What Is Your Most Useful Automation?

What is the automation that you and others in your house, specially those not technically inclined, find the most beneficial? It may not necessarily be the one that you deem the most elegant, but the automation that you or others have ended up using or depending the most on.

In my case I have at the top of the list:

  • Configuring the house lights, doors and hvac for cleaning. Maybe this is the one that makes my wife actually use the HA app or the smart panel tablets.
  • Open the garage door on arrival. Saves the distraction of having to press the remote while driving. Even more distracting is to press it while leaving, but I’m fine-tunning a new automation to do it based on presence detection by iBeacon.
  • Pausing the hvac while cooking. This prevents the kitchen smells from spreading all over the house, which I find very annoying.
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I am not a fan of opening the garage on arrival. That means anyone with your phones can just ‘get in’.

As much as I love the automations, I won’t give up security.

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For me I think it is my sleep tracking automation. When I enable sleep tracking on my smart watch at night, my house alarm arms in ‘home mode’, any lights that are on get turned off immediately except the bedroom lamps which then get turned off 1 minute later.

In the morning the same automation will disarm the alarm when I stop the sleep tracking.

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Alarm activation + night lights scene at sleeping time: when my iPhone is charging plugged in the plug close to my bed (checking power consumption) only after 1030PM.

Car gate opens after a few minutes when someone leaves house in the morning (7-9AM).

Security cams presence sensors turn on whenever house is empty.

All Amazon echos play a 5 minutes countdown on workdays at time to leave for school, to alert kids to not be late.

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The most useful automations in my house are also the simplest:

Turning on a light when something happens. That might be a door opening in a dark area, or as a reaction to motion in a dark room.

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Totally agree. My wife’s favorite is the motion activate lights in the laundry room.

The normal light switch is in a horrible place. So, motion on the door and motion near the washer/dryer turning on/off both lights in there has her ecstatic!!!

Happy momma means happy daddy!!!

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You guys have given me a few ideas about sleep detection. Why didn’t I think of profiling the power usage of my bed phone charger? No better way to learn something better than to check how others do it.

I protect against that by requiring that my phone also be connected to my vehicle bluetooth.

if they have both my phone and my vehicle then I’ve likely got bigger problems already to worry about. And they probably already have my house keys as well.

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I get it and agree!

And, at that point, they might have my wife too. I’ll just leave it be an move on :rofl:

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Mine, hands down, is my Dinnerbell. Triggered by my wife pressing a Zigbee button in the kitchen. I get a voice alert (TTS) on the Alexa device on my desk telling me “Diner in ten minutes” and starts an LED alert in case I missed the voice announcement. It also sets my Alexa wall clock to a five minute timer.

Oh, wait. I do all that in Node Red.
Never Mind.

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I do the same. Also, the door opens when I’m close enough to see it. If someone’s got my phone and my car and knows where I live, he might as well just move into my house.

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Wait - thats not an automation.

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Lighting:

  • Turning on the garden lights when the doors that lead to it, or the garden gate, open after dark (and leaving them on when the door shuts, only turning them off the next time the door closes - great for letting the dogs out, taking garbage out, etc)
  • Turning the lights on and off as the brightness in the room changes
  • When the alarm goes off in the morning also turning on the lights (“sunrise”) to help wake us up

General:

  • Reminders of which bin is being collected tomorrow, and a nudge around 20:00 if we haven’t taken it out yet
  • When we’re getting ready to take the dogs out (happens in a predictable time window) a notification if rain is forecast, including how we it’s likely to be
  • Alerts if an outside door or the freezer have been left open too long
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  • Notification when washing machine finished its job.
  • Notification when automatic mover did not returned to base within 2 hours - means stuck somewhere in the garden.
  • Reminders when doors/garage are open for too long vs typical usage, so I can take actions.
  • Reminders about some lights and iron being turned on for too long.
  • My car mileage notifications when refueled and by month end (for reporting to my company).
  • Garbage collection notifications.
  • Lots of automated lights (motion sensors), including scene activation/change based on Aqara FP2 zones.
  • Sprinklers automation based on weather forecast and actual conditions.
  • Presence simulation by random lights turning on/off.
  • TV room lignting and blinds control based on media player and presence status.
  • Notifications with severe weather alerts.
  • Automatic garage opening when approaching house.

Most useful is a button that appears on my tablet at 4pm daily, reminding me to feed the tropical fish. When I press it, it turns off the tank pump so I can put food in without it immediately getting sucked into the filter; and automatically turns the pump back on again 40 minutes later.

Not my most complex automation, but very useful!

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I didn’t think about it from that aspect but true…so true… :sweat_smile:

I have something similar except I have an automatic fish feeder that I built using ESPHome and a 3D printer that feeds the fish every day at the same time.

When I refill it (it holds up to 11 days of food) I tell HA how many days I have added to it. Then it turns on the auto feeding system.

at 9:10 HA turns off the filter (and turns on the light if it’s off), triggers the feeder to run the feed cycle to dispense the food and it subtracts 1 from the number of days of food in the feeder. 10 minutes later the filter turns back on.

it notifies me if the feeder is empty when the feeder count gets to 0 and turns off the auto feed system.

if the fish aren’t fed by 2 pm by (either me feeding them manually or the auto feeder running it’s cycle) then HA sends me a pushbullet notification.

yeah, it’s a bit more complex. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Also I have HA control the temperature in the tank. it uses a Dallas temp sensor and by cycling the heater off and on it can maintain temp to within 1 degree. Which is way more precise than the heater can do by itself.

and HA will notify me if the temp is too high/low or hasn’t changed at all for a certain time in case the temp control system should fail.

yup I use that too using my NWS alerts integration. That’s probably the most important one I have since severe weather is the most likely emergency to happen.

those too.

it’s interesting how to see which situations are common enough that we come up with similar automations to solve the same problems.

I also have another automation that will call my and my wifes phones (using Twilio) if any of the smoke/co alarms go off.

and another to close the main water supply valve to the house if water is detected in the basement.

and many more…so many more… :wink:

Alarm turned on when no body at home.
Auto lock doors and turn everything off.
Using 3 phones for location. Last phone out. Automation start.

When arrive home. Door unlock. Alarm off.
1st phone home. House starts up.

Wall Button press when we go to bed. Tv off. Door lock. Alarm home on. Temp to 15. All lights downstairs off. Shutdown electric cord where 6 plugs are in. (Save money)

Media player:(Apple tv) play/pause. Brightness of lights dim

Xbox turned on: hdmi channel. Volume to 2. Lights to gaming. (Xbox off. Lights back to normal an tv channel)

Backdoor open at night. Garden lights on. Home lamp outside to 100%. After 2 min back to 50%

Turn tv on bedroom. Turns on lightstrip and fan.

Christmas tree lights.

Notify when car charged on phone and tv notify. TTS speakers

Doorbell press. Snapshot on tvs. TTS speakers

Wasmachine done. Tv and phone notify. TTS notify. Speakers

Summer swimming pool pump automation.

Alerts: when water at wasmachine. When front door is open for more than 4 min.tts speakers

My simplest one is zone enter/leave turning off/on my alarm system. It is simple, but highly effective.

Automating my heated toilet seat to change the warmness base on the outside temperature.

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