Smart home smart devices

jmanic

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#1
There has been some talk of these things, but I don’t think there’s a thread for this yet.

Looking to enter the smart home market with a thermostat (heat only) with humidity sensor, maybe drip sensors and smart outlets.

I don’t plan to have Alexa or the like.
Voice activation and geofencing are not so important, remote access and monitoring are the priority.

Just want to think this through, as far as compatible devices and best fit for the smart home platform, because I’m sure I’ll want to add stuff down the line.

What you all rocking in terms of devices and platforms?
Why’d you choose what you did?
Positive/negative impressions are equally informative.
 

Flaubert

Formerly RobW
#4
Just got google home as a gift, would of liked Alexa. You can get smart light switches for pennies more than replacement switches, or so I hear from my electrician. Sadly when we renovated, the wife said... no, not this house. Now she wishes she had the smart switches
 

jShort

2018 Fantasy Football Toilet Bowl Lead Technician
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#5
I've had a Honeywell thermostat hooked up the wifi for 6ish years and no issues. Not much to it.

For lights, I use Google to turn on the Christmas lights out front, deck lights out back. I have a few cheap TP Link smart outlets that let me turn on a few random indoor lights when we're away and it makes it look like someone is home.
I also use a nest cam looking in the driveway. Comes in handy to see when cleaning people come and go, UPS deliveries, wife is home or not ;).

Most things work with both Google and Alexa. At least that I've seen. And if not, there's always something similar.
 
#6
There has been some talk of these things, but I don’t think there’s a thread for this yet.

Looking to enter the smart home market with a thermostat (heat only) with humidity sensor, maybe drip sensors and smart outlets.

I don’t plan to have Alexa or the like.
Voice activation and geofencing are not so important, remote access and monitoring are the priority.

Just want to think this through, as far as compatible devices and best fit for the smart home platform, because I’m sure I’ll want to add stuff down the line.

What you all rocking in terms of devices and platforms?
Why’d you choose what you did?
Positive/negative impressions are equally informative.
I have a nest, I can lower the temp when my wife raises it to 72 while I'm at work... I'm not made of money! In all seriousness scheduling tep changes is nice 9pm drop down to 66 8am goes to 69/68 and if no one is home 65. When my furnace short cycles it kicks me a notification so I change my filter and it took 3 minutes to install, and I'm color blind
 

qclabrat

Well-Known Member
#10
50s are too low, unless you have a drafty home. The furnace will work overtime to get it up 10 degrees.
If you haven't, worth getting heat loss assessment. It can save you bundles.
I have the Lennox iComfort controllers, it's okay but if I did it again, I'd probably just go with Nest or Ring.

@Mathers
how are the AMX appliances? My brother like them 20 years ago, when everything need to be wired and cost a ton to put in.
Nowadays, it seems so much cheaper with wifi tech
 

Mathers

Well-Known Member
#11
50s are too low, unless you have a drafty home. The furnace will work overtime to get it up 10 degrees.
If you haven't, worth getting heat loss assessment. It can save you bundles.
I have the Lennox iComfort controllers, it's okay but if I did it again, I'd probably just go with Nest or Ring.

@Mathers
how are the AMX appliances? My brother like them 20 years ago, when everything need to be wired and cost a ton to put in.
Nowadays, it seems so much cheaper with wifi tech
Not familiar with Amx too much but it’s on Par with Crestron which to me is the Rolls Royce of Av. Crestron even has realtively cheap processors and hardware now. The DIY is driving the market in a good and bad way.
Crestro switches all work of a mesh network that each device will expand on.
 
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fidodie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#14
at home:
running a zwave platform for home automation using nexia. $100/yr -
provides interface to lights, shades, locks, camera, garage doors, door bells, etc.
my thermostats are venstar - they are wifi, and don't require any subscription. lots of options - work great.
my leak detection is stand alone at the washing machine. battery driven valves - sensor below the hoses gets wet, no alarm.
the valve shuts off - they make one for the water main, and hot water heater too (i don't have a tank.)
i also have a tank alarm on the basement bathroom

the nexia platform provides higher level functions on timers (like door opened by pet sitter) and events (like sunrise)

at the cabin:
honeywell wifi thermostat
arlo camera with motion and audio detection
some other wifi outlet thing for the water heater.
propane tank monitor (tank utility on my iphone) - wifi
Rollie oil tank monitor (wifi)
 

rlb

Well-Known Member
#16
I've had an Ecobee thermostat for 4? years now and I have zero complaints. I got it because I wasn't impressed with nest at the time (there were some issues that I can't recall). Regardless, it works well. You can get temp sensors for individual rooms and use them for different temp profiles. For example, overnight the only sensor that the thermostat pays attention to is the kid's room. It also runs the humidifier.

Look out for the number of wires you need. Some stats can steal power through the wires but this can cause issues. It's best to run dedicated power wires, so take a look at what's there now, or run a new line if you have access.
 

rlb

Well-Known Member
#17
For lights and water leak sensors I use Insteon. I have a bunch of leak sensors, 3 or 4 switches (note they require neutrals in the box), a ceiling fan controller, and a "smoke bridge" (links to first alert smoke alarms so I get a notification if they go off). It's controlled by a central hub with free cloud access, which works great for the basics (controlling everything through the app, setting schedules, configuring the notifications).

The one drawback I've encountered is that my first hub died after about 3 years. There was no way to transfer my home config to a new hub, I had to start from scratch.
 

fidodie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#18
I've had an Ecobee thermostat for 4? years now and I have zero complaints. I got it because I wasn't impressed with nest at the time (there were some issues that I can't recall). Regardless, it works well. You can get temp sensors for individual rooms and use them for different temp profiles. For example, overnight the only sensor that the thermostat pays attention to is the kid's room. It also runs the humidifier.

Look out for the number of wires you need. Some stats can steal power through the wires but this can cause issues. It's best to run dedicated power wires, so take a look at what's there now, or run a new line if you have access.
i'll just throw this out there on the power wire thing - they can be powered off a doorbell transformer, or a wall bug (25vac) if needed. just fish another
two wire cable, and hook one to the common, and one to the white(or red, depending) - one transformer can not up the voltage of another unless linked in series
(which makes one larger transformer) - that would then produce a missing wire.
 

Delish

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
#19
We have most of the house wired with zwave switches running off a HomeSeer hub. Homeseer has been around a lot longer than the alexa/homekit/google stuff and is still a really powerful open smart home platform albeit with a slightly archaic interface. The great thing about it is that there's no monthly fee for the hub and the software is really stable so it just works without having to think about it. Also, it's really flexible with 3rd part apps for things like Alexa, Ecobee, Sonos, etc.. but the killer feature for us is that it integrates easily with our DSC/Tyco alarm system so we can use any of the hard-wired or wireless alarm devices (doors, motions, etc...) as inputs to the hub to trigger events.
 

jackx

Well-Known Member
#20
We have a 2GIG hardwired home alarm system that also has a z-wave automation chip for wireless additions. Last year I installed 2 alarm.com thermostats, a smoke detector, cameras, lighting, etc and can control them (not smoke) from a phone app. Its a great system because it works without wifi as I don't have wifi at home.
It is possible to put the thermostats on schedules, but not the lighting. It can be armed/disarmed based on proximity from arriving home or leaving home.
 
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