Building a House...Some Questions

Hey! I am in the process of building a new house. Construction will start at the beginning of June. I’m trying to figure out the best way to integrate devices that are compatible with smartthings. I plan on purchasing a bunch of switches and outlets, which is the easy part. The part i am more concerned with is motion sensors, and window/door sensors. I would prefer to have these wired to avoid having to worry about batteries. Is there a recommended approach to layout and devices when building a new house? Do you have any recommendations in regards to devices that are wired and compatible? I am also planning on Chamberlin MyQ garage door openers, and some security cameras, ecobee, etc. I plan on wiring everything myself.

If you could go wireless, go wireless. Its not so much about changing batteries, but when newer technology comes out, you can easily upgrade. Since its a new house, you might want the flexibility of moving things around without worrying about wires.

I personally am very happy with the smartthings brand of devices. I try to stick with them when possible.

Not directly related to Smartthings but I’d run as much structured cabling in as you can to a central location. I’ve to two PoE 16 port switches in the house linked that support multiple uses (Ethernet, multicast video, CCTV, TV’s, NAS, etc, etc.

Put simply WiFi is good but you just won’t beat hardwired. Once the cable is there you can use it for Ethernet, audio, video, whatever.

As for door/window sensors I’d just use batteries, mine last circa 8-12 months and are pretty painless. I can however see why you might want them wired.

Congratulations on the new house! Sounds like an exciting project. :sunglasses:

If you check the community – created wiki, there’s a quick browse list in the project report section for “whole house” projects. You’ll find a lot of discussions of wiring, switchbox depth, etc. there which should be of interest.

As far as sensors, etc., at the present time the protocols that SmartThings supports are almost all limited to battery sensors. There are a few exceptions, But they tend to be multipurpose sensors which need more power and are also much more expensive. It’s not impossible to use hardwired sensors, but there are no off-the-shelf solutions for that requirement. You have to cobble things together to make it work.

For some discussion of those options, look at the quick browse list for “security” in the same project reports section. Most of those will be from people who previously had a hardwired system and are now attempting to make it work with SmartThings. Again, most people starting new with SmartThings will use battery powered sensors.

You might also want to take a look at the following thread which discusses the various device class features and gives examples of the kinds of sensors that are available:

Congrats on the house and getting to do an automation project “right”. I’m in a similar situation with my wife and I doing a to-the-studs renovation of a 103 year old house. Here’s what’s going into mine:

Light switches - GE z-wave paddle switches (a mix of on/off and dimmers)
Fan switches - GE z-wave fan controller
Outlets - Mainly “dumb” outlets with a few GE z-wave outlets
Motion detectors - A mix of SmartThings, Lowe’s Iris and PEQ brand
Open / Close sensors - Lowe’s Iris
Thermostats - EcoBee3’s
Smoke detectors - A mix of Halo and Halo+ units
Locks - Schlage connect
Temperature / humidity sensors - Wireless sensor tags
Leak detectors - Utilitech
Water valve control - LeakSmart
Fireplace control - Remotec dry contact sensor
Cameras - Ubiquiti
Speakers - Sonos and Sonos Connect for wired speakers
Door Bell - DoorBird
Gates and garage doors - Liftmaster MyQ

Ok, that was a lot but I think I covered everything. Best of luck and enjoy the ride! Cheers

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For motion, open/close, smoke/fire I recommend getting an alarm system and integrating said alarm system into the SmartThings ecosystem. Something like a Vista20p would be cheapish and easy. That way you get an actual security system which has support for these things already.

awesome, thank you for the detail!

If I could start with a new house construction I would say

For home automation:

  • Have the electrician run neutrals to all locations to give you the best options for device selection.

for home security: (do not rely on SmartThings)

  • Absolutely run wires instead of wireless for the windows/doors/motion/siren and cameras. It isn’t simply about the battery cost, but wireless devices are just a loaded with additional reliability variables that can cause issues such as intermittent connection, etc.
  • I personally would wire the house as if you were NOT going to use SmartThings but a stand alone Security System. Make pretend like you were going to install something like a complete hardwired central system because I think you may find with the unreliability of SmartThings as a security solution you may want to switch off security to the panel and keep home automation on SmartThings. The option to switch to a robust standalone product is a snap if you home-run all your wiring. I have had both stand alone hardwired security and wireless SmartThings and I wish someone had told me how unreliable SmartThings is for security. My stand alone system NEVER had all the quirky issues I have experienced with SmartThings month to month. I should have known better because as soon as I started setup in ST and found that not even basic entry/exit delays exist, that told me ST simply doesn’t understand the security market needs but is home automation centric dabbling in security.
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Wow this is helpful. Thanks a lot!

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Yea, i can definitely see myself doing that. I plan on running tons of CAT6 for cameras/internet/TV/NAS/etc. What wire would you recommend for sensors/motion?

There are lots of options for wire based on the use. Here is one of many resources for DIY pre-wiring on alarm systems.

This sounds like the approach I’m going to take. Thanks!

awesome, thx!