Noob Question- All Home Light control via Light Switch

I am new to Home Assistant but love the aspect of being able to control my home via automation of of course. I am building a new home and wanted to later get into controlling all my items using alexa or Google home at some point. But my concerns is my children would run the light bill up constantly by leaving hall, their closet, and bedroom, as well as bathroom lights on. I wanted to by All new light switches and I was looking at these.:Sonoff Touch Wall Wifi Light Switch.

I know its a pretty penny to fill the whole house with these as to be able to control all lighting since it makes no sense to do just their rooms, at some point i also would implement some type of motion detection in their rooms and closet but I want to at least look at a lighting option first to make sure its a cheap and working option. I want to be able to set a timer at the least to for no detection so that the lights will just go off. I was looking for suggestions to hopefully save money as this is what i want to be my first home automation project at the new house. Should I do this or would it make better sense to do something else to save funds?

Here is my 2 cents worth.

  1. First get something similar to the power meter. This will give you a good way of determining what is using power in your house.
  2. Get your electrician to wire all your outlets with both a ground and a neutral at it. This is most relevant at 3 and 4 way switches where they like to cut corners and just run the traveler wires. Without the ground and neutral you will have a real pain getting those smart.
  3. For the closets, pantry, etc, rooms where there is motion for a short period of time, and then it stops. Get some dumb motion switches like these You don’t really care about tracking motion in the closet or pantry, so these will just turn on the light when they detect motion, and turn it off 5, 10 or 20 minutes later.
  4. It’s more expensive, but if you can put powered motion detectors everywhere, then you don’t have to swap out batteries every month or have wires running down the outside of the wall to plug USB powered ones in. The wife will appreciate this.
  5. Humidity detectors in the bathrooms to control turning on the exhaust fan is a nice touch.
  6. I have separate toilet rooms, with their own exhaust fans, so after the lights have been on for 5 minutes, I have my automation turn on the exhaust fan.
  7. wire in a whole house speaker system that you can integrate into your automation system. That way you can have your automation system yell at the kids to wakeup every morning.

Sounds good. I will speak to them about the wiring today. Thanks for the response and suggestions!

You may have to show the documentation on the switches they want to put in. And a neutral is not the same thing as a ground wire. They are going to complain about this and may try to charge you more… Fair warning.

Also they may very well tell you that they won’t warranty the electrical switches and outlets if you put in smart switches, or they may try to charge you 2 or 3 times what the switches cost. I just built a house about 2 years ago, and this was my experience just trying to get outlets with USB ports on them installed. Ended up installing the switches and outlets myself.

I will update on what they say. They have been pretty cool as of late with any adjustments we asked for lately. Also if they wont do the neutral or ground wire or either at all, what we be a good suggestion, that I could do my self to use the motion switches? i like this idea as to not have separate devices, and have the motion and switch on the same unit.

In wiring you have 3 wires you are typically dealing with. Positive or hot wire, Neutral (typically white), and a bare or green wire Ground. The terms Neutral and Ground get used interchangeably most of the time. The Ground is required by code (assuming you are in the US, I don’t know about anywhere else). This is what protects you if the switch shorts out. It provides a direct path to the ground rod outside. In a normal switch it’s not an issue. You have all three wires and there isn’t any way around it. You will have a hot/positive/line/live wire coming in from the panel. You will have a load wire going out to light or whatever you are powering, you will have a ground wire going back to the panel that came into the box with your line and you will have a couple of neutrals/bare/green wires one coming from the panel and one going to whatever you are controlling.

With a three way switch, you have a line/positive/hot wire and a neutral and a ground coming into the primary switch. Then you have two traveler wires the go to the second switch. From there, you have a load wire that goes out to the device you are controlling. The problem you have is that at least where I live in Tennessee, most of the time electricians only run the two traveler and the bare neutral wire. They don’t run the white ground wire to the second switch. it means they can just run 2+1 conductor wire instead of 3+1 conductor wire (the +1 is the bare neutral). So they save a little money. You need them to run the 3+1 conductor especially on any multi way switches. Just so we are in agreement on that, those are switches typically used in a room with two entrances so you can turn the lights in the room on/off at either entrance. If you don’t have any of those, you are in good shape and probably won’t have any problems.


The important ones:

  1. Tell them you want a neutral in every box for future smart switches. They will understand this.
  2. Use deep wall boxes everywhere. No shallow or low profile.
  3. For any rooms you want ceiling fans ask they run 14/3 from the fan location to the wall box where the control will be. This allows you to do fan and lights the correct way without controllers that suck.
  4. Wired doorbells
  5. Wired door and window sensors back to your central wiring area.
  6. For any three way switches ask they run 14/3 between switches.

Good luck and have fun!

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Thanks @jwelter Im waiting here back from my foreman now. I heard the controllers can be a pain.

So I just moved into the new house and here is the wire they used , any ideas if this will allow for zwave switches?

Yes - will work fine. Just vacuum out the boxes as you swap switches :wink: