Major WAF Fail

Here are 3 consecutive texts I received from my wife last week, after going from zero smart devices in December to a new SmartThings hub and 60 devices today. Brace yourself:

8:41 PM: [This is the] second time I have had to get out of the shower to turn on the god damn f***** [light] in our master bedroom. Because they keep going out even though the baby is in his swing. Pretty crappy motion sensor. Change it back.*

8:43 PM: it just happened again. I’m sick of living in an automated house. Change it all back.

8:57 PM: And before you spend more countless hours on a project that will only make my life more difficult, how about you tackle the ones that will make it easier: patching the roof, fixing the sewer line so it doesn’t back up in the guest bathroom, getting new windows so we have windows that actually close, baby proofing the house, putting a fence around the pool, removing the bedroom set from the guest bedroom so we can have a nursery for the baby before he move out, getting your car fixed so you don’t have to borrow mine and leave me car-less, installing a car seat base in your car, etc. etc. etc.

I guess I have some troubleshooting ahead of me - all around. Anybody experience anything similar? Sigh.


I’d get your car fixed first. It sounds like you may have to make a quick getaway any minute now! :red_car:



  1. Move motion sensor to a better location
  2. Increase time of “turn off when motion stops” to longer than your wife spends in the shower
  3. Replace motion sensor with a more sensitive model
  4. Replace wife with a less sensitive model

What were you thinking, bud? Never automate the Master Bedroom… Always start with the dog house.


Wow man. I was in the same boat a little while ago. Just start small. That is what I had to do. I have my system do stuff when she is not home. So far it is going so well. Then go with other things. But I still have to be smart about what I do. Good luck.

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She already gave you the best answer. Don’t take things that are simple and make them complicated.


Seems like you have some other things to worry about other than Home Automation lol. I always take care of my fiance first then take care of my needs. :smile:


Wow, smarcc sounds like you have your work cut out for you!

The only thing I would recommend is make everything as easy and simple as possible for the family. For my household, everything works best that doesn’t create any issues and isn’t noticeable. All of my lights can still be operated by switches and I keep things as simple as possible on the surface.

Take care of your Honey Do list first, then maybe she’ll cut you some slack on the home automation. :sunglasses:


I always find the best things to automate are things that are repeated manually.
For example. Every night, if you turn on the porch light, automate it at sunset. Motion sensors have a higher room for error and aren’t the best to start with due to false positives. It took me awhile to get my kitchen cabinet hue’s working properly with my Aeon multi-sensors. The battle I am having with my wife now is her refusing to let me mount tablets on the walls because she said they are ugly.

Agreed with @DavidCreed, use ZWave switches so the rest of the family can use them as traditional switches as well. I bought GE Link bulb for my nighttable, but won’t dare put it on hers as I know it will drive her nuts.


One more thing…

It’s not an Acceptance Factor fail if the system actually, you know, fails. That’s a Home Automation fail even if you live by yourself. xAF fail is when they don’t like the idea of it because they’re afraid it won’t work, or will be too complicated or too expensive. Or they think it’s going to go all Skynet on them and attack the family. :scream:

The trick is to show them those concerns are irrational. Show, not tell. So like everyone said start small, keep it simple and easy, test when the family’s not around, make anything they’ll use something that will make their lives easier when it works and won’t endanger them when it doesn’t, retain manual controls.

whoa whoa WHOA! SHE’S the parent too. Baby-proofing ain’t exclusively male. Unless you are also digging the sewer yourself, maybe she can manage some of those other items too.

Cheese and rice - my sympathies. Serenity NOW!


I started small also. Just door contacts, auto porch lights, and motion sensor that turns on a fan in when room is occupied. A year or so later, we graduated to the schlage door lock. She thinks it’s the best gift ever!

@smarcc 0 to 60 in 2 months? … Whoa… I had a small revolt with my wife, and kids as I slowly added devices over a year. The biggest issue was the dimmer light not turning on to full when they were trying to use the bathroom, or the bathroom lights turning off when they were in the shower.

I found the best way, was to have slow pieces of change and then look at each use case. The first time the kids didn’t have to bring kids, and could use the smart lock they really started liking everything. The Sonos integration so they could use it for music as well, as reminders they liked that as well.

The best successes I’ve had are when they just didn’t know it was working, a good example is the smart switch on the christmas tree. No one remembered to turn it on or off, it just worked this year and last year and everyone thought it was someone else.

I would take it slow, and find ONE problem that the ST solves for your life, so she sees the benefit. For my wife, it was coming home to a dark house and the lights turned on, she saw a huge benefit of that, or a reminder that kids left a door or window open.

I would focus on one problem at a time, understand the problem and see what ST pieces you can solve, to get better acceptance. And you’ll need a back up way to work things if ST isn’t working, or they don’t want to touch their phone. All of my hue bulbs are hooked up to smart switches, so someone doesn’t have to pull out their phone unlock it to turn on or off a light.

I found baby steps worked, and after that acceptance they started suggesting areas were it would work for them.

Just my 2 cents…

This is they key. Anything you do that removes friction will go unnoticed and just fade into the background. Anything you do that adds an extra step or complicates something that was simple before will become glaringly obvious. People, being creatures of habit, do not like it when you mess with their routines. Telling your familiars to whip out a phone instead of flicking a light switch is an easy way to start a mutiny in your household.

I use motion detectors to control the lighting in areas with a lot of movement. After a week the people in my household had become dependent on the lights just turning on when they walked into a room. The only time I catch grief is when the network is slow or SmartThings is having a hiccup.

Things with a real tangible benefit are easily accepted in my house. The following have been big hits:

  • Automatic humidifiers in the bedrooms
  • Motion Activated lights in areas with a lot of foot traffic
  • Auto door locks
  • Smoke and CO2 Alarms
  • Automatic control of the Thermostat
  • Voice Notifications of entry doors opening and closing
  • Reminders that doors have been left open
  • Automatic lights on Arrival
  • Automatic lights in the laundry area

Things That have not gone over well:

  • Automatic lights in the bedroom
  • Any sort of control that requires a phone
  • Telling people not to use the manual light switches
  • Creating automation that cannot be aborted

The light switch thing has probably been the greatest source of friction here. There is certainly an appeal to GE links being 15 bucks. The downside is that you still have a manual light switch and for people who have been trained like Pavlov’s dogs to hit the switch when they leave a room; it’s a nightmare to try and get them to adjust. In areas with obvious light switches it is easier on all involved to use the light switch replacements.

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These are all excellent points. My wife calls what I am doing with automation “Sensor mania”, but it’s in ways she can’t see them or know they are there. And when they fail she doesn’t notice because we work-around is easy. (For example the light didn’t automatically turn on in the basement when the door was opened. No big deal, hit the switch)

I have a question about: Automatic humidifiers in the bedrooms

My humidifiers always get pink gook at the bottom of them if I don’t dry them out once a day. Do you have a solution to this?

I had issues with mineral buildup as well when using the vicks model that is sold at wal-mart. If they use a ceramic heating element you are going to have to use better water, or clean them frequently. I ended up buying these and have not had any issues with build up.

My wife today went ballastic at the Sonos integration when it played “The mail has arrived”. She previously was against the mailbox sensor as she felt it was too “watch dog” like. She finally allowed me to put the sensor in and the Sonos integration set her off. I actually find it comical that certain things with HA get her so upset LOL

Also, I try explaining to my wife that this is my hobby. Some guys ride Motorcycles, some guys golf, I do this :slight_smile: It keeps me in the house and around my family.


That’s funny, because “You’ve Got Mail!” has been a hit at my house.


I think it is because the mailbox sensor was the breaking point after many other integrations. Some she liked, some she felt were unnecessary and ridiculous. I can’t tell you how many times I walked across the 100 ft driveway to find an empty mailbox.

Are you using the mail smart app that relies on vibration? There is another one in the shared code repository that works with the contact sensor. I have found it to be more reliable. I am also adding code to only send one notification in a 24 hour period.