Radio-based smart home systems in old buildings

Funkbasierte Smart-Home-Systeme im Altbau

When it comes to retrofitting smart home technology in old buildings, the experts agree: Purchasing a wired system only makes sense if you are still in the middle of the renovation and want to modernize the entire electrical installation at the same time. If this is not the case, a radio-based system is the better solution. As always, however, there are exceptions to the rule. We will explain to you what you should definitely consider before buying a radio-based smart home system.

Why is a smart home system useful in an old building?

When you think of an old building, you immediately think of beautiful facades and stucco decorations, a spacious room layout and high ceilings. However, anyone who lives in an unrenovated old building quickly gets to feel the downside: outdated building technology, drafty windows and poorly insulated walls cause energy costs to explode. Even after an energetic refurbishment, the heating costs remain an immense cost factor - a side effect of the impressive room height. There is also the fear of mold, especially in the basement and windowless bathroom.

So the old building is crying out for the installation of smart home technology:

  • With smart heating thermostats, you can significantly reduce your heating costs, protect the climate and at the same time increase the value of the property.
  • Smart temperature and humidity sensors, which can be coupled with a dehumidifier, ensure a good, mold-free room climate. If the room air is too humid, it is automatically activated.
  • In old buildings with high-quality parquet and plank floors, it also makes sense to install a smart water sensor that sends an alarm when water leaks (e.g. from the washing machine or dishwasher), which automatically ends up as a message on your smartphone.
  • In addition, the smart home system acts as an alarm system - particularly practical for outdated doors and windows that are easy for burglars to break through.
  • You can also pimp your smart home system for maximum living comfort, e.g. B. with extra components for automatic light control or smart speakers.

Why is wireless more convenient than wired?

Wireless smart home technology has a clear advantage compared to wired systems: no new cables need to be laid for installation and therefore no walls need to be opened. This of course saves a lot of time and money. For a well-equipped wireless smart home system, the acquisition costs are around ten euros per square meter of living space. This includes: the control panel, window contacts, radiator thermostats, smoke detectors, alarm sirens, water detectors and lighting controls. In any case, a wired solution costs a multiple of that.

Another advantage of the radio solution: You can assemble and commission the components of your radio-based system including the control center yourself - without the support of a specialist company.

A battery-operated contact of the smart alarm system is quickly attached to the window, as is the Heating "smartified" in no time at all. It's just as easy lighting integrate into the smart home system. A smartphone app guides you through the installation process. As you can see, the whole thing is really easy and done in no time. Basically. Because now we come to the few exceptions where the pitfalls lie in the details.

Is the range of the smart radio system sufficient for your application?

The range is always the Achilles heel of wireless smart home systems. You may know this from your WLAN: The further you are away from the WLAN router, the worse the reception. The same applies to radio-based smart home systems. The smart components can only communicate with the smart home center over a certain distance. If the distance is exceeded, the control no longer works reliably.

Our tip: Are you already eying a certain product? Then see what the manufacturer writes about range. The information is hidden behind the term "typical wireless free field range". At the smart home center from wesmartify, dem Access Point, the typical wireless free field range is 400 meters, for example.

Walls reduce the range of radio-based smart home systems

However, specifying the typical wireless free field range is not enough to ensure that the wireless Smart Home System covers the desired area in your apartment or house. Now the walls and ceilings come into play: the masonry “swallows” the radio transmission. At Wikipedia these effects are described very nicely:

“Each wall means a significant reduction in range. If there are several walls, this effect is multiplied so that if, for example, a wall attenuates the signal by 75%, the free-field range of 100 meters with 2 walls becomes just over 6 meters (100 m × 0.25 × 0, 25)."

This means that the more walls the radio waves have to overcome and the thicker the walls, the shorter the range. Metal in walls and ceilings also reduces the range.

Also important to know: Radio is not just radio, because the systems on the market use different wavelengths. Does the system work e.g. B. on the frequency 868 MHz, the waves can penetrate through walls and ceilings more easily than in the short-wave 2.4 gigahertz band. In order to further minimize the susceptibility to errors in wireless data transmission, some smart home systems are doubly secured via the so-called Bidirectional Communication Standard (BidCoS ): Here the wireless receiver confirms that it has really received the transmitted wireless signal - the sending of the wireless signal is automatic repeated until confirmation is received.

The higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength and the more information is absorbed by obstacles such as walls.

Our tip: Before purchasing, think carefully about which rooms should be "smartified" in the future and - if available - whether outdoor areas such as the terrace, the (front) garden, the backyard or the garage are also included. The latter is particularly important because the old building has solid masonry. This clean planning may seem a bit annoying at first, but it is of great importance for the smooth operation of your radio-based smart home system. Only when you know which area should be smart can you calculate whether the range of the control center is sufficient for the smart home installation you are planning - or whether radio amplifiers may have to be integrated.

Is everything too complicated?

Is your head spinning now? Are you unsure whether a radio system is really suitable for your old building? And you don't want to put a lot of brain power into planning your smart home system? Then let the planning and googling be easy and get free support from a specialist. Wesmartify has introduced free on-site advice for all those who don't want to be tangled up in technology - of course without any obligation to buy. If you prefer a one-to-one conversation, make an appointment with a smart home consultant, either by phone or send us your request using the contact form on our website.

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Already knew? The KfW banking group promotes "intelligent building projects and retrofitting systems that ensure safety, living comfort and energy efficiency - as part of an age-appropriate conversion or as an additional measure in an energy-saving renovation". Check your options below

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