After I bought Homey Pro last summer I have very often ran into problem that I’m out of ideas what to automate. Might be a common problem amongs the home automators? Therefore I wanted to share what I have done with Homey and what is still to come. Others can respond to this post for their additional ideas.
My background on automation that I’m an electrical engineer and have previously worked on automation systems and made real time control systems. I can read wide range of coding and understand the logic but haven’t got the skills for writing code in any language. So Homey is right on the spot for me.
I’m not so into controlling lights and making scenes, but I have done some of those also to my home. My main focus has been more on energy saving, security. And also my idea of smart home is that everyone know how to use it (or this way I got it approved with my wife )
Before I bought Homey I had following automation systems in my house:
- Danfoss One/Link underfloor electrical heating control system. Danfoss uses the zwave frequency in the controller but unfortunately it’s operated on some propietary protocol and cannot be straight connected to Homey. I have asked about API developing from Danfoss and they said that API is planned on 2020. (I’m not holding my breath for that)
- Tado AC controller to control Air to Air heatpump/air conditioning. It’s now connected to Homey with Tado-app.
- Philips Hue controller and couple of lights connected
- Harmony Hub and remote. Amplifier, TV and BR player connected.
What I have done so far
Outdoor lights (8 piece of downward lights) done with Philip Hue GU10 color and ambience bulbs. The control is made throught Philips Hue bridge. I tried to connect these straight to Homey, but ran into infamos zigbee problems. Started a real disco outside . Lights go on when sun goes down with low dim value. When there is movement in the yard lights go bright for 5min. Philips Hue outdoor motion sensor and Sensative strips guard is used for that. Control is made with Sun Events-app and Countdown-app. No manual control for outdoor lights other that from Homey app.
Weather light. This is located at my backyard with single hue E27 bulb. The light changes it’s color according to next day weather. Control is made with Homey OpenWeatherMap-app which get’s the 24h forecast. Fun and handy.
Livingroom and hallway lights. Control made with 2*Fibaro Single Switch 2 and one Aeotec Nano Switch. Manual control is made with standard wall switches, which are connected to the input of Fibaro Single Switches. The lights are switched off when outdoor luminance is higher than 3200lux. These lights are also switched off when nobody is home. Presence detection and security explained later.
Toilet light. Control is made with Fibaro Single Switch 2. Manual control with standard wall switches as in livingroom and hallway. Extra control with motion sensor (Philips Hue motion sensor). The motion sensor is connected straight to Homey with Philips Hue Zigbee-app. This way the operation is faster. I have noticed that motion sensor light switching is not so good idea through Homey. Maybe straight association would be better solution.
Main switch for all indoor lighting in my bedroom so that I can switch off all the indoor lights when I go to sleep. Simple and very handy. The Philips Hue dimmer switch is used for this.
Air conditioning/heat pump.
Statuses are got through Tado-app and the control is made throught IFTTT because one cannot make manual controls through Tado-app. (Feature requested). The scheduling is made inside Tado scheduler according to weekday and time, no geofencing used. I have couple of conditions when I put the heat pump into manual mode:
When my fireplace is heated the heatpump is set to fan mode to circulate warm air in the house. The sensing for heating the fireplace is made with Sensative strips drip (because the leakage sensor doesn’t work on that) which is located at the to of the fireplace. When temperature goes over 30C the fireplace virtual device is switched on and the heatpump is set to fan mode. I also log the fireplace heating times into better logic variable so that I can check how many times and when I have used the fireplace.
When outside temperature is over 24C the heatpump is set to cooling mode (and returned to automatic when the temperature goes below 19c). May change this to checking the indoor temp, but so far this has worked great.
When we are not home for longer time the heat pump is controlled so that when the electricity is cheap enough (BreakEven is below 0,9kWh) it heats up the house to 21C otherwise the temperature is set to 17C . I will explain the BreakEven later.
When humidity in the house is over 65% the air conditioning mode is set to dry and returned to automatic mode when the humidity is returned below 50%. The humidity is measured with Tado controller.
Garage humidity control
I tend to keep my garage as low temperature as possible (energy saving) so humidity control is needed especially in fall/spring time when there high humidity in outside air. The temperature and humidity is measured with Heiman temperature and humidity sensor. I have one fan in the air outlet of the garage and it is controlled with Fibaro wall plug. I tried to use the Vthermo-app to control the fan according to humidity, but the humidity control got stuck somehow (didn’t start the fan even the humidity over the set limit), so I ditched it and used flows instead. These are the controls with flows:
- If humidity is over 55% the fan is started
- If humidity is less than 45% the fan is stopped
- If humidity has gone over 60% and doesn’t go below 50% for one day I get notification to raise the garage temperature. I would like to automate this, so that Danfoss Link system garage temperature would be automatically changed accordingly, but it’s not supported. (yet?)
- If humidity has gone less than 40% and doesn’t go over 50% for one day I get notification to lower the garage temperature.
This seems to work ok. Might need some tweaking with the limits and maybe the one day limit should be longer period.
Electric price calculating and control
This is one of my favorite twinkerings and I wan’t to expand this further. In Finland the electricity price consist of transmission, taxes and energy. The transmission and taxes part you cannot really change but one can choose the energy part where to take it and what will be the contract. There are three options for the contracts: fixed price, calendar/time of date based and a energy market (Nordpool) based hourly price.
So I have taken the energy market based hourly price and with Homey I calculate the difference to the lowest fixed price. Therefore I can see how much I am saving money with the controls that I make with Homey and my own consuming actions. Oh, and I’m measuring the consumed electricity with Aeotec Home Energy Meter Gen5 3-clamp meter from the electrical inlet of my house. Thanks to @KevinLe for making the unofficial Aeotec-app with the support for the device.
This way I have been also able to calculate a break even point in every hour. This means that how much energy in kWh you have to consume in this hour so that my bill for the energy is lower than with a fixed price. This calculation warms the hearth of a electrical engineer. At this point I’m using it in the heat pump control when we are away for a longer time and show with the Homey led ring color that is the electricity cheap, but I think there are some other possibilities also.
The price based control is made with unofficial Nordpoolspot-app made by @balmli. Thanks for that. My hopes are that this app would be in the official store some point. The price based control is explained in the water heater and EV chapters.
The hot water in our house is heated with electrical water heater. The heater has internal thermostate for heating to right temperature. I have made an external control of the heater with Aeotec nano switch and 3-phase auxiliary relay (because of the 3kW power).
The control logic is made with the Nordpoolspot-app so that during the 5 cheapest hours of the day the water heater is switched on.
Household electrical inlet overloading protection
I have a 3*25A electrical connection for the house. House is completely electrical heated so the need for electric power during the wintertime is large.
With the Aeotec energy meter I’m measuring the inlet of the house and when the consumed amperage is higher than 25A (fuse size in the inlet) Homey will turn the car charging down to lower amperage value or shut it of completely or turn off the water heater. All of the phases are monitored separately and the control is made accordingly.
Security and presence
For the presense I’m using the smart presence-app, which check the presence from the family phones connected to the wifi network. This works great for my purpose, I’m not so keen on detecting the presence accurately, but only detecting if we are away for a longer time (failsafe if I forget to set the away mode). Noticed that Huawei phones tend to lose the wifi connection (somekind of energy saving function in the phone). Mainly I use a separate flow manually to set the home/away mode. This is something I might improve later, but at the moment it’s enough for me.
For security I can only say Heimdall, Heimdall, Heimdall. Thanks to @DaneedeKruyff for the more than excelent app! I have couple of motion sensors from Philips and Philio in the house and Sensative strip guard at the doors.
For water leakage detection I have one Fibaro water leakage detector. And some point I will get couple of more if Fibaro proves to be worth it. The alarm is given to my mobile when leakage is detected.
One of the best possibilities in Home automation is the fire safety. I have also started this and all the main areas of my house have Fibaro smoke detector. I intend to expand this further. When fire alarm is detected I get notification to my mobile and all the lights are set on in order to more easily get out.
I have not figured out how to make use of the whole potential of the Harmony hub and remote. I only have one scene control where the lights in the hallway and livingroom are switched off when I start to watch movie.
I really want to see that Homey would be added to the Harmony hub compatibility list, so one would be able to make a Homey device in the Harmony hub and make more advanced controls.
I’m interested to hear what other have made with the Harmony hub.
This is were community/developer help was great. Bought a plugin hybrid last fall and was looking for a charger that could be connected to Homey. I noticed @Tim_Willemsen post about developing an app for Go-e charger. The charger specs looked just like I wanted and I bought the charger. Thanks for Tim for making the developement for the app.
I have made following actions with the EV charging. The better logic-app is widely used in these calculations.
- The electrical inlet of the house is monitored and charging amperage is decreased or charging is stopped if the loading of the specific phase is over 25A.
- The maximum allowed charging amperage value is calculated based on the electrical inlet of the house. Also the feeding cable thermal model is calculated based on the:
a. installation type,
b. maximum loading of the cable,
c. temperature of the room that it runs,
d. temperature of the spacing between the room and ceiling and
e. the outdoor temperature.
Based on these values the cable thermal model is calculated so that the cable temperature never rises over 30C. And yes, I know! I’m an electrical engineer
- The needed time to charge in a day is calculated based on the lowest maximum charging current of the last day and of course the capacity of the car battery.
- Charging is allowed when the price of the electricity is lowest of the next x hours, based on the needed time to charge in a day.
- Charging is started if the charging is allowed pricewise and there is enought capacity in the electrical inlet of the house in the specific phase. (Car charging is one phase charging)
- If the charging is stopped because of the overload situation the charging can be started again after 30min.
- Of course the charging can also be started manually, if I need to charge during the day. Usually the cheapest electricity is during the nightime.
8.The charging is slowly ramping up to the maximum allowed value. And at every step it is monitored that the loading of the inlet of the house is not close to the 25A. If it’s getting closer to the limit the charging is not risen to the maximum allowed value.
- The charged total energy is calculated as a cumulative value and also the price of the charcing is saved. The price is also compared to a comsumption of a standard ICE car, so that I can monitor that how much I’m saving with the hybrid.
- Have tried the Homeydash.com and It looks somewhat usefull. Bought also a wall attachement accessory for my tablet, but got run over by my wife trying to attach it to the wall. Apparently it’s not pretty enough
I’m still hoping that there would be easy option to make some kind of info screen/control screen for Homey with some pretty gauges etc. This Nodered based dashboard looks exactly what I need, but haven’t got the time (nor the energy to start the argument with my wife) to get into it yet.
- The finnish transmission company Fingrid has an open database where one can get all kind of information about the electricity, so I used their open api for getting the CO2 level (g/kWh) of the currently produced energy. I used the HTTP request flow cards-app for doing it. That way I calculated the CO2 emission that my household electricity is emitting. This would be nice to show in the dashboard, but haven’t got any other ideas what to do with it.
- In the electricity market there is also possibility to give the permission to third party aggregators to disconnect/connect some of your household loading (demand responce). And get some money in return. These actions are made in situations where the network operator need it. I made already a real time calculation how much loading in my household can be connected/disconnected. Unfortunately this is only a possibility at the moment and there aren’t yet any third party agregators to control these. But maybe in the future…
- Calculation of average outdoor/indoor temperature. Made with better logic-app and used all the indoor measuments to calculate the average and same for outdoor. No so much use, but one variable to show in the info screen.
- Garage sliding door control is made by Aeotec garage door controller. Basic functionality to get the door open remotely. The operation is still wonder to me, when you command “lock” to the device the garage door will open and when you command “unlock” the door will close. It works but the operation is not so logical. If I would do the controller again I think I would use the Fibaro single relay 2 or Aeotec nano switch and a separate door sensor.
There has been some difficulties along the way. At least at the start the learning in the ways of Homey was sometimes fustrating. I think it wouldn’t have been any different with other home controllers. Have to say that more problems are with the devices and some with Homey. None the less all of the problems have been solved some way.
- Fibaro single switches have to be paired, unpaired and paired again. At the first pair the pairing doesn’t work and device have to be unpaired and paired again. Never figured out why, but they have to. Same goes to Fibaro wall plugs, if I remember correctly the plugs don’t even pair at the first time but they have to be unpaired first.
- Heiman temperature and humidity sensor had to be paired multiple times in order to get it work. Don’t know the reason.
- Philio temperature and humidity sensor tamper alarm got stuck in alarm state. Haven’t got the time yet to fix this. Usually these tamper alarm stuck go away when the alarm is triggered again, or again, again,again…
- Fibaro flood sensor tamper alarm got stuck also. Unpairing, pairing and triggering the alarm again helped.
- Sensative strips drip never started to work as a water leakage sensor and the tamper and temperature alarms were stuck. The battery was also depleted with the device. The developer of the app corrected the stuck alarms issue, but I think I had some problem with the device itself.
- Homey lagging. I have noticed some lagging with Homey but nothing major yet. I think in some point this can be problem. I haven’t started yet the regular Homey reboots that some do.
- Homey rebooting leaves always some apps stuck and those have to be restarted manually. Have to look to it more detailed if I have to start the regular rebooting
- After power outage Homey starts but the connection from the mobile app is not working. Haven’t figured out why. I think it has something to do with the net connection being not available during the Homey start. So I have to pull the plug from Homey when this happens.
- Zigbee mesh operationg of Homey. Infamos. Don’t even start about it. Though when zigbee devices are connected straight to Homey and mesh is not needed I have not seen any problems.
Moments of Joy
- As a oppose to zigbee mesh operation the zwave mesh is operating great. Haven’t noticed any trouble with it.
- The better logic-app warms the heart of engineer. Only your imagination is the limit what you can do with it.
- The expandability/interoperability of the system is always amazing me. You can do whatever you want when something is happening. Again only your imagination is the limit.
- The starting to understand the limitless possibilities of api’s and network requests blew my mind. Yet again the only your imagination is the limit (and sometimes what data is available)
- The flow based configuring of the Homey is excelent. It’s simple enought but still flexible to make quite complex actions too.
For the future
Some ideas what I have at the moment but not yet have the time or equipment to make it work.
- Ventilation control of the house based on temperature, humidity, CO2 level and usage of the fireplace. Also other conditions can be taken into account, smoke alarm, air pollution measurements etc. Bought already Qubino 0-10V dimmer which can be used for the control, but the dimmer output power is not high enough for the ventilation device. So I still need some signal amplifier in between.
- Some logic to make garage door opening whenever our car is driven in front of the door. Don’t have yet any clue how to do this. Bluetooth beacon? Register plate recognision in camera? If someone has some ideas for this I’m willing to hear it.
- When our electric piano is started the hallway lighting is switched on to give enough lights to read the notes. Need wall plug with energy meter to detect the piano being on. Easy, but lacking the plug.
- Turning of the main water supply of the house when leakage is detected or we are away. Already bought the POPP flow stop (gotta love the name ) but it’s still in delivery. Small price for being able to stop the leakage.
- Info/control dashboard for Homey. Bigger project and I’m not needing it enough yet.
- Demand responce operation. Hopefully there will come some aggregators to the market so ordinary consumer could participate in this.
- Danfoss Link underfloor heating system co-operation with Homey. Api needed on the Danfoss end. Time will tell how it goes.
- More precise presence detection. This goes into category that I’m not needing it enough yet.
So that’s it. Hopefully someone got something out of this. If not, that’s okey too