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We Tried a Home Automation System

By The Editors at HomePortfolio

Home automation systems can power your home technology from afar, and keep your home more secure. So of course, we gave one a try!

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My husband and I recently renovated a 1960s post-and-beam home. With the help of an architect and contractor, we updated the kitchen, added bathrooms, and turned a dirt-floor basement into a bright and inviting playroom for our young kids. We didn't, however, install a security system. Technically we live in a safe neighborhood, but that doesn't mean we're worry-free.

Our house has an unusual layout — kitchen on the top floor, playroom in the basement, bedrooms in the middle. I've burned many a meal racing to check out a commotion my kids are making downstairs. After doing some research, I learned that modern home automation and security systems offer the most convenient way to keep an eye on things from afar. But I didn't want to deal with a contract or a major installation project — and that's what got me to check out SAGE by Hughes.

SAGE is a versatile, DIY system. It's controlled through a hub that connects to your television (so if you're watching the finale of your favorite singing competition, you can use picture-in-picture monitoring to check on other parts of the house). You can also monitor the system from your smartphone or tablet. SAGE offers a number of different devices, combined into three specialized kits with optional accessories sold a la carte. I chose the Security Kit, which contains a motion sensor, an indoor camera, a doorbell sensor, and a door/window sensor, and seemed like the best fit for our needs. 

Ordering was easy (a friendly customer service representative handled a few questions that cropped up during the online purchasing process), and the system arrived in a few days.

While SAGE is designed for easy homeowner installation, I'm not that comfortable with wires, so I had our electrician (who was at our house working on another project) handle the doorbell sensor installation. It took him less than 5 minutes to set it up (which means I probably should have done it myself). My husband and I hooked up the rest of the devices on our own.

Of course, I put the indoor camera and motion sensor in our playroom and the door sensor on the nearest exterior door. Now I can see what our kids are up to, and if they're heading outside (which gives me time to turn the stove off before running down there in person). Of course these same devices can let me know if there's an intruder in our house while the family is away — because even though we're in a "safe" spot, it's always nice to be reassured.

One of the best features of SAGE (that I hope never to have to use) is called MyLocal911. If I do get an alert that a motion sensor has picked up activity while we're out, or see something scary with the camera, I can contact the authorities closest to our home with one touch (and not the 911 dispatcher in the place where we're vacationing).

So far, I'm very satisfied with the product. For a modest investment I've received a lot of peace of mind — and it's nice to know that SAGE has accessories for appliance monitoring that we can add to lower our bills this summer. For more information about SAGE by Hughes, visit their website.

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