Smart tip from smart people about smart home: is having a smart home worth it?

Smart home is one expensive thing but its trendy. Before going to expend great amount i want to be sure Is having a smart home worth it?

There’s no single answer to this. It depends very much on your own motivations.

In my case, I use a power wheelchair and have limited use of my hands. I choose my home automation projects based strictly on what will have a practical value. I budget carefully, but I budget the same way I budget for a mobile phone: with a certain amount per month and an expectation that I will need to replace any individual item (even the hub) in three years. And I often automate only one light in a room, and not necessarily all rooms in the house, because I’m just looking for that practical solution.

Other people choose home automation in order to reduce their spending on energy for their home, and if you select carefully, you can certainly accomplish this.

Still other people go by what looks like it would be fun or cool or interesting. That’s when your budget can really explode! :rocket: So it becomes a hobby in itself for some people.

So there are many different reasons for adding home automation, and many different answers as to whether it’s “worth it.“ :sunglasses:

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Short Answer: Yes

Long Answer: Hell Yes!

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Half answer is it helped when my wife had foot surgery and couldn’t walk to light switches or open door for a friend. Other half is hobby fun.

I approached it in $100/month upgrades over a year. Bought the Echo devices as they went on sale. Or bought pairs of light switches or a lock or a Nest. Spread the cost out.

At this point, I have an Echo/dot/show/spot in every room (one per room). And a smart switch in every room. Thus ensuring, I can walk in with my hands full and say “alexa, turn on the light” and it will be so.

There’s only a few more automations I want to add. I’d like to transform a few lamps into smart lamps (so they have a zwave module and a physical switch that mundanes expect). That’s about it.

The wife seems happy with the all this.

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Depends on the day. If everything is working, heck ya. If its not, don’t ask that question. If you are a tinkerer and love technology, it becomes an addiction.

I’m not sure that graphing the temperatures in every room in my house is a necessity, but it is really cool to see, and maybe helps.

But I think other practical things like “fixing” the lighting in your house to give you exactly what you want is definitely worth it. I just got a harmony hub/remote and condensed 3+ remotes into 1, and it can also control the lights around the TV, not critical but really convenient.

We have a gate on our driveway and I am able to remind us to close it if we leave it open a long time or late at night. I would say that and similar applications is worth it for security reasons.

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IMO if you are not DIY or interested in maintenance, then it is not worth it

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That might be true of smartthings, but I don’t think it’s true of a smart home in general, as Long as you’re willing to settle for a much simpler level of rules engine than smartthings offers.

As I’ve mentioned before, my personal standard is an MFOP ( maintenance free operating period) of at least six months and hopefully 12. That meets my standards for “set And forget.”

I get that from the hue bridge, apple’s HomeKit, Logitech Harmony home, Amazon Echo, Lutron Caseta, and A couple of other smart home systems.

But since November 2015, the longest MFOP I have gotten from SmartThings is 15 days, and usually less. :disappointed_relieved:

So there is quite a difference between one setup another in this regard.

To quote one of the other commenters:

But I think other practical things like “fixing” the lighting in your house to give you exactly what you want is definitely worth it.

is the driving point in my interest.

You are never going to save money replacing traditional switches with motion activated or timed ones. By the time you reach break even on the electrical savings, you will be replacing the switch because it will have failed.

On the other hand, you can turn any single smart switched light into a three way for something on the order of $30 and an hour’s time. Compared to getting an electrician to come to your home and hardwire it, you’re at maybe a 20x savings. And if you don’t like it, undoing your change is equally simple - especially if you use battery driven switches.

It’s also really hard to put a measure on the convenience factor. Our family room has a direct line of sight into our kitchen and as a result you can see the lighting in the other room. If you consider the time it takes to get “comfortable” with your significant other to watch a movie at night only to find that the kitchen light is still on and you have to get back up to go turn it off, it can be worth a lot just to be able to grab you phone or TV remote and just switch it off. Is that worth a $50 switch plus a $100 hub? Maybe - depends on the movie I suppose.

So, is it worth it to replace everything? Certainly not. (though I will say that if you are building a house or doing a significant remodel, it’s worth every penny to get the wiring in place as if you were going to do everything)

Is it worth doing? Absolutely - if nothing else, ask for the necessary pieces as part of a birthday or holiday present - it will take a load of stress off the person needing to find you a gift and will justify the extravagance.

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If I can give you one piece of advice…don’t expect everything to work the first time. You will get frustrated and you will want to throw the hub out your window. But there’s lots of folks here on the forum to help. Just don’t expect yourself to learn everything overnight. It’s freaking complicated. And if you’re not a programmer some of the stuff can take a while to learn/figure out.

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look like you are very certain about smart home and stuff… I am going to consider it… Thanks bro…

It means if someone wants to increase the comfort level of life or want luxury in life then it’s worth it…

To be honest, all I wanted to do originally was save some money on the light bill by installing Smart Switches and LED Bulbs. After seeing those savings, I turned my attention to the 2 HVAC systems I have. After that, why not install power plugs and monitor energy usage…

OMG these Harmony Hubs are awesome! Wait what? I can turn off stuff if other stuff happens or not happens!! Like seriously turn the XBox off if laundry is not put away.

What about the dogs? Have they been out?
Is the wife home?
Did the back door just open?
When did my daughter arrive?

Oh man then it was the locks! I arrive the door unlocks. When I depart the door locks. If the door stays unlocked for x amount of time and the door hasn’t opened then lock.

What about Humidity control? Automated
Fireplace? Automated
Treadmill? Automated
All PCs? Automated
Ceiling Fans? Automated
Home Alarm? Automated
Garage Door? Automated

The list just goes on and on.

Now, I will be honest. I am WAYYYYY past the initial buy back window. At first, there was at least $400/month savings. Now, I am just for-filling “wants”.

The only thing left for me to automate is window treatment and that is going to cost$$$$$$$…

Catch the sales and don’t impulse buy. Research everything and use webCoRE!

Voice Control is Super Cool!
Tablets on the Walls running Action Tiles and DAKboard are Super Cool!

Good Luck!

If you enjoy constantly tinkering, a smart home is for you. If you want a reliable system where everything works the majority of the time, a smart home probably isn’t for you.

During any given week 1 or 2 devices drop out and need to be reconnected. But the real fun is when power or internet goes out. Once it comes back, you get to spend many hours (or short periods of time spread over the next several days, if you are a busy person) resetting everything. My wife and I are quickly regretting making our new home “smart”. We are most likely going to eliminate several devices and only keep a few lights and the door locks.

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There are many different smart home platforms currently available. Some are much more reliable than others, although they may not be as powerful as the unreliable ones.

Just as an example, the Phillips hue bridge on its own is generally quite reliable. And Lutron Caseta on its own is very reliable. I easily get an MFOP (maintenance free operating Period) of over six months with each of these, and no tinkering required provided I am using Hue brand bulbs.

I use apple’s HomeKit as my primary rule engine. Again, very reliable although occasionally an individual device might have to be requested twice by voice.

SmartThings, however, fits your description very well as far as requiring both tinkering and having a short MFOP. So at this point I would say that the home automation market has expanded enough that there are now “considerable variations within it. It all comes down to what is most important for your own household. You can get quite good reliability as long as you’re willing to settle for much simpler rules. Or you’re willing to pay much more money.

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what’s surprising is others experience with ST and resetting devices etc.

I haven’t had to do anything to my z-wave switches since I set them up. The ST hub runs like a champ, for the last year I’ve had it.

I had FIVE power blinks in a row this weekend and everything came back just fine with no intervention by me.

Alexa has done surprisingly well despite frequent drops in speed by U-Verse in the last year (waiting for new ISP tech to come fix the new cable modem I had installed this weekend so I can fire U-Verse as I write this).

Everybody’s setup is different. Even my z-wave only house is ST riding on top of an ADT Pulse z-wave hub, so odds are good that’s reinforcing things for reliability (when it could have made things less stable).

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So you’re running SmartThings as a Z wave secondary to ADT pulse? That would definitely improve reliability considerably I would think.

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Yes. If I recall I found how to do it on here from one of your posts. I’d gotten ADT Pulse first and discovered their Alexa skill sucked because they didn’t pass the devices through, so I had to say “Alexa, ask ADT to turn on the Living Room Light” and such.

So adding ST as a secondary meant it would translate my z-wave stuff to Alexa nicely. I have to do a double-add when I get new z-wave tech, but over all everything is solid (barring internet or ST cloud outage). And technically, I still have all the ADT commands if I really need to speak or need an app to turn something on/off.

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