost alternatives called smart listeners. In addition, there is one smart smoke alarm that’s fairly affordable.

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Lutron Caseta Review: How to put a light switch anywhere with NO wires

For the most part, everyone else is always gushing about how good these Lutron switches are. So, when I saw a starter kit on sale during Prime Day, I decided to pull the trigger and try them.

The fact that they can be used on switches with no neutral wire AND can dim LEDs was a big selling point for me. Additionally, the ability of the Pico remote to make 3-way switching super-easy helps to set the Lutron system apart from other options.

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Smart Home Sensors Don’t Have to be Ugly: Sensative Strips Review

I remember reading about these sensors a couple years ago before they were released, but forgot about them. Luckily, someone from Sensative recently came across thesmartcave.com and offered to send me some sensors to play with. As usual, I received the products with no obligation and all opinions are my own.


I dislike the way most smart home sensors look. Whether they’re placed on doors or windows, if you can see them, I think they look kind of cheesy.

That’s why I prefer to buy sensors that can be mounted flush with the surface so that they essentially “disappear”. The problem with those is that you have to be handy with a drill or chisel to install them.

Or…

What if someone made sensors so small, they’re hardly noticeable?

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4 Smart Switches That Work With No Neutral Wire

My house was built in 1909. I can still see pieces of the original knob and tube electrical wiring nailed to the floor joists in the basement. Thankfully, the electrical has been updated since then.

Unfortunately, I still have a few switch boxes that don’t have a neutral. That means that the vast majority of available smart switches won’t work in those boxes. However, I scoured the internet and found some that will.

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