Recommendations for kitchen remodeling (2020)

(I posted a version of this at the ST community, but my setup will be all in on Hubitat by the time this project finishes, so I thought I'd ask here to see if there are other options)

Soon my kitchen will get gutted and we will be without it for 3-4 weeks. While the cabinets and backsplash are being replaced, I'll have the opportunity to replace 4+ outlets and 4+ switches. I'm wondering what I should do in 3 areas:

  1. Outlets
    As it is a kitchen, all the outlets are GFCI on individual circuits (as best as I can tell). I don't actually need controlled outlets in there; my thought was only to install a Zigbee and a Z-wave outlet just as repeaters. But since GFCI controlled outlets doesn't seem to a thing (I've just read 3-4 threads about that), I'm wondering if I should just remain with regular dumb outlets.
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    I guess I'm stuck with dumb, tamper resistant 20A outlets. Are there other repeaters I could/should hide in the outlet box? (I've got 2 plug-in Iris plug as Zigbee/Z-wave repeaters in the kitchen now)

  2. Switches/dimmers
    I'm going to take this opportunity to put in controlled switches for the various sets of lights. None are currently on dimmers, but I'm thinking of using dimmers. Z-wave or Zigbee doesn't matter to me (I think). The switches control various gangs of BR-30 LEDs: 4, 3, and two sets of 2. Only one of the switches is 3-way.
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    (All my bulbs in the kitchen are dimmable LED BR-30s inside recessed cans)
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    Zooz and Inovelli are the two I've seen recommended. I think I'm leaning towards the Inovelli switches at this point, possibly the Red.
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    My only smart dimmers right now are the old GE/Jasco 12724s (I've still got 2 new-in-box, but I've got 5 others installed around the house). They work "ok". At this point I would consider swapping them all out.
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    I wonder about smart switches that work with smart bulbs. I was considering using color bulbs and I thus wanted to be able to talk to them. I've never done that before. I might not, because I might reserve the color for (3) below.

  3. Undercabinet lighting
    I'm considering adding undercabinet lighting since I'll have an electrician in to do the work. Any recommendations for color controllable lighting? Again, either Zigbee or Z-wave is fine (I think).

I've got about a 15 plugin controlled outlets (some Ikea, most Iris) acting as Z-wave and Zigbee repeaters. Both meshes are really in great shape.

Recommendations for or against any particular products?

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Since you’re transitioning from ST to HE, have you thought about changing over to Lutron Caseta switches and dimmers?

The telnet-based integration with Hubitat is lightning fast (the ST Lutron integration is 100% cloud-dependent last time I checked), and Lutron Picos make for really versatile button devices when integrated with Hubitat as a nice bonus feature.

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I know there are cheaper options but the hue light strips work without any fuss. Mounted in a housing they’d make great under cabinet and baseboard lighting.

Sure, any relay will do.

I'd not bother with the outlets, since they are 20 amp outlets and you already have a decent mesh.

I have Inovelli switches and I'm quite pleased with them. The Red switches may not provide you with anything you need: Red mainly adds power monitoring and the ability to use the switches as button controllers for other actions (e.g., two up pushes on the paddle does X).

Even if you don't go w/Lutron wall switches, I would seriously recommend that you invest in a Lutron hub (requires the "Pro" model) and some Lutron Pico buttons. They are game changers (at least for me) in terms of easy control of lights and fans from any location. I try to automate as much as possible so things "just happen" but there are always exceptions, and always family members who want to control things, and the buttons are small and discrete, look sleek, are easy to use, and can be placed almost anywhere on a table or attached to a wall. Family loves them more than any other automation device I've set up in our home.

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I offered my family buttons, but they strongly prefer to use voice (Google Home).

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Exact opposite on my end! I tried for weeks to get them to use voice, I used voice in front of them to show how easy it is. No go. Put a button down next to them and they act like I'm a God of Home Automation.

I don't have to understand them, I just have to love them. :wink:

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For undercabinet, the easy way is to go w/"dumb" undercabinet lights of whatever type you like, and then put a smart switch(es) in to control them. You're going to need a smart switch on them anyway, since you can't have family turning smart lights on and off with a dumb switch, not good for the lights generally, and no control if they are turned off via a dumb switch.

You don't mention motion but I assume you currently have, or will have motion sensors in the room to allow you to automate. Turn on certain lights during certain hours when there is motion or presence in the room, etc. My family just happens to like manual control more than automation, but for most users the automagical on and off automations are what makes smart homes truly smart.

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  1. Every* switch that controls lighting in my house is -or will eventually be- a dimmer. Only the exhaust fans are on true switches. Remember, a dimmer with a 0 ramp rate will act just like a switch. I have found that as I have added dimming ability, I dim in more situations than I would have imagined. An example: Movie Night? Kitchen lights dimmed to 30% during the show give you the ability to get more popcorn or a drink without either turning the overhead lights on full and disrupting the ambiance or leaving the range hood light on. To me, it's just 'better' light in most cases. The ability to adjust ramp rates in different rooms and create 'scenes' for different rooms in different situations has added an element of flexibility I didn't know I was missing when I had nothing but switches. Of course, it depends on your platform/manufacturer, but the price differential is usually small enough to not make a budget impact in all but the largest homes.

  2. If it is within scope and/or budget, I would take the opportunity to replace the BR30 bulbs with integrated LED trims. It looks so much cleaner that it's worth the effort and expense, IMHO.

*I do mean every. Inside, outside, bathrooms, closets, hallways, etc, etc.

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Instead of the expensive HUE strips I went with this controller and LED strip lights. I could cut them to custom lengths AND the controller works with HUE so you can connect it to HUE and then use it in Hubitat via the HUE integration.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JKNFMC3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

And I used this to mount the LED strips, they fit perfectly.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07V59DHK1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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Nice find. What are you using as a power supply?

I love my Lutron lighting system. It has worked 100% flawlessly with Hubitat, HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Logitech Harmony Hub. Lutron is a lighting solution, versus just switches and dimmers. And, of course, Pico remotes are awesome.

Good luck with your project!

I'm using these for power. https://www.amazon.com/LEDMO-Power-Supply-Transformers-Adapter/dp/B01461MOGQ/ref=pd_bxgy_img_3/130-7675956-8516058?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01461MOGQ&pd_rd_r=dc04e95d-42aa-437f-82bc-c32d4e2cb84f&pd_rd_w=5vCso&pd_rd_wg=JNwLn&pf_rd_p=ce6c479b-ef53-49a6-845b-bbbf35c28dd3&pf_rd_r=DJVHDM8N3THAHXNAMB6B&psc=1&refRID=DJVHDM8N3THAHXNAMB6B

I second the love for Lutron.

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I made my kitchen something similar and would advise the following:

  1. Leave the GFCI outlets. Those are there for protection in case of water, do not tamper with those
  2. Use a smart switch or smart bulbs, but not both. If you will be sectioning off the lights into different switches, then do it by switches. If one switch will control a bank of bulbs, depending on your needs might be better to do the bulbs. I have switches in mine as it was cheaper to do one switch vs 7 bulbs
  3. For under-cabinet lighting, I installed a RGBW LED strip and control it with a ZEN31. The LED strip is connected with adhesive and hooks to prevent it from falling, and it's solid. I think for my run I just need to put a more powerful power supply as towards the end of my run the colors are fading a bit, but it's solid with how I have it otherwise.

Everything you want to do doesn't necessarily need to be done to the bones while you're renovating outside of grouping bulbs to be controlled by different switches

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People have convinced me to leave the GFCI outlets.

At this point my wife has stated she doesn't even want the lights controlled. It's primarily her space (I'm just the sous chef). So I figure I'll put in smart dimmers (not switches) but possibly not use them in automations at all for now. The lights will be left on the same circuits (4 over the workspace, 3 over the island, etc.

That's this device? Zooz Z-Wave Plus S2 RGBW Dimmer ZEN31 for LED Strips - The Smartest House

That's exactly how I use my switches as well. I don't have them in any automations, but I do have them in a group where I can turn off all the downstairs lights in one command.

Yea, that's the controller I have to control my LEDs. The only piece of advise I can really give you on the LEDs is make sure you buy the same size stuff. I bought the LED strip and I bought some connectors so I can turn corners and it came with wire so I can pass it through the cabinets over my stove and look clean, and when I first bought the connectors I bought 12mm (my LED strips were 10mm). Thankfully was able to return them and get the right size for my needs.

My wife has had the same but I catch her saying “alexa turn on kitchen undercabinet lights” all the time as she is preparing a meal and her hands are dirty.

But I will leave you with this, I got into home automation because my family is awesome at turning lights on manually but terrible turning them off. With 10 can lights in my kitchen that burns a lot of watts, much less now with LED but still. So motion sensors in kitchen will turn things off after a period of time.

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Just for your info, placing a more powerfull power supply will not help, the problem you are experiencing is voltage drop, the longer the wire, the more drop you get (escpecially on small gauge wire). So the first LEDs are getting the full 5V (or 12V) and last ones are maybe getting only 3.5 Volts. This can be measured with a voltmeter by taking a measuremetn at the beginning and then at the end to see how much drop you have.

You will need to re-inject the positive signals further down the line. Usually, best practice will be to have the controller in the middle and have two runs of lightstrips go on either way from there to minimize voltage drop.

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