My current house has all Zwave light switches & dimmers. They are all Jasco, except for one switch in a small room. I think I’ve got 20 or so Zwave switches & dimmers, plus 5 add-on two-way switches. Of these, 7 are switches and the rest are dimmers. All of the windows, doors & gates have sensors, which are an assortment of zigbee & zwave. I also have a bunch of motion sensors, along with several appliance & light modules. I’ll probably leave all of the smart switches installed in the house if/when I sell it.
So that is my current setup, and it works pretty well. I’m buying a new house in the next few months, and, of course, I want to add all of the home automation to it as well. So my question is: Should I go with all Zwave, all Zigbee, or a combination of Zwave & Zigbee?
For the switches, I see that Jasco has both Zigbee & Zwave. Is one preferable over the other?
I see that the new Apple/Amazon/Google Project CHIP uses Zigbee, so should that factor into my decision? Is one protocol more susceptible to interference (like from the microwave or WiFi) than the other, and should that be a concern?
combination. I’m finishing my basement and went with a mix of GE/Jasco zigbee 3.0 and Zooz ZEN22 dimmer switches. This combo aesthetically looks very similar, so you can’t tell they are different brands (although i don’t mix them in the same switch box in case the white is a slightly different shade). Then I spread them around that floor to build both meshes out.
(www.rboyapps.com - Making SmartThings Easy!)
The benefit for a hub like SmartThings is that you don’t need to choose. You can do both depending what device you’re getting and how it suits your needs. In general is you have enough repeaters around for both technologies it’ll work just fine.
You may also want to consider installing a Lutron lighting system, like Caseta or RadioRA2. I replaced all of my Z-wave switches and dimmers with Lutron Caseta switches, dimmers, fan controllers and Pico remotes (along with the requisite Caseta SmartBridge Pro). I find Lutron’s Clear Connect RF technology to be 100% reliable, something I never experienced for more than about a month at a time with GE Z-wave switches and dimmers. I also like that Lutron Caseta can be directly integrated with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Logitech Harmony Hub, SmartThings, Hubitat, Home Assistant, Node-RED, Ring, IFTTT, Ecobee, Sonos, etc…
Note: It should be noted that the existing Lutron/SmartThings integration does not support the Caseta Fan Controllers or Pico Remotes. Also, it is unclear moving forward how the deprecation of the ST Groovy IDE will impact this particular integration.
I personally have Lutron integrated with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Logitech Harmony Hub, and Hubitat Elevation. It works extremely quickly and reliably with all of these platforms, at the same time. The Hubitat integration supports the fan controllers and Pico remotes, along with switches and dimmers, via a local LAN-based connection between the HE hub and the Caseta SmartBridge Pro.
Why not take your current switches with you when you move? Think about what it would take to transition your house’s automation system to a new owner:
You would have to ensure internet access stays active, instead of canceling your utilities when you move out
You would have to remove the hub from your account
You would likely need to assist the buyer in connecting the hub to their new internet service
You would likely need to assist the buyer in connecting the hub to a new account they create
You might have to re-pair some of the switches with the hub
You might have to assist the buyer with configuring their desired automation
You might… (keep adding)
It’s possible you might sell to someone familiar with SmartThings, but that is relatively unlikely. The list above is WAAAAAYYYY more work than I would be willing to do for a house I am selling, especially if the buyer needs hand holding. And then you may find yourself in a position of unofficial tech support for them for a long time.
When I sold my house, I removed the smart switches and put everything back to traditional dumb switches. The only thing I couldn’t remove was my thermostat, but that’s only because it was a Trane thermostat that had to stay with the unit; but I logged out of it. I figure if someone else wants to automate my old house, then it’s up to them to do it. Plus, I didn’t have to buy all new switches for my new house.
Yes, removing the smart switches is a pain in the rear, but to me it was way easier than trying to figure out how to transition my setup to a buyer.
Z-wave has an interference advantage since it utilizes the 900Mhz frequencies vs Zigbee is within the 2.4Ghz that is the same as WiFi. Food for thought since you mentioned it as a consideration in your decision.
It doesn’t have to be. For example, Apple’s HomeKit uses either WiFi or Bluetooth as the communication Protocol and everything runs locally except Voice control. The individual devices may have their own clouds for their own apps, but HomeKit doesn’t use that pathway.
The new Project CHIP which Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, the Zigbee Alliance and others are participating is intended to create a standard home automation profile for IP addressable devices (including WiFi devices) so that devices using that profile can easily communicate with each other and with the Big Three voice assistants (Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri). Although most of the voice assistant work won’t be local, an extra benefit will be that this should enable local operation similar to HomeKit’s for automations and potentially even app control.
Most of the switches (I think all but two) are the older Zwave instead of Zwave+, so there’s that, and also I thought that it might add to the coolness factor of the house. But you are right about having to have the internet, etc. still on when the house is shown. I have a couple of mounted FireHD tablets running ActionTiles as well. I was thinking that I would also leave an Echo Dot so the Realtor could demo voice control as well. Given how fast houses sell in the area, when I get to that stage, it would only be maybe an extra month of service (which would include prep time for house). Maybe even leave the network switch? I’ve run Cat5, phone line & coax to most rooms of the house.
I was thinking that if I take the hub, they would have to pair all of the switches to a new hub, which means that they would have to do a factory reset on every switch, right? The switches wouldn’t want to pair to a new hub if they still “remember” that they have an existing pairing, which was the main reason that I thought that I would have to leave the hub.
Do not have the realtor demo anything or you may be legally responsible for making sure it’s still working after they move in. Seriously, showing The features of a home is a form of advertising and you just don’t want to get into that.
The current advice from pretty much everybody including the National realtors association and the FTC is that you either replace everything with dumb devices Before you show the Home or you factory reset everything and just document the hardware. But do not make any promises about what it will or can do.
See the following discussion thread, which has links to the various organizations with advice,
It will. But 99.9% of the potential buyers won’t know how to do anything with the system and will expect it to operate exactly as they see it after they purchase the house. And they will expect it to operate reliably, like the stove or AC. Any hiccup in the system after the buyer purchases it may lead to problems for you.
It will be a hassle to replace all of the switches - especially the 3-way ones (I had to repurpose the traveler wire on some to deliver either the hot or neutral (don’t remember which)). I also have an outside motion sensor light that has a dual relay in it (motion sensor triggers one relay, rules use that stimulus to trigger the second relay which turns on the light) that I would have to rewire. I kept all of the old switches, of course, but I might want to keep-keep the old mercury ones in case I ever need to put a switch in a no-sparks-permitted environment.
Another factor is that I am not planning on selling the current house right away, so it’s not like I am going to be moving these switches to the new house right away. Maybe just factory reset the switches and remove the relay (since that light can only be turned on via ST) when I get ready to sell?