Fresh Start

Just bought a new-to-me house so get a “do-over” with my smart home automation. I built my existing house out in 2016 so a lot of the tech was very new. A few notable mistakes I made and some plans going forward… looking forward to anybody’s suggestions or feedback!

  • Remodeled a 1970s house without neutral wires so took a lot of rewiring to get the GE switches installed (not really a mistake but a giant pain) :slight_smile: New house is 2001 so hopefully less pulling of new wire!!
  • Initial round of automation was configured when I lived alone. When my roommate moved in that caused issues with routines that ran when I was gone so many got disabled. This time I’ll design around multiple presence sensors so adding or removing individual ones will be easier in the future. It’d be nice to tie specific lights, TVs, etc to each sensor. E.g. when my roommate leaves the house, their bedroom lights and TV gets shut off if still on, etc.
  • ST Hub v1 will now be a new v3 model. I’m super excited about Zwave plus devices.
  • I previously used Zwave almost exclusively throughout, so the zigbee presence detectors didn’t have good repeaters and didn’t work well. This time I’m going to use a mixture of Zwave and Zigbee outlets and switches to get a good mesh network on each protocol. Most rooms have a ceiling fan with a separate light and fan switch, so thinking put a Zigbee light switch in and a Zwave fan controller switch in. Rooms without ceiling fans may get a Zigbee outlet.
  • ST Hub was pretty close to my wifi access point which further hindered Zigbee comms. New house will have multiple 802.11ac APs, each located as far away as logically possible from Zigbee devices. I’m also hoping to completely disable the 2.4Ghz radios on the APs and go strictly with 5Ghz. I think all my wifi devices are now at least n-capable and don’t rely on g anymore.
  • Deployed a few Echo dots throughout and used them for music playback. This time I’m going to deploy more Dots for voice command but integrate Sonos for higher quality whole-home and outdoor audio
  • Garage door openers were encrypted so couldn’t integrate. Found a thread on soldering in a zwave command button into the existing encrypted openers so I can add routines for garage door automation.
  • Previously had a mess of integrations with SmartThings, Nest, IFTT, and Apilio for multi-condition automation sequences. This time going all in with WebCore.
  • Old humidistat was just an in-line model and there wasn’t a good place to wire in a relay so Nest couldn’t control humidity. Will finally get that going this time around!