Over the past couple of years I have added more and more to my home automation setup. Mostly, this is out of convenience, but some of it surely has saved me money as well. Here’s a brief description of my setup and why I find it useful.
Hub - Samsung SmartThings. Zwave, Zigbee and wifi connectivity. Lots of built in connectivity and lots of community support since the platform is extensible via third party apps.
Lighting - The dimmers/switches in my house did not support LEDs when I moved in. I ended up replacing them with Lutron Caseta dimmers/switches. I have remotes for certain lights, most conveniently, the master bed light which my wife or I can control via remote from bed.
My outside lights turn on at sunset and off at midnight, so I never have to think about it. My downstairs lights come on automatically when someone comes home, so they don’t walk into a dark house. My outside decorative lights can now be turned on via app or Alexa, so no more going outside to turn them on/off.
Security - I have open/close sensors on my doors and motion sensors in my home. Also, have Foscam C1 cameras set up as cameras. They also have the ability to be motion sensors, but I haven’t set that up yet. SmartThings can automatically “arm” the system when I leave and notify me if any doors open or motion sensors go off. I do this instead of paying a monthly fee for security. Obviously, there are limitations versus a monitored security system.
Thermostat - I have an Ecobee thermostat with a remote sensor in the master bedroom. Allows me to easily set/change a program and control remotely.
Irrigation - I have a wifi irrigation system that takes temperature and precipitation into account when deciding how much to water. I previously had a programmable (non-connected) controller, but the “smart” one is so much more convenient since I rarely have to think about it at all.
TV/Entertainment center - This is controlled via a Harmony Companion/Home Control and it integrates with SmartThings. I have a rule set up to automatically turn off the entertainment system at 1am in case anyone forgets to turn it off.
Voice control/Alexa - Almost all of this is controllable by voice via Alexa. It’s convenient to be able to set the temperature, dim the lights, turn on/off or pause the TV, etc.
Future ideas/expansion - I don’t have any door locks connected yet, since I don’t think they are 100% ready for prime time, though they have gotten better. Don’t have a video doorbell or similar, though that looks interesting to me.
I would guess that this setup has cost me about $900 (including Caseta dimmer switches and LED light bulbs). Direct savings include about $20/mo for the dimmers/LED lights, about $2-300/yr for water saved via the irrigation setup. Indirect savings include not paying a monthly fee for a security monitoring service.
Would love to hear what others are doing and also happy to answer questions anyone has.