Three "Easy" ideas

I call these “Easy” because I think on a complexity scale they shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish. I haven’t seen any of these for sale (zwave or zigbee, wifi may exist), but they could be out there.

  • Smart Refrigerator Thermometer - This is one that I would love to have so I’m putting it first… Recently discovered my refrigerator was not cooling below 45F. Only realized it because my yogurt did not seem sufficiently cold. Challenges here would be communicating through the fridge door/walls. Probably need a small wire antenna that runs out the top of the fridge door and tapes onto the top of the fridge. I do not believe that would have a significant impact on the efficiency of the fridge. Would be really nice to have warnings if the refrigerator gets too warm. Make it even better by giving it some memory, so if the power goes out while you are away it stores the data and provides it when power is restored so you know if your food is safe to eat or not. I guess another option would be to have it store data and provide it all at once when the door opens (light sensor). Maybe readings every 15 minutes. The smartthings app would then alert if any of that data is problematic and provide the timestamps of the readings etc. Having a freezer compatible one would also be very nice.

  • Natural Gas Sensor - I’ve always thought this was an obvious one. Tons of people have natural gas furnaces and natural gas cooktops. I actually have the parts to do this using zigbee (xbee), but integration with smartthings is a bit challenging. If you make one I’ll just buy yours.

  • Radon Gas Sensor - This one is probably the least appealing to people because the dangers and alerts are not immediate, so it’s last. There are definitely stand-alone units you can get for basements, but not really main-stream and expensive (I have one). Having a way to keep track of long-term and short-term averages would be a must. This is one in which I think having smarthome functionality would not be necessary, but convenient none the less. Once you’ve grouped all your home information into one place, it just makes sense to have this there too. Furthermore, this is one that may be able to pay for itself because if you have several years worth of radon gas information to provide when you sell your home it may simplify the inspection process… Not as good as the top two, but one that I think I could see sell.

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could use a smartthings multisensor for the refrigerator temp sensor (its built into the smartthings multisensor) but that is a pretty good idea.

could alert if temp is below x number for x minutes (filling it with food will cause drastic short term swings).

I live in the country and have a 500 gallon propane tank to heat house. I’ve long wished for a sensor that could tell me the tank level.

Seems like it would fit right with what your looking for too!

Awesome ideas and I’m sure @Frank_Inovelli would push for these hard – he’s always pushing us for sensors!

I can assure you the first one is definitely on our radar for early next year. I was so close to launching it last year too before things kinda fell apart with our old manufacturer.

Basically here’s the idea:

I’ll take a second look at gas/radon – last I heard these are very hard to get certified (and very expensive) as I was exploring a Smoke + Carbon Monoxide detecter earlier in the year and was told the manufacturer (the new one) couldn’t do it due to the certifications required, but they were working on it.

It’s definitely an area of opportunity!

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Ah interesting. Is the idea to only have this probe configuration? I can see a common use case being having two temperature probes (freezer and refrigerator). It looks like this would be on the outside of the refrigerator, which would fix the communication problem. I’d probably have to get two separate ones for the freezer and refrigerator. I think one hanging on the side of the refrigerator with probes going into both sections of the refrigerator will look too much like a science experiment for my wife. This was my primary reason for looking to mount the whole thing in the refrigerator with a small antenna wire out. The less noticeable the more likely its going to happen in our house lol. On a similar note, for the use case of the refrigerator and the leaks behind, it would be helpful if the cables were extendable. My guess is most people would aim to place the device on the top of the fridge and run the cable by the the hinge into the refrigerator, but that means that the water sensor has to run all the way down to the floor.

That’s unfortunate that there is a certification process for gas and radon. That actually surprises me a little. I understand the case for a smoke detector certification because by law you have to have smoke detectors in a home. I would have thought that gas/radon would be more like a water leak sensor since you aren’t required to monitor their levels within your home. Hopefully that is something that can be figured out because I think a gas leak/leaving the stove on is a common concern for homeowners.