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How smart is your house? Up to what degree does tech take smart decisions for you? What are the things you used to do manually and are now automated through tech? What is your house able to do now that it wasn't in the pre-automation era?

 

Many thanks in advance.

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General discussion here 🙂

Surprisingly, mine does not do anything what home pre-automation era could not do. I always looked to all IoT and smart home things as more of the solution looking for the problem.

I guess my heating and ventilation is kind of automated... but hey thermostats were fitted to the homes for at least 50 years if not more. Mine isn't exactly simple thermostat as one can set particular cycle on it, but it isn't smart either. I know there are far smarter solution which senses when you at home or in which room you are and heats/cools that room... but how pointless is that?!

Smart fridge?! To remind me that I am running out of cheese and wine, what is the point... and I would still need to press purchase button. I guess if it would track expire date of the products maybe it could suggest some recipe for the evening before they expire, because I hate throwing food away. But again that isn't really big issue for me - usually it is my girlfriend who buys stuff nobody is going to eat and ends-up throwing it away... in short solution is not to buy the stuff you not planning to eat.

My printer tells me when it is out of ink and has purchase link directly to amazon... but that isn't really that smart. I know there are washing machines which have phone integration and they message you wen washing is finished, but is it really that beneficial? 

The only thing I may consider in future is robotic vacuum, as we mostly have laminate floor and it would do okey job cleaning it. Still I would need to go over tighter spaces and carpets, but how would be 80% cleaner from small stuff like breadcrumbs, hair and dust. But I guess the fact that I don't have it yet shows I don't really need it either. The part which takes 80% of the times is the carpets and thigh areas, where all the rooms with laminate I could easily do in 10 minutes myself.

In summary, I think I would go back to what I said in my first sentence - "smart home" is a solution looking for problem, not the other way around, so it will remain niche in my opinion.

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2 hours ago, SamuelBrown said:

How smart is your house? Up to what degree does tech take smart decisions for you? What are the things you used to do manually and are now automated through tech? What is your house able to do now that it wasn't in the pre-automation era?

 

Many thanks in advance.

How smart is yours, Samuel?

Are you already 'there', or thinking of what to do?

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I've a fully zoned heating system, which allows me to heat just one room when I'm working from home, and if I go out and turn down the heating I can remotely turn it back up on the way back so the house is warm when I arrive.

Hue lights, which for the most part I manually operate but I've one on a sensor which will come on when there is occupancy, one that will come on 30 mins before sunset, and they will all turn off at 01:00 in case someone has left some lights on.

Lots of other tech but not really doing anything automatically.

 

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26 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

I know there are washing machines which have phone integration and they message you wen washing is finished, but is it really that beneficial?

Our washing machine is in a utility area of the garage and cannot be heard so often gets forgotten about - would be useful know when it has finish so the washing can be removed and straighten to minimise ironing.

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Yes agree, but it is still niche thing which only the people who have their washing machine in garage going to needs, not something everyone needs right now and today.

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1 hour ago, ColinBarber said:

I've a fully zoned heating system, which allows me to heat just one room when I'm working from home, and if I go out and turn down the heating I can remotely turn it back up on the way back so the house is warm when I arrive.

Hue lights, which for the most part I manually operate but I've one on a sensor which will come on when there is occupancy, one that will come on 30 mins before sunset, and they will all turn off at 01:00 in case someone has left some lights on.

Lots of other tech but not really doing anything automatically.

When it comes to zoned heating cooling I am not sure what is the benefit of that - is it meant to save energy? Actually, I have seen few comparisons and it was the case that in practice zoned heating and cooling actually wastes energy, as long as entire house is fairly well insulated. Basically the most energy efficient way is to keep the entire house at certain temp and just maintain it. Maintaining the temp does not require much energy at all, whereas if you have zoned system, then you let certain room to get too cold/hot and then suddenly you need to suddenly cool or heat one room when you are there... and that what uses most energy. 

Again probably less of an issue in modern and well insulated homes, but if you say living in stone cottage it is most efficient to raise the temperature slowly and in many days and then maintain it. Same for cooling. 

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Alexa controlled lights and switches and Blink security cameras. I'd quite like to have central locking for the house, but there's no substitute for locking up, then checking the house is locked again before driving away, then coming back to check the front door's locked. Just in case.

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Extremely smart.

Sun heat the house. Fresh air from the sea keeps temperature fine.

Perfect island to live in on the north-east side. north-west is a little colder but still very fine. South is good for tourists hungering for sun and heat, but living there is hard without air-condition. Top of the mountain is cold like north Scandinavia, but without the abundance of rain.

A lot of retired people live here from many countries in Europe (not just EU).

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31 minutes ago, Las Palmas said:

Perfect island to live in

Are you in Gran Canaria?

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1 hour ago, Las Palmas said:

Extremely smart.

Sun heat the house. Fresh air from the sea keeps temperature fine.

Perfect island to live in on the north-east side. north-west is a little colder but still very fine. South is good for tourists hungering for sun and heat, but living there is hard without air-condition. Top of the mountain is cold like north Scandinavia, but without the abundance of rain.

A lot of retired people live here from many countries in Europe (not just EU).

Don`t give too much away John, as Interpol are still looking for you matey 😊

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My mods are automated switching on of some lights, vocal commands to ask anything I wanna know in some rooms, vocal commands to listen to music too, and (just a bit more complicate) I open and close garage and  house gate when exiting home and coming back too, from vocal command on car.

On car I have a google assistant  that can do all that I can do at home. 

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3 hours ago, Linas.P said:

Basically the most energy efficient way is to keep the entire house at certain temp and just maintain it.

That is untrue.

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42 minutes ago, ColinBarber said:

That is untrue.

It really depends... 

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1 hour ago, Zotto said:

My mods are automated switching on of some lights, vocal commands to ask anything I wanna know in some rooms, vocal commands to listen to music too, and (just a bit more complicate) I open and close garage and  house gate when exiting home and coming back too, from vocal command on car.

On car I have a google assistant  that can do all that I can do at home. 

I have vocal commands to ask my wife to prepare the dinner, do the washing and not to talk while I am watching a football match but I will not tell you what she replies 😂 Luigi you are too far ahead in technology compared to me. 

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5 hours ago, ColinBarber said:

would be useful know when it has finish so the washing can be removed and straighten to minimise ironing.

Guess when you've run out of socks you'll know the clean one's are in the machine ............  do you really iron those :wink3:

Malc

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53 minutes ago, ColinBarber said:

That is untrue.

When I first became a homeowner and was entrusted with the control of the central heating system, I opted for the traditional pattern of twice daily heating bursts, mainly because we were both out working during the day.  So it came on for a short period in the morning and on again for a longer burst in the early evening.

Some years ago I came across some articles examining the science of domestic heating.  The prime argument was that it required far less energy to maintain a reasonable heat level than was required to constantly raise it to that level having allowed it to drop.  Well, it made sense to me!

So for some four decades - and two houses - it has been my practice to leave the heating on its ‘constant’ setting and use the central hall thermostat to raise the overall temperature a few degrees during the day, if appropriate, and slightly drop it overnight.  So the boiler only fires up when a few extra degrees are called for.

Both properties were oil heated and once I had introduced this system in the first one, I saw a substantial drop in oil consumption.  So I have continued it.  

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Ah yes, also applies to lighting. Modern LED units consume so little electricity that total lifetime cost of a unit is less if you simply leave it on — because power cycling (switching on and off) shortens the service life of the unit. In Finland, I learn, home exterior lights are 'always-on' for this very reason. 

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25 minutes ago, LenT said:

The prime argument was that it required far less energy to maintain a reasonable heat level than was required to constantly raise it to that level having allowed it to drop.  Well, it made sense to me!

Except that the higher the temperature above ambient, the greater the energy loss - so you a losing energy at a greater loss all the time the house is being heated.

There may be circumstances that means this isn't always the case such as an incorrectly sized boiler, one that isn't efficient or one that has its output temperature not at the most efficient for the boiler but in general it is more efficient to turn it off if you don't require it. If you take it to an extreme, it is the same reason I turn my oven off when I'm not using it rather than letting it tick over at 180 deg c all the time. Any industrial system will turn down over night/weekend to save energy - they typically won't go below 10 to 12 deg C but that is avoid the possibility of condensation, otherwise they would let the temp drop lower.

Similar myths exist about florescent lighting - saying the energy used to 'start' the tube was so high you should leave them on. I think mythbusters measured that it was around 15 seconds, after which time it is more efficient to turn the light off/on.

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I recently had “Smart meters” fitted as “They show your energy usage and can help you save money”

I have saved loads of money since they were fitted ....... sitting in the dark, going to bed fully clothed to try and keep warm whilst carrying a candle are the new normal in our house!

At the end of the day if it’s dark you put a light on if it’s cold you put the heating on and the energy monitor found a nesting place in the kitchen drawer.

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7 minutes ago, steve2006 said:

“They show your energy usage and can help you save money”

Had the opposite effect on my family who started the game of who can get the higher consumption 'score'. My smart meter broke after a year so it's now dumb, just consuming more power than the old one would have done.

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1 hour ago, MartinH said:

also applies to lighting. Modern LED units consume so little electricity that total lifetime cost of a unit is less if you simply leave it on

the issue I have with modern lighting bulbs is simply that the initial bulb cost factor is often 10 x ( or so )  the cost of an old fashioned bulb and the usual length of time the old bulb would be left on doesn't compare in usage cost to the replacement cost of a modern bulb that really does NOT have a lifetime warranty  ...  often just 2 years for a regularly used positioned light ....  and my fingers aren't particularly dextrous to replace those fiddly bulbs in inaccessible fittings that you install coz they say they " last a lifetime "  .........  12 ft high ceiling lights say, where you would have never put an old fashioned bulb in the first instance :wink3:

............... get my drift ?

Malc

bit like comparing TPMS usefulness in a modern car and NOT having it in my Ls400 ........  what really is the point :unsure:

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1 hour ago, ColinBarber said:

Except that the higher the temperature above ambient, the greater the energy loss - so you a losing energy at a greater loss all the time the house is being heated.

I may be mistaken but I think you are referring to Fourier's Law of heat conduction.  Basically, this states that the warmer it is on one side of a wall, the faster it will escape to the colder side.  While this holds in a laboratory model, it falls down in real life.  Firstly, and obviously, it takes no account of internal insulation which will slow down the rate of loss.

It also ignores the problem of condensation occurring within the walls once you lower the ambient temperature, which will increase the rate of conductivity.

1 hour ago, ColinBarber said:

If you take it to an extreme, it is the same reason I turn my oven off when I'm not using it rather than letting it tick over at 180 deg c all the time.

I think the problem with this analogy is that I don't use the oven as an ancillary heating device.  So it only serves one function as opposed to the central heating system and its associated hot water facility which have several benefits. 

1 hour ago, ColinBarber said:

but in general it is more efficient to turn it off if you don't require it.

I would agree in part here, namely: it's more efficient to turn it down if you don't need it.  Which will, again, reduce the possibility of condensation. But I would also point to other influencing factors.  The use of thermostatic radiator valves - especially useful in little used rooms -  and the use of effective loft insulation and draught reduction.

(For this reason one should always leave a level of background heating on when going away for long periods.)

Given that the house is suitably prepared, the best practical advice I've seen is to use the '24 Hour' or 'Constant On' setting but run the boiler at a low temperature.  So turn the TRVs in the rooms that you use (shut the doors of those that you don't) to 'max' and the boiler thermostat to 'min'.  Then adjust the room thermostat to whatever day/night temperatures you prefer.

Of course, this particular good advice is predicated on the use of TRVs, room thermostats and insulation - so not something even I can apply in its totality!

One reason being that the cat has the run of the house.

However, as I mentioned previously, following this regime as best I could in the first house, I recorded a significant drop in our heating oil consumption.  So while I can't speak for others, for me at least it would appear to work.

2 hours ago, ColinBarber said:

Similar myths exist about florescent lighting - saying the energy used to 'start' the tube was so high you should leave them on. I think mythbusters measured that it was around 15 seconds, after which time it is more efficient to turn the light off/on.

From memory I think this applied to the early fluorescent tubes which used a 'starter switch' which used to flicker away, consuming current, while striving to get the high voltage down the tube to kick start the fluorescence.

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