New HA powered house plans

Hi, I’m in progress building my new house, and doing some research on HA features I plan to integrate. I’m already kind of late, because the construction work is already in progress and I don’t have enough time to research all details. I have 3-5 months to decide details before the electric cables and other installations will be built.

In this thread I’m listing the main assumptions - hope for community review and advice. I’ll be opening separate threads to discuss particular features and ask for detailed advice.

Design goals

  1. The house may be as smart as I like it, but it’s only an addition - in case of systems failure, all home functions must be possible to control in a traditional way.
  2. No dependency on cloud services or internet connection for any home automation except optional features like voice control etc.
  3. As many devices as possible connected on wired connections.
  • Cat6 Ethernet available everywhere
  • Special cables to be planned where Cat6 is no good
  1. Wifi devices on the separate smart-home local network or VLAN, separate from the main house network for PC/laptop/phone devices.
  2. Some devices might be connected over Matter/Thread or ZigBee which are not possible to be wired or on Wifi, or added later after the initial design and build phase.

Smart home features I plan

  1. Status display/control tablets - in main hall, main bedroom, garage, to display key info and control some home features
  2. Selected power circuits with smart control - in the outlets controls. I don’t want to make the main electrical panel smart due to fault tolerance and potential repairs being difficult.
  3. All lights under control - at switch level, no smart light bulbs; must be possible to operate manually with few exceptions like stairs light, external garden lights
  4. Power usage and power production (photovoltaics) monitoring - for statistics mostly
  5. Windows blinds controls
  6. Weather monitoring
  7. Garden watering control
  8. Audio system in selected rooms
  • Main space
  • TV room
  • Main bedroom
  1. Sensors:
  • Doors / windows open/closed status
    • External doors (main house entry, terrace entry)
    • Garage gate
    • Fence car gate
    • Fence door
    • Windows
    • Roof windows
  • Temperature and humidity sensors
    • Selected rooms
    • Garage
    • Bathrooms
    • Laundry / drying room
  • Smoke sensors
  1. Security features
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Presence detection
  • Motion sensors
  • Sirens
  • Alarm on/off controls
  1. Air conditioning - optional monitoring / control; house will be equipped with mechanical ventilation and air conditioning, primary choice here is on usability and efficiency, HA controls is optional
  2. Heating - optional monitoring / control; house will be equipped with heat pump, to be optimized for efficiency, HA controls is optional depending on ability to integrate although it would be very much welcome
  3. Door access (fence gate, one more door before the main house entry)

Anything you would add, recommend etc?

There are some interesting posts if you search. This one ticks a few of your boxes

Yes, I saw the posts by Brad Phillips already, both the pre and post building. Many of the devices he uses are not available for me, though, as I live in Poland and most of the stuff he used is only available on US market. But lots of good inspiration, agreed.

Generic suggestions, applicable to any country you might be living in:

  • Neutrals at each switch location and the deepest backboxes you can get. My Aqara smart switches are 33mm deep without even accounting for the cables. Smart modules + dumb switches could potentially be even deeper than that.
  • Ethernet cables everywhere**. Their flexibility means you can use them for ethernet (duh), POE, IR control and AV distribution, and they’ll work for just about anything which needs a non-mains cable in a pinch.
  • Research whether any device you intend to buy is compatible with HomeAssistant before buying anything. Nothing’s more frustrating than spending tons of money only to realise that you need to jump through hoops to get it integrated.
  • As much as possible, try to avoid stuff which can only be controlled via the cloud. Between paywalls, providers suddenly slapping a charge on what used to be free (Ring & IFTTT, anyone?) or simply switching off their servers, you’ll eventually end up a creek if your devices don’t have a local control option. Paul Hibbert’s recent video lists these providers, and it’s not a short list.

** Yes, I know you said you have Cat6 Ethernet available everywhere. You’ll think it’s enough, until it isn’t. Plan at least 4 cables per drop, and add a pull string to each drop and make sure there’s enough room in your conduit for extra cables.

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