Advantage of using home/away

Been using ST for a few weeks now but I’m not sure I understand the importance of actually using the home and away modes. So far I have used a presence sensor to trigger the heating at my office when I leave home and to shut off all my lights. And when I return to turn on an entry light. With all of this, I have not once used either home and away.

Am I missing something? Would using these modes make some aspect of programming easier?

If you don’t need them, you don’t need them. People use them in different ways. For example, at my house there is a motion sensor at the entrance to a bedroom.

I have a variable schedule and go to sleep at different times on different days. When I go to sleep, I change the mode for the house to “asleep.”

During the day, triggering the motion sensor doesn’t do anything.

In The evening when the Mode is “night” then triggering the motion sensor turns on the overhead light in that room.

Once I go to bed, I change the mode to “asleep” and then triggering the motion sensor does not turn on the overhead light, it just turns on a soft night light on the wall.

People use “home” and “away” in many different ways. Not everyone uses Geo presence. For households with multiple people, the first person of any of the family arriving home will typically change the mode to home and then the second person arriving might see a somewhat different pattern of events than if they were the first one arriving.

Lots of variations. But if everything you have set up is working the way you want it, there’s no reason to throw modes into the mix. :sunglasses:

The following thread has a lot of different examples of how people use modes. (This is a clickable link)

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As you get more into it, you will start to use more functions.

Turn Off heat when away
Turn on alarm when away
Unlock door when ariving home
Dim lights when night
Don’t send notifications if home

I have only 4 modes


And I restrict apps from working outside of the correct mode… e.g. my lighting apps don’t work in the afternoon.

For ‘Home’ and ‘Away’ type scenarios I use virtual presence sensors (Basically fake switches) which are automatically turned on when we arrive and off when we leave.

Apart from a Vswitch for myself and my wife we have one for ‘Guests’ (which stops various apps running when we have guests and ‘Humans’ which looks to see if ANYONE is home and runs apps related to that.
I have a physical switch on the wall in the entrance hall that I press when guests arrive and press again when they leave (the house speakers tell me if the ‘Guest Mode’ is being switched on or off as the switch is configured as a toggle)

Lots of people have different ideas but this works for us :slight_smile:


@Cobra that sounds very much like what I want to setup. Modes (and how many I might need) are the one thing I’ve really been struggling to wrap my brain around. I like what you’re doing and the approach you have for the whole thing. I had already created some virtual switches for things like Guests and Holidays so I was moving in that direction.

What are you using to control your setup? I just recently installed WebCoRE and I’m very happy with how much you can do with it…so that’s the route I’m intending to go down.

Also, what speakers are you using? I don’t have any at this time (aside from a few Echo’s) but I’d like the idea of my Smart Home eventually being able to announce events/reminders to me.


I use a couple of parent/child smartapps I wrote to control everything as I don’t use webcore (But I’m sure with a little work you could achieve the same in webcore)

Presence Central for all the presence stuff (guest mode, etc)

Message Central for all speaker/txt msg related stuff

As for speakers I use a couple of 'Jam’ ‘Rhythm’ speakers (one upstairs, one downstairs) and this excellent app

Excellent, thanks for the info.