The SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit is definitely one of the recommended places to start when you are beginning your SmartThings configuration. It essentially gives you the SmartThings hub, a smart plug, a motion sensor, and two contact sensors for windows or doors. SmartThings, like Iris from Lowe’s, is based upon Z-Wave communication technology, which is a proprietary communication protocol allowing the SmartThings hub to communicate with and manage all of your SmartThings components installed in your home and paired to your hub.
The good thing about these Z-Wave smart home devices is that they don’t interfere with any of your WiFi, radio, or cellular networks. They also are of a low enough frequency and signal strength to allow them to penetrate through the walls and floors of your home. The only thing that you may need to do, based upon the size of your home, is to install a Z-Wave range extender – which we’ll discuss below.
The Aeotec Z-Wave Plus Repeater Range Extender is definitely recommended for larger homes. Depending upon the placement of your hub, the distance between the hub and some devices, or walls which may have enough interference for direct communications between a device and your hub, you may want to place a range extender on the floor and closer to the device having communication issues. I usually apply the “Half-Rule”, which is ensure the range extender is on the same floor as the device having issues, and that it’s halfway between the hub and the device in question. Apply this rule, and you should never have any issues with the integrity of your Z-Wave network. If you have more than one device having issues, then apply the “Half-Rule” to the device which is furthest from the hub.
Protecting your family and your home can be accomplished quickly and easily with the Samsung SmartThings ADT Home Security Starter Kit. With an optional no-contract ADT professional monitoring available at a low monthly rate you will have peace of mind knowing that your household is safe and secure. The system offers mobile alerting, ensuring that you get immediate notification whenever the status of your alarm system changes anywhere where you have a cellular data signal.
The SmartThings ADT Home Security Starter Kit is compatible with both Alexa and Google Home, as well as Zigbee and Z-Wave communication protocols. The monitoring device also is configurable with alarm system components from the following brands: Philips Hue, Ring, Arlo, Ecobee, Honeywell, Bose and more! It is not compatible with NEST, Sonos, D-Link, or Blink components. You can expand upon the alarm system components which come with the kit, ensuring that your entire home’s points of entry are properly monitored for access, and that you have adequate motion sensors in the home to know if anyone accesses your home from any floor. You can also incorporate other SmartThings components such as their Carbon Monoxide Detector, Water Leak Detector, and Smoke Detector. Be sure that your home is up to code in regards to the placement of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors!
The SmartThings Arrival Sensor is a key fob that allows you to receive alerts when people or pets enter or leave the home. This is good for parents who want to know when their children arrive home, but also allows you to program and trigger different events or actions whenever you arrive to are leave from the home. You can even set it to notify you when a person doesn’t arrive home by a certain time, or when the home temperature passes a specific temperature threshold. If you’re looking to tune your home for specific smart home automated features, then the SmartThings Arrival Sensor is definitely a required component for you to buy for each of your family members.
The next SmartThings component that can actually save you thousands, or tens of thousands, of dollars is the Centralite Water Leak Sensor. This water leak sensor can detect leaks from sources such as sinks, toilets, bathtubs, washing machines, water heaters, burst pipes, air conditioners, and basement foundations, windows, or sump pump stations. Combine this sensor with the Dome Home Automation Water Shut-Off Valve, and you can ensure that the water valve(s) in your home is secured whenever a leak is detected. So, if you’re home, this simple configuration can minimize damage by securing the water supply to the home and stopping the leak from causing any further damage. Automation of a home-saving action, such as securing the water lines of your home whenever a property destroying leak first starts, is invaluable to home owners and is a top recommendation for your smart home’s configuration. Plus, with its two year life-span for its battery, it is a good investment that requires very little maintenance.
Installation of a smart thermostat, if you’re not already using one, is definitely a good investment. Firstly, homeowners with smart thermostats installed into their homes save up to 23% annually on heating or cooling costs. This ensures that your smart thermostat pays for itself within 2-3 years. The Ecobee 4 is the latest model, and comes in packages where it includes 1-3 remote room temperature sensors. Measuring both room occupancy and temperature, the sensors signal the Ecobee to switch to the right mode for comfort when you’re home or for savings when you’re away.
The installation itself takes about a half an hour, and the app has a step-by-step walkthrough of the process to make it easy even for those who aren’t technologically inclined. Everything you need comes within the box, even a Power Extender Kit – if your home doesn’t have a common or “C-Wire”. You can use your Android device, iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch to control your thermostat remotely. The Ecobee mobile app is available within the App Store or Google Play. You can also control your thermostat using your voice, as it has Alexa as a built-in feature. So you can perform Alexa commands for other Alexa devices in your home from your Ecobee as well. It needs a WiFi signal (802.11 B/G/N at 2.4GHz). It also interfaces with several other smart home integration solutions, including Amazon Alexa, SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, Wink, and more!
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro, and all of the line of SmartThings security cameras, are another important component of your smart home’s configuration. Each of them offers a unique capability, and offers significant peace of mind and convenience when knowing who is coming or going from your home, or who is inside of your home and what they’re doing. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro itself works with Alexa to send notifications to your Echo devices in the home, whenever your doorbell is pressed or it senses motion, allowing you to communicate with visitors at the door using two-way communications. It also allows you to unlock your door for any welcome visitors which need to come into your home if you own smart locks and smart door handles (see below). It does require that there be existing doorbell wiring, but conveniently interfaces with iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows 10 devices. It has 1080P HD video with infrared night vision, and requires WiFi connection 802.11 B/G/N at 2.4GHz or 5.0GHz and 2MBps for optimal performance. Most importantly, it includes a lifetime theft protection guarantee if someone steals it from your home!
There are numerous lever lock and deadbolt lock devices you can buy for the doors of your home. The Yale Lever Lock YRL220-ZB is a lever lock with a touch-screen interface and key entry. You want key entry for any of your smart devices, or at least I recommend that you do, in case the batteries die. The touch screen allows you go code in entry for non-family members who need access to your home, such as babysitters, general contractors, or first responders that you want to allow entry to your home. You can unlock the devices remotely using your SmartThings app on your smart phone or tablet device as well, making these devices extremely manageable and convenient features within your smart home. The number of times that husbands, wives, and kids forget their keys or their pin numbers on the door is significant, so you can rest assured that this smart home device will get plenty of valuable use from the one who is managing the smart home devices in your household.
The great things about SmartThings, as they they ensured that it was an “All-in-One” capable solution. In this sense, I mean that they also offered their own WiFi solution, utilizing Mesh technology to ensure that your home and all of its WiFi capable smart home devices were all able to integrate into your home network seamlessly and that your home network would optimize itself automatically to maximize performance. The Samsung SmartThings WiFi Mesh Router package definitely does all of this, as well as supporting all other non-smart home WiFi enabled computing devices.
Firstly, you can connect and control over one-hundred compatible SmartThings components with the SmartThings app. Secondly, you get up to 4,500 square feet of WiFi coverage with your three-pack router kit, and can network up to 32 routers if you need additional coverage – say for a mansion! The routers sense all of your connected devices, learns your configuration and signal strength to all of them, and optimizes your home network to ensure high performance and optimal connectivity for each device. As you walk through the home, and your smart device travels from one router to the next, it will seamlessly transition to the router with the best signal, and you don’t have to worry about controlling devices which are connected to a router you’re not connected to. You can see all devices which are connected, control them all, prioritize devices, create a guest network, set up parental controls and schedules, and more! The setup and installation is prompted via your SmartThings app, allowing even a novice to install the network with ease and within minutes. It’s also compatible with previous versions of SmartThings components and, for those of your who were utilizing Iris from Lowe’s (who announced the shutdown of support for the Iris system in February 2019), transition devices from a previous smart home platform to your SmartThings configuration.