Best Home Automation Ideas

Once you start with automating your home and you see the benefits of it you quickly want to do more, but what? The possibilities with home automation are pretty much endless so to help you get started I put together a list with some of the best home automation ideas. This list is created based on my own Smart Home and based on some ideas they I haven’t come to yet.

I will update the list when I come across other good ideas, so to keep the list with home automation ideas ordered I will categorize it.

Light Automation Ideas

Lights are the most common used smart products, they cheap to buy and easy to implement in your house. Everybody knows the standard light automation (turning your lights on when it gets dark or when you get home). But I gather some light-related home automation ideas that you will find interesting:

1. Increase your sleep quality with a smart wake-up light

You have probably heard of the Philips Wake up light that slowly starts getting brighter before your alarm goes off. With a smart light, you can make this really easy your self. Al you need is a dimmable smart light or Philips Hue light and let it gradually increases before your wake up time.

If you can place a Smart Light Bulb you can also use a smart dimmer switch to control your lights. With this wake-up light, your sleep habits will increase and you will feel more rested.

2. Dimming the lights around bedtime

If you implement the wake-up light, then you should also consider dimming the lights in your house around bedtime. Dimming the lights slowly will help your body get into sleep modus. Again al you need is smart light bulbs or a smart dimmer switch to control multiple lights at once.

3. Let your kids know it’s still bedtime

Parents with little kids will know, they get out of bed way too early. But you can solve this really easy with an RGB Smart Light. Just turn the light red between 4 am and 7 am and let it glow green between 7 am and 9 am. The kids will know when it’s ok to get out of bed and not waking up the whole house way too early.

If you find the Philips Hue light to expensive, (which I totally get), you can also go for the LOHAS smart bulb. You can buy 3 LOHAS’s for the price of one Hue on Amazon.

4. Turning lights of when there is no motion

Now, this is something you won’t use in the living room but works really well in a basement or garage. We all forget to turn lights off in those kinds of rooms. But with a motion sensor, you can turn the light automatically off when there is no motion detected for 5 or 10 minutes.

5. Automated bathroom or hallway nightlights

We all need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night sometime. And I really hate it when I step in the bathroom to turn does bright lights on. With a motion sensor or door sensor, you can make this nightly exercise a lot more pleasant. At night the hallway or bathroom light turn dimmed on so it won’t blind you. And in the morning during the normal activities, the light will just turn bright as you are used to.

To set this up you will need a motion sensor and a smart light or smart light switch. When the motion sensor triggers after 11 pm, the light bulb will turn on at 1% power. When there is no motion detected anymore, the light can turn off.

6. Turning lights of but keep a night light for 5 min

This is one where I am really happy with. When I turn the lights off (well I ask Homey to turn the lights off), I keep the hallway light on for 10 minutes. This way you can find your way through the house. As a fun detail, Homey has a led ring, which I led glow bright white for 5 minutes in case I forgot something from the living room.

7. Turn kitchen light on based on motion

If you have little kids as I do, you probably get out of the bed in the middle of the night to make a bottle. What really made this nightly exercise a lot easier was turning some of the lights in the kitchen dimmed on based on motion.

You can use the same motion sensor for this as you use for your security system, just create a routine based on if somebody is home, and the time is between 11 pm and 6 am.  Make sure your motion sensor isn’t set to sensitive if you have pets walking around.

If you want to know more about motion sensor, or looking for some other ideas, make sure you read this post.

8. Turn light blue when it’s about to rain

With Alexa or Google Home in your living room, you won’t always hear them. So to warn you that it’s about to rain you can turn some of the lights throughout the house blue. This way you get alerted that is about to rain and you have time to get wash inside or to put the top on your convertible.

Home Automation Ideas

In-house climate

A Smart Thermostat can control your heating system and sometimes also your air conditioning. But if you have smart fans, humidity sensors and smoke & carbon monoxide detectors you can do so much more with it. This not only results in saving on your energy bill but also help to keep your family safe. Below some climate-related home automation ideas:

9. Turning on the bathroom fan

Based on the humidity in your bathroom you can start the bathroom fan when you take a shower. When the humidity gets below 80% you can let it turn off. If you don’t have a humidity sensor, you can also use a water sensor that you place in your shower. Then let the fan run for another 15 minutes is the water sensor doesn’t detect water anymore.

Also, you don’t really need a smart fan for this, if you have a dumb fan on a switch, you can also replace the switch with a smart switch to turn the fan on or off. The Lutron Smart Switches are a really good choice for this. They look nice, are easy to connect and really good priced. They are pretty much the most popular smart switch that you can buy on Amazon these days.  So make sure you take a look at them when you are looking for a smart switch.

10. Cool the house down at night

If you have a ventilation system you can use it to cool the house down at night. Based on the outside and inside temperature you can let cold air into your house at night. This is something the Ecobee 4 can do for you by itself.

11. Use AC to lower humidity

If you have a humidity in your house and you don’t have a dehumidifier you can use your air conditioning to lower the humidity.

12. Open garage door based on Carbon Monoxide

Placing a smoke and carbon monoxide detector in your garage is always a good idea. Now if you have a Smart Garage Door opener you can also make the garage a little bit safer by automatically open the door when a to a high level of carbon monoxide is detected.

Make sure you also send a message to your phone of course 😉

13. Lights on in case of fire

One of the routines you hope never gets triggered, but if it does, this will help you get out safely. If the smoke alarm goes off, just turn on all the light in and around your house. If you have a Smart Lock you can also unlock the front door so you can get out easily. (before unlocking, make sure you check if somebody is home).

I find Smart Smoke detectors, like the Nest, pretty expensive. Another good option is to go for First Alert Onelink smoke alarm and hook them up to your smart house with the Insteon Smoke bridge. You can buy the Smoke bridge at Smarthome.com for around the $ 17,50.

14. Circulate hot air (from a fireplace) around the house

If you have a fireplace you know that the other rooms can get cold while the fireplace is on. Especially when the thermostat is in the same room as the fireplace. If you have a fan system in the house you can let it kick on to circulate the air around the house.

To do this you could use a separate temperature sensor placed near the fireplace. But another option would be to check the outside temperature and the inside temperature from the thermostat. If the outside temp is below 10 °C (50 °F) and inside is above 24 °C (75 °F) then turn on the fans.

15. Turn off your heating/ac when windows are open

Sometimes it’s nice to let in some fresh air inside your house. But it’s also a waste of energy to keep the heating or ac on while your windows are open. Based on a door/window sensor you can turn your Smart Thermostat to ECO/Away mode to save you some energy.

Now keep in mind that on winter days heating the house with the windows open is a good way to lower the inside humidity. So you can extend this with humidity sensors, if the humidity is too high, then turn the heating off after it’s below 60%.

Placing sensors on every window can get expensive, if you don’t have a Smart Thermostat yet, you can check out Tado. It can detect open windows based on the amount of heat that is lost. Check for prices and availability in your country the site from Tado. If you want to know more about Smart Thermostats, check out this post where I go more into detail about the different thermostats.

Securing the house

With all the smart sensors in and around your house, it’s pretty easy to make a decent working security system. Now with a good presence detection, you don’t need to enter security codes anymore to turn it on or off. Here are some security home automation ideas that you could implement in your house:

16. Turning alarm on when nobody is home

There are a couple of ways to determine if nobody is home. If you have a good geofencing solution from your smart thermostat you can use that to check if somebody is home. Another option would be to check if there is any known mobile phone connected to your wifi network. Last option can be to check if your thermostat is in away mode.

Now it’s pretty obvious that in case of motion when nobody is home you get an alert somehow. But another good idea is, when it’s dark, you turn on all the lights. Burglars don’t like standing in the light so they will get out quickly (well let’s hope they do).

17.  Turn on the alarm when it’s bedtime

When you go to bed and turn off all the lights you can also turn on the alarm. Just make sure you have a motion sensor upstairs that turns the alarm of for 30 minutes or so in the middle of the night in case you need to make a bottle for the little one.

You can turn the alarm also of based on your morning routine.

18. Protect your safe

You keep your valuables locked away in your save and you don’t want somebody to mess with it. Now, of course, a safe is pretty good protected with a secure lock, but you can improve it with this home automation idea.

There are a couple of options here, one is to use a motion sensor. This only works if the safe is stuck away in a place where you don’t come often. Based on motion you can get an alarm. Another more reliable way is to use a door sensor. Just place it on the door, if the door is opened you will know it. Make sure you buy a good door sensor with tamper protection. You could use the EcoLink sensor for this. They are around $ 30,- on Amazon.

Household home automation ideas

Your smart home can also help you with some of the boring household tasks. Now it can’t do all of them for you, but it can certainly help you not to forget about some of them. Here are some home automation ideas for your household:

19. Laundry reminder

This is one that happens to everybody, you forgot to take out the wet laundry from the washer. Most of us have the washer stuck away in the washroom, basement or even garage. So you don’t hear the buzzer and with our busy lives, you might forget to take out the finished laundry.

To get notified there are few options, for the dryer a power consumption sensor is working the best. Just use a smart plug that can measure the used power consumption. When it’s below 10 watts for 5 minutes the dryer is finished.

The washer is a little bit tricker. You can try the measure the power consumption, but the modern washer is really energy efficient and with the different routines the washer does it can be difficult to tell when it’s done. What you could try is when the consumption is below 5 watts for 10 or 15 minutes. Another option would be to use a vibration sensor.

20. Trashcan reminder

Here in the Netherlands, most cities have an online trashcan calendar. Some of them can be read out with an API so my smart hub Homey can pull the trashcan calendar from the site. But if that isn’t an option, you can program it your self. Trash is always picked up on the same days, so you can create some routines that will alert you in the morning to put the trash outside.

21. Automatic vacuuming while you sleep

One of the jobs we all need to do, vacuum the house. With a Vacuum Robot, you never have to vacuum your house self. But with a Smart House, you can let it vacuuming at night. Trigger your vacuum schedule after the lights are turned off. Might at a reminder to clear the floor. While you all are sleeping the vacuum robot will clean the floor.

If you don’t have a vacuum robot yet, you should really check out the Roomba 690. They are really affordable, around $ 190,- on Amazon and you can connect it with Alexa and Smart Things.

22. Check if somebody left the fridge open

Another real simple fix for a common problem. Put a door sensor on your fridge and send out an alert if somebody left the door open for more then 5 minutes.

23. Leak detection and mitigation

Detecting a water leak can be used in multiple situations. The principle is simple, place a water sensor where there is a change of a water leak. Near the washer for example, but also the basement, garage or bathroom floor can be a good idea.

The basic is simple, send an alert when there is a water leak, but you can also solve part the of the problem by turning the water off. With a Smart Water Valve, you can shut-off the water while you are not at home.

24. You got Mail

Get an alert when you receive mail, real physical mail on your mailbox. By placing a contact or door sensor on your mailbox you can send out an alert that you have mail. If a door sensor isn’t possible you can also try a motion sensor that you place inside the mailbox. When the motion sensors see the mail being put inside the mailbox it can send out a notification.

Conclusion

I hope you have some cool home automation ideas after reading this list. If you have an automation idea that should be added to the list, just drop a comment below.

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