Ready for Home Automation- New House

(MEW) #1

Hi, I am purchasing a new home from a developer in Houston. It is due for completion mid-December. There is no smart automation or security built-in with the exception of pre-wiring for two security cameras and a Liftmaster MQ Garage Door. The house is 3400 sq ft, 3 story townhome with garage, living, kitchen and dining on the first floor. There are three entry doors on the first floor, one from the garage, one main entrance and one door to a small back yard.

Here are my objectives including nice to haves:

  1. Self monitored security sending texts to me. Includes, door/window entry, motion, glass breakage.
  2. Ability to control HVAC remotely
  3. Live online video feeds with recording, preferably for up to 4 cameras.
  4. Ability to monitor and control door locks and garage remotely.
  5. Nice to have would be to be able to turn off lights automatically or remotely.
  6. Nice to have would also be to get alert for door bell, be able to view and speak to person at door remotely.

I am new to this but enjoy gadgets and projects of all kinds. I would appreciate any advice on offer.

(Geko) #2

Everything except live video feeds and voice intercom is doable with SmartThings, but be aware that ST is cloud-based system, so all your automation will depend on live internet connection.

(MEW) #3

Live HS internet is a given. I was assuming I would likely need to do video separately. I am leaning towards ST but have not yet made up my mind. I guess what I am really asking, given all the experience in this community, is what would you do today with this blank canvas? I am happy to invest money to set up but would like to avoid ongoing monthly fees.

Here are preliminary thoughts:

  1. Video - buy a video system with 4 HD cameras, 1 TB recording and online access. Hard for me to figure out which is best for DIY.
  2. Home security - ST multi-sense entry on three doors on 1st. Motion on 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors. Maybe entry sensors on two terrace doors upstairs. Siren/Strobe.
  3. Smart thermostat (Honeywell?) all three floors (three zone set-up).
  4. My Q Garage Door integrated to system.
  5. Smart locks by Kwikset or Schlage on garage and front door entry.
  6. Smart GE light switches/dimmers to control cans on first floor and maybe hallways going upstairs.

(Geko) #4

As you could probably pick up from other threads, ST is not wrinkle-free by any means. Expect hiccups. Personally, I like it despite all quirks, but I’d be hesitant to recommend it to anyone who is not technical at this point. There’s certainly a lot of potential and it’s gradually getting better, but the progress is painfully slow. A lot of stuff that’s been promised “soon”, “really soon” and “any minute now” is yet to be delivered.

The good thing is that the initial investment is fairly low. If you stick with Z-Wave devices, you’ll be able to re-use them should you ever decide to switch to another platform. The sensors that ST offers are all Zigbee, and in my opinion are not worth the price. You can get equivalent ZWave sensors 30% cheaper. I already had a bunch of Z-WAve sensors and switches, so I just bought an ST hub for $99 and added more Z-Wave devices over time without breaking a bank.

(MEW) #5

Thanks, appreciate the tip, exactly what I need to hear.