My Home Automation Addiction

As I was upgrading to Hub v2, I started realizing how much money I have spent over the last couple of years when I first started with SmartThings as a Kickstarter backer. I started out slow, got the hub, a couple of switches, a few multisensors, and a motion sensor. Then every month, I would start adding a device or two like a garage door opener, electronic lock, sirens, thermostat, water sensor, smoke sensor, more switches, more motion sensors, more lights, power meters, voice control with the Amazon Echo, remote controls, and the Harmony Home hub. The list goes on! Now I have my sights on the Phillips Hue but I can’t quite justify the $200 price tag…at least not yet…is it worth it?

I’ve added the total cost over the last couple of years, and its a little over $1600.00. My addiction is costing me about $65/month! That’s about two devices per month which is about right since I now have 40 devices installed. Pretty soon, I’m going to need a bigger house so that I can keep feeding my addiction, haha!

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That’s not bad comparing to smoking :smile:


Congrats on keeping it under two grand. I am just going to avoid doing a monthly breakdown because it would probably look like a car payment. It’s October and I am in the middle of putting skeletons on the internet. For reasons.


You’re doing better than me. I got my first echo in April… I now have two and about 35 devices connected. I’ve got another ten devices in the garage that I bought but haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with… Now that’s an addiction!

I’m really over 2k… And yes, the hue bulbs are awesome!

Yes, I somewhat know the feeling, I still have a thermostat and the Harmony Home sitting on the floor waiting to be integrated. But not ten items!

Wait till you start automating the opening and closing of Windows, skylights, valves or blinds. That’s when it really gets serious and expensive. :smile:


Yeah, I’ve decided to build my own automatic blinds. I only want open/close, not up and down.

But right now I’m modifying a door/window sensor to work as an ir beam break sensor. Pretty simple, just haven’t finished it.

Hmm, come to think of it, it sure would be nice to have a window open up automatically whenever the whole house (attic) fan turns on. Oh no! Another future project to think about… :smile:

Yep. My phase 1 budget was $1500, which included a smart watch, and I’ve kept to that. One doorlock, one Kuna lantern as a video doorbell, one smart watch, a couple of tablets, ST hub 1 and 2, harmony on sale for $99, $100 worth of ibeacons, echo at the beta price, and then sensors, smart bulbs, the SmartenIT 3 toggle, and some plug in modules. We got a minimote in one of the plug in bundles.

My phase 2, planned for late next year, is when I’ll get to light switches and automatic door and window closers. And window coverings. All of that has the potential to be much more expensive. Plus some pressure mats, but those aren’t that expensive, and I need to wait until I look at the door openers to decide where they’re going. (I use a wheelchair.)

But I’m not even costing out the phase 2 until at least April 2016, because I really feel that late summer 2016 is when we’re going to see some fully baked options for home automation in the low price range.

My initial $1500 was intended for stuff that I’d be willing to completely replace in phase two.

It was clear when I first started looking into all this in early 2014 that there were no existing systems in my price range that would meet my requirements. But I did have some use cases I wanted to solve immediately. So I decided on phase 1 really just as a way of getting me through until more options were available in the marketplace.

It’s an approach that has worked well for me, although I know it might not make sense to everyone. :sunglasses:

It also protected me from signing up for every interesting looking proposal on Kickstarter. Phase 1 was only for stuff that could actually be delivered now and start providing value. Since potentially it might all be replaced again, it needed to be working as soon as possible in order to justify the purchase.


Yeah, I’ve been mulling over that one in my mind too. Once I figure out how I’m going to do it I’ll automate the whole house fan…

For security reasons, I wouldn’t want a window to open completely, maybe about 6 inches so that I can have it open up in the middle of the night when the air is coolest. Or maybe install some kind of automated vent opening in a back wall somewhere…

Judging by the topic you’ve just contributed, is the security feature just a safety precaution for when you realize how much time and effort you put in your HA setup?

I’ve spent over $10,000 in the last few years. Has anyone spent more than me??

4 Nest Thermostats ($1,100)
7 Nest Protects ($800)
Somfy Motorized Blinds ($1700)
Hub $100
MyQ $150
Amazon Echo $200
Rachio $200
3 Harmony Hubs $400
Phillips Hue Hub, Light Strips, Starter Park $400
Rheem EchoNet Hot Water Heater $100
Sonos Playbar, Sub, 2 Play’s 1 and Amp $3000
Various ZWave/Zigbee Sensors/Locks/Switches $2000

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I don’t think anyone will come half way close to that. Four Nest thermostats? Do you have a 15000sqft house?

Haha. 2500 Square Feet. I bought the house with 3 thermostats (one is heating for bedrooms, one for main floor for both A/C and Heat, another for Heating and /AC downstairs). I recently did a master bedroom extension and that got it’s own heating zone as well).

You have serious catching up to do in the lights area. If you take out the $400 for locks, you only have about 30 switches and sensors. That is not nearly enough for a home with 3 thermostats!


I guestimated. I might have more, but didn’t feel like counting :smile:

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I just saw that BestBuy has a starter kit on sale now for $170 but I wonder if its better to get the new Homekit enabled version so along with Alexa, I can tell Siri to turn on and off the Hue bulbs. Unlike Alexa, Siri goes wherever you go. Plus the new bulbs are brighter (800 lumens) and has better greens. For those that have the bulbs, is that a big deal?

I think so, my one complaint about the previous Hue bulbs was that they weren’t bright enough.

One other advantage for Siri over Alexa in this case is that with HomeKit you have voice control bulb colors. A lot of people won’t care, but some people will.

With HomeKit, you should also be able to ask if a bulb is on, but I haven’t confirmed that yet.

By the way, if you’re thinking really long term, the HomeKit-enabled Hue bridge is also thread capable, although that feature isn’t turned on yet. The SmartThings V2 hub is also thread-capable, although again not turned on yet.

So even if you never intend to get any iOS devices, if you don’t have a hue bridge now, I would definitely get the 2.0 version. :sunglasses:

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Thanks for the info @JDRoberts, that helps a lot. I think I will wait to get the new version and hope the price drops a bit for Black Friday.