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The Ins and Outs of Home Automation: An Interview with Tim Muzzie of Muzzie Electrical, LLC

By Tim Muzzie

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Muzzie Electrical, LLC is a full-service electrical contractor, home automation installer and general contractor for both residential and commercial jobs. We also do some minor plumbing installs and repairs, baseboard heating, emergency generators and transfer switches, bathroom, kitchen and whole house remodels. We do jobs from small to big in about a 60-mile radius of Windber, Pennsylvania and if the job is right we will also travel further to make new or existing customers happy. We are also a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and are registered with the Pa Attorney General office. Our PA license # is 008129.

Can you briefly explain what home automation is?

Home automation or Smart home can give you seamless control of all of the devices in your home from a mobile device, tablet or computer anywhere you are in the world to provide convenience, comfort and peace of mind. The term may be used for isolated programmable devices, like thermostats, sprinkler systems, lighting or even audio devices. But home automation more accurately describes homes in which nearly everything from entertainment to lights, appliances, electrical outlets, heating/cooling systems and security locks, doors and gates-- are hooked up to a remotely controllable network. There are two basic types or home automation devices

a) Plug and play with a lot of these just plug into outlets or use RF signals that talk to a main controller that are controllable via an ip address via a smart device, keypad or computer.

b) There is also a hardwired version, which is tied to a main brain unit using Cat 5 cables. These are usually controlled with a keypad located somewhere in the house. Some features are controllable or at least monitored through an ip address.

What's the current trend that you've seen for the automation of home electronic devices and systems?

Current trends in home automation are about integrating all of a home's systems into a centralized control that can be accessed from lots of devices like home-based/specified touch pad points, computer touch screens, smart phones, and mobile devices, such as iPads. You can plug a smart device into a wall outlet or change an existing wall switches to a smart switch that has a variety of capabilities, such as turning on and off devices and appliances: at certain times of the day, at sunset, sunrise, or any programmable time, when motion is sensed or when a signal is detected, such as the sound of a doorbell, in response to voice recognition, or in response to temperature variations.

Logging into the software interface, a homeowner can set up and direct the switches to accomplish any number of tasks. Your individualized program is then available via the internet from anywhere in the world, and can be adjusted with the click of a mouse or the tap of a smart phone or computer touch screen. The result is a highly personalized environment in which a house or business can react to an individual's needs or desires, and even anticipates changes. There is no more worrying about coffee makers being left on or lights left on or doors being unlocked. Your automation system will now take care of turning these things off or locking these things for you as well as controlling the rest of your house without even asking it to do any of this once you 'teach' it or it 'learns' all about you.

What are some of the basic options that a homeowner will need to decide on with this technology?

Some of the basic options a homeowner will need to decide with this technology is how much of their home they want to control, what they want to control and how much money they want to spend doing it.

How does the initial financial investment compare with the long-term savings that homeowners will get?

Initially the homeowner will probably spend more than they want on the initial system but down the road they will be glad they did once they enjoy the conveniences it has to offer and see the savings on the heating/cooling and electrical bill.

Do you have any general advice to help people who are considering home automation technology?

Think about what you might want your house to do for you and your family now, in a few months or in a year and base a system on that. It's best to talk with a home automation technician or installer to help you design a system that's right for your home or business needs. Some of these systems have a central brain that let you grow your home automation systems for future expansion.

Central brain systems tie all of your controlled devices through one internal main computer/module or "brain". If you purchase too small of a system with limited options or expansion options from the initial purchase you may have to spend a lot more money to upgrade your system later. It's better to spend a few more dollars on the better initial system with more features than you initially want rather than spending a lot later to upgrade it.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Best way for people to contact my company is to log on to my website WWW.MUZZIEELECTRICAL.COM, by calling (814) 467-4694 or emailing me directly at tim@muzzieelectrical.com.

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About The Author

Tim Muzzie is President and owner at Muzzie Electrical, LLC.

Phone: 814-467-4694

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