Schlage Z-wave Smart Deadbolt

Using a smart door deadbolt can be useful to automate your locks. With the Schlage smart door deadbolt, you can use keys, keypad or smart home to automatically unlock/lock your door.

If you are away on vacation and need someone to check on your home sometimes, you don’t need to make a copy of the key, you can just make a temporary door code for your friend or family member who will need to get inside your home to check on things, and then remove that code once you are back!

Because it is a z-wave smart lock, it can be automated. Some examples:

  • If a fire alarm is triggered, automatically unlock the door
    • Makes it easier for people to help you if you’ve collapsed trying to escape the fire
    • If no one is at home (such as at work), you can text neighbour to check your place if you got notification there’s smoke and save your pets, if needed
  • Automatically lock the door if it was left unlocked for a while, length is up to you
  • Unlock the door based on geofencing (location). You are approaching home, it’ll automatically unlock the door. Just carry your groceries and turn the handle, rather than fumbling around for the keys!
  • Turn on the lights inside when the deadbolt is unlocked

This lock also has vibration sensor, so if someone is banging on the door or trying to break down the door, it will sound an alarm and potentially scare away the intruder (bad person).

It has been reliable and I would recommend the schlage z-wave door lock. They do also come with zigbee versions if it works for you better, depending on which wireless radio you’ve built your home with.

Be Smart!

Using smart home to help my dog in need

For the past month, my dog Penny has been struggling with her health. She had an emergency surgery and after that, she’s struggling with incontinience. Overnights, she sometimes will come in our bedroom to whine, waking my hearing wife up to let her outside, or she will wake me up to take her out.

But earlier this month my wife, my daughters, her mother went to her sister’s cabin for a few days for a ladies week, which was planned a while ago. I stay home with my dog Penny. How can I help support my dog if she needs help when she comes into my bedroom? I can use my inovelli 4 in 1 motion sensor that I use for my bathroom to trigger the lights on, and temporarily take it off its ceiling mount, put it by my bed where Penny always walks up if she comes in, and have that trigger my bed side light! It has happened one night, and I woke up. Smart home has helped me support my dog in her time of need!

Another benefit of smart home is that the devices can be easily moved around temporary and you can change how it works, to aid you for any temporary situations. It does not have to be a closed fixed system where once you set, it stays that way.

If you have pets or people that needs help, something like this is very doable to help you support your family.

Products that I used to make this work: Inovelli 4 in 1 sensor, LIFX A19 light bulb, and smart home hub Hubitat.

Ring Video Doorbells

Do you want to be able to know who is at your door without having to open your door, or even know who is at the door when you are not at home? The Ring Video Doorbell can notify you through your phone app on motions if someone walked in front of it, or rang your doorbell.

Because the Ring Video Doorbell can connect to SmartThings, it does have the ability to help notify you using your lights (or even bed shaker if you plugged a bed shaker to a smart plug) if someone rings the doorbell!

Watch the video to see it all discussed in ASL!

Be notified when your clothes are done being washed or dried!

Are you aware that laundry machines makes a beep sound when it completes its cycle, letting hearing people know it’s finished so they can go do laundry immediately. We cannot hear that, but we can use smart home things to help us. We can have lights flash for a number of things, but you can add laundry to that list! Use a vibration sensor and place it on the laundry machines to tell you when it is completed, then you can go get your laundry. The possibilities are endless!

What was used here to make it possible are Hubitat hub (SmartThings can also do this), Aeotec Multipurpose Sensor and LIFX light bulbs.

Flashing lights to make sure I do not overheat my cast iron pan!

I love using my cast iron pan, and after cooking and cleaning, we have to dry and season our pan. While I have been good at making sure I turn the stove off and season it well, once or twice I have been doing other errands such as washing dishes or cleaning off the dining table, that I left the cast iron pan on a hot stove too long to the point it was smoking excessively.

Ever since I realized I can use smart lights to help me, it has never happened again! I set an automation with smart home that once I tap on a dashboard (Hubitat Dashboard was shown here), it triggers a 2 and a half minute timer. (due to the fact that the cast iron pan on my stove is always consistently starting to slightly smoke at 2 minutes and 40 seconds, when I turn off the stove and then season it with a little vegetable oil) After 2 and a half minutes, the lights will flash. If I am not already ready at the stove, it will for sure remind me and then I will be at the stove, ready to turn it off and season it.

Another example of how smart home can help you with automations! Use it as a timer for whatever errands you need that has a consistent time, and all it takes is a simple push of a button (or electronic with a dashboard on a display) to start it.

Inovelli Red Series Fan and Light Switch

Could we automate your “dumb’ ceiling fan with light? We sure can, with Inovelli’s red series fan and light switch. You can turn them on manually by tapping the switch as normally, but you can also have it be automated. Have the fan come on automatically when the A/C turns on. Or have the lights come on in the morning to wake you up. If you want to have the fan turn on automatically at nights and off in the morning based on schedule, sure. You can even have the fan be temperature controlled. If it gets too warm, it comes on itself. Whatever you want. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

This switch also has LED strip, that illuminates when the switches are turned on, but it can also be used for notifications as well, as explained in the other video here. Have it turn on blue if it’s raining outside. Wake up in the morning and if you notice it glowing blue, you know it’s raining outside, and be ready to dress accordingly before you even get out of bed.

The other great thing about this is if you want to renovate a room and want to replace a ceiling light with a ceiling fan and light combo, but it’s controlled by one switch. It is expensive to hire an electrician to add a second switch so you can control the fan and light separately, or labor intensive to add another wiring if you do it yourself. This fan and light switch can do both, with one set of wires and one swtich!

It’s definitely recommended, and I would pick up another if I have another fan to put up!

Inovelli 4 in 1 Review

I’ve just played with the 4 in 1 sensor from Inovelli, and here’s my thoughts on it.

It is capable of sensing four different things, motion, temperature, humidity and illumiance. Many sensors out there sense just 1, or 2, but this one can do 4! And you can use more than 1 at a time, if you want.

I decided to give it a try, in my bathroom. The reason? I can use that sensor to sense three different things at the same time. Currently, my bathroom has 4 philips hue light bulbs, and they come on when one of us goes in there to do our business, and turns off when we leave, using the philips hue motion sensor.

I wanted to try using the Inovelli’s motion sensor to turn on when we are in there, and off when we leave, but also at the same time, use the illumiance sensor to sense if the room is already bright enough from the sunlight shining through the window. If it’s bright enough, it will then not turn the lights on if we go in there. Save us energy on electric bills! Pretty smart, isnt it?

There’s been times we forget to turn on the fan when we go shower, and end up fogging the windows. Or leave the fan on too long when we finish shower. Or even take a very long bath, to the point the fan timer ran out and the fan stopped, while we’re still bathing and humidity then rises in the room. This is where the humidity sensor comes in handy. I just put in a smart fan switch there. I set it up so that if the humidity in the room goes up over 70%, it triggers the smart fan switch (also from Inovelli). When humidity goes back down below 65%, the fan is turned off.

I put the sensor up on the ceiling, and it works really well! I go in there, the lights came on. I tested when it was bright with the sun shining through, it didn’t turn the lighs on. (we can still manually override by pressing philips hue’s smart dimmer to turn the lights on, if we want). I took a shower, and after half a minute, the ceiling exhaust fan came on. It worked really well, I’m impressed and happy with it! Definitely would recommend.

Having a 4 in 1 sensor makes things much easier, than having multiple sensors for one single thing.

This sensor can be handy in other places where you want to monitor humidity, such as kitchens to turn on the exhaust fan in there if you have one. Or put the sensor if you want to monitor humidity if you are trying to keep food or certain supplies dry.

Motion sensor can be useful to toggle lights in specific places. Temperature sensor to help control temperature such as smart plus for fans or small space heaters. Illumiance to help control lights if you don’t need lights when it’s bright enough. When you get creative enough, it can be really cool to have! I would pick up another one for my kitchen when it’s time to renovate my kitchen.

I just got something new!

I just got the inovelli 4 in 1 sensor, I’m going to set this up and give it a try to see how it performs, and then provide a review of it. It can sense:

  • Motion
  • Temperature
  • Illumiance
  • Humidity

With motion and temperature, we already know what we can do with them in my previous videos. But Illumiance and humidity, those two are new things. What can we do with them? Illumiance is a great thing to have because it can sense how bright your room is. If you have a motion sensor to turn on a light when you go into a room, but the room is already so bright from sunlight from a large window, why turn on the lights? The illumiance sensor can sense the brightness and if it is bright enough, it can skip turning on the lights. This means, savings on electric bills. When it starts to get darker outside, past to a point then it will start turning the lights on when you enter the room. That’s a great way to help you save energy bills! For humidity, you can use that to sense humidity levels. Maybe we can use that in the kitchen or bath. When cooking or having a shower, the room’s humidity levels will rise, and it can trigger a smart fan switch to turn on the vent. Smart!

Smart Home aren’t just for automating lights

One of the common misconceptions that I’ve recieved are that smart homes are just automating lights. But it is a lot more than just lights.

  • Automate your power outlets
    • Turn on fans, pool filter pump, appliances automatically
  • Automate your thermostat
    • Turn the thermostat automatically based on where you are
    • If it got cooler outside quicker than your AC, turn off AC and notify you so you can open windows. Save your money on electric bills
  • Automate your notifications
    • Be notified if your laundry machine finishes its job

Troubleshooting: Adding new devices

Sometimes when we add new devices, the smart home hub such as SmartThings will not be able to find the device. One of the simpliest solutions is to bring a new device closer to the hub, right next to it and then add the device. This will help solve the connection issues, and once they are added, you can bring the device back to where you want to set it and it’ll work after that!