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Getting Smart (Home) in 2020

aMacMomaMacMom 262 replies4 threads Junior Member
One of my 2020 goals is making my home smart. So far I've installed a Schlage smart lock and Ring doorbell. I plan on using Samsung SmartThings as the hub. Easy as pie to get it to control the lock. Now what?

Have some misc. smart light bulbs throughout the house that I think the hub can control. Would like a garage door connection because I'm always thinking I left the door open. A water leak detector would be good.

What else? What's worked for you or what problems should I look out for? Has anyone used IFTTT dot com? Looks interesting to tie automated tasks together such as motion at the front door will turn the porch light on.
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Replies to: Getting Smart (Home) in 2020

  • somemomsomemom 10942 replies329 threads Senior Member
    I enjoy my Honeywell smart thermostat, because I travel I like that I can adjust it from afar, but admittedly have also been known to grab my phone whilst in bed and turn on the heat :)
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  • JustaMom5465JustaMom5465 1637 replies82 threads Senior Member
    I've used IFTTT for a couple things (in conjunction with Google Home). Not too hard once you get over the learning curve.....

    We have Arlo cameras at our beach house. Nest Thermostats there and also at home. A couple of Smart Plugs. And a couple Google Home Mini's (which I love!)

    My favorite use of Smart Plugs...turning the Christmas tree on and off on a schedule!
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  • abasketabasket 20596 replies898 threads Senior Member
    I'd like to hear more about how people use their Smart Plugs.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9265 replies93 threads Senior Member
    We have Arlo cameras, programmable light switches, Wally water sensors, smart thermostat, and our home security system. That's about as "smart" as we've gotten.

    I have a mild phobia that I've left the stove on so one of our cameras is positioned to see the stove. It's been a mental life saver ; )

    Also love being able to check and change things from the bed ; )

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  • katliamomkatliamom 13349 replies169 threads Senior Member
    I would like to be able to control my thermostat via my phone. It'd be nice to come home to a warm house after a weekend of skiing.
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  • Data10Data10 3299 replies11 threads Senior Member
    aMacMom wrote: »
    What else? What's worked for you or what problems should I look out for?
    It's been my experience that by far the most useful "smart home" function is lighting. I have a lighting setup with 64 "smart" dimmers in my home. I have a variety of scenes that can set any combination of dimmers to any level, ranging from 0% to 100%. For example, when I arrive home, I can press one button to setup all dimmers in the house at desired levels. Or when I go to bed, I can press 1 button, to turn all lighting off. Or one button to turn off all upstairs lighting when I go downstairs, and turn on downstairs lighting at desired levels.

    These lighting scenes can be enhanced with motion sensors, timers, and integration with other "smart" components. For example, lighting can automatically turn on or off when walking in a particular location. If I pause a movie, lighting automatically turns on in the theater, as well as in pathways to bathrooms and kitchen. Lighting might automatically turn on shortly before sunset, with varied dimmer levels, depending on weather. Amazon Alexa and Google Home/Phone can control any individual dimmer, as well as control the programmed scenes. There are an unlimited number of useful expansions.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 40409 replies474 threads Senior Member
    edited January 30
    We keep our house as dumb as it gets with just enough smartness added in strategic spots for security reasons. Those are not obvious spots. And good luck finding where our cable runs... even Comcast have trouble finding it. :)
    edited January 30
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  • snowballsnowball 2854 replies247 threads Senior Member
    We will never be able to make our home smart, as my very smart husband acts dumb when it comes to electronics. He refuses to learn anything new, and won't even adjust the digital thermostat up or down. I will come home after work and he complains the house is soooo cold. Well honey, I turned the heat down when I left in the morning; you could have turned it back up when you got home!

    We have thought about the digital door locks for the front door, but I haven't bother looking into one.
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  • aMacMomaMacMom 262 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @snowball I hear you on the husband ... got one of those too! We live in a coastal area that usually doesn't need heat and we don't have AC. I'm of the mindset to "put a sweater on" or " you know where the thermostat is" so not a priority in my smart home.

    I put in a Schlage lock that has a key entry (re-keyed it to our current key before installing) along with a keypad and remote access. Very easy.
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  • mom60mom60 8188 replies513 threads Senior Member
    We don’t have any smart devices inside the house but we do have a smart water meter. My H is obsessed with the app, it gives him a warning when it detects abnormal water use or a slow leak. The worst is if we are out of town and he is obsessing over what might be leaking.
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  • CIEE83CIEE83 824 replies11 threads Member
    I don’t trust smart technology— too easy to hack. And I still remember hearing about the time Nest released a software update with a bug, disabling its customers’ thermostats in the dead of winter. No thanks!
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  • aMacMomaMacMom 262 replies4 threads Junior Member
    OP here. I've installed the "brains" for my smart house. Now need to get it working seamlessly for our needs. @mom60 I put in a device that straps to the water meter and shows water usage. I can see how your H could get obsessed by it! Out of the gate I see something is amiss with our sprinkler system that is using too much water for a drip line.

    Also installed a device that turns off the water in case of a leak. Haven't connected it to my SmartThings leak detectors yet, but reviews say it's easy to do that.

    Have the garage door opening on an app which will help me not circle back with my doubts that I actually closed it.

    Not so worried about hacking as we have overlapping layers of security and don't need climate control.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 4542 replies56 threads Senior Member
    edited February 20
    My smart garage door system was so smart it had ghost openings, this was chamberlain. Under warranty, the garage door company ripped out and swapped for a smartish genie and that is smart enough, works with the app and our security system and WiFi, but I still have a camera in the garage so I can check when the app is misbehaving. I live in a place where your garage door opening randomly is a scary scenario. The thing about all this tech is there is no one controlling system, app, whatever. The lights are on one, garage on another, water heater another, it isn't very smart. And god spare me from OK google or Alexa LOL.
    edited February 20
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  • aMacMomaMacMom 262 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Sybylla I read a lot before I purchased my garage controller. There are definitely problems with it getting confused (for example when multiple users are in the same car) so I'm not using any of the automatic features that open when you approach. Just nice to be able to check/fix its status. So far so good.

    We left our garage door open one time for over a week when we were on vacation. Nothing was touched. We do live in a safe neighborhood.

    I'm using a SmartThings hub and adding my devices there so they're all in one place.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 4542 replies56 threads Senior Member
    So you can only buy things that work with that system? How extensive is that list?
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  • aMacMomaMacMom 262 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Sybylla Yes, only SmartThings compatible. It has a very extensive list of compatible devices (works with ZigBee, Z-Wave, Cloud-to-Cloud, LAN, ZigBee3).
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  • my2sunzmy2sunz 731 replies67 threads Member
    edited February 23
    We just got smart garage door openers, which I like because I can't tell you how many times I've driven a block or so and couldn't recall if I'd closed the garage door, so I circle back to check (it ALWAYS was closed LOL.) Now I can just check the app and can close it remotely. I added a couple of smart plugs for lamps, because sometimes I'm out longer that I anticipated and I can turn on a couple of lights for the dogs. We've also added a Nest doorbell and also can control our HVAC system with a smart thermostat. The only downside is that we've added each thing piecemeal so nothing is really integrated with each other. Still, I like being able to control things from my phone remotely.
    edited February 23
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  • aMacMomaMacMom 262 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @my2sunz You should look into the SmartThings hub. It's not expensive and you can put your devices all in one place. They still work on the app that you originally paired with the device, but it's super easy to check status of everything and adjust as needed in the SmartThings app.
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  • shawbridgeshawbridge 5828 replies53 threads Senior Member
    We have Nest thermostats. Really good since we travel often and can monitor what is happening at home. They turn the temp down to an eco setting when we are away.

    I had thought to put in Nest smoke detectors but this was harder -- you have to switch all smoke detectors over and probably connect to a network in the cloud.

    We completely renovated a country house this past year and last month bought a house in our hometown (we are doing significant renovation). Nest thermostats and likely camera doorbells on both houses.

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