Advice Needed: Bringing ST in to new home remodel

Hello everyone. I’m Lee. The wife and I just recently purchased a new home, and we’re going to be doing some renovations. I want to incorporate automation with a high WAF. She’s on board, but she’s not a tinkerer. She likes the idea of things like lights coming on automatically when she gets home, and being able to unlock doors without fumbling for keys with sleepy kids around.

Right now, my basic plan has changed from a HomeSeer install to using SmartThings after discussing all the possibilities with the wife.

Generically, I plan on converting all of the light switches in the home to GE smart switches (suggestions welcome). This will give me a good mesh network to work from.

We will be putting in LED ceiling lights that are dimmable (suggestions welcome) and we will be putting in z-wave compatible door locks at all three doors. Beyond that, I’ll be putting in a water/flood sensor near the water heater and I’d like to bridge the Harmony remote system.

I’d really like any input or advice that anyone is willing to share before we get started if you’re willing to give it - I know people on the internet rarely share opinions. :smile:

What is the Sqft of the home?
What is the build of the home (number of levels, type (brick, concrete, etc.)
What year was the home built.
Do you know that you have a proper neutral line in the walls to the switches?
Are you going with Z-Wave and Zigbee?

Some suggestions that will make the HA experience better. Start small, go slow, assure yourself that each project is working to your satisfaction. Understand that ST is a cloud based service, loss of internet means that your HA will stop working. Take a deep breath, I know that it is exciting, but just take it slow. Otherwise WAF will drop as things break or fail to execute in the way that you intended.

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It’s a 2500 sqft home, two story, brick, built in 1981. There is a proper neutral run to every outlet - we had a very thorough inspection done.

I’ve primarily looked at Z-wave, but I don’t know the pros-cons of mixing and matching.

It’s funny that you say “take a deep breath”… It’s feeling a bit overwhelming right now. Part of it is wanting to just get it all done so that when we move in I’m not spending free minutes working on it to the point where the wife is pissed at the system because I spend more time with it that I do with her. I have a contractor who has done solid-state home automation, so he knows the deal. I’d like to be able to offload as much of the physical work as possible to him so I don’t have to do it later.

My suggestion is to move in, wait until you are settled and have everything unboxed cleaned up etc. Then start the project one room at a time. Otherwise it will end up being a stressful adventure that will most likely not be at all what you want.

Getting HA working sometimes takes time and effort. Putting the pieces in place is only part of the issue. You have to work out how you want the automation to work with your family. Each person and family is different. So take a room, like an entry hallway, decide what would be nice for your family. Once you have it working then you have a better idea of what you will need and what will need to be adjusted for you and your family going forward.

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Note: I moved into a new house, started HA before I finished unboxing and getting settled. I made a mess of things, and things did not work as expected causing more issues than I wanted for the family. So am talking from experience (SMILE)

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Welcome to the community!

I agree with the “start small” advice. Pick a room and a light and work out motion triggering on that. (Ideally a room where there will be other lights available for when things don’t quite go as planned.) You’ll learn a lot in the process and will be able to make better decisions for the next steps.

For what it’s worth, here’s my own first phase project report:

Not sure what the scope of your renovations are, but if you have an electrician coming and replacing switches and outlets you may as well have him put in Z-wave ones. They function as normal switches. Once you are unboxed and settled you can then pair them with ST one room at a time. Definitely wouldn’t open that ST hub box until you are settled.

Yeah, I do plan on having that done for me. It’s already on the books with the contractor.

I appreciate the advice. :smile: I just want as much stuff as possible to be done when I get moved in. I guess this is too big to take on remotely like this.

if you have some rooms you know you are going to put smart bulbs in and want to control them with switches I would look at putting cooper switches in as those have instant status report and can can be wired without a load to control some of the smart lights… If all are going to control just regular or led bulbs and dimmers than ge switches are fine. I have many of both.
Just make sure that the dimmer models support the bulbs you are getting… as not all support led bulbs.

The “start small” advice is fine… But absolutely install a z-wave switch in every location. Switches are the best way to control lights, buying in bulk can save you money, and changing them out later is a total waste.

If you want to include them into your ST system slowly over time, that’s up to you.