Can I upgrade an existing or older home with smart home technology?

If you own an older home, you can still benefit from smart home technology. Most smart devices connect wirelessly, so your main sticking points will be coverage and connectivity. As long as you have Wi-Fi extenders or smart home connected devices that create a mesh network, you can enjoy the benefits of home automation.

The former solution—a basic Wi-Fi network—may or may not produce desired results. Some older homes have odd corners, thick walls, or other obstacles that can hamper Wi-Fi coverage, no matter how many extenders and repeaters you buy. In those cases, opting for a smart system that creates an internal mesh network might be better. Zigbee and Z-Wave both employ mesh networks and rely on frequencies other than those used by Wi-Fi, so those could be good alternatives.

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Retrofitting your home for smart tech

Some professional home system integrators will argue for retrofitting your residence with home automation wiring. The argument holds merit—proper wiring can conserve energy and enable greater reliability and performance.

Retrofitting usually demands extensive electrical work and renovations. To see real success with retrofitting, without breaking the bank, prioritize your upgrades. One of the higher line items is updating Ethernet cables to Category 6 (Cat 6) cables. The cables can support all your home activities, regardless of how many devices you intend to use.

Going the wireless route

If you’re not interested in doing a bunch of rewiring, there are other solutions that can work.

Plenty of smart gadgets can run on batteries or simply plug into a regular outlet—they don’t all have to be built in to the structure.

With a little research, you can easily find a set of devices that will work with your existing home plan.

No matter where you’re at in the smart home process, let our resources section lead the way.

Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help people find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She continues to report on local news as a volunteer with the community paper. For the last six years, she’s led a Girl Scout troop, teaching girls about safety and preparing for whatever life throws their way.

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