Get it right the first time!

I have been lurking here for some time now. I was all set to buy a HomeSeer product but then discovered the HE. With the 4th of July sale, I pulled the trigger and bought one today. Looking forward to the adventure.

Here is my situation, for the last 7 years I have been using a Vivint installed system that I put a take-over module in after my contract was up. Now I do it all through SuretyDIY with an interface. It's been nice and I really haven't done much with HA other than control my thermostat and set up a Z-Wave wall plug as a timer to turn off my 3D printer after a long print. Now, I am moving into a new home and get to start fresh. It's a new build that finishes next month. It will be three stories and I will have one Cat6 run on each floor that I plan on installing the Google Wifi System on each. I know my title says to get it right and I don't know that we ever will but I hope to have gotten your attention. Here is what I am trying to do and looking for your input.

I don't plan on going crazy with lighting but want to be able to have schedules and rules for lighting based on PIR, Window/Door sensors, and maybe even GEO Fence. With that said I am leaning towards replacing wall switches with HA switches. The question is if you could "get it right the first time" Zigbee or Z-Wave? Do most wall switches come standard as repeaters? Which brand? What features?
I also think in certain locations I will add LED strips, back of the TV, kitchen cabinets, and in the garage. Z-Wave integrated LED strips or just roll with a wall plug?

For Fathers Day my wife got me the Nest Learning Thermostat with the Google Assistant. Sounds like there are going to be issues integrating that since Google broke it. I will have a 2-zone HVAC at the new place and need two thermostats. I have heard quite a few people rave about the Ecobee. Should I try and return the Nest and swap it for something else? I normally only access my thermostat while away to warm it up or cool it down when I am on my way home from a weekend trip somewhere.

This is probably where I am looking for the most help. I don't feel like I need a monitored alarm system. I do travel a lot and I think I liked the idea of it for the family while I am gone. I asked the wife and she said she doesn't feel like she needs it at the new house, so I think a DIY/self-monitored solution is just right. The big question here is in order to "get it right the first time" should I start with an actual alarm panel (like the 2GIG, DSC, Honeywell, etc) and use radio-controlled sensors on the doors and windows? OR used Zigbee/Zwave sensors and integrate them into HSM? I guess my concern is that if my wife suddenly decides she likes the peace of mind of a monitored system would I need to get a legit panel and then swap the Zwave sensors for radio-controlled? Is it a better plan all around to just use separate topology for HA and security from the get-go? I also plan on adding a siren (or two), CO2 detectors, glass break detectors and FireFighter listener (since all my smoke alarms are wired to go off if one sets off).

Besides that, I will probably at some point add some other fun stuff like irrigation system, power monitor plugs, voice controls, and maybe just maybe someday have some automated window coverings. Again, I know there is no perfect system but I would like to minimize the amount of buying stuff and it just plain not working or only partially solving the dilemma only to find out there was a better solution.

Just a few things to think about. About 12 years back we rebuilt our house following a tornado. I installed a Elk M1G alarm system. I think Elk is less inclined to work with DIY folks today. Anyway I really like hard wired alarms for their reliability and non dependence on batteries. It's so easy for someone to bypass your dw sensor by simply sticking a magnet on the sensor after they sell you the new magazine subscription and are leaving. Hardwire has many more options for sensors including drive alarms, rate of rise heats for your attic (who wants to change a battery up there? )and many more. If you're just winding up construction it's the perfect time to pull some cables for a quality alarm system. Now HA is another story. I came from x10 and zwave and my last system was Homeseer. Hubitat is the hottest HA controller today. I have mostly Cooper Aspire zwave dimmers and switches. They work great with HE. I have a mix of products for motion detection and can't really recommend one over the other. I have really come to like the Lowes Iris 3326L V1 Zigbee motion detectors that are cheap on ebay. I don't have much experience with lamps. I would recommend staying away from Samsung presence devices, motion or water sensors. They have not performed well for me. Also like the Iris V1 dw contact sensors.

If I may share a bit of knowledge from years of experience, there is no getting it right the first time. You do your best to hit a mark that is constantly moving. Better technology, better firmware upgrades, different spousal approval factors (SAF). It's all evolution and once you get to a place that you are happy, then comes the "well, can I do this?" It insidious and one of the best rushes in the world when you get it all working right. You are amongst the best group of developers, friends and folks who can help you make almost anything work right. It a journey and you've joined the best group to help you along that path.


@2ac16mo I’ve heard good things about the Elk alarm system. Did you manage to get HE and your M1G panel to work together? Construction for me is just ending, they offered to do hardwired sensors but at $80 per so I had to pass. They were also pretty strict that I’m not allowed to modify during construction. I may look into pulling wires and making the sensors hardwired. Way more reliable and less RF bouncing around the house to conflict. A lot of people have talked about Lowe’s Iris. I will have to check it out.

@homeauto2112 Thanks for the advice. I knew the title would probably get a click or two alone. Certainly not expecting to get it right the first but but hoping to minimize some frustrations and wasted money. I read this thread and thought it had a lot of good nuggets so I decided to start my own for my situation and see what nuggets I could pull. Thanks!

Lighting = Lutron Caseta Pro

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A bit off topic I know, but I did a 3 story whole house remodel a couple of years ago, and went with Cat-6, pulled to a central ceiling point on each floor. However, I went with Ubiquiti Unifi AC hot spots, and while a bit more costly than other solutions, I run them via POE, and they're are just bulletproof.

Single, whole house wifi network with automatic and transparent hotspot to hotspot handoff, wifi mesh support, high throughput, Guest networks, multi-band, etc.

Only caveats, they are a bit costly, and can be a bit challenging to setup and update, but I dont regret it for a second.

Given you are building new, I thought it might be worth a mention.



I would look at hard wiring as much as possible, all bar one window and all doors are hardwired at mine. These are then connected to Fibaro UBS devices but that was before "konnected" came out and if I was doing it again I would use that, as you can then wire it like a traditional alarm system. I also have data cables to all my PIRs @12v then drop down the voltage to power them from USB.

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@Eric.C.Miller I've been hearing some good remarks about Lutron. I will read through your thread and do some investigating. Thanks for your input! WAF is pretty high on my list, which is why I think the dimmer switches are the way to go!

@scottgu3 I've heard good reviews on the Ubiquiti Unifi systems. I read they were originally commercial products. I did a quick glance at them and need to revisit them. I don't have any cabling ran to ceiling points but there are 4 CAT6 ports throughout the house. The only thing that turned me off to them was the cost but I will have to revisit. I'd be curious if anyone has any experience with the Google WiFi System since that was what I was planning on using. CenturyLink offers Fiber at my new build, while completely too much speed for me, it is only $10 more a month over what I would use otherwise I may have access to very high-speed internet.

@BorrisTheCat I would love to go hard-wired on all my sensors. The builder was just charging way too much to do this up front, may have been a mistake but oh well. How hard is it to pull the wires have the build is complete? Is it worth it still? I've been reading good remarks about the Konnected system.

Depends on if you can do it from above? Will carpets be fitted or could you get boards up before? This is just for ceilings, walls it all depends on how much mess your prepared to make and the cost to repair it, suddenly £80 isn't that much when you consider the long term savings and cost of doing it after. If your lucky you may find existing routes and depending on what your running could use them or pull cables through which would make less damage.

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Agree with @BorrisTheCat here. If the walls are still open, grab a roll of CMR Cat-6 and pull it yourself. Terminate later. I pulled all mine to a point in my basement, and then installed a structured wiring cabinet between a set of studs. I knew where in the ceiling and walls the wires were, and terminated them using pushdown jacks and old work low voltage boxes. Easy Peasy. Almost free.


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@BorrisTheCat & @scottgu3 Yea, unfortunately too late for all of that. Walls are already in and primed. I do have some access underneath as there is the basement so I might still be able to pull it off. If not I will just go wireless. Really, for me, it's to monitor my soon-to-be teenagers. Two of them have rooms with a rooftop and if they are anything like I was that was an easy point of egress at 11 at night!

On another note, my HE arrived today! While I am still in my old house I may still fire it up and just check out the interface. I am watching for Amazon Prime Day to see what sort of deals I snag for the new home!

It was integrated with my Homeseer controller, but not yet with HT.

Elk sells a Zwave module as well as a network module so it should not be too hard. I'm still relatively new to HT - using it for less than a year it seems. It is a very impressive controller and at my age I may never marry it to the Elk. I don't know the layout of your home, but if it's two stories or has a basement it could be worth the trouble to install a nice 2" PVC conduit between floors possibly in closets that could end up being wiring closets. If your electric panel will be in a finished wall a spare conduit up to the attic could be handy. I can't imagine them preventing you from installing empty conduits, but ask to be sure. May be too late for much.

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MIght be a good read...

+1 on the Elk. I had one in my last house and installed one in my new one. Elk says that they do home automation, but it's very limited.

The benefit is that it's a UL listed panel, and everything is damn reliable. I have never had anything fail, in 11 years. It just works. Most of my stuff is wired, but I do have the GE Caddx radio for it and have some wireless sensors. The Micra-G door and window wireless sensors are completely hidden and super reliable. And they are only $25 each.

If you want to do security, get reliable equipment. I don't consider Z-wave to be reliable at all. Z-wave tends to put me into a rage, wireless zwave stuff has not reliably communicated in my experience.

Welcome to the Hubitat Community! Congratulations on the new home build. Hope you're not too tired of opinions at this point. :wink:

I would suggest a better system if you have a large home. The Linksys Velop system is very good and the TP-Link Deco M5 is a good budget friendly system. Both a good if you have young kids and need parental controls. Deco M5 is better at parental controls and includes built-in Trend Micro Malicious Content filtering, Intrusion prevention and Infected device quarantine. It also supports WiFi presence detection via IFTTT.

I have the Deco M5 myself, and I've installed the Linksys Velop for several small businesses in lieu of a more expensive commercial system.

Neither. Lutron RA2 (Integrated driver) or Insteon (community driver)

Broken for now. This can be solved right away with community drivers, and next month things will be clearer when the new program with Google Assistant is rolled out.

So many opinions will come from all these questions. I feel strongly about this one. Alarm systems should be stand-alone. I personally own an iSmart Alarm system I had to hack with a blunt instrument to get local control. I don't have a horse in this race, but I very much like the Ring system, despite it not having direct integration to Hubitat.

You can find ways to integrate these into the Ring system. I would suggest you simply purchase Nest Protect smoke/CO alarms. They're just hands down the best and cover two of your criteria right away. They also would integrate with your Nest thermostat to disable the HVAC system in the event of a smoke or CO alarm, without doing anything. They communicate with the Nest thermostat over thread, so you don't need an internet connection or WiFi operational at the time of the incident for that to work.

@SmartHomePrimer Thanks for the suggestions. I did a deep dive on some of the mesh routers available. I certainly see where the Ubiquiti systems excel but for a price and a bit more technical setup than I am looking for. The Velop system seems to really shine, their tri-band system is about $100 more than the Deco M5. Century Link is offering a fiber line at my new place for $10 more a month than what I pay now, so the tri-band with fiber would hopefully take a while before becoming outdated. With Amazon Prime Day coming up, I am watching closely for deals on either of those systems.

I'd say after a few days a of looking at everything that has been suggested here I am still a bit torn on an alarm panel. I did not run wired sensors, I might still be able to even after I occupy the home. The Elk M1 seems to be the gold standard here, the only problem I have with it is I am struggling to buckle down and really read through how to set it up. This leads me to believe that the system is not really intuitive and takes a lot of fiddling to set up. @ritchierich I appreciate the link you provided but it only adds to my previous point. I am back to square one on the alarm system. I agree with everyone's suggestion that it should be independent and that's why I am considering 2Gig again. They have their new GC2e out and soon they should release GC3e, these are their "encrypted" systems. Now the link between their sensors and the panel are encrypted. I haven't seen much documentation yet on the encryption methodology so I am curious if anyone has seen or read about these sort of encrypted radio devices?

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This probably sums up my Ubiquiti experience:

I love my Ubiquiti setup, but it's always a challenge to me when need to go in and update things. Always seems like I need to relearn everything. And...I absolutely dread the $$$ I'm going to have to spend when they start rolling out wifi 6!

Sounds like you're doing your research though, and you're narrowing it down to a couple of contenders that should work well!

Personally I think the stuff you're doing right now is the fun part! Implementing them is never as much fun as researching and what iffing it!!!

Good luck with your buildout and enjoy your new home!


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I would like to add a plug for Unifi devices. One problem with consumer-focused devices is after a very very short while they stop getting updates, even security updates. Being a more commercial-focused product, not only do Unifi devices get regular security updates, but there are also feature updates as well. The Unifi devices may be a tad more complex to set up (not beyond an average DIY person) but once up and running provides a very smooth experience.

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There's a learning curve to the Unifi stuff if you don't have a networking background. But, you get to learn something new.

Plus, in 5 years, you're probably going to know this stuff anyway because as society progresses, people become smarter because of all the things they are exposed to and have to learn. There are kids today that know more than Bell Labs engineers knew 40 years ago. Might as well get started now. :slight_smile: The Unifi forums will help you out, and so will we.