This post was sponsored by Capital One Mortgage. All opinions are my own.
Installing the right smart home technology in your house can make your home more secure, make your family happier, and make lots of things about home life more convenient. I’ve shared my favorite time-saving smart home stuff for doing chores and mundane things, so that I can spend more time doing things I love with the people I love. And maybe some of what you’ve read might have inspired you to go out and buy something to install in your home.
When you get home from the store, don’t let all that excitement give way to fear. So many people lack confidence when it comes to technology, and I can understand why. Past experience with needlessly complicated (or just plain poorly-made) technology has ruined it for everyone. But I promise that so much of today’s smart home technology has been designed with you in mind— easy to DIY install, and easy to use. Still, if you’re knee-deep in instruction manuals and Ethernet cables, you might wish you had me by your side to dole out advice along the way. Well, I’ve got your back. Here’s my best advice for making the install process go smoothly.
First, read the instructions all the way through (No, really.)
Even though many companies are doing everything they can to make installing smart home products a breeze, many people feel pressure and a complete lack of confidence when they crack open that box and start to put things together. So before you get knee deep in app downloads and cable connections, it’s good to read the instructions once, slowly, and all the way through with a level head. Then it will all be fresh in your mind and you won’t feel like you’re flying blind. You’ll thank me later when you’re on Step 7.
Learn to “Mise en place”
That’s the French culinary phrase that translated means, “everything in its place” but refers to the set up and organization of all the ingredients before you start to make the meal. Any chef worth his salt will prep all his ingredients before, not during, the cooking process, so he’s not furiously trying to cube a chicken breast while the garlic is burning. Follow their lead and, before you begin, empty the box and lay out all the parts you’ll need neatly on a nearby table, so they’re easy to grab. Collect any tools or items you might need to get the job done (a screw driver, batteries, etc). Now you won’t have to step away from the process mid-job, which means you’ll be more likely to get to the end with no problems.
Pull up a video
You’re installing something that many people have installed before you, and many of them were wielding their Smartphone cameras while they did. YouTube is full of all kinds of reviews, how-tos, unboxings and installation demos, from enthusiasts and possibly from the brand itself, so you should have tons of visual help to rely on if the instruction manual falls flat, or if you’re just more of a visual learner.
Embrace the power cycle
Sometimes you get to a step in the process, and something that’s supposed to happen doesn’t. Before you fly off the rails, or walk away convinced someone has cursed you to fail at all-things tech, do one small thing: power cycle. The router, the laptop, the phone, the device. Whatever you can restart, give that a try, then start the set-up process again. Sometimes devices need firmware updates, or to do diagnostics on what went wrong, or computers need to restart before they can see new connections. And sometimes… well, there’s no reason why it should make a difference, but it magically does. Usually once you unplug a device (like a router) you should keep it unplugged for a few seconds (I count to ten) before you plug it in again. This ensures the memory is fully cleared before you boot it up. Pretty high-tech, huh?
Use Strong Passwords
You’re in the throes of installation. You’re almost at the end, and you just want it to work so you can get on with your life. You might even tell yourself, “I’ll go back later, and create a stronger password, but for now, I’ll just use 123abc…” Bad idea. First of all, you and I both know that you will never go back and reset that password. Second, it’s just a bad habit to get into. Setting a strong password is just about the most important step, and the key to keeping your home safe. Not creating a secure password is like installing a new front door and then leaving a sign on it that says, “I leave this unlocked a lot! Have a nice day!” (Get the picture?)
Smarter Home Loans
Whatever smart home products you’re thinking about installing, I have no doubt that you’ll love the feeling of being able to remotely control and monitor systems in your home. It saves time, brings piece of mind, and is incredibly convenient. Capital One’s Simply Smarter Home Loans® are all of those things too: They’ve streamlined and optimized the whole process of getting a home loan with interactive tools that you can access from anywhere at any time, taking the Monday-Friday 9-5 restrictions off the loans process and making it work on your schedule. From a convenient online-form-based mortgage prequalification ,to drafting a custom pre-qualification letter (the kind that sellers love because it shows how serious a buyer you are), the entire mortgage process is a perfect blend of digital and personal, (with help from real people if you need it). The whole home finance experience has re-engineered to be smarter. (Ahem.)
And don’t forget the sweepstakes!
Maybe you could WIN all the smart home stuff your heart desires! Capital One Mortgage is giving away incredible smart home packages all summer long! Enter the Simply Smarter Home Sweepstakes for your chance to win by taking the Simply Smarter Home Buying Quiz. You can enter once a day to increase your chances, and each week, they’ll announce one Grand Prize and two First Prize winners, so there’s lots of chances to win! Read official rules and enter at https://SimplySmarterSweepstakes.com.
- Six (6) Grand Prize Winners (one a week) will win the ultimate smart home system, fully installed with lighting, cameras, thermostat, security features and a smart assistant.
- Twelve (12) First Prize Winners (two a week) will score a smart assistant to control your devices, play music and more, all by voice.
Thank you to Capital One for sponsoring this post. These opinions are those of the author and not of Capital One. Unless noted otherwise in this post, Capital One is not affiliated with, nor is it endorsed by, any of the companies mentioned. All trademarks and other intellectual property used or displayed are the ownership of their respective owners.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes starts 7/10/17 at 12:00 PM ET and ends 8/21/17. Consists of 6 separate entry periods. Open only to eligible legal residents of the 50 United States/DC who are 18 years old and older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, entry periods, odds of winning, prize information, restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited. Sponsored by Capital One, N.A., 1680 Capital One Drive, McLean, VA 22102.