Looking for Noise Sensor / Noise Monitor for vacation rental to be alerted to loud parties

I am looking for a Zwave/ Smartthings device that monitors and alerts when it detects noise levels above a certain range. There are devices that monitor for fire alarms and there are devices that listen for “glass breaks”, but nothing I can find to simply be alerted when renters are partying too loud at your rental.

I know the devices exist because there are companies that sell them. However you have to pay an expensive monthly “monitoring fee” (which is a ripoff!). No, they will not sell the devices without thier monitoring service, so they are probably hardcoded to only work with monitoring. Here are the companies… notice the devices they use:
https://noiseaware.com/cart/
https://store.minut.com/
https://roomonitor.com/cart/

I can’t be the only one trying to use SmartThings to monitor loud party noise at their vacation rental!

Thanks,
Randy

If you are in the US, many models will be illegal in many jurisdictions unless you put the sensor outside so that it can only hear what anyone walking past would hear.

There is an expectation of privacy inside of a rental and the landlord is not allowed to listen into activity, which is what this could entail. Even if it’s only the noise level, that covered by privacy laws in some jurisdictions. But more and more places are allowing for noise level monitoring for exactly the reason you give, to prevent loud parties. So as long as it only reports above the local “nuisance“ level and doesn’t record anything, you’re probably OK. You just need to check the details.

Also check the vacation rental broker if you use one, because they will also have rules about acoustic monitoring.

But again in most jurisdictions, you would be fine with one in the yard. Or one that is specific to nuisance level noises.

OK, having said all that, there are several existing threads on this topic. I think the following is the most recent.

Zwave or zigbee sound detectors

As you noted, Airbnb does itself recommend the specific brands you listed, but I think all of them are set to only report above the nuisance level. :thinking: and as you also noted, they have subscription fees and there’s no direct integration with Smartthings. You might be able to do something on an android phone by capturing a notification, but of course that doesn’t get around the subscription cost.

If you want to get real techy you can use a ESP8266 or ESP32 along with a analog sound meter like Gravity: Analog Decibel Meter - DFRobot to read a 30db - 130db range into SmartThings using ST_Anything and then setup a automation to alert you when it is above a certain level. But it would have to be powered (5v USB) and you’d have to figure out a enclosure (empty smoke alarm housing?). Plus you’d be looking at at least $50 in parts. Beyond that I haven’t seen anything.

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No, there are not “several existing threads on this topic.” I did see the post you provided, and it is not helpful at all. The options it provides are a. The Netatmo weather station you can use with IFTTT to tell you if it hears a loud noise (a weather station?! c’mon) b. a camera with loud sound alerting (illegal to use a camera inside a vacation rental, of course) c. an old android phone or baby monitor (also illegal to listen in on a vacation rental).

I’m not sure why you reposted the three companies that provide noise monitoring service that I noted in my original post. I posted those companies for these two reasons:

  1. To prove that there are actually devices that monitor noises levels. These companies show pictures of the devices… So they do exist! (Who makes them?) However… you have to pay the monthly monitoring fee to use them. ($20/month to get a text message when sound levels are too high!?)
  2. That I think it’s ridiculous you would have to pay a monthly monitoring fee to use these devices to receive a text message/ notification. We do home automation because we don’t want to pay monthly monitoring fees!

So… I will do more research on this. First step will be to try and find out what manufacture/ model/ tech specs of the noise monitoring devices these companies use. I will share what I learn because again, I am certainly not the only person interested in this. Many localities are cracking down on “party house” vacation rentals and rightfully so as no one wants to disturb their neighbors and their rental to be a party house!

-Randy

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Thanks for the idea. I wish I had endless hours in the day. It’s crazy we have to go all science fair on this, right? Well, I’m going to try and find out what devices the three sound monitoring companies are using to see if they can be used with Smartthings (or even some stand alone solution). I’m just not paying $20 / month to get a text notification!

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Android Phone Option

The android phone option with a decibel meter app would end up being very similar to the ESP8266 option that @vseven mentioned, except that the app would already be created. They are very similar sensors, it’s just that some android phones come with them already built in. You wouldn’t use it with a mobile plan, just Wi-Fi. So that’s something that some people have used in the past, which is one reason I linked to the other thread.

NETATMO

As far as the Netatmo weather station, it’s an environmental meter that includes a sound sensor, and you can use IFTTT to trigger when The noise goes above a level that you specified. So it should meet the legal requirements in most US jurisdictions, and you can get integration with smartthings through IFTTT. And there’s no monthly subscription. You may not need the temperature and humidity sensors, but it is the quickest no subscription way to get what you asked for. But the initial cost may be higher than what you wanted to pay.

(The baby monitors are mentioned in the other thread because that one isn’t specific to rentals, just to noise monitors. Also some phone/tablet-based baby monitor apps can be set to only report at a certain noise level, so they might work as well. Obviously, as you mentioned, not the ones that are doing recording or that are used to listen in.)

POLICIES LINK

I’m sorry if it was confusing: the reason I linked to the Airbnb page that listed the three devices you had mentioned was because it was an Airbnb page discussing their policies. So it was intended as an example of the policies, not the specific devices. Again, I’m sorry if I didn’t make that clear. My bad.

DEVICE TEARDOWN

As far as what those devices are, as far as I can tell, they’re all just acoustic sensors wrapped in an easy to use package. But they are designed to fit into their own subscription services and I don’t think you’ll be able to use them without those services.

SUMMARY

The alternatives are the ones we’ve just discussed. Get your own sensor and, as @vseven suggested, hook it up to something with a radio that can report to smartthings. That could be an arduino, an ESP device, a raspberry pi: any device that can accept sensor input and transmit a message in a form that smartthings can understand. But that one will be quite a bit of set up work.

Or you can look for a device that already includes that kind of sensor and could be used to communicate with smartthings. That would save you a couple of steps in the set up. Again, some android phones can do this, or, if you want to spend more money but have a very easy set up, you could probably have this working in about five minutes with the netatmo environmental monitor device.

It would be great if there was a standalone noise level sensor packaged in a way that you could integrate it with smartthings. IHome used to make one, but It didn’t sell well and it’s no longer available. If you see one, definitely let us know, because I’m sure you’re right that there are many people who would like this these days.

Thank you for the additional clarification and information. I think we are on the same page now.

Here are pictures of the three sound level monitoring devices that those companies use. Correct, they will only work when wrapped around a subscription service. The companies refused to provide any manufacturer / tech details. They are very different looking devices, so my thinking is there are three separate manufactures that make them. These monitoring companies are certainly not making them themselves. Likely they purchase large quantities of them from Alibaba or some such company and then hard code lock them to their subscription service.

It’s crazy that such useful tech exists, but we can’t access it without going through some silly monitoring service!

If anyone knows anything about these devices, perhaps the manufacturer may sell these direct to consumer with a self service/ standalone capability…



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If you can find the FCC license number, which all RF devices are required to have for sale in the US, you can go look them up in the FCC database and get most of the technical details there. (That is, as far as the hardware.) That will tell you what kind of sensors they are using.