Fireplace automation

Had been toying with the idea of automating my fireplace for a while, but had held it off when I was on Wink. The idea didn't have the WAF and with Wink's delays, I was put off.
After migrating to HE, with the speedy responses to triggers and HE receiving the WAF, she asked me to go ahead and automate the fireplace... there was no looking back after that!

Things used:

  1. Remotec Zwave Dry Contact Fixture Module - I picked it up from Amazon here
  2. One gang PVC electrical box (to house the Remotec & not electrocute myself or any one :crazy_face: Picked up in in Home Depot here
  3. Lutron Pico two button remote - to bring the fireplace ready for 2020 (and also because the fireplace switch is dated and a low voltage switch). Picked up in Home Depot here
  4. Caseta Wireless Wallplate Bracket for Pico Remote - to mount the pico remote. Picked up in Home Depot here
  5. Claro 1 Gang Decorator Wallplate - for the clean no-screws look. Available here @ Home Depot. But if you're like me, you'll probably have a couple of one gang wallplates from your Caseta light switch purchases
  6. AC Infinity Fireplace blower - well, whats a fireplace without a quiet blower spreading the warmth & also because more tech... mainly because more tech :crazy_face:
  7. Black out stickers - the blue status light on the Remotec can blind you in a dark room! Got them on Amazon here & then realized that these stickers come in handy for a bunch of other annoying status lights!
  8. Some blood, sweat & tears... you're bound to scrape yourself on the fireplace when lying down in odd angles, with just your hands inside the fireplace :dizzy_face: :hospital:
  9. Don't forget your trusty HE and Lutron Pro bridge for the connectivity

A big thanks to Dan Carlton & Bill Gentilesco (on the Hubitat group on Facebook), who pointed me to the direction of this article from the Dataist, to get me started.
I took it a couple of notches above & added the AC Infinity blower and Lutron Pico remote!
First I had to clean up the years of dust from under the fireplace & then I realized that the builder had conveniently not bothered to connect the power outlet under the fireplace, to the powerline coming from the wall :woozy_face: . I was changing the batteries regularly and by the looks of it, the batteries were powering the low power gas trigger in the fireplace all these years! Benefit of doing this work, I got to fix the power outlet under the Fireplace - that's where the blood starts :slight_smile:
Well... fast forward a couple of hours of finagling with the wiring, setting up the AC Infinity blower, setting up the temperature trigger to what I wanted it to be. No, the AC Infinity does not talk to HE! It's smart enough to trigger the fan and turn it off, but not smart enough to have a zwave radio! I will suggest it to AC Infinity, not sure how far they will go with it...
Setup up the Remotec in a one gang box, got the wiring in place and voila... it connected to HE @ the first try, triggered the fireplace, no problem & all is well. The Pico remote's buttons are setup fairly simple - on button for fireplace on and off button for fireplace off

Options for turning the fireplace on or off:
a. Using the Lutron Pico - done & tested
b. Using the button on the Remotec - done & tested
c. From HE dashboard - done & tested
d. Alexa - yes master :cold_face:

Additional options:
a. Using temperature triggers from a connected thermostat or multi-sensor. I have a couple of Fibaro motion sensors and open/close sensors that provide temperature readouts - I will test them when possible. I figure that to be fairly straightforward
b. Timer based
c. Geo location based triggering

I've attached a couple of pictures of the completed task... now on to the next one :face_with_monocle:

Update -Jan/02/20 - the family room gets really warm with the fireplace blower doing its job… have added a timer to run the fireplace for 45 minutes anytime it’s turned on


Update - Oct 07, 2020
Found that the AC Infinity fan's thermal sensor is far too sensitive to my liking and keeps the fan on till it drops below the set temperature - keeps the fan on, for far longer than I deem it necessary. The fan has power off memory - ie, it remembers the settings selected when it was turned off, and returns to the same settings when power returns. In comes the Zooz Zen 25 double plug - it is slim enough to be added to the mix & doesn't hog up the precious real estate in the cramped space. Now I've set the fireplace blower fan to run for a set time and turn off, rather than keep running for a couple of hours!

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Nice!

Inspired, I just looked under my living room fireplace. There is an outlet, also not connected. Strange, because the one in my bedroom (backs up to the one in the living room) IS connected. Mine are both Lenox branded, and don't require batteries. The pilot light powers the gas switch via a thermopile.

I got interested because adding a blower sounds like a great idea. Is there any reason not to set it up so that the blower just always runs when the fireplace is on? Do you know if the unit you have can be set up this way? I'd just rather not bother with running the wiring for another unit on the wall. I'm thinking I'd have to see if I can get the outlet powered up, and then I'd need 2 of the dry contact modules in parallel: one for the gas and one for the blower. I just don't know if this blower can be set up that way, or maybe I can find one that is less sophisticated.

Anyway, thanks for the idea!

The blower controller does have an option for always on, & it also has memory settings in the event of a power loss. It does not accept any additional inputs which may be controlled by another dry contact sensor. What I'm thinking about is :
a. use the Remotec for the fireplace and use another ZWave plug (something like this) to connect the blower
b. setup a rule so that whenever the remotec turns on, turn on the zwave plug for the blower - mirror the status of the remotec. This way the blower turns on only when the fireplace is on and turns off when the fireplace is off

Really nice job.
I would reccommend a physical override switch for when the hub locks up or crashes, based purely on experience.

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The Remotec has an on/off button on it that can be used in such situations.

And the Remotec has an override input which you can hook up to the existing wall switch, so you should still be able to turn it on and off from the wall independent of the HE.

I mentioned all this to my wife. She wasn't impressed. "The wall switch works just fine". And she doesn't WANT a blower. She lights the fireplace more for ambiance than warmth, and is afraid that with the blower it would heat up the room too well and she couldn't leave it on as long. I'll keep this project in mind, but I guess I have to look for something else to work on for now. Fortunately there are lots of ideas around here...

And that’s what I started this project with … it had the WAF - intact she wanted this :+1:t3:

Update - Oct 07, 2020
Found that the AC Infinity fan's thermal sensor is far too sensitive to my liking and keeps the fan on till it drops below the set temperature - keeps the fan on, for far longer than I deem it necessary. The fan has power off memory - ie, it remembers the settings selected when it was turned off, and returns to the same settings when power returns. In comes the Zooz Zen 25 double plug - it is slim enough to be added to the mix & doesn't hog up the precious real estate in the cramped space. Now I've set the fireplace blower fan to run for a set time and turn off, rather than keep running for a couple of hours!

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Great job @bkadambi! Wouldn't it be possible to replace the Pico and Lutron Pro bridge with a Smartthings Button instead? (And program 1 push for ON and 2 pushes for OFF.) I've got a dumb switch on the wall with 2 wires going to the box, so I was thinking of leaving that there and adding the Remotec Zwave Dry Contact Fixture Module under the fireplace (similar to your install).

They can absolutely work... I have an extensive setup with Caseta dimmers, on/off switches, fan switches & a bunch of pico remotes. - All this before I started on automating the fireplace.
The pico remotes respond immediately - thanks to the Lutron/Hubitat local integration.

I've left the wires from the dumb switch in the wall and also capped it off under the fireplace as I'm not using them. Have left them in place, so that in the future if I have to undo my setup for what ever reason, I can make it go back to being a dumb/plain vanilla setup
If you want, the Remotec module does have contacts for connecting a switch, if you want to keep it that way as well

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