Phone presence sensor to turn on lights

Here is a good example of relieving a pain point via smart home automation.

My hours and evening pickup schedule means I arrive home during the winter after dark. Every night. We have a nice, recessed porch–great for avoiding porch pirates, bad for fumbling with house keys in the dark.

After the house remodel this year (thank you, slab leak), I started getting serious about implementing smart home technologies. This particular pain point was among the top of my to-do list.

Stage one was fairly simple: put a smart switch on the porch light and implement an automation in the ST app. So, I added a Lutron Caseta switch and built an automation to turn the light on at sunset on weekdays. It’s also set to turn off at 10:15pm just in case we forget to manually do it so it’s not on all night. This was the second switch I added, and the first Casta requiring used of the house neutral. Thankfully my 1972-built house has good wiring: copper Romex with ground and common everywhere. So, this one was fairly easy and works well. Now I get home and the porch is lit.

Stage two was utilize the first Caseta dimmer in the living room. I’d like to not walk into a dark house, either. The teen is typically either not home yet from practice, or is plugged into his PC in the back with no lights on anywhere, so no help there… This one is more complex as I wanted to use presence and time.

First, I set up my phone as a presence sensor. I then created a virtual dimmer, though in the end a switch would have worked as well. Next, I set up an Automation to turn that virtual switch on when I arrive home in the evening.

Now, the last step is some webCORE programming. I set up a piston to trigger if the switch turns on after sunset on weekdays. If so, and the living room lights are off, it turns them on.

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