Can I Upgrade an Existing or Older Home with Smart Home Technology?

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

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 are two home automation operating standards that use mesh networks and rely on frequencies other than those used by Wi-Fi, so those could be good alternatives.

Build your smart home sanctuary with our weekly smart home tips!
Sign up to get the latest smart home tips and product reviews directly in your inbox. For free!

By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

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 everyone 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 holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. In her free time, she volunteers at the local botanical garden and writers for the community newspaper.

Recent Articles

woman adjusting thermostat in bright home
The Best Home Security Systems of 2024
After thousands of hours of tests and research, we picked Vivint and SimpliSafe as the...
Man and woman couple wife husband set up surveillance security camera
Best Apartment Security Systems
These renter-friendly apartment security systems help keep you safe and require less commitment than your...
diy-security-system-on-ipad
Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2024
SimpliSafe is the best DIY home security system because it's cost-efficient, effective, and easy to...
happy older women sitting together
Best Medical Alert Necklaces
If you find yourself in an emergency, a medical alert necklace can contact trained professionals...