Smart Home from Scratch

JKelley34

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Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
1,335
CT
My wife and I are currently gut-renovating a house. With the walls fully open I have the opportunity to build-in as much smarthome connectivity as I want. Reading the home building thread in BLtS I've gotten a few ideas that I hadn't previously thought of but with our design largely complete I'm most interested in figuring out what smarthome features are currently worth purchasing and which ones I should wait on or pass on.

Key Assumptions:
- I'm fairly tech-savvy but my wife is not at all so whatever I do needs to be simple enough that I can set it up and have it work via touch/voice (i.e. I can program an IFTTT recipe but I'll need it so she won't have to troubleshoot)

- We're pretty much an Apple house, so while it appears they are still lacking in that department, I would likely look towards solutions that have HomeKit connectivity even if I don't start there (i.e. I'll likely purchase a few Echo Dots to scatter throughout the house)

- We have a Sonos play 5 and I anticipate purchasing a soundbar / running wires for outdoor speakers I'll plug into a Connect:AMP for music.

Thermostat - Leaning towards an Ecobee3 over Nest but open to thoughts.

Smoke Detectors - Doesn't seem to be worth the premium to pair with the Nest thermostat.

Garage - One of the Chamberlain MyQ enabled doors

Lighting - Unsure; the Lutron Caseta looks really interesting and given that I'm doing a full rewire the cost premium isn't as much as doing a retrofit. But I'm not sure

Doorbell/Outdoor Cameras - I'm meh on these at the moment; the use case is fairly limited for us.

Sprinkler System - Not 100% sure we'll have it put in immediately, but likely a year 1/2 project so I'm interested in ensuring its wired to start. Leaning Rainmachine over Ranchio but interested in feedback.

Mesh Wireless - Given the plan to ramp up the amount of devices connected, is pay the premium for a mesh wireless setup (Netgear Orbi is the wirecutter pick) worth it? Our house won't be massive but the main router hub will not likely be centered due to my office location.

What else am I missing or should be considering? What has or hasn't worked for you?
 

AlNipper49

Huge Member
Dope
Apr 3, 2001
41,208
Mtigawi
The world is going wireless but I recommend Ethernet anywhere you'll have a device that will have the option to be directly connected. Troubleshooting wifi is a pain in the balls on most of these devices. Moreso, a lot will have the option of taking power over Ethernet (you'll require a proper switch to enable this).

Don't skimp on cameras. In addition to being able to look at things remotely the good ones will allow for motion detection and audio detection. It may be complimentary to a security system but it's also the special sauce that holds together some of my automation.

I use Home Assistant on A raspberry PI to interact with most components, and services such as IFTTT.

My wife really didn't like a lot of the HA security systems so I built out a legit Honeywell system. They now make Ethernet modules (EzeOn) for them they can do basic HA stuff and, most importantly, also works with Home Assistant.
 

RG33

Potty Mouth
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Nov 28, 2005
4,772
CA
I am not too savvy on this stuff in general, but we had our entire house made "smart" a couple of years ago. We are on the Control4 System -- TVs, speakers, lights, Nest, Garage, security, Apple TV, and now "Alexa" is all hooked up through it. It works fantastic -- and all of the "scenes" you can setup are pretty cool (double-click the top wall mount button and the TV comes on and turns to ESPN, double-click the second button, and Apple TV "Listen" mode comes on and activates the backyard speakers so you can stream whatever you want to it, etc.). We originally had it setup via wireless, but we would have problems where things would reset -- so they finally hard-wired it in via the ethernet or whatever.
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
Jul 18, 2005
28,023
Alexandria, VA
Thermostat - Leaning towards an Ecobee3 over Nest but open to thoughts.
These are both privacy/security nightmares (the Nest, depending on patch level, has leaked information on zip code in outgoing requests and exact GPS coordinates of the home in incoming requests, and there are some traffic analysis attacks allowing people (e.g. potential thieves) to discern with decent accuracy when you're coming and going).

Venstar or Honeywell allow you to control them without sending all your data to 3rd party cloud servers.
 

Gambler7

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 11, 2003
3,591
The world is going wireless but I recommend Ethernet anywhere you'll have a device that will have the option to be directly connected. Troubleshooting wifi is a pain in the balls on most of these devices. Moreso, a lot will have the option of taking power over Ethernet (you'll require a proper switch to enable this).

Don't skimp on cameras. In addition to being able to look at things remotely the good ones will allow for motion detection and audio detection. It may be complimentary to a security system but it's also the special sauce that holds together some of my automation.

I use Home Assistant on A raspberry PI to interact with most components, and services such as IFTTT.

My wife really didn't like a lot of the HA security systems so I built out a legit Honeywell system. They now make Ethernet modules (EzeOn) for them they can do basic HA stuff and, most importantly, also works with Home Assistant.
This is great information. Do you have a rough estimate on the cost for the Honeywell system? Ideally I would like a security system with at lease one exterior and interior camera. I'm also looking to have some home automation in a new home being built. I don't think I would go as far as lighting...but definitely thermostats, doorbell, garage, sound, security, etc depending on cost.