Full gut renovation, need advice/experience of smartthings veterans

Good idea, Thanks

Also, make sure you have deep backboxes. We used to say 47 mm, but now the fibaro dimmer modules want 60 mm, which seems crazy to me but that’s what the manual says.

Anyway, the Lutron Caseta are much thinner than most radio frequency switches. Most of zwave switches are right around 1.4 inches deep, and you still need to have room for wires in the switchbox.

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As far as the button on the pico remotes… I originally thought there weren’t any Caseta switches that have the button on the actual load controlling switch, but as @asmuts points out the ELV model does have the button. :sunglasses:

The button is a “favorites” button intended for your favorite Dim level setting. It Comes pre-set to 50%, but you can change it.

I believe all of the Caseta line have “power outage memory” which means if the power goes out altogether, the switch will come back on at the same setting it was at when the power went off. So if the switch was off then the lights don’t suddenly come on just because the power came back on.

Other than those two features, I don’t believe there is a dim memory feature in the Caseta line, but you could write Lutron and ask.

One more thought… Again, you probably know this, but Amazon is not always the least expensive channel for home automation devices. If you get something that is sold by Home Depot or Lowe’s, you can use their regular 10% off coupons and you can also sometimes get a volume discount if you stop at their contractors desk and ask. So if you’re going to be buying 10 or more of the same thing, it’s worth checking with them.

You can also sometimes get volume discounts from some of the specialty retailers. In particular, zwaveproducts.com and thesmartestHouse.com both may have a volume discount on items they carry, so it’s worth checking with them.

In addition, community members will post great deals that they see in the deal section of the forum, so that’s always worth checking. Lowes, in particular, varies pricing from store to store but some of the stores will ship nationwide. So there’s a separate thread in the deal section just for Lowe’s because of that. (Home Depot varies the in-store price from store to store, but when you buy online it’s always the same price.)

I’m using the Leviton Zwave switches where required, but mostly dumb switches with smart bulbs. They work with zero issues so far. Edit: GE bulbs, Ecosmart etc all require periodic resets, even if dumb switches are left on. HUE bulbs don’t mind being powered off at all…zero issues.

Hue is the only light system that I would recommend (with the Hue bridge as they are 100% reliable, and have zero buzz when dimmed.

I have three of the AEON 4 button remotes officially suppported by ST and they work well to trigger scenes or lights remotey. I also have several Harmony hubs with Elite remotes. I can also recommend these.

Consider a central location for your wifi access points, as well as automation hubs and/or bridges. Make sure you run power to these locations, as well as twice as many CAT6 as you think you need.

Hope that helps.

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Dumb on/off switches with smart bulbs are fine as long as you hardly ever use the switches.

You probably already know this, but for those just exploring the options, Smart bulbs are intended to be on power all the time. If you regularly cut the power to them completely, the inrush current when you turn the power back on can shorten the life of the radio in the bulb significantly.

For those who expect to be using the switch often, there are a number of alternative ways to handle providing a wall switch for smart bulbs that will protect your investment:

I posted a link to some above.


See the in wall elv. They have a favorite button.


They are really expensive though.

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Thanks, I fixed my post above. :sunglasses::bulb:. In addition to being more expensive, The ELV model also requires a neutral and a 10W minimum load. But it’s good to know the feature exists.

Ya. Too bad about the neutral. Given the price and the neutral requirement, II don’t plan on buying any. They also seem to have a 10 watt minimum load. I have a lot of LEDs that use less power than that. I’ll stick to the other model without the favorite button. If I really want a favorite, I’ll just mount a pico somewhere convenient.

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I just had a mental picture of a WAP with a pull string like this, lol

yes it’s just like that. They go “click-click”

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IF you are installing ceiling fans - 2 gang box and wiring for separate light and fans.

  • no - I did not read all the previous -
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The reason I recommend the Hue bridge and lights is that they have zero issues with dumb switches :slight_smile: With phantom power use at 5 -6 watts for the smart switches, I use them sparingly. Being able to Power off with a dumb switch (like a garage door) is a good thing given the issues with ST reliability !

I would run a cat5 wire to a top corner of every room just in case you need low voltage for motion sensors later on.

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This is discussed in detail in some of the whole house project threads, but as @Navat604 mentioned, in home automation people quite often find that they wish they had power or even an outlet near the ceiling line in some rooms. This is good for sensors and for cameras. So it’s one of those things that’s easy to add while the walls are open and not so much later.

Since you have little kids, I would definitely consider whether you might want wired baby monitors near the ceiling line in their rooms.

A total gut remodel that sounds exciting. I’m hoping my next home is a new build or total gut. I agree with the chap that said run twice as many Cat 6 cables as you need, homerun them to a central location with decent power. I’m an audio fan so I’m going to run speaker cable for in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Just setting up my ST shortly after installing Lutron Caseta. My first ST add on will be installing my Schlage Z-Wave lock after I figure out how to fix the weatherstripping so that it doesn’t push the door off the strike plate.

I’ll second the recommendation to wire for security camera. Prior to drywall it would be easy to wire up for a 16 channel system with the BNC cables. Swann has 4K cams now and 5MP that look fantastic. I’ve tried to justify the monthly fees of some cameras or deal with the latency issue of wifi connected camera but if security is important a wired system cannot be beat.

Check out HDBaseT stuff if you will have dedicated media room or areas. Atlona and other companies have products that will distribute HDMI, USB, Ethernet, IR, Power over a single Cat6 cable. One cable drop to rule them all. It’s not cheap but not prohibitively expensive either so long as cable drops are easy.

This is an excellent idea. I’d cap them with something, but a couple 2" pipes won’t create much of a stack effect. They’ve routed most wires along the exhaust chimney in my house. It’s not ideal and it makes it hard to cap the gap. I sealed 3 sides, but the 4th is all wires. I’d love to have some 2" pipes to pull some ethernet etc up. . . .

We did both high wall plugs (for emergency lights) and ceiling outlets on our business. The high wall plugs are great for the security cameras. Having CAT 5 or 6 jacks near those locations work very well as WIFi recording of HD feeds is not reliable. If you have a few CaT5 runs (even if you leave them in box unterminated) you have the option of either POE, or AC power if a plug is close by.

With the move of most everything to IP based, including media, you can never have enough CAT plugs. Don’t bother running phone lines…just use CAT5 or 6.

The business site uses CaT5a and we’re running 10Gbe Ethernet over this wiring. You can google “confessions of a 10gbe newbie” to read my blog series on 10Gbe net.

Excellent point, thank you.
I’ll need to continue to do research on what seems like the best group, although I don’t really have a problem with some mixing and matching.

Excellent advice and more that I need to think about this weekend!


So I was thinking of just doing a couple nest cams in the babies rooms and a couple outdoor ones for the front and back.

It sounds like wired would be a better option re latency/cost/quality?