Best practices for using Away Mode

(James Watts) #8

Does anything happen while you’re in Away Mode?

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #9

Yeah, everything in the house turns off, the a/c is adjusted upwards, and security is armed

(James Watts) #10

Ah ok. I still want my porch lights (etc) to come on and off while I’m away. I suppose those could just be time-based.

(James Watts) #11

Yeah, now that you mention it, that is somewhat of a security concern.

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #12

Yeah, I use modes for the most basic level of automation in the house. There are also…

Time and mode based
Time based
Motion based
Presence based on individuals


Different things work for different households, so I don’t think there really is a “best practices.” But you can get a lot of ideas from seeing how other people use them. :sunglasses: Try the following thread (this is a clickable link). Even though the thread title is about routines, a lot of the discussion is about modes:

(Robin) #14

Technically you can have two ‘modes’ at the same time:

  • Modes
  • SHM status

Personally I don’t use regular modes for anything, and never have… they’re just not flexible enough for a large family so all my rules are based around time of day, presence and SHM status instead.

I guess modes could be used as shortcut to save repeating a string of conditions across multiple rules, but I just prefer to see the repetition so each rule can be quickly deciphered and standalone.

(John) #15

I use modes quite extensively. I have the following modes

Cool Down
Quiet Time
Warm Up

Then I use webCoRE pistons to automate my home depending on the mode I am in. My rules use mode restrictions to restrict certain things from happening while in certain modes. For example, if my presence sensors screw up, my garage won’t open if I am in sleep mode. If we are in company mode my motion alarms won’t trigger at night, if we’re away and sunset happens our away lights come on, etc.

This takes a lot of pre-planning but so far it works great for my home and circumstances.

(James Watts) #16

If the other modes automatically happen at a certain time, how do you override for abnormal modes like Company?

(Mark Kaplan) #17

I also use modes extensively and yes some of the away modes are redundant at the moment but I’ve begun to use them to show activity in the house when I’m away.

Sleep Away
Morning Away
Day Away
Evening Away
Night Away

I agree that they are a great way to automate things based on time of day instead by have to use time windows in WebCoRE. Like everything, there’s multiple ways to program your home.

(John) #18

My modes fire in sequence. Morning to day to night to quiet time to sleep. Company day to company night to company sleep. If we leave, whatever home mode we’re in gets changed to an away mode and then when we return the mode changes to wherever it should be based on time of day/night.

I use virtual switches to change mode from home to company. So, if company shows up and will be staying more than a day I flip the virtual switch which then changes the mode to one of the company modes based on the time of day. Then the company modes fire in sequence based on time of day. When the company leaves, I flip the virtual switch off and my mode changes to the appropriate home mode and we’re back to our normal routines.

I also use a virtual switch to change to vacation mode.


SHM armed state is not a Mode. Those are two different features. You can only have one of each.

(James Watts) #20

I like it. I was wondering why you didn’t have Morning-Home or Morning-Away, etc, but I assume those are family-based modes that are of no use to anyone if nobody’s home.

(John) #21

Yeah, morning is basically a wake-up mode. Shut off alarms, turn off outside lights, and adjust the thermostat. It will also turn on lights in certain rooms if motion is detected and it’s dark outside. Home-Day fires once it’s light outside.

(Robin) #22

That’s why I used the term ‘Technically’ :sunglasses:

It’s not called a ‘mode’ but can be used as such…

SHM can handle home / away / night (armed stay)

Modes can handle the detail (which I don’t bother with)

So you could have a rule that says:

SHM is armed (i.e. You’re away)
Location mode is evening
do stuff

Saves having to double up on the modes like some of the examples posted above:

  • Home Evening
  • Away Evening
  • Home Morning
  • Away Morning
  • etc.

Of course if people are just using the stock lighting / routine apps then stacked conditions are not possible.

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #23

Since my modes are used for basic level I don’t worry about things like guest mode and stuff. All modes except sleep and away basically adjust thermostat levels and determine brightness of lights triggered by motion and which lights turn on but motion.

For example, in sleep mode, only one bulb comes on in the bathroom at 5%, but during the day they all turn on at 100%.

Each family member has automatons based on their presence. So like if the teenager leaves, his room turns off. He comes home, the room turns back on.

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #24

Oh yeah, and the guest room is controlled via motion, Minimote, and Alexa.

I have Alexa in every room of the house including the garage.


You go back to the trigger for the regular mode and set it up so it will not occur if you are in one of the override modes. All the routines have the option of not running into certain modes so you can put your override modes into those settings.

Select the mode(s) for Don’t automatically do this if I am in one of these modes

Say you normally had your night mode come on at sunset but for whatever reason you don’t want to do that if you have guests.

You just set up the routine so that it will not run if you are in the mode of day – guests.

It’s a lot of stuff to keep track of, but you can do it. It’s easier to read your logic if you are using a piston and web core because you can keep everything together. But if you only want to use the official features, you can still do it with modes.

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #26

Very true.

I use ST routines to change the modes based on time. They will not change of the system is in away mode at the scheduled mode change.

I use CoRE for everything else, including a mode monitoring piston for those times the system fails to change the mode. It’s pretty rare these days, but it still happens. The piston checks the mode every 15 minutes and updates accordingly.

(James Watts) #27

Insightful thread. Here’s what I’ve pieced together. I set up a virtual switch (switch 13) for company mode, which just acts as an override switch to call on in pistons. It also has a tile on the actiontiles panel, so if anyone is housesitting, they can easily access it if they need to, and it’s easy for us to tap it on the way out the door. Sleep-Home turns off the house. We always manually enabled it via a minimote, so it should only be automated if we’re away. I have it this way because we have a few ambient lights in the house that shouldn’t be left on all night if nobody’s home (and to make it look like we’re here). I’ll eventually use the away modes for notifying me of things that happen while nobody’s home, as well as general reference.