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Nige

Large renovation, new to Smart Homes.

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Hi people,

Just starting off in the world of home automation, but with quite a big project, and would love some help. Brian helped me out yesterday and pointed me this way. So... I have a big extension & loft conversion project underway, here are some details.

  • UK based
  • 6 bedroom house, Ubiquiti Wi-fi AC access points supplying wifi for total coverage. Ubiquiti router will be used to replace the sluggish one provided by Virgin Media broadband.
  • 200Mbps Broadband, network cables in most rooms for computers, consoles, tvs etc
  • Wifi devices mainly consist of phones, google home mini's, chromecasts, chromecast audios (for multiroom audio) and the odd Amazon Fire TV stick.
  • 8 zone underfloor heating going in downstairs, with "3 core and earth cable" in each zone ready for thermostats. I'd not even contemplated a Smart Home a month ago when this was fitted.
  • 5 radiators upstairs, 2 towel rails.
  • One high pressure hot water tank, located in garage, next to boiler and near the mainfolds for the underfloor heating

So, the whole Smart Home idea came about once my plumber said did I want to use the Heatmiser Neo System to add some extra functionality such as geo-location, I spoke to Heatmiser and they recommended the wired system, rather that the wireless one.

The two issues that initially stuck me were that the Heatmiser Neo... a) it doesn't have any thermostatic radiator valves so I'd need a different solution for the rads, and b) The heatmiser has it's own "hub" which costs around £150. I didn't know about things like the Amazon hub and SamsungSmart Things until just the other day but this seems a much better idea otherwise I believe each "system" would need it's own hub, adding cost, cabling, and a cupboard.

So finally I got to Samsung Smart things, and whilst trying to learn about that I discovered the Automate Your Life YouTube channel, and here I am!

So, moving forward I want in on this Smart World, some lights, cameras, doorbell, heating, and all the other cleverness but I'm not sure the very best place to start. Right now the following questions are in my head, in relation to everything above.

General Setup

  1. My gut feeling is that Samsung SmartThings is a good starting point for my needs, though I realise it does slightly limit the products I can buy that fully integrate with it, especially in the UK. Do you agree? I watched the Automate Your Life video entitled "Z-Wave vs ZigBee vs WIFI - Choosing a Standard" but that was last year and things move on so quick. Maybe there is now a better hub to choose?
  2. My gut is also telling me that if I get IFTTT compatible products then even if they aren't "SmartThings compatible" I will at least be able to use IFTTT to get all the Triggers and Actions working together in the house. Is that correct?
  3. I see the Hubitat Elevation hub is more configurable than the SmartThings one. Has anyone used this recently, any thoughts? I appreciate it's a bigger learning curve but don't mind that. Just wondered if it may be a better product, especially now it has a mobile app.

Heating

  1. One of my main concerns, and one I need to decide on ASAP is the heating system. I love the look of the SmartThings compatible Netatmo smart thermostats and TRVs, and can see I could use that on underfloor heating and radiators but I don't think there is anything in that system that will control heating the water tank up, maybe I'm wrong? I also assume I don't need there control box to use it as Smart Things will take over, correct?
  2. Still on the heating I also like the look of the IFTTT compatible Tado system which will do water, rads and underfloor heating but it's not Smart Things compatible so would need it's own hub, then for geofencing  they're asking for a subscription. Can that subscription be bypassed to use IFTTT geolocation? I'm guessing that is locked down?
  3. If neither of those systems will work for me, what else could I do? I'd like to be able to control the heating, u/f heating and hot water from one app, and have things like geo-location, holidays, etc but not sure what is best. I don't mind having different brands for each part but don't want a control box for each thing and would like a single app controlling all the heating, so I guess it would all need to be SmartThings compatible?

Any help would be amazing, I've gone through some vids and some of this forum but I'm probably a bit new to it all to try and understand it properly, I'm hoping my knowledge will improve fast!!! Hopefully this makes some sense to someone, I've tried writing it as clearly as possible.

Many thanks,

Nige, in Worthing, UK!

 

Edited by Nige
Add a question about Hubitat hub

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Hey Nige 😉  Fancy meeting you here.  I'll take a stab at a couple of the easier questions on here.

Namely, SmartThings and Hubitat - I've run with both now and yes, Hubitat is a more configurable hub.  It, however, will limit you more on what you can interface with.  If you want more options, SmartThings is the way to go.  In fact, recently they've been adding lots of WiFi options for connectivity to their hub...and it keeps getting better.  And yes on IFTTT.

The other option I'll throw into your mix is Hive simply because you're talking £'s.  There's a lot of great things in one of our smart home tours about a UK home that had lots of Hive and the radiator valves.  That's not something we have on this side of the pond, and it's very useful.

Underfloor heating...I believe there was only one smart option out there.  Anyone remember that one?

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Just to throw a couple of additional options in, Energenie do some smart TRV valves for radiators which are IFTTT compatible but which I don't believe have native SmartThings integration, they were integrated with the Works with Nest programme however since Nest largely that programme down I suspect that integration has gone by the way side. 

The other option (the one I have taken) is the Danfloss Living Connect TRV valves which can be natively integrated with SmartThings & as such can be automated by having sensors which can be set to trigger the valves to turn on when the temperature drops below a certain level/knock off when the temp reaches that level etc they can also be set on a timer.

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On 9/4/2019 at 8:24 PM, AYL_Brian said:

Hey Nige 😉  Fancy meeting you here.  I'll take a stab at a couple of the easier questions on here.

Namely, SmartThings and Hubitat - I've run with both now and yes, Hubitat is a more configurable hub.  It, however, will limit you more on what you can interface with.  If you want more options, SmartThings is the way to go.  In fact, recently they've been adding lots of WiFi options for connectivity to their hub...and it keeps getting better.  And yes on IFTTT.

The other option I'll throw into your mix is Hive simply because you're talking £'s.  There's a lot of great things in one of our smart home tours about a UK home that had lots of Hive and the radiator valves.  That's not something we have on this side of the pond, and it's very useful.

Underfloor heating...I believe there was only one smart option out there.  Anyone remember that one?

Hi Brian, fancy meeting you here indeed. Thanks for your reply.

1. With regards to Hubitat and SmartThings, can you control most devices that are Zigbee or Z-Wave with both? What makes SmartThings more "interfacable"? I'm such a newbie!! 😟

2. I've added "Hive" to my radiator valve list, thanks, look nice. I'm struggling to work out if Heatmiser Neo is compatible with SmartThings ( https://www.heatmiser.com/en/heatmiser-neo-overview/ ), I don't think it is, so I assume it would need their control hub rather than it using the SmartThings one? Overall, with the heating I'd like to be able to fully control underfloor, hot water and radiators via one system. Just struggling to work out what is the best way.

3. I can see that Hubitat allows you to chain IFs together so you can say "IF it's 15C AND IF person1 is in the house AND IF it's Sunday THEN do x,y,z). Can you do that with IFTTT and can you do that with SmartThings?

 

On 9/4/2019 at 10:07 PM, Gaztyke said:

Just to throw a couple of additional options in, Energenie do some smart TRV valves for radiators which are IFTTT compatible but which I don't believe have native SmartThings integration, they were integrated with the Works with Nest programme however since Nest largely that programme down I suspect that integration has gone by the way side. 

The other option (the one I have taken) is the Danfloss Living Connect TRV valves which can be natively integrated with SmartThings & as such can be automated by having sensors which can be set to trigger the valves to turn on when the temperature drops below a certain level/knock off when the temp reaches that level etc they can also be set on a timer.

Hi Gattyke, thanks for your response. I looked at Energenie but didn't like the look of their equipment so much. However, I will look into Danfloss more, thanks. I did give them a brief look amongst about 10 other manufacturers but my head is trying to take it all in and work it all out 🙂 I did think that Danfloss was Blueooth only, so I had ruled it out. I'm guessing that's not the case.

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No Nige I'm happy to report it's Z-Wave 👍 Do a Google search for Danfloss Living Connect & you can access the online instruction manual for it so you can check the specs before you buy 

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As for SmartThings...it's just maturity of the overall system.  They have more device handlers for more devices (it's what tells the Hub all the different components of a device and how to use them), and that's because they have a bigger following in SmartThings.  Hubitat just hasn't been around long enough with a big enough community...but they're getting there.

You can't chain IF's really with IFTTT (although I've done a few workarounds before...but it's ugly), but you can with SmartThings.

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