In 2005, while in college, I got into the “home automation” field without knowing what I was doing or where I was going to end up. Little did I know I would end up working in million-dollar homes solving the homeowner’s problems by making things convenient for them.
At the time, I never understood why these 15,000 + square foot homes didn’t have the same old mechanical light switches as I did back at home. Or why they had touchpanels in the walls and portable touch panels that docked on a near by end table. The quick and straightforward answer to that is convenience.
Seven years ago, I added the first piece of tech to my home. I was making my home into a smart home unintentionally. I had smart switches that talked to a processor that had to be programmed via a computer. I also added motorized shades, which I still have in my family room.
Since leaving the automation industry, I no longer had access to the tech or support I did prior. With this in mind, it made sense to be proactive and swap out the current systems I had.
Not only did I replace some of my techs, but I also added a few more.
- Chamberlain Smart Garage opener https://homedepot.sjv.io/BV3Xx
- Schlage Smart Door Lock https://homedepot.sjv.io/Ze9X0
- Ring Doorbell https://homedepot.sjv.io/2BxWM
- Samsung Smart Family Hub Fridge https://homedepot.sjv.io/geo10
- Google Home https://homedepot.sjv.io/a9o2R
- Lutron Smart switch https://homedepot.sjv.io/xjKXO
The first thing I did was replaced my garage door opener for the Chamberlain “1-1/4 HP Equivalent Ultra-Quiet Belt Drive Smart Garage Door Opener with Battery Backup” Model B790.
I wanted to have more control over my garage door.
My garage is my workshop; and where I get everything done. It’s the heart of my business. I need to know when it opens and closes at all time.
After doing some research on this, I came to the conclusion that this was the opener for me. It had great reviews people seem to love it, and it checked all my must haves and then some.
It’s tranquil due to the DC motor and being belt driven. The rubber belt is steel reinforced so that definitely adds some peace to my mind. While installing the Chamberlain 1-1/4 HP Garage Door Opener, I also added insulation to the garage door and replaced the rubber weather strip at the bottom of the door. You can find the article on this here if you like to change things up a bit.
One way to keep peace of mind is knowing something will get done without you doing it. For this Schlage Encode, Smart WiFi Deadbolt works well for me. No more forgetting to lock a door.
I find the doors are not always locked. Every now and then I notice a door is unlocked because we are in and out all the time.
Just thinking back when I was younger and living with my parents, we never locked the doors until the day was over, and it was time to turn in.
Now, I want my doors locked all the times. I love being aware; I want to know when the door is in use, I work a lot with my headphones on most of the time. So, I am relying on notifications to send me an alert.
The Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Deadbolt was very simple to set up within minutes I installed it, programmed and ready for use.
I don’t like to carry keys, if I have to take them, I want them to be as light as possible. I feel like I have so much on me when I go out. Phone in one pocket, wallet in another, and keys are occupying the third pocket. I know we have been doing this for years. Personally, I never liked carrying a wallet, so mine is paper-thin.
A smart lock is right up my alley, I like the idea of just have to remember a code or to have the ability to unlock a door via phone. Not that I’ll ever give out this many codes, but you can add up to 100 access codes to the lock. Here are some essential things to know.
• With the built-in WIFI features, you can Lock and unlock the door from anywhere
• Setup schedule and permission
• Create and manage up to 100 codes
• All setup and programming is done with the Schlage Home app or Key by Amazon app
• Fingerprint-resistant touchscreen
• Battery operated
• Low battery indicator so you have more than enough time to replace the battery
• Easy to install
I can’t express how much I enjoyed adding the Ring Doorbell at the front door. A huge pet peeve of mine is when I receive a delivery, and the delivery driver does not ring the bell. Creating a motion zone has fixed this issue.
I do a lot of online shopping and packages show up all the time. Most of the time, I do not track them. They do show up, and I am usually home. If no one rings the doorbell then I don’t just randomly go to the door and check. One day I was expecting a package stayed home all day waiting for the doorbell to ring. Nine o’clock came and still no ring, I then check the tracking only to realized it was delivered 5 hours earlier. Sure, enough, it was outside.
To me, it’s not hard to ring the bell, but hey I guess they are in a rush. It’s rare when they ring the bell. Now I depend on the Ring Smart Door Bell to sense motion and send me an alert.
I have the Ring 1080P HD Wi-Fi Video Wired Smart Door Bell Pro Camera. If you have an existing doorbell, then I would recommend this one. They do make other wireless options.
I have a video here to show how I set mine up, but this was a unique situation so It may look like more work than one would encounter on a standard doorbell replacement.
Overall, I love the product, and here are some of its most importing features to note.
• The video camera is 1080HD wide angle view, with infrared for night vision. I cannot say how good the IR is at night because I have another camera in that area with a much more powerful IR beam. So it really lit in the area at night.
• This model only works with an existing wired doorbell.
• Built-in motion sensor
• 2-way audio (talk and hear)
• Can see live stream at the door
• Requires WIFI to work
• 30 days of free video recording
Here are some of the things I was not too excited about
• I researched this, but cannot figure out how to the doorbell ring for a more extended period. If there is an update or a workaround, please let me know.
• There is a subscription after the 30-day trial. I am still on the fence of following through. Everything worked as usual with the ring doorbell. After the 30 day trial, you lose access to the recordings. That’s the downside If you needed to rewind something
Personally, I care more about the notifications and live feed because I have additional cameras on my home that I can rely on for recorded footage.
Meet the Samsung “24.2 cu. ft. Family Hub French Door Smart Refrigerator in Stainless Steel” this fridge only took a few days to grow on me. It was great timing though. My dad needed a refrigerator and I caught wind of this one. I figure I would just past my older one on to my dad and investigate this one to match the smart house theme I was aiming for. I did some research on it and still was not sure right out the gate.
After realizing the potential to integrate with other devices, I was more interested. It really took a few days and I was just all over this.
Samsung calling this the family hub is a great name; it’s something we all use in our house outside of the regular refrigerator activity.
Our kitchen is placed in the center of the house and pass the refrigerator all day long. Knowing I am just one quick touch away from seeing my calendar while grabbing a bottle of water or fixing breakfast is a game changer.
This is an excellent fridge as is. My old one only had a water dispenser, which was a significant upgrade from what I had before that. The ice maker was located in the freezer, and the ice cube dropped into a pan. When you needed ice, you scooped it out. With the Family hub fridge, you get the water, crushed ice and cubed ice dispense. As a result of this being on the top, I sacrifice some fridge space if I compare to my old one.
I can say so much about the Samsung Family Hub fridge, but here are some of the ways we use and interact with it.
• Great food organization with temperature control
• Can operate from the smartphone app
• View what’s inside the fridge via mobile (not something we use but useful to know its possible)
• Putting notes on the fridge
• Checking synced Google calendar creating memos and “To Do” list
• Shopping and adding items to shopping cart
• Adding items to shopping list
• Play music, watch videos, browsing the web
• Check the latest recipe
• See the time, weather
• Using built-in apps
• See who rings the doorbell, turn on light, and unlock a compatible smart lock.
Having a Google home hub totally make the smart home experience more amazing. This product speaks for itself being compatibility with thousands of smart devices you can simplify your day.
Even as a standalone device, you can see great things from a Google home hub. If you need a quick answer, just speak to Google.
I currently have three of them; They are spaced out pretty well. To have a complete setup, I feel I need more. This way, it does not matter where I am at home; I can send commands and be heard. Like, “Hey Google off turn the office light”, “what time is it”, set a reminder, and so on.
The Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit is what you need to start a light system. In my years of experience, Lutron has proven to be a very reliable product. I just switched from a professional line of smart switches with older technology.
I have been eyeing the Lutron Caseta for some time now. It’s an excellent option for people who want to step into the Smart Device world. The system is easy to setup, and everything can be done do right from a smartphone.
The system operates independently from the wireless router. All the Lutron Caseta switches talks to the Samsung smart bridge which is then connected to the network. If the interntnet fail as long as there is power avaiable then switched will work fine.
The first thing you want to do turn off the breaker before you being. If this is something you are uncertain or not confident about be sure to seek an electrician.
Here are the things I used:
- Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Smarter Kits https://homedepot.sjv.io/nZQZa
- Caseta Wireless Dimmer https://homedepot.sjv.io/e5W5Z
- Caseta Wireless Switch https://homedepot.sjv.io/z5V57
- Caseta Wirelss Smart Fan Speed control https://homedepot.sjv.io/XvevM
- Lutron screwless plate https://homedepot.sjv.io/yP1Py