Keep home assistant from trying to kill me

Wonder if anyone has any ideas…

I’ve automated my ceiling fan control based on the difference between two temperature readings.

Its working well, but it occurs to me there might be a safety issue. Why? My fan is about 12’ up. I get to it with a 9’ ladder. If the fan starts while I’m up changing a light bulb, it might knock me off my ladder.

Obviously I can disable the automations while I’m working, but that seems like asking for trouble.

Anyone have any good ideas for stopping homicidal smart homes?

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Whenever going electrical type work, including changing light bulbs, you should turn off the breaker to the area you are working. Most people don’t just for a lightbulb change, but you should.


Standard safety would be to power off anything in the working area at the mains. If you’re not doing that, then you’re already living life on the edge, so either:

  • Turn it off at the mains and be safe
  • Acknowledge that your love of danger may kill you in an amusing way and wear your Darwin Award with pride on your coffin when it does

I should mention I’m in North America, so ‘powering down at the mains’ isn’t even close to SOP for changing a light bulb…

I don’t think where you are in the world makes any difference to your liklihood of getting electrocuted, burned or generally maimed based on your own poor choices in the DIY department.

You’re more likely to get shot by a lunatic when you go shopping I guess, but that won’t win you a Darwin :wink:

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Makes a huge difference. In places of the world where you work with 220V, people are much more paranoid about electricity. 110V being safer, people tend to be more relaxed…

Well, you asked for advice on not getting killed, I gave it to you, as did another user.

If you’re not interested, and prefer to be more ‘relaxed’ about it, then just do whatever makes you happy :slightly_smiling_face:

Interestingly only 70 people a year on average die of electrocution in the UK, whereas over a thousand people die in the USA.

USA has 5 times the population, so 70 x 5 = 350

Seems like maybe the relaxed approach because 110v is safer might not be the smartest thing to think :man_shrugging:


In reality ceiling fans have very little torque. You’d be fine.
But the general advice is never to trust a control device for isolation. Isolate it properly, be safe

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I’m thinking more about it knocking me off balance more so than forcing me off the ladder…

Keep home assistant from trying to kill me

Is this joke? It must be joke, right?

If it’s not a joke, do yourself a favor and hire an electrician.


Fair enough, but your solution still relies on active input from the end user. You’d get (nearly) the same amount of protection from rogue home automation by just disabling the automation, but this seems suboptimal (Someone not knowing the house/automations could be caught off guard).

Informal survey around the office here, pretty much no one kills the breaker when changing a light bulb (closest anyone came was a coworker who immigrated here from the UK)

I’m curious if you gave your coworkers the full information.

I suspect if you stand up now and ask them this exact question

"You’re going up a ladder to change a bulb, and above the bulb is a fan that could start spinning around at any time without warning and cause you an injury, and you’re so concerned it might happen you asked the internet for help, do you

  • A) Turn the power off at the mains to ensure the fan doesn’t knock you off your ladder
  • B) Think ‘the bulb is only 110v’ which bares no relevance to the danger posed by the fan, so leave the power on and still be at the same risk you were when you started this question "

I bet they’d all choose A if they thought about it.

PS, if they said B it’s because they want you to be knocked off a ladder for funzies :wink:

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I have an idea, give me remote access to your ha and I’ll keep watch when you change the bulb, to make sure it doesn’t turn on :wink:


The tone is a joke for attention. The content less so. 110V @15 Amps is relatively safe if you’re not an idiot about it. (Work with one hand, don’t touch exposed wires that have the potential to be live, and they always have the potential to be live)

My experience is that people from countries with 220V wiring tend to be much more scarred of electric shocks than those from areas with 110V wiring (probably for good reason).

Routinely killing a breaker before changing a light bulb just isn’t something anyone around here does, so relying on that as a safety measure is non-sensical (honestly doesn’t seem like much additional safety for routine light bulb changing, you’re a long way from live wires when changing a bulb).

I’ve had the glass come off in my hand before exposing the live filament. I’ve also had light fittings fall apart when removing a bulb as they’d been damaged.

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The point is in general do people kill a breaker when changing a bulb? As they don’t this doesn’t add safety, because someone without knowledge (or me not thinking, taking things for granted etc) isn’t going to think to turn off the breaker if they don’t know the fan control is automated…

Drop mic

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Yup, I’ve had ceiling roses jump off the ceiling the moment pressure was placed on the old bulb to remove it. Not a pleasant experience, but a common one. Hence isolating the supply before any work on anything electrical.

I don’t know why you are so concerned, the fan could have blades as sharp as razor blades.
The most it could do is cut his head off, so missing his brain by about 5 feet

Tis but a flesh wound


Seems like the fan starting and hitting your head may knock some sense into you.