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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 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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Measuring air quality

Air quality at home is important, as important humidity and temperature. To measure it all i am using Netatmo Healthy Home Coach. It is smart indoor air quality monitor, which is easy to install and intuitive to use.  It can measure temperature, humidity CO2 levels and noise level. Continue reading Measuring air quality

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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

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Apple Home App setup

HomeKit is the protocol for smart home devices secure communication to each other. And the beauty of it is that all HomeKit compatible devices can be managed from one application on the phone – Home by Apple. One app to manage it all means less mess and less frustration for opening the right app to unlock the door or to turn on the lights. All HomeKit enabled devices can be controlled by voice with Siri.

It is recommended (I even would say it is mandatory) to have Apple TV gen3 or gen4 at home for remote access to HomeKit devices. Apple TV as a bridge for HomeKit is good not only for remote access. If some gadgets, for example August smart Door lock or Elgato Eve thermometer works over Bluetooth and does not have dedicated bridge – they can automatically connect to Apple TV by Bluetooth and to be ready for access from anywhere. Continue reading Apple Home App setup

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Smart Door Lock

Smart home can’t be smart without smart door lock. Door has to unlock simply by walking to it with your phone in the pocket. I think that one of the best for it is August Smart Lock. It is compatible with HomeKit, easy to install and is reliable. This Smart Lock does not require to change your lock. If lock is standard deadbolt, it is easy to retrofit. From outside any part of door lock is not changed and can be operated by key. In the inside smart lock replaces thumb turn. Continue reading Smart Door Lock

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Wi-Fi for Smart Home

Smart house needs smart wireless network. Many HomeKit smart device use Wi-Fi for internet connectivity. If wireless internet is down – all house is down.

While trying different wireless routers I have found, that Apple devices connects faster to Apple wireless routers. So, because I am in Apple ecosystem I am using Apple wireless routers.

For my home it is enough for one Apple Airport Extreme in the center of first floor. Its long range and strong signal will cover first and second floors. And I hope the basement. Also, I need my wireless network outside the house in the backyard and near the front door. For this I will use smaller airport version – Apple AirPort express, placing two of them in sealed boxes outside the house. One near the entrance and one in backyard.  Airport express does not have ultra-fast AC standard connectivity, but for unlocking front door, opening garage door or controlling lights and music in backyard will be more than enough. Of course, this could be done by 3G internet, but the problem is that while being near the home, phone picks up weak Wi-Fi signal from inside the home and the unlocking of door is painfully slow. And when all smart house management depends from wireless network it is very important to connect Wi-Fi routers to Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). In this case power small power supply outages will not disrupt communication of smart devices. Continue reading Wi-Fi for Smart Home