Smart devices are supposed to make our lives easier. When functioning as intended, these tools can make modern living more carefree. When such devices malfunction, however, they can have an opposite effect. Some people give up when faced with confusion or stressful tech challenges, chalking the devices up to being more trouble than they’re worth.
The next time you’re struggling with smart tech functionality, consider that you’re not alone: 12 percent of smart home device users say they have unresolved issues with their tools. Thankfully, many of the most common challenges have fairly simple answers – if you know what you’re looking for, of course! Keep these tips in mind the next time you feel like throwing in the towel with your smart home tech.
When Smart Devices Aren’t Syncing
The internet is littered with forum threads dedicated to this exact challenge. After all, getting your Google Home or Alexa to play nicely with your Nest or Ring shouldn’t be hard. Unfortunately, many smart home devices don’t always function well together as designed. If you’re having trouble syncing your tools, try doing a hard reset on the devices struggling to stay synced. Forgetting the network and re-adding each device to your home WiFi network can be a pain, but it’s the smart home equivalent of “turning it off and back on again.” You’d be surprised at just how many problems can be fixed with a fresh connection.
Another option? Consider investing in a smart home hub that can serve as a base for all your smart home tech. Your internet service provider can help – with a single device or app managing all the different systems and tools in your house, troubleshooting connectivity issues is a breeze.
How to Stop Batteries From Draining Too Quickly
Wireless tools are convenient and aesthetic additions to a home (no cords cluttering your space!) but where they fall short is their battery life. Cameras and motion sensors are especially prone to running through battery life quickly. Wireless tools are truly only as useful as long as their batteries last.
If you’re running into dead batteries more often than you’d like, check in on your device’s WiFi settings. The harder it has to work to connect, the more battery the device uses. If your smart home device is constantly searching for a connection or connecting to a weak signal, you may want to rethink where it lives. Placing smart tools closer to your router can help you extend the life of a charge while ensuring the tool is working as speedily as possible.
Why Devices Won’t Connect to the Network
A strong wireless network is the key to a successful smart home. Without it, your devices are less likely to work as intended. WiFi gives and WiFi takes away. Connectivity issues can make even the most straightforward devices malfunction.
Thankfully, most networking challenges are easily fixed by upgrading your router. As you add more devices to your home WiFi network, it makes sense to upgrade to more robust equipment. Especially large homes and apartments can benefit from a “mesh” network, extending the WiFi so devices in the furthest corners of your home have connectivity.
Making Sense of Confusing Error Messages
Sometimes, you can do everything right when setting up a new device and still come up short when it’s time for action. When traditional advice fails and error codes scramble your brain, turn to your trusty research skills. By searching the exact model number of your device and the error code you’re getting, you’ll inevitably net results online. If there’s an error to be had, chances are good that someone out there has already solved the problem.
Forum threads and troubleshooting sites aren’t always the fastest route to a solution, but if you’re hellbent on solving the issue on your own, they can be good resources. Of course, calling the manufacturer is an option, too, but many companies staff their customer service departments with employees who have never dealt with your specific error firsthand. Crowdsourcing tech support is often the best way to find a solution – or at least a workaround – to your problem.
Out of Control Remote Settings
Every tool has its drawbacks, and that’s especially true of complicated smart home devices. User interfaces aren’t always designed with the average homeowner in mind, making the management of a new smart thermostat or robot vacuum frustrating. When you’re shopping for these kinds of devices, look to review sites and unboxing videos for instructions on how best to use the new tool.
When you just can’t seem to get a handle on a tool’s mobile app, go back to basics. Look at the device itself for toggles, buttons, and switches to manage the simplest of tasks. While you’d ideally be able to manage the system from your phone, understanding the tool’s most rudimentary functions can help you make sense of the overall product design. After mastering the device’s levers and switches, you can graduate to an app (or hope for an update from the manufacturer!).
More Tips for Homeowners
As our houses become more and more connected, homeowners will look to inspectors for guidance on how best to wire their new spaces. That’s why ICA takes a 21st-century approach to training the next generation of home inspectors. Learn more about our offerings and see a demo of our online training course now.