What to Automate?

So everything in my house is wired up and controlled via Hubitat. Almost entirely Tradfri outlets and Inovelli switches. I have some basic rules running things like Home, Away, Sleep settings.

But almost everything is done by a button press or dashboard. I am looking to get into real automation.

I have purchased some Iris v1 Motion and Contact sensors. I am looking for suggestions.

Easy one is use motion lighting to turn lights on/off when it is dark in certain rooms. Kitchen/bathrooms works great.


My first automation was to turn on my outside lights just after sunset and turn them off late-evening. Simple, but I sure appreciate it. It's been a free-fall from that point on.


You should first automate the hub backups and reboot schedule.


Any Good pointers there. I have not had too many issues with slowdown. I have limited the use of Outside drivers as best I can.

I know that it backups automatically. Is there a way to automate it putting a copy somewhere? Network storage?

I know there's a few here that copy the backup to another system. I don't, so I've never explored it. However it is a good practice.

As for the reboot it may not be necessary now and may never be but it's good to know how to automate the reboot if becomes necessary. At the least you're educated about other's issues and are aware of it.


Simple lighting should be straightforward for a beginner. Turn on some lights depending upon modes or certain time of day. Is there a table lamp that should come on at sunset, for example? Maybe do like I did and have the garage lights come on with the garage door?

Motion Lighting is another fairly simple way to start out. Lots of neat things you can do with careful motion sensor locations.


When I started my automation journey, my husband put down an edict. "I will NOT press a button, wave my arms, or ask DOT to turn something on." So I've stood by that. Now when things don't work he says, "your sparkplugs suck" ... He's a comedian. If you sit in a room and think about how you use it, you'll come up with a ton of automations so that your house interacts with you. For instance, if there is activity in the kitchen and dining for more than 10 minutes, the bright lights will come on. Otherwise it's indirect lighting. Enough to get a drink of water or get in the fridge. My office stays light because I have a motion sensor watching my keyboard. Hasn't failed me yet. I modified a Qi charger to house a contact sensor, which was converted to a dry contact sensor with a button that when the phone is docked triggers night or quiet time depending on the state of the two chargers. Search for automated Qi charger. There are two versions out there. I'm currently using version two. motion and contacts are your friend. Use them. Enjoy them. It's worth the time to sit down and figure out how you use your house. Our entire house interacts with us. Lights and tv's. Announcements. We love it.


This may give you a few ideas. If anything peeks your interest I can send you a screen shot of the rule to provide additional info/ideas. I wish there was some way to share rules (like in Stringify before, Conrad Connect, etc.)...not least of the reasons would be to have the good experts on here tell me how I'm doing it all wrong lol :rofl:

One of the first things I did was look at illuminance- lux

I started with a couple of aeon labs sensors then moved to Philips hue motions sensors.
Directly connected to HE, I have a couple outdoors and a couple indoors.

Why?, because I wanted to know if it was dark enough that I needed to turn on the lights!

After that, the next obvious (for me) was motion sensors to control the lights (if they needed to be on because it was dark enough)

If it’s dark enough, I walk into a room and the lights come on, when I leave the room, after a few mins the lights dim right down or go off.

Contact sensors do the same for some rooms (closets and the like)

I base a lot of my automations on ‘modes’
I have:
Early morning (weekdays)

For example.. in Night mode, motion turns on some lights at 20% so I’m not blinded by bright lighting

Although I have buttons etc in various rooms, and Alexa integration, if I have to use them then I consider that a failure!
(Apart from setting night mode as I go to bed)
My home is ‘automated’ not controlled
The only dashboards I use are for ‘display’ (e.g power use etc)
I don’t have any configured for control

Btw, I don’t use Rule Machine or Motion/Simple lighting apps for any of this.
I use custom apps for mode control, motion lighting and contact lighting.

But that’s just me :slight_smile:


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The two automations that get the most credit/appreciation around our house are probably also the simplest.

and my wife's fav. (new laundry closet lights thanks @nkyspike)

In my limited experience contacts are faster than motion, depending on what are automating.

Example 90% of the time the kitchen door has to be opened before the garage sensor "sees" me. Motion, for me, is used more to keep them on.

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Biggest WAF here goes to Laundry announcements :slight_smile:

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I want to move our laundry upstairs, and my wife has stipulated this must be done before it can move.

@Cobra are you using Echo speaks? Vibration senor? Was thinking about getting into that during this lock down.

I use power sensing.. I've found it to be the only reliable way for me to sense when a machine is in operation.
So... Basic idea is this..

  1. Machine on and MUST reach power set threshold before app is activated.
  2. Machine finishes and power drops below another threshold
  3. Power STAYS below threshold for a period of time to confirm machine is finished.
  4. HE 'Announces' laundry done..

I use custom apps with any HE connected speaker or pushover etc. to achieve this :slight_smile:


Like Aeotec or Sense?

I have a couple of Aeotec HEMs but if the current is ok then you could use any outlet that measures power.


Agreed, it's the simple ones that are the most magical. Here are a few I use;

  1. Outside lights on/off depending on sunset/sunrise with time deltas I've added
  2. Indoor lights I have come on (in some cases gradually) in the morning to help us all wake up and have light if it's dark out when we step out of our rooms.
  3. I have my kids room light(s) turn on but be very dim for going to bed, and force off at a specific time (30min after their bedtime with an LED strip still on for afew more minutes as a night light)
  4. Vacation Mode - I have things like the power to my garage door motor get's turned off (simple outlet plug control), I have sonos play music for 1 hour when there is motion at one of my doors. I have Alexa automate our lights while gone, and arm Ring Alarm.
  5. I use both the WiFi Phone Detector with Alexa for Geofencing, then do some different things when home v.s. away including turning off lights to save energy. We can override this if we have a guest (grandma) home.
  6. Motion Sensors + lights are always magical. Specially if you have scenarios where night-lights would be useful (e.g. going to the restroom at night)
  7. Auto sleep alarm set. We use a button to turn on sleep mode next to our bed, but I also have it trigger automatically late in the event we forget.

I have a long long list I keep of other 'automations" I want to do (e.g. Dim lights when we start watching TV (Roku) at night, etc.).
I'd highly suggest paying attention to things you consistently do. Write those down even if you think it wouldn't be possible to automate them. Turns out you probably can and you'll find new posts, new apps, new devices overtime that blow your mind and make you realize you can!


One with great WAF here: outside lights on at 25% during evening hours, but when one of us comes home (presence sensors), the front door, carport, and front hall lights kick up to 100%.

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April's comment brings to mind the golden rule: They Who Must Be Obeyed (TWMBO) (used to be she who must be obeyed) rule. Automations and sensors are the EASIEST way to interact with a smart house; however, the automations must be near iron-clad; otherwise, TWMBO (the family) will generate a stream of mocking comments.


My wife refers to the whole setup as my Clicky boxes! And thanks to All for the great suggestion. I have plenty to keep me busy,

Does anyone have a rule suggestion for only turn the light off by motion if it was turned on by motion? Basicaly there are some cases where I would turn the light on because I need to to stay on. I don't want a motion rule turning it off