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Smart Heating part3: smart underfloor heating

The principle of underfloor heating is: there are tubes laid in concrete of floor through which water heated by gas boiler is circulating. Heated pipes are heating floor concrete and then warm floor of a room heats all space. The pipes in the floor are installed in a certain order to form loops, the beginning and the end of each loop is connected to central manifold. Continue reading Smart Heating part3: smart underfloor heating

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Smart Heating part2: how to connect thermostat and smart radiator valves

This is part 2 of blog series about smart heating system installation. You can find part 1 here: Smart Heating part 1: choosing boiler and thermostat

To install radiator valves of Netatmo is very easy. But for this setup i need to have one Thermostat connected to boiler.  As radiator valves connects to thermostat for control of boiler. Boiler is turned on when heat is needed and turned off when the temperature in the room reach setpoint.

Netatmo Thermostat has to parts. One is the thermostat itself and the second part is wireless relay. Continue reading Smart Heating part2: how to connect thermostat and smart radiator valves

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Smart Heating part 1: choosing boiler and thermostat

Heating is very important part of home. You have to maintain optimal temperature for maximum comfort at home. With this in mind, while renovating home I have redone all the heating system with a modern one. Now there is underfloor water heating in basement and first floor, radiators in the second floor and garage. New boiler, water heater and all the pipes and accessories.

This is a part 1 of a 4-part blog series.

The biggest challenge was, that in my smart home I want to control every element of heating system remote, by phone, watch and by voice.
First of all, had to choose gas boiler.
Mainly there was 3 major brands to choose from for me: Viessmann, Buderus, Junkers.
Viessmann has the biggest price tag if the boiler has capabilities for some automation.
Junkers is the simplest boiler with no smart automation integrated. And the Buderus is in the middle of two of them. All other parameters of competing models of these 3 brands are almost the same. Maybe it is just some of marketing stuff about the gas burners and their efficiency.
Viesmmann with automation capabilities has too high price tag, as almost the same functions and parameters are present in significantly cheaper Buderus model. With this in mind I have bought Buderus Logomax Plus GB172i-24 gas boiler. Continue reading Smart Heating part 1: choosing boiler and thermostat

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Kid Control of internet with Mikrotik

When there is a lot of screens at home and you have kids, sooner or later there comes the need for parental controls for internet. For computer, you can simply install program for this purpose or use integrated Apple parental controls. With phones or tablets situation is a little bit complicated. And in smart home, depending on always on Wi-Fi you can’t simply turn off router or change Wi-Fi password when you want to turn off internet for kids. There are some routers with integrated parental controls. And it seems in the future such functionality will be standard.

While searching for simple parental controls solution for Wi-Fi, I have found, that Mikrotik is also working on it. Unexpected. Looks like Mikrotik have plans to be not only corporate world router but want to find way for home usage.

Mikrotik calls this feature Kid Control and it is in beta now. To get this feature you have to upgrade Mikrotik firmware to newest Release Candidate firmware. From my experience, Mikrotik RC versions is stable for home usage.  To upgrade to newest release candidate version, connect to Mikrotik by Winbox and go to System -> Packages. Click on Check for updates and in channel drop down menu, select release candidate. Continue reading Kid Control of internet with Mikrotik

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Smart Plug

While building smart home you will come to point when you will want to add remote control to device or appliance which does not have smart capabilities. It may be something like desk lamp, fan, monitor or something similar. You can do it with smart plug. The only requirement is needed, that when you plug in desired device to electricity it turned on without requiring pressing its physical button.

There are many options of smart plus in the wild. Some has only on/off possibilities: WeMo, TP-Link, D-Link, iDevices has smart plugs of this kind. Some are smarter and can show you how much electricity the plugged-in device is using. Major manufacturer of smarter plugs are: Elgato, WeMo, Belkin, iHome. But if you look for HomeKit integration, there are smaller number to choose from.

Now I am using Elgato Eve Energy smart plug. It has HomeKit support, energy monitoring and works over Bluetooth. Continue reading Smart Plug

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Smart doorbell

To have truly smart door, the lock operated by the phone is not enough. You really want to see what is happening near your door. Here comes smart doorbell. While there are not many smart doorbells in a wild I have chosen to install August Smart Doorbell to accompany smart door lock.

How it works: if someone press the button at your door – you instantly get notification about it on the phone. You can open the app and see live stream video from your door. Doorbell has speaker and microphone, so you can speak through phone to visitor. Doorbell also looks for movement. You get instant notification about movement near door while someone is walking to door and doorbell starts recording video. Recorded video is instantly send to cloud. You can watch this recorded video on August app. For free recorder videos is stored for 24 hours. You can extend this period of time by purchasing August subscription.

Installation of smart doorbell is not very easy, because you have to mess with electric wires. August smart doorbell is designed to use 24V DC current, but here in Europe we usually have 220 V AC chimes. So, you cannot just to change button of chime with smart doorbell. After a little research I came with solution to this by using transformer and resistor. This is how I will connect it. Continue reading Smart doorbell