Getting started with home automation can seem a bit daunting. If you’re one of those people who’ve thought about how nice it might be to have some of your daily and slightly irritating activities streamlined and ‘just happen,’ then we’re here to help simplify the process.
Home automation may seem intimidating – as if it’s only for people who are truly tech savvy and have the time and attention for lengthy projects dealing with lots of wires and coding. That’s not so anymore. Technology has advanced and we’re starting to see automations become incredibly easy to put in place.
The Simple ‘Home Automation in a Weekend’ Initial Project
Smart lighting is one of the easiest automations to get your feet wet. Here are some steps to put this in place in your home:
- First, pick out an area of your home where you’d like to have your lights turn off or on without you having to remember to do that every time – or where having them off means you have to walk in the dark to find the switch.
- Next, what action happens that requires the light to be turned on or off? This would be a natural action like it getting dark out or someone walking around in the dark at night, or needing to turn the light off when your pet is done being outside. Think of this in normal terms first.
- Get a piece of paper – or download our home automation sequence worksheet – and start translating your normal actions in #2 above into a list.
- You first need to identify the action you want to have happen: turn on.
- Then you specify which light will be the primary device you’ll be automating: office light.
- Next, describe the trigger condition: what is the action that creates the need for the light to come on? Perhaps a sensor picks up someone moving into the room.
- Highlight any conditions: the light only comes on if it’s dark outside, (after sunset) so the lightness or darkness of the day will be a condition.
When you write this all down, you’ll have a list of devices to buy so you can make this happen.
Automating Your Home Office Lighting
Let’s walk through an example — you can watch the video to see how this simple lighting automation works with Hubitat’s Rule MachineTM.
- We’re going to automate turning on office lights when there isn’t enough light in the room. The actions we’re automating: turning on and turning off the office lights.
- The trigger condition is the amount of light already in the room.
- This is a simple example and so let’s skip any dependencies. You might want to create a longer sequence that has other more complex actions: turn the lights on when it’s dark, but also only if you’re supposed to be within working hours, otherwise your office is off limits (maybe that’s a good one if you’re trying to break a workaholic habit).
- Now we make our list of devices we need:
- Smart light bulbs – the number depends on the lighting fixtures you have in your office that you want turned on. You want these light bulbs to be able to communicate to other smart devices.
- Smart motion sensors – these are separate from the light bulbs so that you can use them to trigger other conditions, such as security problems.
- Smart light level sensor – this measure the amount of lux present in the room: basically, how much light is in the room already. This feature is also available in many motion sensors, so you may already have this covered.
- A smart hub – this device enables you to coordinate among all the smart devices you will eventually be adding to your home (once you realize how easy and fun this is!). Many smart bulbs and other devices have their own app, but if you want them to communicate with your motion sensors and build rules to automate your devices, you will need a separate hub. Our platform, Hubitat Elevation, enables you to keep all your automations working within your home, rather than requiring each sequence to process in the cloud, taking extra time to complete.