Updated: Jul 19, 2020
Welcome back to your weekly dose of Creating A Smart Home. This week we will be talking accessories. This will help to build your setup while creating a relaxing atmosphere and be smarter.
So from last week, you learned the basics, your home now has smart lights in every room. And yes I know that sounds crazy, definitely, if you are on a budget, it took me 2 years to complete my setup. I learned to buy as I go and add as I learn. Anyway, accessories!
They're so many different accessories for the smart home, so I'm going to use a separate 3 types of accessories from brands I feel work well together and support all platforms.
I will talk about different sensors you can add to your home and how they can benefit you while also making your home feel more secure. Sensors mainly consist of 3 types, motion, temperature, and contact. It's good to have a couple of these dotted around the home.
Let's start with motion. I would highly recommend adding motion sensors where there isn't much traffic in your home, or if they are going to be used at night, anywhere else and the motion sensor can be your worst enemy (I'll explain later). I added my first motion sensor from Philips Hue (£30/$35) to an alcove by the front of my door. When something is detected a Philips bulb above the coat rack turns on at 100% and lights up the area for me to see. It's perfect for arriving home or when finding a pair of shoes before you are about to leave and amazing when we have guests over as they don't have to look around for a light switch. I also set an automation in the Eve app, so if someone is watching tv in the living room and has our "movie scene" turned on, when motion is detected, all the hallway lights turn on but at a dimmed, warmer setting.
I added 2 more sensors around my home, one in the kitchen, and one in the study. The kitchen sensor is set to only work at night so you can see what you are doing in the middle of the night. it works amazing. The motion sensor I put in the study was an Ikea motion sensor! This is due to a limit of setting motion to work at different times of the day and some software limits/bugs (also no Homekit, Alexa or Google support) I had nightmares. I wanted my Desk light strip (LIFX Z strip) to turn on and a lamp (Philips filament bulb) I have on my desk. I soon discovered many problems, one being that the motion sensor has no setting to leave lights turned on. So the minute I stop moving the lights turn off and if I have set at the scene after I've entered the room and someone else enters, the motion sensor just runs again and I have blinding desk lights all of a sudden. This can be fixed with the software on Ikea's behalf. My second nitpick is busy rooms! Back to what I said at the beginning, all sensors I have tried, have the same issue. If the sensor turns on lights SOMETIMES if a motion sensor detects to much motion in a short period of time
Motion sensors I recommend (HomeKit, Alexa, and Google)
Philips Hue motion, temperature, and light sensor £34 RRP
Eve motion sensor £40 RRP
Fibaro motion, light, and temperature sensor £50 RRP https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M2YTQ13?ascsubtag=UUimUdUnU46299YYwYg&linkCode=gs2&tag=androcentr-21
Temperature sensors are amazing in the home if you have fans or outlets that act as fans. Not in the home app but in the Eve app you can set an automation so when the temperature rises above a certain degree the fans in your home will kick in. As a pet owner, I find this truly amazing as I can see how hot or cold my apartment is and cool it down or heat it up depending on the stats I'm given or have it do it automatically for me.
Security is one of the biggest reasons most people go smart. You get more control of your home even when you aren't home.
Contact sensors are the perfect solution to get notified if a door or a window has been opened. When all put in a system you end up with 360 security, with notifications that are sent to your phone or watch. When you are home you can simply set to disarm your home so you won't be bothered with a bunch of annoying notifications. With customization, you can trigger a light or a sound to be played in your home. Worst case scenario the person breaking into your home is going to freak and leave.
Contact senors I recommend
Hive contact sensor £30 RRP (HK, Alexa, Google)
Ring contact sensor £30 RRP (Alexa, Google)
Next week we will be talking about accent lighting, smart panels, and feature lights.
Again I hoped you enjoyed this week's smart home talk. Over time I will start to talk more about software and how to set up different automation's using different apps and how they sync across, but for now, I'm just covering the out of box basics as it can become very overwhelming and sometimes leave you in a dead-end.
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