Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Our House Build - Thinking About Automation

This will likely be the first post of many on the subject of home automation. You've been warned!

(Copied from my original text on the Homeone Forum):

I've been looking into retrofitting Z-Wave automation stuff over the last week or so and am convinced I'll be going down that path pretty early once we're in the house, certainly for some select lights/rooms and dimmers, especially the ones that I wanted on motion sensors that couldn't easily be done with conventional wiring (but would be easy enough with C-Bus or this Z-wave setup.

For those that don't know, CBus is a whole wiring schema - in that all of your houses wiring - every switch, light, etc go back to a central unit that then controls the lot, allowing you to re-map any light switch to perform any function - turn on or off every light in the house, two lights, three, etc. The problem is it's a big up front cost and theres a fair bit of extra wiring length involved. The Z-wave/Zigbee type systems use a wireless mesh network - each module talks to the other and they spread their signal through the house by passing on each others signals - the modules can be put behind an existing light switch - the switch then signals the module, and the module turns the light on and off. This means the module itself can be controlled remotely - you need a central controller but then you can either use the light switch, or you can have a trigger- a timer, a motion sensor, a phone with a proximity sensor (i.e. outside lights turn on when you turn into the street) - you can also dim lights (and program the same)... tonight I walked around after the family and turned off 13 lights. I don't think a Z-wave system will take very long to pay for itself!!

We need to pick ceiling fans -I'm pretty happy so far with the Hunter Pacific Intercept units - they get a pretty good write up on the ATA forums without being super expensive or styled in a way that will age. They also come with a 12w dimmable LED which will mean I can control the lights on them using a Z-wave dimmer. With any luck the same dimmer systems will be able to control whatever lights I choose to replace the standard batten fix. I'm also looking into relay switches (or using the same remote switch perhaps without the dimmer) to turn on the fans themselves - so they can be programmed to behave in a certain way depending on the temperature - to discourage use of the central heating/AC when the fan would suffice.

Hunter Pacific Intercept 2 with LED lights - from $209 shipped - on eBay

What's also interesting is that these fans are pretty well what I've been using in the renders, by complete accident!

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