This is my smart home

I’ve been making my home smart for a couple of years but have add a lot more functionality in the last 9 months or so. Here’s what I have…

  • I run Home Assistant (HA) on a Raspberry Pi Model 4 with a SSD for storage. HA is a server that manage inputs from the various sensors round the house and allows you to automate various functions (see below for more details of what I control). The HA server also has a ZigBee USB dongle attached which allows more sensors, etc. to be connected up.
  • My central heating is controlled by a Tado system. This consists of a boiler controller, a wall thermostat and 9 smart thermostatic radiator valves. The Tado system can control itself but it’s integrated into HA for centralised control. The valves in most rooms have a temperature schedule set, e.g. 19degC from 07:00 to 08:00 in a bedroom and then request the boiler controller to turn on when they need heat. You can also override the temperature setting through the app or by turning the valve top (there’s an display in each valve telling you the target temperature. Finally there’s an internet bridge that allows the system to be controlled locally or from anywhere on the Internet.
  • 9 of my lights are from LIFX. They’re WiFi enabled so are controllable from an app or via HA. Lights can be scheduled to turn on/off at various times, e.g. I have an ‘all lights off at 23:00’ function in HA because by that time we’re usually all tucked up in bed. There are also other ways to turn them on/off.
  • I have 3 ZigBee door sensors. These are fitted to doors (or windows) to check if they’re open or closed. So for example, I have one each on my front and back doors. These are configured that during the hours of darkness if the door is opened it turns on one or more nearby lights. So when I get home at night I don’t walk into a dark house.
  • I have 12 ZigBee light switches. These fall into two different types. Some are replacement wall switches so you can turn the lights on/off by pressing them in the normal way. These talk back to HA so the light status is always known. HA can also send updates to the switches to ask them to turn the light on/off. The other ZigBee switches are small battery powered modules that are stuck to the wall in various places. These don’t turn the light on directly. You touch them, which sends a single to HA. An automation in HA then sends an update to the relevant LIFX bulb asking it to turn on/off. These switches are also smart in that you can double press or long press them. So for example, the hall light switch turns on the downstairs light for one press, upstairs light for two presses and both lights for a long press.
  • I have a number of ZigBee mains plugs. You can turn these on locally by pressing a button on them or control them by HA. One of these is used to control my partners electric blanket. It’s automated to turn on at 21:30 for an hour but HA also has a switch in it that turns the blanket on for an hour on demand.
  • I also have a couple of ZigBee controlled LED strip controllers, a ZigBee motion sensor and ZigBee Temp/Hum sensor which are currently waiting to be deployed.

Other integrations include

  • Data from my Davis WLL is read by HA
  • My router is connected up so I get other data about online devices from that, e.g. the router knows when each of our phones is at home and connected by WiFi so it tells HA that we’re home. This allows HA to automate various things like turning off particular heating when someone is out or switching all the lights off when everyone is out.
  • I have OpenWeather, Met.No, Aurora info and ISS integrations so I can get warnings about weather conditions, or possible auroras or ISS passes.
  • HA knows about the sun and moon so it can automate things based on them.
  • I have media controllers via Chromecasts/Google Home which can play music/media in various rooms
  • or YouTube on TV. I can also voice command most of the devices in the house.
  • Via remote HA I can control the devices in the house from anywhere where my phone has a connection.

I’m sure there’s more and I’ll add to this as I remember stuff. If you’ve got a smart house I’d love to know what you’re using and how you’re using it. If you don’t currently have a smart house but would like to know more feel free to ask questions. I’ll try to answer them, and maybe others can help too!

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Only smart things in our house (apart from me :slightly_smiling_face:) are the gas and electricity SMART (SMETS2) meters, and they are not exactly under our control. . . we don’t even have smart phones.

So I was surprised to get two e-mails from our utilities provider recently asking for meter readings. I ignored the request and, sure enough, got estimated statements. When I asked about this I got the following reply:

“I am understanding your issue and also want to inform you, As the property Gas & electricity meter is not communicating with [our] network, its working as dumb smart meter where in it will record usage and you can manually submit them via online account or directly by contacting us… This is a know issue… and its been highlighted to our smart meter technical team already. An updated is received about it that a fix will be delivered soon on meter via software upgrade.”

Yours aye,

Ned Ludd

Smart meters are a little disappointing here too. We’ve only got the electricity one. When the guy came to fit both gas and electric meters he looked at the gas supply and said “It’s a lead pipe. I can’t do those. I’ll have to get someone else to do that.” Then he went away and nobody else ever came. The little meter device that’s supposed to show how much you’re using lost connection with the electricity meter after a month or so and has never worked since. All rather underwhelming really.

As much as I’d quite like to play with smart stuff (NOT smart meters though) in our house my wife has an aversion to anything technology related. As far as she is concerned all you need is a manual on/off switch for everything and a rotary dial for room temperature on the central heating :wink:

When British Gas moved us on to an internet only tariff a couple of years ago with no paper bills etc my wife got very upset. Good thing was it prompted me to move and we now have a fixed tariff for both gas and electricity with paper bills and a phone number in case of issues which runs until October 2024 :sunglasses:


That’s an interesting point. I’m trying to achieve that but the technologies aren’t quite there in all cases yet.

I’d like to fit ‘normal’ light switches in every position. I already have three in use. These are normal from the point of use…click on/off, but they report back to HA and can also be controlled by HA. I can’t fit them all over at this time because I’ve got some multi-location switches that I can’t currently find ZigBee equivalents for. I can fudge them by using automation via HA but then they’re not really controlling the lights directly!

My radiator valves are also fully manually controllable. You can turn them up or down, but again if you do then they report back to HA and are controllable by HA.

Then things like open door sensors don’t require any human touch, other than opening and closing the door so they shouldn’t really worry anyone (other than maybe burglars).

Working on mine. Mainly Philips Hue. A couple of sensors (which are handy as they have temp and humidity on them).

I’m also running Home assitant on a Raspberry Pi 3. Have my Ecowitt sensors all reporting in, and can do all the other normal stuff, TV’s, a couple of smart plugs, webcams, etc.

Latest purchase is an Eufy Smart video lock (also has a doorbell) which is great. However no integration into HA so far.

Smartest thing is a sensor outside that turns on the garage , front door and stair lights so if someone comes home in the dark they can drive into a lit garage and come up the stairs without breaking their neck.

Started looking at an auto watering system. Would be interesting to use the weather data in a smart way - ie if it’s raining don’t water the garden.

Still trying to train everyone in the house to use smart stuff. It’s so annoying when I go to turn a light on, on my phone and someone has switched it off ! (Yes I know - first world problems!)

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That happens here too. That’s the main reason I’d like to replace all my light switches with smart real switches, i.e. they’re controllable by Zigbee but also work properly when someone manually turns them on.

I didn’t build my own system, but installed and integrated canned systems together.

I have a whole house Control4 system run by an EA-5 and EA-3 controller. The system controls 40 lights/outlets, 5 TV’s, and 3 thermostats. I can use Control4 from anywhere I have an internet connection, even while I’m away I can control everything. The scheduling feature allows me to automate the turning on and off of the lights, and I have scenes created that can be scheduled or activated with the touch of a button or by using the phone. All of the light controllers/switches are dimmable. The Venstar thermostats can be individually accessed and controlled from an app as well.

I also have a whole house Sonos system with 8 amps, 2 ARC soundbars, 1 ARC Beam soundbar, and wireless subwoofer. All rooms could be listening to something different and I can control the volume of each room or all rooms as a whole from my phone. The music source could be local files on my phone, but more often than not I use my Roon Nucleus music server to play music in the house and even while I’m not at home. I can stream my music across the internet from Roon ARC where ever I have an internet connection. I can send that music directly to my media room, or play music from the media room to the rest of the house.

I just ordered the new Davis console that I will keep in the kitchen, and use it to tie in my VP2+ and my Air Link so we can see it all in one place. I have a website to view my data but this will be more convenient for casual glances.

I have a mixed system of various sensors, that I’ve installed over years. Started out as a experiment and grew from there. I have been using Smart Things which integrated pretty well with Google home on my Android device. With Samsung moving away from the groovy platform I was thinking about migrating to different platform.

I installed home assistant on my Synology NAS this morning, seems to work okay. I’m not sure about the integration with Google home, if that’s a subscription?

Also, wireless tags will take a little bit more work to get integrated into that system if I keep it.

It’s definitely a rabbit hole. I like the routines on Google home, that I use to change thermostat, lights, switches, etc. Tell me the news, calendar , weather for the next day.

Not all family members are as excited as I am. I had to put guards on the switches, so other family members couldn’t manually turn them off. :joy:

HA Cloud subscription includes Google Home integration but there might be other ways to do it.

They’re actually quite easy to set up although having bought blank tags I then found that I haven’t used any. One of the biggest issues with them is that because of phone security you can’t scan a tag unless the phone is unlocked. That makes their use more awkward.

I’ve nearly got to the point of 3D printing some guards but most of the time the family behaves and don’t turn lights off at the real switch, although it happens by mistake sometimes. I’ve got some more WiFi light switches arriving tomorrow which will cover 5 more rooms with ‘real’ switches.