Home automation

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
karpems
Posts: 133
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:35 am

Home automation

Post by karpems » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:24 pm

Based on the advice of people on this forum, we have installed a simplisafe alarm system and love it. I have now integrated cameras and have the home automation "bug".

I want to integrate all our locks, lights, garage door openers, etc. Anyone have any experience with any hubs and peripherals? Smartthings vs Wink vs Iris etc.

Thanks!

tbradnc
Posts: 1484
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:30 am

Re: Home automation

Post by tbradnc » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:51 pm

One thing to consider is what effect all of the automation will have on prospective buyers if you should ever want to sell your home.

Several years back (6), I also got the home automation bug and spent a small fortune replacing switches, outlets, etc. - even put a device on our water heater that would turn it off and on at preset times.

It was pretty impressive until we put our house on the market and having our realtor inform us multiple times that prospective buyers liked the house but were put off by all the gadgetry. Eventually I pulled out the bulk of it and put conventional components back in and after that the house sold pretty quickly.

Valuethinker
Posts: 33422
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Home automation

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:53 am

tbradnc wrote:One thing to consider is what effect all of the automation will have on prospective buyers if you should ever want to sell your home.

Several years back (6), I also got the home automation bug and spent a small fortune replacing switches, outlets, etc. - even put a device on our water heater that would turn it off and on at preset times.

It was pretty impressive until we put our house on the market and having our realtor inform us multiple times that prospective buyers liked the house but were put off by all the gadgetry. Eventually I pulled out the bulk of it and put conventional components back in and after that the house sold pretty quickly.


And the technology quickly goes obsolete.

It's depressing to hear that the water heater timer might have become an issue-- I had thought those are pretty standard. My Mum (in North America) is on time of day pricing, and uses as little electricity as possible in peak hours. She heats up the water in the morning before she gets up, and doesn't usually run it again until after 9pm.

Main home wiring I can think of now is internet and stereo/ TV to many rooms and I would have *thought* (not knew) that this is pretty standard with home buyers, now?

Valuethinker
Posts: 33422
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: Home automation

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:57 am

karpems wrote:Based on the advice of people on this forum, we have installed a simplisafe alarm system and love it. I have now integrated cameras and have the home automation "bug".

I want to integrate all our locks, lights, garage door openers, etc. Anyone have any experience with any hubs and peripherals? Smartthings vs Wink vs Iris etc.

Thanks!


On locks, I wouldn't. In that, a lock is your home's final security defence, and the best one (to be clear, most home security people will tell you that a good lock on a cheap door is no defence, you are only as strong as your weakest point-- but most home burglaries at least in urban areas are opportunistic, and the door is the first thing they try other than an open window*).

If something goes wrong (power failure?) your automated systems just won't work.

* a friend on a very expensive road back home (Canada) lightning had shorted the home security system. What the burglars did was attach a tow rope to the front door and just pulled the whole door out. Lost a lot of heirlooms which had been in the family for generations. One of the problems with very expensive areas is privacy from your neighbours (who may not know you, and may not be at home).

itstoomuch
Posts: 4837
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 12:17 pm
Location: midValley OR

Re: Home automation

Post by itstoomuch » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:43 pm

We got a D.O.G.
ShihTsu branded. Low maintenance but not much of watch-warn-alert system.
You get what you pay for. :annoyed :annoyed

(It is however, "Portable")
Rev90517; 4 Incm stream buckets: SS+pension; dfr'd GLWB VA & FI anntys, by time & $$ laddered; Discretionary; Rentals. LTCi. Own, not asset. Tax 25%. Early SS. FundRatio (FR) >1.1 67/70yo

Raladic
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:56 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by Raladic » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:45 pm

I have a Vera Edge system which is based on zwave communication, which is the most widely used standard at this point in time (many manufacturers make zwave components, GE, ecolink, aeon labs,..).

Smarthub is zwave too I think.
Iris is a mixture of zwave and zigbee, basically meaning you can't change to a different provider (since most other hubs would mostly be zwave only).
Insteon is its own proprietary system and protocol (therefore more expensive per component because the manufacturer doesn't have anyone competing for making components)

I would add that right now, all of this is still somewhat experimental and you do need to be technical if you want to install it all yourself as the whole technology is still not really ready for the simple plug and play end user in my opinion, but if you're okay with that then you can amaze your spouse the first time (and many times thereafter) you turn all lights in the living room off with the click of a button on your phone.

User avatar
vitaflo
Posts: 818
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:02 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by vitaflo » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:28 pm

Full disclosure, I'm good friends with the owners of SmartThings. That said, I love the device. Our new house came outfitted with a lot of zwave devices (Schlage stuff mostly), which I've since paired with SmartThings. Their support is great and if you're programming minded you can write your own apps for it. The only negative is that some of the settings in the app are a little counter-intuitive. Once it's set up though it works great.

On a side note, I think a lot of people get a bit too automated in their thinking on this stuff. To me the goal isn't to use your phone to turn your lights on when you're at home, that's what a light switch is for. The goal should be to alert you to things happening or automatically do things on your behalf.

For example, we have ST set up to alert us if we forget to close the garage door at night, or if we're both gone and it's left open (and then we can close it remotely). We have a water sensor by the sump pump that will alert us if it overflows. We have an outlet my wife's flat iron is plugged into set to automatically turn off 15 mins after it's turned on, in case she forgets to turn off the flat iron so we don't burn the house down. Stuff like that.

Of course we can control our lights and our furnace, etc from our phone, but we rarely use that. Perhaps we'll turn up the heat on our way back home from vacation after we turned it down while we left, or we'll have crawled in bed and notice we forgot to turn the downstairs light off and don't want to get out of bed so we turn it off from our phone. But otherwise, we just set up the automated parts to protect us and let it be. We use regular light switches, furnace controls on the wall, normal door locks, etc, in every day life still.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 11814
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by Watty » Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:46 pm

tbradnc wrote:One thing to consider is what effect all of the automation will have on prospective buyers if you should ever want to sell your home.

Several years back (6), I also got the home automation bug and spent a small fortune replacing switches, outlets, etc. - even put a device on our water heater that would turn it off and on at preset times.

It was pretty impressive until we put our house on the market and having our realtor inform us multiple times that prospective buyers liked the house but were put off by all the gadgetry. Eventually I pulled out the bulk of it and put conventional components back in and after that the house sold pretty quickly.


+1

You also need to deal with the technical lowest ability of a household. I was just visiting someone that had a very fancy new stove with lots of electronics. Unfortunately it was too complex for her 75 year old mother in law to figure out how to heat up some water.

Ldevelopment
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by Ldevelopment » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:13 pm

I looked into home automation as well, but what turned me off was the programming costs for some of the systems. If something goes wrong and it's out of warranty, I was told $90 an hour to work on the system. Or if you make any changes etc...

Raladic
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:56 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by Raladic » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:20 pm

Ldevelopment wrote:I looked into home automation as well, but what turned me off was the programming costs for some of the systems. If something goes wrong and it's out of warranty, I was told $90 an hour to work on the system. Or if you make any changes etc...

There's an important distinction to make here - one can buy a whole system from a provider with a fee like xfinity, at&t... OR they can do it themselves, such as with Vera or Smarthub, in this case the whole setup is on yourself, thus you buy the components and program them yourself, saving on the labor and ongoing costs (as they don't have a subscription fee to pay), but do require you to be technical enough to be able to program it.

Ldevelopment
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by Ldevelopment » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:32 am

Raladic wrote:
Ldevelopment wrote:I looked into home automation as well, but what turned me off was the programming costs for some of the systems. If something goes wrong and it's out of warranty, I was told $90 an hour to work on the system. Or if you make any changes etc...

There's an important distinction to make here - one can buy a whole system from a provider with a fee like xfinity, at&t... OR they can do it themselves, such as with Vera or Smarthub, in this case the whole setup is on yourself, thus you buy the components and program them yourself, saving on the labor and ongoing costs (as they don't have a subscription fee to pay), but do require you to be technical enough to be able to program it.


I guess I was Mai it talking about control 4 And crestron systems that require advanced programmers to change or fix problems.

User avatar
Epsilon Delta
Posts: 6574
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:00 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:21 pm

vitaflo wrote:We have an outlet my wife's flat iron is plugged into set to automatically turn off 15 mins after it's turned on, in case she forgets to turn off the flat iron so we don't burn the house down. Stuff like that.


Someday after you sell your home you will develop an inexplicable pain. A future resident of your home will have cursed you. Not without cause. :twisted:

That's one problem with digitally controlled systems, the range of possible behavior is very large, almost unbounded, and many of them are indistinguishable from faults. This is useful if you want them to do strange things, but a bear if they are doing strange things you don't want them to do. Even if you know the system is digitally controlled and you have access to the programmer it's still a problem.

rexhat
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:56 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by rexhat » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:36 pm

Hi we are purchasing a home and was wondering if there were any new suggestions on this topic since 2015. Any particular systems/technologies that are great for home automation? I'm tech savvy and would be able to work on a lot myself.

Thanks

bluebolt
Posts: 555
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:01 am

Re: Home automation

Post by bluebolt » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:42 pm

rexhat wrote:Hi we are purchasing a home and was wondering if there were any new suggestions on this topic since 2015. Any particular systems/technologies that are great for home automation? I'm tech savvy and would be able to work on a lot myself.

Thanks
If you're a techie then you will have the skill & patience to make SmartThings work for you. It's customizable via apps and writing your own drivers/apps (in Groovy).

Download the CoRE app if you get SmartThings. It's a customizable rules engine.

rexhat
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:56 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by rexhat » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:48 pm

Maybe not willing to sink in that much time. I meant I'm willing to figure stuff out, but writing code is more than I'd be willing to do. Spending hours debugging would drive my wife crazy...

bluebolt
Posts: 555
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:01 am

Re: Home automation

Post by bluebolt » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:20 pm

rexhat wrote:Maybe not willing to sink in that much time. I meant I'm willing to figure stuff out, but writing code is more than I'd be willing to do. Spending hours debugging would drive my wife crazy...
The baseline of getting it to work and setting up rules doesn't require any coding.
With CoRE, you can create really complex rules without writing code.

The coding piece only comes in if there's not something out there to meet your need or if you just really want to tinker. Totally not necessary.

rexhat
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:56 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by rexhat » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:52 pm

thanks will check it out.

radiowave
Posts: 1303
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by radiowave » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:59 pm

I have a few Insteon switches and wall plugs integrated into a Universal Devices ISY-994. The pluses: convenience in turning on/controlling lights. E.g from our upstairs bedroom I can turn on several first floor lights during the night if we hear something suspicious. Cost is a factor and have over a grand in the system to date. I was thinking of getting an Elk alarm panel but holding off on that for now. Programming the ISY is not too bad as it is event based, if x do y. The negative other than costs is I've had about 4 failures to date on the Insteon switches (2 were the 8 button variety). If you are doing a new home build, put in the extra deep electrical junction boxes just a few cents more. Also, with a new build, get as much wire behind walls as possible, e.g. hard wire doors, windows, motion detection, etc. for integration into the automation system.

As for selling the house, I did a full installation hard wiring of our first house with the idea I was going to have a few years when I finished grad school to have some fun. Well I got a position in another city and we sold it to a nurse whose only question was what was the code for the alarm system.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

VaR
Posts: 388
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 11:27 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by VaR » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:17 am

I have had good experiences with both Smartthings and Wink. The one thing I'd consider outside of that is Homekit if you're an Apple family.

The three things I'd recommend are:
1. Write down your important use cases and make sure that the system you design fulfills those. I think this is particularly important for door locks.
2. Go with a mainstream hardware communication protocol like z-wave. Z-wave is compatible with a number of different systems - Smartthings and Wink being two important ones.
3. Make sure your home works as a dumb home as well as a smart home. This means have locks that take keys as well as automation. Also make sure that your light switches make sense - don't have lights that are only switchable by automation - and make sure that hallways lights have three-way switches, etc.

I'm amazed that people would find a smart home unsellable unless it was weirdly designed. Could people not turn on the lights in each room or something?

Bacchus01
Posts: 1147
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by Bacchus01 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:23 am

I'm digging up this thread instead of creating a new one.

I am more interested in some home automation things. I don't, however, want to go with a whole house system and I'm not really sure I need everything to talk to each other. Some things that I'm looking at and would like some thoughts from people.

- Thermostat - I just bought an Ecobee3 with 2 remote sensors. HD had it on sale for $199. I am hoping to get it installed this weekend. I love the concept of it and I'm not even sure I care so much about huge savings on it, but I like the learning capability and the ability to monitor several rooms.

- Garage door opener - I have very nice liftmaster Jackshaft openers so I don't want to replace them. I am thining of getting the MyQ system and using them on my doors. Why? Well, my kids don't seem to know how to close the garage doors and we do have instances of crime in the area. I also like the feature that will automatically close your door at a certain time (e.g. 10PM, it checks of closed and if not, closes it). It will also tell me if the door has been opened. This is handy if our oldest son comes home late (we go to bed early, so late might be 11PM), I can quickly tell on my phone whether he's in the house or not.

- Lights - I have several outdoor lights that are on timers, but the switches and timers are about 10+ years old and the interface is difficult. I'd like to replace two of them with wifi-enabled automatic timers. Any brands to consider here? Again, I want simple. I don't need anything that ties to a whole house system if that means a lot of extra cost. I would like the ability to control from an APP.

- Wifi irrigation controller - I'd like the ability to control my irrigation system, including zones, times, etc. from an APP as well. I have Toro and would upgrade to a latest controller if it's worthwhile. Does anyone have one and how do they work for you?

- Cameras - I'd like to install a few external wifi cameras that are just locally controlled. Any suggestions on a simple system. The areas that they will be watching are partially lit at night, so complete dark capability is not required. Would like to control again from an APP that I can see video as well.

Any other features or automation you've installed that really make sense?

mervinj7
Posts: 371
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by mervinj7 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:26 am

Have you also thought about adding an Amazon Echo or Google Home for voice control? I was amazed how quickly my family got used it even though not everybody is as techy as me. Even my 72 year-old French mother-in-law commands the Google Home to turn off the lights.

bluebolt
Posts: 555
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:01 am

Re: Home automation

Post by bluebolt » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:55 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:23 am
I'm digging up this thread instead of creating a new one.

I am more interested in some home automation things. I don't, however, want to go with a whole house system and I'm not really sure I need everything to talk to each other. Some things that I'm looking at and would like some thoughts from people.

- Thermostat - I just bought an Ecobee3 with 2 remote sensors. HD had it on sale for $199. I am hoping to get it installed this weekend. I love the concept of it and I'm not even sure I care so much about huge savings on it, but I like the learning capability and the ability to monitor several rooms.

- Garage door opener - I have very nice liftmaster Jackshaft openers so I don't want to replace them. I am thining of getting the MyQ system and using them on my doors. Why? Well, my kids don't seem to know how to close the garage doors and we do have instances of crime in the area. I also like the feature that will automatically close your door at a certain time (e.g. 10PM, it checks of closed and if not, closes it). It will also tell me if the door has been opened. This is handy if our oldest son comes home late (we go to bed early, so late might be 11PM), I can quickly tell on my phone whether he's in the house or not.

- Lights - I have several outdoor lights that are on timers, but the switches and timers are about 10+ years old and the interface is difficult. I'd like to replace two of them with wifi-enabled automatic timers. Any brands to consider here? Again, I want simple. I don't need anything that ties to a whole house system if that means a lot of extra cost. I would like the ability to control from an APP.

- Wifi irrigation controller - I'd like the ability to control my irrigation system, including zones, times, etc. from an APP as well. I have Toro and would upgrade to a latest controller if it's worthwhile. Does anyone have one and how do they work for you?

- Cameras - I'd like to install a few external wifi cameras that are just locally controlled. Any suggestions on a simple system. The areas that they will be watching are partially lit at night, so complete dark capability is not required. Would like to control again from an APP that I can see video as well.

Any other features or automation you've installed that really make sense?
I have all of the above and more, most of which is tied together through my SmartThings hub. Recently, you've been able to get the hub for $49, which is a pretty good deal for what you get.

That said, it may require some trial and error to get things set up the way you want, so might not be worth the hassle for you.

If you don't go in that direction (smart home hub), you have to choose between using a smart speaker (Alexa, Google Home) to tie together different systems, or control them separately via separate apps. The pros to the smart home hubs like SmartThings is that they are compatible with lots of different systems & devices. You can also set up rules that tie different devices & systems together. You can't do that with separate apps.

To answer some of your specific questions:

Irrigation - Rachio and Rainmachine are the leading controllers and both get good reviews and work well. I like that Rainmachine can theoretically work if the company goes away. At the time I was shopping for these, that wasn't the case for Rachio.

Lights - this could get an entire thread of its own. You have the choice between individual smart bulbs, smart switches/dimmers, smart outlets and/or smart lighting systems (like Philps Hue). I'm partial to smart switches, but it can get expensive depending on how many you are replacing. I'm very happy with my Lutron Caseta dimmers, which have the benefit of not requiring a neutral wire. In one case where there is a single outdoor bulb, I just have a smart bulb and didn't bother replacing the switch.

Cameras - I don't have my cameras tightly integrated into my automation system. I can check all of them from my camera app, but don't have them tied in to my smart hub. If I get an alert about a motion detector being triggered, I will just open up the camera app & check it out.

In terms of other features, having sensors on your doors (and windows) and motion sensors in your home might make sense if you want to know comings & goings. Also, proximity sensors which can turn things on/off depending on whether people are at home. These all work best within a smart home hub configuration.

Feel free to ask me any other questions either in the thread or via PM and I'm happy to help if I can.

clutchied
Posts: 423
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by clutchied » Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:46 pm

karpems wrote:
Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:24 pm
Based on the advice of people on this forum, we have installed a simplisafe alarm system and love it. I have now integrated cameras and have the home automation "bug".

I want to integrate all our locks, lights, garage door openers, etc. Anyone have any experience with any hubs and peripherals? Smartthings vs Wink vs Iris etc.

Thanks!
it's shocking how cheap it is now to automate.

Think about those crestron systems from the 90's... wow!

gretah
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:14 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by gretah » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:18 pm

I'm concerned about security systems integrated with wifi. They can be hacked.

CNN recently posted a news item about a casino being robbed. The thieves got into the computer system through a smart fish tank.
http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/19/technol ... index.html

GenIroh
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:51 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by GenIroh » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:54 pm

300,000 American Homes Open To Hacks Of 'Unfixable' SimpliSafe Alarm

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrew ... 705c633b00

Bacchus01
Posts: 1147
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by Bacchus01 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:22 am

bluebolt wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:55 pm
Bacchus01 wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:23 am
I'm digging up this thread instead of creating a new one.

I am more interested in some home automation things. I don't, however, want to go with a whole house system and I'm not really sure I need everything to talk to each other. Some things that I'm looking at and would like some thoughts from people.

- Thermostat - I just bought an Ecobee3 with 2 remote sensors. HD had it on sale for $199. I am hoping to get it installed this weekend. I love the concept of it and I'm not even sure I care so much about huge savings on it, but I like the learning capability and the ability to monitor several rooms.

- Garage door opener - I have very nice liftmaster Jackshaft openers so I don't want to replace them. I am thining of getting the MyQ system and using them on my doors. Why? Well, my kids don't seem to know how to close the garage doors and we do have instances of crime in the area. I also like the feature that will automatically close your door at a certain time (e.g. 10PM, it checks of closed and if not, closes it). It will also tell me if the door has been opened. This is handy if our oldest son comes home late (we go to bed early, so late might be 11PM), I can quickly tell on my phone whether he's in the house or not.

- Lights - I have several outdoor lights that are on timers, but the switches and timers are about 10+ years old and the interface is difficult. I'd like to replace two of them with wifi-enabled automatic timers. Any brands to consider here? Again, I want simple. I don't need anything that ties to a whole house system if that means a lot of extra cost. I would like the ability to control from an APP.

- Wifi irrigation controller - I'd like the ability to control my irrigation system, including zones, times, etc. from an APP as well. I have Toro and would upgrade to a latest controller if it's worthwhile. Does anyone have one and how do they work for you?

- Cameras - I'd like to install a few external wifi cameras that are just locally controlled. Any suggestions on a simple system. The areas that they will be watching are partially lit at night, so complete dark capability is not required. Would like to control again from an APP that I can see video as well.

Any other features or automation you've installed that really make sense?
I have all of the above and more, most of which is tied together through my SmartThings hub. Recently, you've been able to get the hub for $49, which is a pretty good deal for what you get.

That said, it may require some trial and error to get things set up the way you want, so might not be worth the hassle for you.

If you don't go in that direction (smart home hub), you have to choose between using a smart speaker (Alexa, Google Home) to tie together different systems, or control them separately via separate apps. The pros to the smart home hubs like SmartThings is that they are compatible with lots of different systems & devices. You can also set up rules that tie different devices & systems together. You can't do that with separate apps.

To answer some of your specific questions:

Irrigation - Rachio and Rainmachine are the leading controllers and both get good reviews and work well. I like that Rainmachine can theoretically work if the company goes away. At the time I was shopping for these, that wasn't the case for Rachio.

Lights - this could get an entire thread of its own. You have the choice between individual smart bulbs, smart switches/dimmers, smart outlets and/or smart lighting systems (like Philps Hue). I'm partial to smart switches, but it can get expensive depending on how many you are replacing. I'm very happy with my Lutron Caseta dimmers, which have the benefit of not requiring a neutral wire. In one case where there is a single outdoor bulb, I just have a smart bulb and didn't bother replacing the switch.

Cameras - I don't have my cameras tightly integrated into my automation system. I can check all of them from my camera app, but don't have them tied in to my smart hub. If I get an alert about a motion detector being triggered, I will just open up the camera app & check it out.

In terms of other features, having sensors on your doors (and windows) and motion sensors in your home might make sense if you want to know comings & goings. Also, proximity sensors which can turn things on/off depending on whether people are at home. These all work best within a smart home hub configuration.

Feel free to ask me any other questions either in the thread or via PM and I'm happy to help if I can.
Thanks! I'm not really sure the why I need a hub. I guess it simplifies things, but I'm not sure I need that completely.

I am installing my Ecobee3 today and getting a MyQ garage opener/monitor. That's 2 apps.

I am also considering getting the Arlo 3 camera set from Costco. I would like one for front door, side area/garage, and back patio. That set would work fine.

I'd like to get probably 2-3 smart switches. That should cover what I need.

Lastly is the irrigation controller. I'm thinking Toro because the rest is Toro. This would be a nice to have, not a needed thing.

So, that's 5 apps. The hub would allow me to integrate those to one app? Is that the advantage?

bluebolt
Posts: 555
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:01 am

Re: Home automation

Post by bluebolt » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:16 am

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:22 am
Thanks! I'm not really sure the why I need a hub. I guess it simplifies things, but I'm not sure I need that completely.

I am installing my Ecobee3 today and getting a MyQ garage opener/monitor. That's 2 apps.

I am also considering getting the Arlo 3 camera set from Costco. I would like one for front door, side area/garage, and back patio. That set would work fine.

I'd like to get probably 2-3 smart switches. That should cover what I need.

Lastly is the irrigation controller. I'm thinking Toro because the rest is Toro. This would be a nice to have, not a needed thing.

So, that's 5 apps. The hub would allow me to integrate those to one app? Is that the advantage?
Your approach is fine.

A hub would allow you to:
a) use a single app to control the various devices in your home
b) integrate different devices through rules or scenes; e.g. motion detector in the hallway is triggered, turn on the hall lights for 5 minutes; Or, turn off all lights at 11pm and set the alarm to notify you if any doors are opened.
c) add devices easily. Any compatible device can be paired with the hub and integrated into the app easily.

User avatar
fizxman
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:44 am

Re: Home automation

Post by fizxman » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:23 am

We have two WeMo light switches linked to our Amazon Echo / Dots and like it. The switches are in a 2-gang box right inside our front door. One is for the front porch light and another is for the light right inside the front door. The switches are programmed to turn on at dusk and turn off at 10 pm every day but you can set up all sorts of rules for when to have them turn on and off. Plus if we're out late, we can turn the lights on with the phone app before we get home. The echo and two dots allow us to turn the lights on/off from pretty much anywhere in the house. Down in our basement past 10 pm, "Alexa, turn on the inside lights." Now we go upstairs where the lights are on.

We also have two Nest cameras. Both are inside but one sits on a window and points outside while the other is on a shelf and points inside. We have on-street parking and the outside facing camera looks at our two cars 24/7 while the inside facing camera covers pretty much everything inside. We got the outside facing camera after my wife's car had her wheels stolen in the middle of the night.

We also have the Ecobee 3 with three sensors, one in each place we congregate, bedroom, living room, and finished basement plus the one built into the thermostat itself which is in the hallway.

We thought about getting a smart lock for doors but the thought of someone hacking it and getting inside is too scary for us. We also thought about one of those doorbells with the camera but we have a peephole and just don't answer if we don't want to. I don't think there's anything else we've considered getting to make the home smarter.

mrb09
Posts: 83
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:02 am

Re: Home automation

Post by mrb09 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:10 am

I've been happy with zwave light switches and a smartthings hub. The iphone app for the hub makes it easy to do dawn/dusk based on actual sunset, or turn on/off a set of switches, stuff like that. You can trigger events from other devices, I have a mini-remote that we use to set three sets of lights to a pre-set dim level for TV watching. You can code your own routines (and I actually am a coder), but the built-in routines in the app are good enough, I haven't bothered custom coding.

User avatar
Go Blue 99
Posts: 779
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:42 pm

Re: Home automation

Post by Go Blue 99 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:08 pm

We just moved into a new house and I’m starting to get into home automation.

Front door: we have a Schlage touchscreen lock. It connects to zwave but I haven’t bought a hub yet.

Alarm: our alarm company has an app that allows you to remotely control it. It also sends me pictures when there is motion.

Thermostat: I bought a couple of Ecobee 3 thermostats for $99 each, but I haven’t installed them. Our builder actually put in a Honeywell lyric WiFi thermostat on one floor. I love being able to control the temp when I’m away.

That’s it for now. I’m also interested in Ring doorbell, myQ garage, and nest outdoor cameras.

Smokey21
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:07 am

Re: Home automation

Post by Smokey21 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:55 am

Has anyone installed Nest thermostats themselves, particularly on a multi-zone system?

We have three thermostats with two HVAC units. Wondering if anyone has any advice or warnings.

Post Reply