I've just purchased a new HE hub which is still in the post and I'm doing some research ahead of it arriving looking to port my devices from SmartThings over to Hubitat.
I have a pretty basic problem that I've come up with a few different solutions in SmartThings but none have been ideal, so I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a better way of achieving this automation with Hubitat.
Basically I want my toilet lights to turn on and off automatically using a motion sensor, however when I'm taking a shower I want the delay to turn off the light to increase.
I have a small toilet in my house with a shower and I have 2 devices automating the room. A zigbee switch and a zigbee motion sensor.
I have a simple rule in SmartThings that I will be able to port over to HE that just turns the light on when the motion sensor is triggered and after 8 minutes of inactivity the light is turned off. This is long enough that the lights don't turn off when we're in the toilet, but will still turn off the lights if we forget to turn them off manually.
The problem arises when we take a shower, the motion sensor doesn't see us as it's placed away from the steam, and the lights turn off.
Some solutions that aren't ideal:
Sticking out a hand out of the shower when the lights go off so that the motion sensor detects me again
Increasing the motion sensor timeout to the maximum duration of a shower, not ideal as there is a chance that I forget the light on and it takes very long to turn off.
Adding a virtual switch and turning that switch on when having a shower which will activate different rules. This means remembering to turn on the virtual switch using a voice command
Relocating the motion sensor closer to the shower is not ideal because of the steam.
Motion sensor pointed in to the shower as stated above is probably the smartest solution,
My little dumber solution is a door sensor/magnet switch on the shower door that sets full light and pauses the motion sensors for 16min when open/closed.
the door sensor i use is not waterproof, but has so far lasted 2 years without issues.
How about a humidity sensor in the shower area.
I have one in our EN Suite and main bathroom. Works a treat.
You can then use the humidity reading to stop the lights from turning off if there is no motion.
I don't know what kind of lights you have in that bathroom, but if they are LED and it's a small bathroom I would presume the actual costs of having them on for a few minutes would be ridiculously low if you were to calculate it (probably in the order of cents).
Given this, I would just raise the timeout for the motion Lighting.
That's what I did in our bathroom, and I can almost guarantee this is a cheaper solution than having to buy and maintain an extra sensor.
Nothing wrong with a 15 minute motion timeout unless you take very very long showers.
Say your lights consume 30w, and you pay 20 cents per kwh. That would mean 5 minutes would cost you $0.0005
I have a similar use case to you - I have a humidity sensor in the room which extends the motion timeout when the humidity is >=70% (e.g. the shower is running). I also use the Humidity Sensor to bring the underfloor heating on to help dry the bathroom floor after a shower (and bring the electric towel rail on for when the damp towels are put on it).
This is a Humidity Sensor I use (I had to import it from the USA) however I would suggest the Sonoff model is a more than adequate replacement:
We use a contact sensor on the bathroom door - if the bathroom door reports closed, light stays on, overriding the motion automation's desire to turn it off. If you shower w/the bathroom door closed that could do it.
I started by using this method, but inevitably one of us forgets to turn it on and we are stuck taking a shower in the dark. Now we are using a second motion sensor above the shower to keep that from happening. Since you are worried about the humidity, there are a number of outdoor motion sensors available. I personally like the Philips Hue one. It seems to be pretty quick and reliable and can be paired directly to Hubitat without the Hue Bridge.
Btw, when you said toilet, I immediately thought you were talking about something like this:
I have a motion sensor for the light and a Aeotec recessed sensor in the door. If the door is closed it delays the turning off of the light. It also increases and decreases the volume of the audio in the shower as well. Works perfect and proven to be ‘wife proof’
Forgot to reply this earlier. You are absolutely right that probably a few of my automations cost more than they save, but that's not taking into account the fun in getting something cool to work
But fair point if this starts sucking time in maintaining extra sensors I will keep in mind that I can just simplify things and not end up spending more
Yep, I get it. When I just started I wanted to make everything as smart as possible, but after getting tired of constantly having to adjust things I settled with some "not-so-optimized" automations like this one
I'm controlling my bathroom lights with motion as well and use a contact sensor on the door so when the door is closed it will keep the lights on, I also have a temp/humidity sensor (in another rule) in there which controls the fan when the humidity gets high enough but only when the door is closed as well because in the spring we sometimes will keep windows open when the humidity is that high although not condensing and I didn't want the fan coming on for that.