A few questions - getting back into home automation (cameras, switches, and fans)

I kind of let my system fall off after my last move. I just bought a new house and want to get everything back in working order. Just had a few general questions in regards to the best route to take

  1. Cameras - is ADT camera setup worth it? The monthly fee is a big turn off for me. Also, I cant use the 14 door/window contacts that I already have with ADT if I’m understanding that correctly. What is the best go to camera for smart things integration? Every room in my house has hardwired ethernet so I can manage PoE fairly easily. Are there any that will integrate without having to use extra apps? Or would I be better off using a generic CCTV system?

  2. Switches - Unfortunately, 95% of the outlets in this house are 2-3 switch panels and almost every light/fan in the house is a 3 way switch. I’m thinking of slowly adding GE switches with the 3 way additions over time or just buying a bunch of hue bulbs. I think I’d rather have switches, but am I right in assuming that an internet outage would leave me unable to control them? Price is a factor, but I don’t think going bulbs would cost much less really. Just the theater room has 12 bulbs, kitchen with 14, etc.

  3. Fans - all the fans are separate from the light switch. Can I control that fan with the same type of switch that controls the light or is there a different way to go about that? That and I also have two fans controlled by the same switch in my office

Can you elaborate on what you have. I am not sure why you brought up ADT.

  1. I personally use ARLO cameras. They have a free option with 7 days of cloud storage. If you dont mind running your own PVR I have seen many suggest regular IP cameras with Blue Iris software. I have no experience with it though. Arlo does have a POE option as well for inside cameras.

  2. I only have 2 GE switches. They seem to work fine and haven’t had issues with them not working but honestly have really run into many problems with cloud automation working. One thing to point out though is with a switch you would always be able to control the lights, just your HA could stop working

  3. Could possibly look at the universal zigbee fan controllers at home depot. May want to check compatibility.

If your switches are wired with line and load in the same box, you can use a single Innovelli / Zooz switch to control a 3-way, although functionally the two switches will be different - the smart switch will sit on center and flip up for on / down for off, while the dumb switch will just have to be flipped from wherever it is to change the state of the lights. If you go with GE + add-on, the add-on will behave the same as the master. If you use a dimmer, you’ll be able to dim from either switch.

If you use an official device handler rather than installing your own, everything will still work without an internet connection, including automation if all smartapps and devices involved also operate locally. I believe the GE switches will work normally if they lose connection to the hub as well.

If you have a separate switch for the fan I would use the GE Fan switch - there’s not a very good reason to use the Home Depot Wink controller, which is pretty flakey. Don’t use a dimmer intended for lights, it isn’t good for your fan motor - dimmers adjust voltage, fan controls adjust current.

For both the lights and fans, if you’re putting them into a box with multiple switches, you may need to break off the heat sink tabs on the edge of the switch, which changes the load rating - make sure to check that before you install them so you don’t overheat something. Particularly in the case of the two fans, it may be prohibitive.

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