What’s the best automation you find the most useful

Recently moved and realised that most my automations are now back to lighting on and off until I do the renovation work and upgrade the old house.

It’s got me thinking, what’s everyone’s most used and useful automations?

Might give myself or others ideas for the future, and if you don’t mind sharing drop the code in!

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  1. Outdoor motion lighting. Controls 3 different lighting circuits from one motion sensor.
  2. HVAC: whole home humidifier control, coordinating hvac zone dampers with thermostat settings.
  3. Garage door control/notification
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By far the best is motion lighting around the house - basement, mudroom, laundry room etc. Simple, effective - have it set to a time range and also can be deactivated by a physical on/off (and reactivated via double-click up or down or after x amount of mins) or via Alexa.

Timed Lighting which turns off lights etc if they have been left on too long. Used in case motion fails or for places where there is no motion detection like my daughters bathroom.

Good Night routine which turns off lights and makes sure locks engaged + home/away routines which are mostly the same except away include what we would normally turn on/off if we were home.

Water leak detections via Flume and leak sensors + water main shutoff. Also have a test sequence that runs every month that toggles the water main and sends me a report.

There is other fun stuff - humidity sensing in the bathrooms that engage the fans.. lux detection for landscape lighting, door open anywhere detection etc..

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Knowing when the garage overhead is opened/closed/left-open


Reminders of events, birthdays, bills due, garbage day, etc
Monitor and announce if gates, doors, etc are left open over a period of time
Monitor and override shop furnace. Keep a log of run time hours each day/week/month
Water leaks in at least 7 locations
Lighting automation
Heater control for the feral cats that sleep on our deck every night
Auto shut off space heaters when we leave home
Notification if any area is too cold or too hot over a period of time
Notification if any of the freezers or refrigerators is too warm or too cold
TOD schedules for all inside and outside lights
And a few other things...... :grinning:

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  • If any one of defined windows, or backyard sliding door open for more than X minutes, then turn off Nest thermostat cooling. Once all are closed, then enable the thermostat back on
  • Washroom lights turn on by motion. But, if it is night, then the lights turn on just a bit not to blind
  • Kids lights turn off, if there is no motion and lights were on for too long
  • When we leave home, all lights in the house turn off
  • When we leave the house, door locks. Garage indoor door unlocks, when we arrive back home
  • If activity in the washroom for more than 3 minutes, then exhaust fan turns on for few mins
  • ...and more

To me, the best automations are the ones I don't think about. They just work. That said, motion lighting is the one thing I miss the most when I am at someone else's home. Why aren't the lights turning on? Where is that dang switch.


I recently moved and thus had to redo my entire smart home. This made me think hard about what automations I really needed and wanted vs those that were just because i am a tech geek. It helped to live without anything for a few months to surface the ones I really missed. The big ticket items that I ended up replacing are:

  • motion lighting in just about every room - depends on Lux and mode settings
  • porch lights come on when door opens or motion detected by ring camera
  • night lights turn on including dim light when we go into bathroom late at night
  • turn kitchen sink light on when step on pressure pad
  • notify us when any exterior door is opened when both people not home
  • thermostat controller - set based on mode and motion activity
  • garage closes and notifies us if open for more than 20 minutes
  • close blinds when I'm working on my computer (determined using power meter on monitor)

I'd say 80% of the value of automations are the first three. The others are all gravy, and anything not on this list was just tech geek fun.

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As a shift worker Gcal app is just amazing to control the house with my shift pattern.

The water sensor on the water softener is great.
The UFH works with house modes and door/velux sensors so if doors or windows are open it turns off and then back on.
Towel rads and hot water turning on when we shower

Curtains shutting at night or when the sun moves causing a reflection on the TV only if the TV is on.

Dehumidifier and heating turning on automatically when we hang the washing out

Hoover turning on when the house is empty turning off the Motion sensor, and if we come back before it's finished it goes back to its Dock.

Motion lighting and auto dimming are great as well

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sounds like the most use cases are lighting with devices turning off when people leave.......more or less what I had at the old place!

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Haha... I did this and forgot so many that I set while it was just me working on the house that when we moved in, a bunch would drive my wife nuts... Like when I would unlock the front door and every light in the house would come on. This did not go over well at 5am....lol... Numerous others that dragged WAF to the low 3%

Honestly my door open rules. If either my front or back door is left open for more than 2 mins, it starts sending messages to all our phones till either the door(s) are closed or the mute button is pushed (so the door can remain open if we're doing something).

The second is if after 9pm my 4 year old's door open. It sends an [H] pushover notification to our phones. That particular alarm sound sets of my German Shepherd and he runs to track the kid down and pin him where he is...(with licks of course) The excitemen of my GSD sets off my other dog and he follows to join in. At that point we simply follow the squeals and screams and put him back to bed. Though a pure bred american GSD is quite an expensive iot device though it still runs 100% local with the integration.


Haha yeah, I had to turn all mine off as everything is disjointed now and doesn't really work. I need to spend some time working out what we want on and when

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Start with asking spouse what they want and go from there.


For Valentines Day, observe their behavior and add something that they would not even think to request. That is how it goes from a weird tech hobby to something that your spouse brags about to your mutual friends.

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Facial recognition from nest cams for water sprinklers when the Karen down the street was letting her dog crap next to my truck and not picking it up.


Presence sensors in bed arming the alarm when my wife and I go to bed.


RGB LED under dishwasher for status.


Presence arrival for unlocking the door when the crotch goblins get home from school.


I do this with a smart things fob inside my kid's backpack... (Though I think I need to redo the rule soon) Not sure how to rewrite it yet

Time restriction is a good start.

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