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  • Aug 14th, 2018 12:42 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Feb 7, 2018
8 posts

Smart Switches

Hi,

I am installing a few smart switches to be able to control lights in the house while away on vacation for safety purposes. I was only planning on doing a few lights in the house due to cost, but now I'm thinking it would be weird to have only a few "smart" lights (control through phone app or alexa/google) in the house, and the rest are "dumb".

What do you guys think? Would having the whole main floor of my house and basement (excl bedrooms) hooked up with the "smart" switches be worthwhile and the future way to go? Or would it be really stupid. The switches I bought were at costco ($40 for 2) and dimmable.

Thanks!
10 replies
Deal Fanatic
Feb 9, 2006
8958 posts
2870 upvotes
Brampton
wiab89 wrote:
Aug 11th, 2018 11:24 pm
Hi,

I am installing a few smart switches to be able to control lights in the house while away on vacation for safety purposes. I was only planning on doing a few lights in the house due to cost, but now I'm thinking it would be weird to have only a few "smart" lights (control through phone app or alexa/google) in the house, and the rest are "dumb".

What do you guys think? Would having the whole main floor of my house and basement (excl bedrooms) hooked up with the "smart" switches be worthwhile and the future way to go? Or would it be really stupid. The switches I bought were at costco ($40 for 2) and dimmable.

Thanks!
When did Costco carry these? Can you post a pic?

If you found cheap switches and are DIYing it sure otherwise I wouldn't its way too costly
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
2559 posts
1715 upvotes
If you are going to deploy a full set of smart light switches/bulbs/plugs in your house, then you should go with a Z-Wave or Zigbee solution rather than WiFi. The clutter of smart devices on your WiFi network builds up rapidly as you add more devices, and begins to interfere with your WiFi performance. You are also adding a lot of potentially-insecure gateways for outside hackers. Z-Wave and Zigbee devices run on their own separate non-WiFi network, and they have other added advantages: lower power consumption, lower cost, and the devices work together as a mesh network to extend the range to more difficult coverage areas. You'll need to pay the up-front cost of a hub, but the overall savings will be worth it if you're adding many devices. Of course the hub may have its own security holes, but at least it's only one device with potential security holes.
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Jun 21, 2003
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Stoney Creek, ON
I am a tech obsessed electrician and when we moved in to our first home last fall I switched our entire home (aside from bathrooms and utility rooms) to smart switches. It is overkill as I used all dimmers because they don't require a neutral and the majority of my older home consists of switch loops. Personally I went with the Lutron Caseta which in my opinion is the best one out there, but it is also a more expensive option. I've been very happy with the system as it is reliable, works well and is compatible with most (or all) of the smart systems out there. We use ours with SmartThings, Logitwch Harmony, Homekit and Alexa and are happy with its ability with all those systems. I'd highly recommend this system if you're serious about using smart lighting switches. I have to agree with the above posts about reliability and security of wifi based versus z-wave/ZigBee. I'd avoid the wifi ones if you're going to do a complete system versus a few switches.
Sr. Member
Jun 11, 2010
556 posts
291 upvotes
ottawa
ChicoQuente wrote:
Aug 12th, 2018 5:52 pm
I am a tech obsessed electrician and when we moved in to our first home last fall I switched our entire home (aside from bathrooms and utility rooms) to smart switches. It is overkill as I used all dimmers because they don't require a neutral and the majority of my older home consists of switch loops. Personally I went with the Lutron Caseta which in my opinion is the best one out there, but it is also a more expensive option. I've been very happy with the system as it is reliable, works well and is compatible with most (or all) of the smart systems out there. We use ours with SmartThings, Logitwch Harmony, Homekit and Alexa and are happy with its ability with all those systems. I'd highly recommend this system if you're serious about using smart lighting switches. I have to agree with the above posts about reliability and security of wifi based versus z-wave/ZigBee. I'd avoid the wifi ones if you're going to do a complete system versus a few switches.
I'd agree switching every switch would be overkill - I've switched the main ones that I'd like some smart functionality on - fireplace lights (bulbs) for colors when watching movies, outside switch for vacation, hallway switch with motion sensors, and replaced my bathroom fan with a switch to auto-off after 30mins.

I use smartthings as the zigbee/zwave hub, and do automations through Home Assistant and Node-red. Just got a roomba this weekend with the $249 shoppers deal and hooked that up to run every time everyone leaves the house, but at max once per day. Also programmed a custom alarm panel and use window/door sensors and motion sensors during away/home/night alarm modes and works flawlessly. Combined with a xiaomi button to quickly deactivate the alarm. Love it.
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Oct 2, 2005
1057 posts
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wiab89 wrote:
Aug 11th, 2018 11:24 pm
Hi,

I am installing a few smart switches to be able to control lights in the house while away on vacation for safety purposes. I was only planning on doing a few lights in the house due to cost, but now I'm thinking it would be weird to have only a few "smart" lights (control through phone app or alexa/google) in the house, and the rest are "dumb".

What do you guys think? Would having the whole main floor of my house and basement (excl bedrooms) hooked up with the "smart" switches be worthwhile and the future way to go? Or would it be really stupid. The switches I bought were at costco ($40 for 2) and dimmable.

Thanks!
What costco did you get those dimable switches? I want to get some.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 7, 2018
8 posts
tebore wrote:
Aug 12th, 2018 7:10 am
When did Costco carry these? Can you post a pic?

If you found cheap switches and are DIYing it sure otherwise I wouldn't its way too costly
Costco in Ottawa on hunt club road - the brand is Charging Essentials (never heard of them). They also have smart plugs for ~25 for a 2 pck. Works with amazon echo, google home, and app on phone.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 7, 2018
8 posts
Exp315 wrote:
Aug 12th, 2018 10:24 am
If you are going to deploy a full set of smart light switches/bulbs/plugs in your house, then you should go with a Z-Wave or Zigbee solution rather than WiFi. The clutter of smart devices on your WiFi network builds up rapidly as you add more devices, and begins to interfere with your WiFi performance. You are also adding a lot of potentially-insecure gateways for outside hackers. Z-Wave and Zigbee devices run on their own separate non-WiFi network, and they have other added advantages: lower power consumption, lower cost, and the devices work together as a mesh network to extend the range to more difficult coverage areas. You'll need to pay the up-front cost of a hub, but the overall savings will be worth it if you're adding many devices. Of course the hub may have its own security holes, but at least it's only one device with potential security holes.
Thanks! Saved a fight for me and the wifey. We've decided to just stick with the 2 switches for now (safety). And maybe 5 years down the line if things get cheaper and they become more mainstream then we can always upgrade to a whole home system. Good call about the power consumption + safety, something I would not have thought about.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 7, 2018
8 posts
barqers wrote:
Aug 12th, 2018 6:55 pm
I'd agree switching every switch would be overkill - I've switched the main ones that I'd like some smart functionality on - fireplace lights (bulbs) for colors when watching movies, outside switch for vacation, hallway switch with motion sensors, and replaced my bathroom fan with a switch to auto-off after 30mins.

I use smartthings as the zigbee/zwave hub, and do automations through Home Assistant and Node-red. Just got a roomba this weekend with the $249 shoppers deal and hooked that up to run every time everyone leaves the house, but at max once per day. Also programmed a custom alarm panel and use window/door sensors and motion sensors during away/home/night alarm modes and works flawlessly. Combined with a xiaomi button to quickly deactivate the alarm. Love it.
Thanks for your insight. Wifey thought it was overkill. I agreed somewhat, but didn't like the idea of having a hodgepodge system where some lights are smart, some dumb, some dimmable etc... We've tabled the idea for now - will re-visit in a few years if the tech comes down in price and popularity increases. It would be nice to have, but I don't think we could recoup costs on selling at this point.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 7, 2018
8 posts
RAINMAN0 wrote:
Aug 12th, 2018 8:11 pm
What costco did you get those dimable switches? I want to get some.
Costco in Ottawa on hunt club road. 40 for 2 switches, ~25 or so for 2 smart plugs.
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Sep 13, 2016
1554 posts
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wiab89 wrote:
Aug 13th, 2018 11:14 pm
Thanks for your insight. Wifey thought it was overkill. I agreed somewhat, but didn't like the idea of having a hodgepodge system where some lights are smart, some dumb, some dimmable etc... We've tabled the idea for now - will re-visit in a few years if the tech comes down in price and popularity increases. It would be nice to have, but I don't think we could recoup costs on selling at this point.
It is perfectly alright to have a combination of smart as well as dumb devices in home. Automation should be driven by a need for it, not because it is simply available. I have automated some of the things in my home as well. Like a smart lock at front door, or automated garage opener. When it comes to lights, I have lights in my living room automated, because this is where we spend most of our times in. However, I have not automated any of the bedroom lights, because they rarely get turned on , and does not justify automation at this point.

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