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mattaudio
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Smart Home

Postby mattaudio » April 12th, 2017, 11:26 am

I generally ignore most of the "smart home" gadgets (no, I don't want to replace my light switch with a phone app) but I am currently considering some combination of:

1. IP security cameras
2. New doorbell, standard hardwired or fancier
3. "Smart" doorbell with camera
4. "Smart" lock.

@sdho told me about August, which has products to do #3 and #4 on that list. Of course I've also seen Ring.

Thoughts or suggestions?

seanrichardryan
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Re: Smart Home

Postby seanrichardryan » April 12th, 2017, 12:17 pm

Having recently experienced an internet outage for 3 days I'm wary of most 'smart' home functions.
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trkaiser
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Re: Smart Home

Postby trkaiser » April 12th, 2017, 1:28 pm

I'll be curious to hear what you think about that stuff, Matt. I'd like to do a smart doorbell at some point. Hue bulbs are ridiculous, absurdly expensive and unnecessary, but I got a crazy deal on them through a relative and am surprised by how much I enjoy them in my basement bar. I will add a few more in some key places. Controlling them by the app isn't as bad as I thought. You can still turn them fully off or fully on (w/no color, just white) using the wall switch...

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sdho
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Re: Smart Home

Postby sdho » April 12th, 2017, 2:23 pm

My bedroom is on Hue, but I can't stand using the app. I only use it once a day, to turn to a dim yellow before bed. I think it would be less annoying if I got the extra controllers that you can just leave on the wall.

I think my preference is stuff that works both "smart" and "dumb". August is nice because you can still manually use the key and turn it without any power or internet connection. And I believe many smart doorbells can still be wired like a conventional doorbell, so still do their basic function without an IP connection.

David Greene
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Re: Smart Home

Postby David Greene » April 12th, 2017, 9:41 pm

What's the use case for a "smart" doorbell? You can't look out the window?

I guess maybe a "smart" lock is useful for Airbnb types? I don't know that I'd trust it. Hackable.

I've yet to find a really compelling reason to get any of this home automation stuff. Maybe when our fridge tells us what's it in we'll see the light?

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Tiller
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Re: Smart Home

Postby Tiller » April 12th, 2017, 11:38 pm

sdho wrote:
April 12th, 2017, 2:23 pm
My bedroom is on Hue, but I can't stand using the app. I only use it once a day, to turn to a dim yellow before bed. I think it would be less annoying if I got the extra controllers that you can just leave on the wall.
You can set your hue bulbs to automatically dim when it gets late (whenever that is for you) in the routines tab in the app. You can also have them turn on/off when you leave/arrive home (this can work for multiple people).

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Tiller
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Re: Smart Home

Postby Tiller » April 12th, 2017, 11:57 pm

David Greene wrote:
April 12th, 2017, 9:41 pm
I've yet to find a really compelling reason to get any of this home automation stuff. Maybe when our fridge tells us what's it in we'll see the light?
A smart thermostat to control the heat/AC and a smart humidifier/dehumidifier seem like low-hacking-risk & decent-convienience smart appliances.

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Nick
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Re: Smart Home

Postby Nick » April 13th, 2017, 5:59 am


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mister.shoes
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Re: Smart Home

Postby mister.shoes » April 13th, 2017, 8:45 am

I'm taking small steps into the smart home world. But just small ones for now. I've got an ecobee3 smart thermostat. There's a guy putting in a whole-house humidifier in my basement as I type this. The ecobee can control that in addition to the heat and AC. Other than the therm, I want a smart garage door opener so I know what's going on with the detached garage. I'm always paranoid that I've forgotten to close it and I can't see the door itself from anywhere inside the house.

Oh, and we have a smart baby monitor. That's pretty cool.
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amiller92
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Re: Smart Home

Postby amiller92 » April 13th, 2017, 9:03 am

Tiller wrote:
April 12th, 2017, 11:57 pm
A smart thermostat to control the heat/AC and a smart
We've got a Nest that was installed by the prior owners and I both like it and think it makes some sense for reducing consumption when no one is there.

I don't really see the point of the rest of it. Our house isn't big enough to need to be able to see who is at the door, for example. Heck, the dog mostly means we don't really need a doorbell. She'll let us know someone is there.

dbaur31
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Re: Smart Home

Postby dbaur31 » April 13th, 2017, 9:50 am

Smart home stuff can definitely be a minefield as far as security and sudden inconvenience if the internet is down, but there are some parts of it I genuinely like. I have both a smart thermostat and a garage door opener. Both serve their basic functions just fine without internet. In a 96 year old house that is more than a bit finicky temperature-wise, it's nice to turn the temp up or down a bit from bed. It's also nice to turn the heat on before you arrive if you've been out of town for a week. We needed a new garage door opener anyway and have been notified a couple of times where we forgot to close it or it didn't close properly for whatever reason. Considering we can't see the door from the house and it's not attached, this is nice if not at all critical.

I just bought a Lutron Caseta smart dimmer and bridge but haven't installed it yet. This is the first smart home thing I've bought that I felt was of questionable value, but I like tinkering with stuff like this and also decided having it install as an in-wall dimmer was preferable to something like the Hue. Again, it'll do its primary functions just fine with no internet, which for me is a requirement of this stuff.

David Greene
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Re: Smart Home

Postby David Greene » April 13th, 2017, 11:59 am

Tiller wrote:
April 12th, 2017, 11:57 pm
David Greene wrote:
April 12th, 2017, 9:41 pm
I've yet to find a really compelling reason to get any of this home automation stuff. Maybe when our fridge tells us what's it in we'll see the light?
A smart thermostat to control the heat/AC and a smart humidifier/dehumidifier seem like low-hacking-risk & decent-convienience smart appliances.
Well that's true. I've seriously looked at it, but the prices are pretty outrageous.

I've also looked at wireless smoke alarms, etc. that talk to each other. That also seems low risk/high reward but we just bought a pile of alarms a couple of years ago so we still have about eight years left on them.

David Greene
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Re: Smart Home

Postby David Greene » April 13th, 2017, 12:02 pm

mister.shoes wrote:
April 13th, 2017, 8:45 am
Oh, and we have a smart baby monitor. That's pretty cool.
What's a smart baby monitor? Is it more then the ones that detect (lack of) motion and sound an alarm? The motion-detecting stuff could certainly provide ease-of-mind.

David Greene
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Re: Smart Home

Postby David Greene » April 13th, 2017, 12:05 pm

I've also thought about getting the servo-type things that "zone control" radiators by turning the valves. Again, these are expensive presumably mostly because of low demand. Plus I'm not sure many of our valves would actually turn. :)

EOst
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Re: Smart Home

Postby EOst » April 13th, 2017, 12:28 pm

The smart doorbell thing could certainly be useful if you're worried about package theft, in which case it's basically an unobtrusive (if expensive) motion-activated camera with a little extra hook thrown in with answering through your phone. I don't know if they're "there" yet though.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Smart Home

Postby FISHMANPET » April 13th, 2017, 12:45 pm

Re wireless smoke alarms, you don't need "smart" alarms to have them communicate with each other. I don't know exactly what model I have, but whatever smoke/CO2 detectors we have in our house, when one goes off they all go off. So linking doesn't require "smart" alarms.

mplser
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Re: Smart Home

Postby mplser » April 13th, 2017, 12:54 pm

I have a wireless camera that i can swivel and talk through an app on my phone. it was super cheap, like under 30 bucks. I use it to keep an eye on my dog. it's pretty great.

mattaudio
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Re: Smart Home

Postby mattaudio » April 13th, 2017, 1:22 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:
April 13th, 2017, 12:45 pm
So linking doesn't require "smart" alarms.
Correct. Modern electrical code requires all smoke and CO alarms to be on a single branch circuit with an extra wire (usually the red conductor in 14-3 romex) connected to each alarm station. Then one alarm that sounds sends voltage across the red wire and all alarms sound. It's been the standard for at least a few decades. Any standard plug-in alarm will allow for this functionality, though it usually works best for all alarm stations to be from one brand.

On old houses, it is required to upgrade to this standard anytime there's remodeling or other projects. The only exception is when remodeling or other work does not remove the finished wall surface, in which case it is not expected for buildings to upgrade to interconnected alarms.

amiller92
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Re: Smart Home

Postby amiller92 » April 13th, 2017, 1:29 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:
April 13th, 2017, 12:45 pm
smoke/CO2 detectors we have in our house, when one goes off they all go off.
This sounds like a bug, not a feature, but maybe I'm excessively callous about fire risks and think of smoke detectors as mostly a kitchen nuisance.

mattaudio
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Re: Smart Home

Postby mattaudio » April 13th, 2017, 1:30 pm

amiller92 wrote:
April 13th, 2017, 1:29 pm
and think of smoke detectors as mostly a kitchen nuisance.
That's why it's not recommended to have a smoke detector in your kitchen. And upgrading to a photoelectric alarm will reduce cooking alarms. From what I've read in fire journals, photoelectric alarms are preferred by the experts rather than dual-mode photoelectric/ionization alarms.


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