Just a thought. If COVID or something else gets you how will your family deal with your HA setup? I’ve intergrated this into my heating system. It constantly needs updating and things adjusted. Hell that’s part of the fun. If something breaks down when you’re not about would it be better to get an electrician to come and tear out devices out and put back in old thermostats and TRVs. They probably don’t need that hassle or cost. Would leaving detailed instructions on how to run it all be easy.
@Spiro I’ve personally started to write a “documentation” file for my HA, just in case someone might need to make changes or fix it when I graduate from childhood. It includes all of the automations, setup processes, and static ip addresses of the smart things in my house. I printed out a copy of it and put it right beside my server for easy access.
Interesting thought. I also consider the resale value of my house. If you rent, you might have to consider that you might have to leave the place the way you found it.
Basically, anything permanent should be generic, not HA-specific. For example, some folks run conduit for power or data cables. Those can be used by any home automation system, or even just dumb switches or whatever. But hard-wiring in, say, a Tasmoa-flashed wall switch might be an issue.
I’ve got a lot of crazy-looking wiring and relays to monitor my heating and cooling system. But none of it directly controls anything. It could be easily ripped out, and my smart thermostats factory reset, to be ready for the next owner to use as they see fit.
Smart plugs in outlets control the lights I want automated, and of course they can come with me if I ever move.
Yes. I think my HA setup probably reflects my mental setup and makes perfect sense to me. What would someone else think of it? This is all ego and id. These are not proper embedded systems and will not run for years unsupervised. Should we all be adopting a more organised structure and nomenclature.
Our HA setup is purely an intelligence layer over the top of existing functionality for precisely this reason; I know my wife would have no interest in maintaining it.
As I have some inherited health issues that shorten my lifespan this was always my starting point.
All the home relevant accounts and passwords are in both our password management apps, and my critical personal online accounts will automatically pass control to her after a period of time through a dead man’s switch.
I’m hoping their first thoughts will be about the loss of a family member and not some orphaned gadgetry.
It may all end up on eBay along with the paraphernalia associated with all of one’s other hobbies. Or gifted to a family member with similar interests.
Feel free to document it if you know someone is eager to assume its management after you’ve ‘joined the choir invisible’. If no one is willing to take on the title of “HA Mechanic” then your well-documented HA system might just end up in a cardboard box.
If we’re concerned about technological estate planning, we should simplify how our spouse will gain access to our various online accounts. Some service providers make it hellish for even a spouse to legally take over the deceased’s account.
The way i approached this was to make sure everything could also be done manually, so if the HA doesn’t work, you can still walk over and turn on the lights with the switch, or set the thermostat. etc. I’ve also started (but yet to finish) some diagrams and documentation for the network, servers, etc.
In the old part of the house, I just use shelly 1’s (and some sonoff minis) flashed with tasmota, hidden behind the wall switches. In the newer part, sonoff ch4 pro’s in the distribution box, connected to the teleruptor / impuls switches. This way, all lights still work with the manual wall switches, even if HA is not available. The only thing that does not work if HA is not available is the monitoring (open doors/ electricity consumption/ door bell rings / temperature, motion sensors, …) and automations. So no big loss if you take HA out. The lights still turn on manually, the TRV’s you have to set manually, but everything still works.
I just have an automation that burns the house down when I die. That solves all problems
But seriously, as others said above, the central theme around all HA stuff in my house is that it should degrade gracefully if central control fails. Basically the house falls back to its previous dumb state. Light switches continue to work normally, heating goes back to manually adjusted thermostats, fans become manual again, cameras are on their off the shelf NVR, etc. The only thing that really stops working is the security / alarm system.
I think having a ‘dumb fallback’ is also good practice for events much less serious than sudden death, such as your HA instance going down due to technical issues.
In terms of house resale value, I only use off the shelf standard (and fully certified) components for permanent installation behind drywalls, switches and similar. No DIY stuff, no sketchy Chinese stuff from Ali. Only well known brands from known ecosystems. This might even increase the resale value of the property. Being standard components, the new owners could easily reuse them with an off the shelf hub (like SmartThings or whatever).
I was hospitalised unexpectedly for a month and reassuringly my home operated in a manual mode, very happily, as designed. It’s just the smarts that didn’t happen.
Of course I still got the blame for a couple of lights not working … even though the bulbs had just blown.
What’s the longest that anyone has let their system run without interfering? I lasted a week before I couldn’t help myself. I run Openwrt and have rpi zero with openvpn let things run >100 days.
Nothing in my house requires homeassistant. If it all dies today, everything will just go back to manual. Homeassistant just adds a lot of “nice to have” things. If I hand it over to someone it will be with the caveat that “it will work until it stops working”.
I think that is the general consensus so far. Perhaps that is the way to go.
I did a change freeze for a month before going on holiday for 2 weeks in 2018. We’ve expanded our system since then of course but the fundamentals (presence, zwave, etc) have remained largely the same although I’ve integrated the house alarm since then.it was a good test of the holiday mode too.
About seven years. One of my other interests kept me occupied at the time. My home automation system (not Home Assistant) continued to do it’s thing (as it should).
FWIW, lighting, security, and HVAC are separate, independent systems and can operate (and be manually controlled) with or without the home automation system.
If I were to move, whatever is hard-wired is left in place and all else is removed. The sale of my home wouldn’t include any promises about “home automation”. If you do that, then the home’s sale becomes contingent on the automation system’s functionality and performance. The last thing you want is for a buyer to demand concessions because some aspect of the home automation system didn’t meet with the documented terms of the sale. No seller wants that headache.
How does this work?
Google’s inactive account manager provides access to those accounts. The rest of the data she might need is either already available or stored on an encrypted usb stick that I review and update regularly.
I told my wife to just unplug the computer when I die and to never plug it back in again.
We joke about this constantly.
I don’t care. I’ll be dead. Won’t be my problem. That’s one of the advantages of being dead.
Some days the burn the house down automation sounds good.