If you’re new to home automation, you could be forgiven for not being aware of Insteon. In a vertical dominated by global giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung, Insteon slips under the radar. Coming to market in 2005, what makes this OG of the smart home scene so good?
Why Invest in an Insteon Ecosystem?
The core benefit of Insteon is its exceptional reliability. Insteon is the only networking technology that harnesses two physical layers. Signals are transmitted both by RF and the existing power lines in your home. Signals are able to jump back and forth between these separate layers. For you, the consumer, this means inbuilt redundancy and a failure rate 100 times smaller than you’d get with a single-band network. A dual-mesh network, Insteon sees it signals repeated by other devices in the network. This is known as a hop. The message will hop from device to device until it reaches the responder. Every Insteon device acts as a repeater strengthening your ecosystem as you add more devices. Insteon has only a single class of devices where Z-Wave, Zigbee and other protocols have several classes. Set-up couldn’t be easier and using Insteon devices is straightforward even if you’re not the biggest tech-lover. We’ll get right down to business now with a complete Insteon ecosystem blow-by-blow…
A Complete Insteon Ecosystem in 10 Easy Steps
- Get Started With a Smart Home Hub
- Basic Smart Lighting
- Take Lighting To The Next Level with Dimmable Switches
- Automate Climate Control The Easy Way
- Customize Automation With The Best Sensors
- Prevent Leaks And Water Damage
- Uprate Dumb Appliances Indoors
- Smarten Up Old Outdoor Tech
- Wireless Remote Control
- Take The Helm From Your PC
1) Get Started With a Smart Home Hub
If you intend to construct an Insteon smart home, you’ll need to get started with the iconic Hub Central Controller
. This acts as a central gateway and allows you to control all your connected kit remotely or hands-free. Luckily, this is perhaps the cheapest home hub on the market as well as being one of the best. As with all Insteon tech, you’ll find it remarkably easy to use even if you’re a complete beginner. This revamped hub is now even easier to set up than before so you’ll be up and running in minutes right out the box. Wireless range is improved by fully 50% and you’ll get all the updates you need on-screen. The hub allows you to control other devices in your home from your smartphone or tablet remotely. You can also use either Google Assistant or Alexa for voice control if you have a smart speaker in place. Get things started on the right foot with your gateway in place. Check for compatibility with Insteon devices right here
. You can also grab this hub as a HomeKit-enabled version
2) Basic Smart Lighting
If you’re looking to smarten up your lighting the easy way, the classic On/Off Switch
allows you to take remote control of your lights using your smartphone. The 1800-watt unit allows you to take charge of any load including fans and motors so you can do more than just hit the lights. If you’re installing multiple switches of different types throughout your home, the new and streamlined paddle aesthetic helps you distinguish them at a glance. Automating and scheduling is a cinch using the nimble Insteon app and you’ll remove the workaday tedium from the lighting in your home. How about if you want a bit more scope with brightness levels? Insteon has you covered there, too…
3) Take It To The Next Level with Dimmable Lighting
The classic Smart Dimmer Switch
is a great way to notch things up once you’re confident with basic smart lighting. You’ll enjoy the same remote control in-app on your phone with the added ability to manipulate brightness levels. Create mood lighting throughout the house and make instant changes as necessary. Want to hit the lights mid-movie to answer a call? Fancy starting the day with the lights very gently kicking in? Do either and much more in-app. You can tweak the brightness levels you’re greeted with when you turn your lights on with ease. You can also fine-tune the way they fade off giving you total flexibility. These switches are designed to slot neatly into an Insteon ecosystem so make sure you’re committed to that to enjoy this superb smart lighting.
4) Automate Climate Control The Easy Way
How about uprating that fiddly old thermostat? If you’re sick of twisting those plastic dials, ratchet your climate control into the twenty-first century. The Remote Control Wall Thermostat
is designed to play nicely with pretty much any heating and cooling system. This Insteon thermostat is even a smooth fit with the more advanced multi-stage systems. As with any smart thermostat, you should consider it an investment rather than an expense. By automating and optimizing climate control, you could see electricity bills fall by up to 10%. This mounts up over time and gives a decent ROI. Compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, you’ll just need an Echo device
or Google Home
smart speaker. With that in place, you’ll get hands-free control. You can also use the thermostat as an Insteon controller so it triggers other devices in your ecosystem. You might not get the bells and whistles of Google Nest Learning
or the upscale GLAS Smart Thermostat
but the Insteon is more than fit for purpose. There’s no better choice for your Insteon ecosystem and it’s remarkably cheap into the bargain.
5) Customize Automation With The Best Sensors
As you become more proficient with home automation, you’ll likely want to incorporate a range of sensors into your ecosystem. The ability to add motion-activated functionality to devices gives you a wonderful extra layer of versatility. This Open/Close Sensor
enables you you control other smart devices whenever your doors open and close. One great use case for these sensors is a dingy cupboard or closet where you would end up grasping inside to find a light switch. Instead, enjoy automatic illumination as soon as the door is cracked. You’ll get up to 150 feet or wireless range which should be more than enough for most purposes. Running on batteries, the sensor is a cinch to install and equally easy to use. It effectively just runs in the background like all the best smart tech. You can also use these uprated Motion Sensors
. Completely redesigned and better than ever before, get your Insteon tech working whenever motion is detected. You can use these sensors in a number of ways to personalize actions in your connected home. Manual override is a neat feature baked in giving you complete control when you need it and effortless operation the rest of the time. Battery-powered, you can buy an optional USB power cord. This is the right-angled variant so a random cable from your pile probably won’t make a neat fit.
6) Prevent Leaks And Water Damage
A water leak sensor
might not be the most glamorous purchase you’ll make but it could end up saving your whole smart home. The beauty of the Insteon sensor lies in its simplicity. All you need to do is place the sensor on the floor with no need for any tools or wires at all. Pop it close to any source of potential water leaks and get an alert if moisture is detected. That way, you’ll be perfectly placed to act quickly even if you’re on the other side of the world. As with all Insteon kit, you’ll need the Hub Central Controller
to get the most from this sensor. Boasting an immense 10-year battery life, you’ll even get a battery thrown in to get you started. You can see your sensor is functioning at a glance. There’s a heartbeat indicator alerting you to device health. Save yourself the heartache and financial loss of catastrophic water damage by investing in this pocket-friendly sensor
7) Uprate Dumb Appliances Indoors
The iconic Remote Control Plug-In Module
makes a superb entry point to home automation if you’re a complete beginner but what does it do? Well, all you need to do is plug any old dumb appliance into this outlet then you can seize remote control. These modules work especially well indoors with older lamps. Rather than endlessly reaching down to switch them on and off, do so using your cellphone. If this isn’t quite convenient enough for you, bundle an Echo device
or Google Home
smart speaker and use your digital assistant of choice. All you’ll need to do is call out to fire up your fan or your coffee machine even if they’re not smart appliances. How about if you want to take this same idea outdoors? Well, you can do that with Insteon, too…
8) Smarten Up Old Outdoor Tech
The Outdoor On/Off Module
delivers equally robust performance in a weatherproofed unit NEMA 3R-tested to withstand some serious punishment. From landscape lighting to aquarium pumps, whatever you’ve got plugged in outside can be brought under remote control. This module is designed to work in temperatures from -4F to 122F so you’re all set even if you live somewhere with a hostile climate. As with all Insteon devices, you’ll benefit from the dependability of dual-band comms in a piece of tech that’s remarkably easy to use even for total novices.
9) Wireless Remote Control
Are you looking to expand the way to take control of your smart devices? If so, the Wireless Remote Control
might be just what you’ve been looking for. While we appreciate voice control is wonderfully convenient, it’s not for everyone. Do you have elderly relatives living with you at home? How about kids? Give everyone in your home complete control even if they’re not handy with apps and smartphones. You can mount this remote on the wall as a permanent, fixed solution or use it as a portable handheld. Use the 8 buttons to cycle through your Insteon-controlled lighting and appliances. Range is 50 feet from the nearest Insteon device or Access Point which should be ample for most needs. With elegant aesthetics and powerful performance in a compact form, what’s not to love?
10) Take The Helm From Your PC
Last but certainly not least, have you ever fancied using your PC as a hub for your smart devices? If you prefer using a desktop to a smartphone, why not consider this highly capable USB Interface
? This interface works with the following controllers:
- HCA (Home Control Assistant)
- Smartenit Utility Suite
- Vera (MiCasa Verde)
With this little powerhouse in place, you’ll be free to take charge of your Insteon ecosystem using PC-based and hardware-based controllers. What more could you want from your Insteon system?
By now, you should have a clear idea of the many ways you can build out an Insteon ecosystem for 2020. Before you head off, we’d urge you to bookmark our blog. The world might be going crazy with coronavirus dominating the news, but we’re super-busy here at Smarthome
. Come back soon if you’re looking for handy how-to guides, impartial reviews and all the latest smart home news
. As a final kicker, why not capitalize on a 20% discount if you’re a first time Smarthome customer? All you need to do to grab your coupon code is sign up for our email newsletter