Compete Newbie. Where do I start?

I apologize if this is in the wrong section. I tried to limit my first post to what I thought would be the best area. So if this is in the wrong place, please inform me where I should take my questions…
Also, I apologize in advance. I have come to realize in my later years that my ADHD has gotten worse and so I tend to ramble and while it makes sense to me, it may not to others and so I really apologize and I’ll do My damnedest to keep this short and sweet. I sometimes literally have been using chat GPT to condense my questions because it gets so bad.

So basically last Christmas Eve I came home to burst water pipes in the mud room of my house. It’s about 7 and 1/2 ft wide by 15 to 18 ft long. It’s where we take our shoes off and where my washer and dryer are.
We came home to about 2 in of water and negative 15° weather and had to rush to get all the water out which immediately froze on our back deck, It was an awful situation. I would love to avoid that.

I’m trying to bridge myself into home assistant and I’m kind of lost. I’ve tried asking another places but don’t seem to get much response, probably because they just don’t want to deal with me and I tend to ask very elongated questions. So again, I’ll try to keep it sweet and simple.

We live in a manufactured home. The duct work probably isn’t the best. The last couple years I’ve been using the electric heater that feeds all the rooms with the exception of the mud room to heat the place, but that’s resulted in $300 bills. Additionally, I put up one of those thermal semi-translucent curtains at the entrance of the mud room into the kitchen to keep the heat in so that’s why it froze. Plus we were having a freeze at the time.

I’ve accumulated some hardware later today. I should be having an ace magic mini computer which I’m hoping to use with open sense, although I don’t know if that’ll end up being my end all solution. Which I’ll get to in a minute cuz it’s kind of a mess.

I also recently got an elite desk 800 G3 mini computer. I was hoping to use a some type of hardware for maybe a jellyfin server? Or who knows?.

Currently the hardware I have starting from my internet. I got tired of my internet provider earlier this year and so I bought a SunCom 5G CPE 5G modem/ router.
I recently flashed the firmware on that because I’m hesitant about having Chinese software. From what I understand is reporting God knows what back to the mainland there with a variant of Open WRT called Rooter/ Golden orb. I also updated the modem, all of which was a pretty lengthy monumental task, but I did it. However, that router is currently operating as a router and a modem which then goes into…
My orby RBR 750 mesh network which is operating in router mode with two satellites.

I have a raspberry pi for b plus with either four or eight gigs of memory which I was hoping to install home assistant and ad guard onto

I have a collection of various flood lights and regular Wi-Fi bulbs that all operate through smart life and our integrated into Amazon as I have a couple of echo dots and a couple of echo shows if possible. I would really love to limit their ability to communicate with Amazon, but only if it doesn’t screw up voice recognition, which I’m guessing it probably would because it needs to talk to their servers.

I know operating to routers is a bad thing but with that advanced firmware from open WRT I was hoping to run wire guard on there once I figure out how to run it. The man who made the firmware has an option for wire guard in there but have yet to figure out how to work it.
But I would like to create an isolated network so that none of my IOT devices can communicate with everything else on my land, which includes a couple of smart TVs, both running Google TV printers, a device that integrates Google voice into my landline phones, so it’s basically free VOIP using Google voice.
And a couple of smart plugs I have lying around. Which I originally hoped to use with my heaters but I found out quickly that they’re not rated for that kind of wattage so they might work once and then not work at all cuz they shut off

I have an energy discount coupon for a smart thermostat. From looking into things I was thinking about getting an ecobee smart thermostat which was recommended with home assistance.

Setting up some type of temperature control in that mud room with a temperature sensor and some type of heating source so that it won’t hit freezing again.
Again trying to save on money. Save on batteries and save on everything. I don’t know what to do exactly. I saw that zigbee was a great idea because of the mesh network capabilities versus Wi-Fi, even though my entire acre or so of properties basically covered from everything with that mesh network, and I certainly don’t intend to be putting devices out that far. The furthest out are my four eufee cameras that I used to keep an eye on the property.

Basically for the moment I would really like recommendations on what I should do to control the temperature. I have one of those infrared remote 500 ft² ish heaters in that mud room that’s plugged in but not being used. I was using it at its lowest 60° setting when it would get to freezing to make sure nothing would freeze up again.
But I was also thinking about using an oil radiating heater hooked up to a smart switch and integrated with home assistant and a temperature sensor? Or maybe even one of those personal heating pads which I have a couple of and just wrap it around both of the pipes or they even have at the hardware store those pipe heaters for outside. I think it’s about 6 ft long for about 30 bucks.
With the infrared heater I’ve seen on AliExpress there were Wi-Fi infrared repeaters but also had thermostats in them like this

And if so I could just put that in the mud room and have it hopefully control that infrared heater anytime it hits like 45 or something just turn it on till it kicks the room up to 60 and then turn off?

Again, I’m not a fan of the Chinese software and from what I understand a lot of these devices can be rewritten with some type of special firmware, That’s more privacy focused and made to integrate with home assistance.
but I would prefer not to have to be soldering things if possible as I am by no means good at it.
I had seen a lot of good things about Bluetooth but not much as far as integration goes.
And seen that zigbee was a good alternative. I basically just don’t want to be switching out batteries every month if possible.
And if I were to do this I would need at least some type of dongle for the raspberry pi if that’s where I’m going to install home assistance,?

And speaking of the raspberry pi, is that sufficient enough to run home assistant and adguard? I had heard that it was more than enough but I don’t want to have to only install home assistant on one of the bigger computers and have all that resource wasted.

Additionally I wanted to install some type of motion sensor or as I’d seen on YouTube one of those door sensors on my mailbox so that anytime the mail has delivered we would receive a notification on our phone’s or even a chime indoors.

I basically would love any recommendations as how I should approach this to make it as hassle free as possible and preferably the lowest cost.

I know I have a lot of work to do. Notably getting my mesh network turned over to a access point and allowing the main router that has my 5G modem in it to do the routing, but it’s such an advanced system. I don’t know where to start with that.
Currently everything’s running fine with all my Wi-Fi bulbs that I have on my porch and in my house. I simply renamed my 2.4 GHz network to the previous network and they all switched over just fine and has been running that way for almost 2 years now.

Again, my apologies for the lengthy question. I’m basically looking for direction is to how to control the temperature in my house, which I’m guessing the zigbee thing would be the best way to go and I’m hoping that I won’t be replacing batteries constantly and possibly setting up a couple of infrared transmitters if need be to control that infrared heater in the back room and possibly the little infrared TV stand we have that has a fake fireplace so that maybe that can turn on whenever we arrive home or start getting close to home to kind of set the scene and ambiance.
Thank you all again in advance and how you look forward to hearing your suggestions.

Can I suggest that you’ll be better off asking one question at a time, with a different topic for each question.

That’s a hell of a wall of text, that (as you admit) wanders around a lot, and is really (at least) a bunch of questions. Getting people to read that, never mind taking the time to answer it, is going to be hard.

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Hi and Welcome to the HASS community,

I do apologise if this comes across as being unkind, but looking at the read / reply stats on you post, many folk have run a mile from a large, detailed post.

Start small, use what you have, don’t try to do everything at once.

A RPi4 with 2Mb RAM is fine, so 8M will also be fine - you can even use the RPi Foundation Imager tool to directly install HASSOS:

The HASS Yellow is a RPi4 in a box with inbuilt radios, and mine runs HASSOS, HASS, AdGuard, and a load of other stuff just fine (Z-Wave, BTLE, MQTT, Zigbee, Matter, Thread and loads more).

The simplest Zigbee USB radio is probably SkyConnect as it’s made by SilLabs and Nabu Casa (who created HASS). There’s lots of others though.

Zigbee works, WLAN works, Matter / Tread will work better next year once the hardware is widely available (we’ve been saying this for 2 years…).

Use this forum as a reference, and to get the best out of the community, read this:

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FYI I’m going to ignore all the stuff that doesn’t relate to Home Assistant.

You need water (leak) sensors to detect leaks and alert you when they happen.

You need temperature sensors, and some way of controlling whatever your heater is (you mention it in passing, but not actual details).

All of those exist as Zigbee options, and yes, all you need is a computer to run HA on, and to connect your Zigbee “dongle” to.

You also need to tell us what country you’re in since that changes what your options are. From your use of “bucks” I’m guessing USA, but that’s just a guess.

You’ve got your Raspberry Pi, which is all you need to start with. Get that working first. Before you jump down the Zigbee rabbit hole (or any of the others) take a look at what else you’ve already got - loads of products integrate with Home Assistant automatically. There’s a list of integrations here:

You mention several bits of kit - you may find you’ve already got everything you need to stop the mud room freezing. A smart home can be a real money pit if you chase after every new idea that presents itself.

I apologize, I figured I was going just screw it up somehow or another so my apologies…

Sorry for not including more information. Yes I’m in the USA and I thought I had mentioned everything that I had but I rewrote this post like three times and I didn’t want to create a bunch of different posts and flood up the forum making a mess I guess. So I suppose I forgot to leave in more critical details.

Before I delete this I should ask, is this the right forum for me to post questions about my initial setup and then? I guess I’ll try to go from there.

Don’t delete it.

This is the right forum. Just try to keep your topics to just one question :wink: For example:

  1. Initial install of HA (and AdGuard, maybe)
  2. Integration of those Smart Life bulbs
  3. Integration of the Alexa
  4. Integration of a thermostat
  5. Temperature sensors
  6. etc etc

Before I delete this I should ask, is this the right forum for me to post questions about my initial setup and then? I guess I’ll try to go from there.

Yes, this is the right forum. But be aware that you have to do all the work by yourself. It will not be easy task, probably. It all depends on you knowledge and determination to learn.

OK, I admit I didn’t read the whole OP, either.

But I can add a few words of encouragement. I started with HA for exactly the same reason as you. I had a burst water pipe once, too. Ever since then I wanted the ability to monitor my home systems. I came across HA while looking for a worthy project to play with on a RPi. Perfect!

That was over 4-1/2 years ago. Yeah, the learning curve was (and still is!) steep. The Getting Started page and this forum should move you along pretty quickly. And, yes, ask specific questions.