I just finished removing the last Insteon switch from the house, and I was wondering what the typical home looks like, numbers and types of devices-wise. My home is a dog’s breakfast of things that connect, and seems to have snuck up on me over time.
We have around 40 Zwave devices (including ten LZW31s, seven LZW30s, and a single (sniff) LZW36) that include switches, sensors, and plugin relays, as well as a bunch of Sengled and Hue zigbee bulbs. We’re an Echo home with six of them spread around here and there, Sonos for whole home audio, an Envisalink for alarm system integration, and a Level-Sense that irks me because it’s proprietary We control the whole shootin’ match with Indigo Domo, have a UBNT system for network and wifi, and are probably going to move over to Home Assistant (tried the Hubitat and ugh) down the road.
Anywho, mostly curious what peoples device counts are, what your fave device is (mine is still the Garage door relay and sensor, and all the notifications that have saved me from leaving the door open all night) and what surprises you the most about how folks use their setups (for us it’s been how much we use Alexa on the daily for light, scene , and routine invocation).
Just counted mine recently since I re-paired half of my network to a new hub and wanted an estimate of how long it would take, assuming some amount of time per device. I have about 40 Z-Wave devices, 65 Zigbee devices, and a few LAN/cloud devices (Sonos, weather station, etc.). I’m not including my Hue Zigbee bulbs on a separate (Hue Bridge) network, though I suppose that adds around 25 more. I’m also not including devices that mostly work in their own world, separate from my “real” home automation — Wyze Cams, voice assistants (though I do have some things exposed to them), etc.; or my network gear, given that it’s really not for automation per se (though I’ve been converting to UniFi, too — finally got the WiFi 6 Pro AP, the biggest piece I was missing, replacing my old AirPort Extreme). It also doesn’t include things I have laying around unused, but does include a few devices of each protocol that are really more for testing than daily use.
This is all probably way more than I need, especially for the size of my house. (But it was all purchased over years, not all at once.)
I can’t pick one favorite device, but the Red Series Dimmer (LZW31-SN) is probably my favorite. I suspect the Blue Series will give it a run for its money up on release. The LED bar is great for status and “notifications.” But many of my Zigbee motion sensors would be a close second, along with the Hue bulbs — motion lighting was got me into this in the first place, and Hue is rock-solid and Zigbee sensors are quick, responsive, and generally have long battery life, making this all the more pleasant. Not sure what surprises me other than that I have my motion lighting set up so well for my needs that light switches in other people’s houses practically feel unbearably cave-man-esque…ha.
Nice. I feel better now about the quantity of devices, and the number of different bits and pieces I have lying around the house. I love the Inovelli gear for sure, and the notifications are great, as is the smart bulb mode (relay disabled) which is used with a bunch of hues in the house.
Super similar history, a few less devices, and definitely am looking forward to seeing the Blues. Thanks for the reply!
I have 42 active zwave devices and a couple more to install. 2/3 of them are powered by AC. I also have a handful of zigbee devices. I’m hoping to branch out into zigbee more when the blue series comes out.
Definitely trying to get a good idea of how zigbee is going to work, network-wise. Really looking forward to the Blues, in particular the no-neutral switches. Every three-way in my house has power at the fixture
I live in a small house. Our entire Z-Wave network is:
4 x LZW30-SN switches on all outdoor lights.
4 x LZW36 fan/light switches on all ceiling-mounted lights.
1 x ancient GE switch for the inside lights on our detached garage.
1 x ummm, (I can’t type the company’s name without my hands shaking) ZEN15 as a current monitor for our basement sump pump.
There are only four “dumb” switches left in the entire house, and they are located in places like closets and the laundry room with minimal weekly traffic where a smart switch makes no financial sense…
My main Z-wave mesh has devices, including 8 Red Dimmers, 1 LZW45, and two ilumin bulbs. 15 are mains-powered
My main Zigbee mesh has over 120 Zigbee devices. 80+ contact and motion sensors (all reporting temp), about a 20 Zigbee bulbs, and 15 outlets (mostly acting as Zigbee repeaters).
My Zigbee mesh is and has always been highly reliable. The stuff just always works. The mesh handles all the traffic without a problem. Never a delay in communicating with devices.
My Z-wave mesh is currently reliable, but it took work lots of fiddling to get it there. And I still occasionally see random delays in switches responding to commands. Z-wave just seems to much more finnicky and problematic.
Overall, I love Zigbee and tolerate Z-wave.
My Red Dimmers are my favorite device, but I would trade them out for Zigbee equivalents in a heartbeat.
Agree 100% on how much fun getting a reliable z-wave mesh can be (even put it in my bio ), and the inclusion/exclusion shenanigans to update firmware has occasionally been more fun than it should be. Did the same trick with z-wave outlets and a couple outdoor switches, and good to know it’ll probably need to be done for zigbee as well (small house, big property). Thanks for the link, and lol’d at the “because I can?”
Thanks for the reply, and seeing a lot of folks moving over to HA from a bunch of platforms. For the sump pump, are you using a leak sensor or something else on it? I got a Level Sense Pro for mine because of the battery backup and dumb alarm, and it’s been a good add for us. High water table in spring and a source of the occasional nightmare.
The “Zen” moniker seems to be a source of brand irony. I only have one of their devices (their multi-switch to replace an insteon keypadlinc while we await the five-button), and don’t see myself adding any more. Same on the switches for me, although the Jaco white labels are reasonably cheap and I added them to a couple closets where lights are constantly left on. They were the same price as a motion sensing switch, so felt like reasonable investments, but mostly it’s to solve my getting annoyed when I open a door and the lights are on (got into automation because the family had a habit of lighting the house up like an Xmas tree when I was traveling and I wanted a way to turn everything off from afar)
Our basement can only be accessed from an outside bilco door entrance. We have three water sensors down there, connected to our professionally-monitored alarm panel. (I also have a security camera in the basement connected to our NVR for checking on things without having to go outside.) If the pump fails, the alarm system’s siren sounds and we get calls from the central station on all of our phones. Unfortunately, this always seems to happen at 3:00 AM on cold/dark/rainy nights.
Every single time that the flood alarm has gone off, the cause has been that the sump pump’s inlet was clogged with dirt/debris or the outlet in the yard was obstructed/frozen. By the time the alarm sounds, the pump has already self-destructed. The (I still can’t type that company’s name) ZEN15 is rated for use on a sump pump, and includes power monitoring. I just installed it two weeks ago, along with the latest replacement pump. I set up automation notifications in HA to let me know when the pump outlet is drawing more/less than one amp, so that we know every time the pump turns on/off. I set up a third automation alert that sends an emergency notification if the pump runs more than three minutes straight since it is likely obstructed. I will probably set up a fourth automation to turn the pump outlet off after five minutes to save the pump, but want to collect run-time data to determine normal operation before I code that.
I may buy another ZEN15 in the future if this one works out, to monitor the operations of the lift pump in our septic tank. (Per building code, it has a local alarm light/buzzer in the house to detect failures that isn’t simple to integrate with HA.)
The one thing that I don’t like to “DIY” are safety devices. We have a professionally-installed and managed alarm system, with redundant paths to their central station for monitoring fire, flood, and burglar alarms. I also have an AlarmDecoder integration from the alarm system’s panel connected to my home automation system du jour, which exposes all of the alarm system’s sensors for use in automations.
I noticed over time in the Hubitat community that several integrations people wanted to see developed for Hubitat were already working on Home Assistant. One in particular was for the wifi automatic pet door that we have. I installed HA for a test drive back during the holidays, and it quickly became obvious that I needed to dump Hubitat right away. As I write this, all automations and everything but two LZW36’s and three Z-Wave power strips have been moved from Hubitat to HA…
Love the sump setup, and also oooooof on the sump setup. Same thoughts for mission critical systems and third-party monitoring (combination of neighbours and a service through wifi with a GSM backup), and we have an older DSC panel that I popped an Envisalink into.
The hubitat had promise, but it’s reliability is a deal-killer for me, and DB data corruption happens too frequently if it loses power. Indigo Domo is a fantastic piece of software that has served me really well, but nothing on the roadmap for zigbee (there are third party bridges to other systems), and a reliance on MacOS which is being tested (as in strained) as Apple removes Python as a default with a point release.
Man… I feel the exact opposite. The Zigbee stuff I inherited when I bought my house is so fussy, but it works well enough that I can’t justify replacing it with Zwave, even though I’ve been tempted to do so a few times.
I get a chuckle out of the new sticky post on top of the Hubitat forums, asking for people to join their beta program. Every single customer is ALREADY a member of their beta program whenever they click on the “update” button on their hub, IMHO! My main gripe is the recent lack of QA/QC on updates, where every single new version needs a dozen or more fixes to repair simple stuff that should have been caught if they actually did any serious testing. Plus, the use of Java under the hood and serious lack of processing horsepower didn’t do it any favors. My AlarmDecoder had a sensor jabbering on the 9600 baud serial alarm bus at one point, and it swamped the hub so much that I couldn’t even get it to load the management web page! Never had a problem with the database, which may have been because I had it on a beefy UPS with an automatic hub shutdown automation on power failure.
HA has done everything that I’ve wanted to do, and it took me 20 minutes to slap together a Q&D shell script for HA to read the dog door status and control it. Sir Barxalot is happy that his outside lights automagically turn on when he lets himself out after dark, triggered by a shell script sensor in HA…
I basically use it as a firmware updater now, and that’s it I have a UPS that lasts about an hour, but being rural means sometimes it’s off for longer before I get a generator going. Only corrupted twice, but both times the backups failed to restore properly, and the second time I ended my experiment with it. Excited to get more into HA, but I have a lot invested in my Indigo setup so it’s an “eat the elephant” kind of thing.