I plan to buy a custom house soon so I would have to make a similar decision…let me know how it goes with you. I am currently using SmartThing’s at a 7000 square foot house…I would way 95% reliability…I have a bunch of things and a lot going on with my system…
I would use konnected from @heythisisnate for your motion and door/window sensors since you are custom building. Z-Wave Plus for everything else and a few ZigBee SmartThing’s power Outlet would do a great job extending the range for the SmartThing’s water sensors
I can’t say if it will scale to 15k ft2 but my install works well within our 7500 ft2 home so you are within a factor of two. The bigger factor over size is walls and their thickness, and number of floors. If you can get repeaters within line of sight to all areas I think you should be fine. Somewhat also depends on how many areas you want to automate. Reaching three or four levels will be challenging. No issues for me with three levels - but it required zwave switches near the staircases. The only range problems I have is reaching my back yard. Solved it with a sequence of outdoor qualified repeaters strategically placed in trees.
Has anyone from the SmartThings team done any scale stress testing? That would be a great project for a summer student hire.
Most professional installers don’t work with SmartThings yet because of the reliability issues, the lack of margin, and the lack of security features. It’s still essentially a DIY product. But at least it would help to know the city where the home is located to see if there’s anyone who might be available.
I do think most people with homes of that size go with control 4 or Crestron. What were the negatives in your Crestron experience?
I assume you’re planning to go with something else for your security system. So what specific use cases did you have in mind for SmartThings? If it’s just lighting, you might just look at a Lutron system. A professionally installed one can definitely scale to that size, devices are very well engineered and highly reliable. It’s just that they only do lighting.
As far as whether SmartThings can scale to that size, A lot depends on the actual dimensions of the house. If you want to run Z wave devices, you’re going to run into hop limits. A zwave message is limited to a maximum of four hops. In typical US residential construction, a hop for a Z wave plus device will be about 75 feet. The problem is that even if your home is a perfect cube with the hub located in the exact center, four hops with only Z wave plus devices (none of the older Z wave classic generations) would theoretically cover the size you you mention. However, if the house is spread out at all you’re going to have problems. Also, Z wave has a hard stop of 232 devices.
This is why most of the high-end systems, including control 4, use zigbee instead. Zigbee home automation allows for 15 hops in and 15 hops out at the hub and can handle thousands of devices. So even though each hop is shorter, about 40 feet, you can just get much bigger coverage with a zigbee system. In addition, control 4 has done some really cool stuff with some proprietary implementations so that they can have multiple zigbee coordinators on one install.
You can take a look at the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, check the project report section, and look at the “whole house” list to see what some other community members have done, but I think most of the “large house” projects listed there are around 4000 ft.². I don’t remember anything in the size that you’re talking about.
I would have liked this except for the suggestion of a high gain antenna. Both zigbee home automation and zwave are by definition low-energy protocols. If you need something else, use a different protocol, either Wi-Fi or ethernet or hardwire.
I would also add that it’s technically not possible for any SmartThings customer to have experienced 99.9% reliability, as there has been at least one outage per month for the last 18 months except for January 2017. There have already been two outages this month, for example. And that’s not even counting loss of service due to maintenance updates. So from an MFOP perspective (maintenance free operating period), that’s at best 97% reliability.
Since many of the outages are fairly short, an hour or so, it may be that they happened, but you simply weren’t perceptibly impacted by them. That happens a lot with people who have home automation at home but are themselves away at work for much of the day. Also many glitches may be perceived as minor if they just require restarting the app or popping the batteries on a device.
In my case, I am quadriparetic and spend most of my life in one of two rooms. I use the automation system all day long, and am very aware when it doesn’t work, as my Plan B almost always requires asking someone else for help.
So I have no doubt at all that your SmartThings installation has met your own requirements for reliability, and I am glad for you. But for anyone else doing research and finding this thread in the future, 99.9% reliability is not currently a match for SmartThings.
The official status page only lists major outages, but you can still see there’s been at least one a month:
Agreed … due to the lack of reliability and the lack of a backup/restore/export/import tool I don’t recommend this to my friends… They are always asking me to install a system in their houses. Mine works well for the most part with 130 some devices in one house and about 100 in the other.
But it is still a developers/hobbyist system in my opinion and needs constant tweaking and monitoring. Since I don’t want to be the support guy and do this for my friends (I know I’m selfish , I will not recommend it).
Have you reached out to SmartThings Support with these comments? They log stuff like this and, perhaps, it might influence future direction.
Also, a review in your appropriate App Store (iPhone or Android) may help. I had an almost immediate email response from some ST marketing dweeb to a less-than-stellar comment I posted there. (Marketing is more likely to read public opinion than the decidedly power-user opinions expressed here!)
Also a review in places like Amazon or other retailers may prove more effective. YMMV, of course, but you may feel it might help…
Yeah that’s where I’m starting to look now… the garage door openers doing their disappearing act and other devices randomly becoming unavailable. Low energy is useful when you’re doing battery-powered stuff, but plug-in things I don’t really care much for if they use all the juice in the world, so I’m definitely starting to consider swapping everything out for WiFi stuff.
Definitely I am a casual user in comparison so would not see the same level of interruptions. It just seems that after tuning for issues like poor signal strength reliability is fairly high in my implementation. Thanks for your input
I’m glad yours is working well for you. I was a network engineer before I got sick and had worked with both zwave and zigbee before I ever bought a SmartThings device, so I feel pretty confident that my local network is set up well. But there’s nothing that we as individual customers can do to protect against changes to cloud operations, hub firmware, the mobile app, or stock DTHs. Those happen when they happen, and if they have glitches, we either find a workaround or wait for SmartThings to fix them.
When SmartThings is working well, it’s hands-down my favorite Home Automation system. But they make a lot of changes, and some of those changes introduce glitches, so it’s just something to be aware of.
I use GE / Jasco switches. Reasonably happy with them but I have had 3 fail out of about 60 installed. Not too bad but not perfect either. Range seems very good. I stick to Z-wave but there are now Zigbee switches out there. I have no experience with them so I can’t say which are better.