Home Automation

Recently we moved into a new house. One of the things that I have always wanted to do was wire up a house and automate as much of it as possible. So here’s my chance!

This isn’t going to be something that happens over night and as proof you need to know how long it’s taken to get the first parts done. Because I’m taking an incremental approach to adding functionality that is going to be one of my primary concerns when choosing technology and hardware.

Overall I have an idea, but no big detailed plan. I’m taking an agile approach to things. I’m going to wait until the absolute last responsible moment to decide on everything. That said I do have that big picture idea, and here it is.

The idea

  • Everything that gets automated must be reachable via some form of communicate. I want to build my own central automation platform/software to integrate any/all the different technologies that will end up in the house and if I can’t program against them then I can’t do this.
  • Automation should be focused on providing value and usefulness. For example, automated blinds are nice. But once you see the 20ft entry way in our house and the 15ft climb to the window in it and then combine that with my fear of heights you can now make the case that automated blinds would be both valuable and useful.
  • Automation should not be intrusive to install. I do not want to have rip open walls just to add an automated item. I understand that there will be a small number of situations where walls will have to be opened up. If there are two options for a given need and one requires no drywall work then it shall be the choice.
  • While preferred, off the shelf solutions will not be the sole way to accomplish an automation task. I have dabbled enough in Arduino and embedded coding to know that if I can make something that better fits my needs then I will.

With those three concepts in mind I have started researching and, at the time of this writing, started my first project which I’ll cover in the next post. Until then here’s a list of some of the ideas (some good, some bad) that are in the current backlog.

  • blinds
  • zone/scene controlled lighting
  • HVAC control
  • irrigation (probably should get a lawn first)
  • whole house audio
  • centralized audio/visual components
  • water leak detection
  • utility shut off

Let the games begin…