Ever since I started writing a weekly article on HomeKit, one of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received is exactly what HomeKit products they own and how they use them. I have spent years building each room over time and I like how easy it is to manage HomeKit on any of my devices (including HomePod). If you start from scratch on HomeKit, you will want this article because it will give you a starting point. I will explain my “HomeKit house” one room at a time.
HomeKit weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, tips and tricks for automation and everything to do with Apple’s smart home frame.
Building a HomeKit house outdoors
Outdoors, we have a pretty neat setup, which is operated by HomeKit. In the front yard, I have a flood light that has two Philips Hue exterior lights that are paired with the Hue Outdoor motion sensor. At 19:00, the motion sensor becomes active and automatically turns on the headlights if it detects movement. It goes out after ten minutes. The idea here is to create a path if they come home after dark to go to the front door. If it is not to someone in my family, the hope is that the headlights will beat the one who comes to our door.
Our front door has a Pro Smart Lock Lock August. You can read my review of it here. I like to be able to open and close the door remotely and it automatically unlocks as I walk.
In my yard, I still have two more Hue Outdoor headlights that are set to automatically light up in the dark if the back door is open. It will stop after 15 minutes.
I have an Abode alarm system and all the doors are exposed to the Home application. Due to this feature, I can use the back door as a trigger. I also recently added a new rain light that I plugged into an outside HomeKit connector. I mounted the flood light near my gutter, I rolled the outside electrical cable behind the gutter and under my screened porch. I then pulled the wire through the deck near the wall, put an outer socket on it and connected it to the HomeKit outdoor socket.
Also, the socket is connected to an automation where it lights up at night for 15 minutes if the rear opening is open. I could have connected the light from the floodlight to a light switch, but that would have required an electrician, as I would not have been comfortable doing this task. I managed to do all this because of about $ 40 in supplies from Home Depot.
In the living room, we rely on lamps for most of our lighting, and these are controlled either by smart switches or Philips Hue bulbs. I have an automation setup where my Abode motion sensor detects movement after 5:00; a single lamp lights up near where I have my morning coffee. In this room I also have a HomeKit carbon monoxide detector. This room houses my only HomePod. I am waiting for a hardware update before expanding the HomePod to other rooms in my home.
Like our living room, I have several lamps connected to smart switches connected to HomeKit. We have grouped them all in one lamp so that we can stop them all quickly through the Home or Siri application. In the future, I want to add a HomePod to this room to be used for playing music while removing laundry.
In our child’s bedrooms, we use smart switches to control lamps and sound machines. Although I would like to create some automation around these items, it is not easy with the children, because their bedtime and wake-up time can vary so much. I claimed a few weeks ago that Apple should allow selective access to HomeKit, so that my kids can control their HomeKit products in their room, without having access to our alarm, front door, etc.
In our laundry room, I have the Eve water guard connected to an Eve Energy switch. The Water Guard cable is plugged in front of our car and the Eve Energy switch is set to cut the water. The idea behind it is that we would have less water for cleaning in case of a problem. Our laundry is in the living room, so a leak could be expensive.
In our kitchen, the only HomeKit enabled item we have is the Fibaro flood sensor. Because it is battery powered, I have it under the sink. If there is a leak, the alarm will sound and send me a push notification. I had a leak under the sink a few years ago. The only reason I didn’t have a lot of damage is because of towels that were already under the sink. I am grateful for the fact that I have this product because I have the habit of checking daily under the sink.
Both garage doors are connected to HomeKit with the iSmartGate Pro garage door opener. As I mentioned in my review of the product, one of the things that attracted me to it was that it was connected to my existing openings in relation to RF connectivity. As someone who always forgets if I close the garage door, I like to be notified when it opens and closes.
I have two smart thermostats in my house. Our ground floor unit is an ecobee SmartThermostat. Our upstairs unit is a third generation nest. It is connected to HomeKit via the Starling Home Hub, as Nest does not provide HomeKit support. If you are curious about Starling Home Hub, you can read my review. In short: it is a turnkey solution for adding HomeKit support to all Nest products.
As mentioned earlier, I use the Abode alarm system with HomeKit support. Motion sensors and their doors are on display at HomeKit. You can also weapon and disarm the alarm right from the Home app.
From the perspective of the HomeKit hub, we have five Apple TVs that act as a HomeKit hub on the top of a HomePod. For anyone building a HomeKit home, a home hub is essential, so you can control your home remotely.
HomeKit Video and HomeKit Secure Video
On my front and back porch, I have a kit for the Eufy 2. Camera I ran a few weeks ago and I am very pleased with it. I will have a longer review in a few weeks, but HomeKit integration is first class. I like the promoted battery life of 365 days and I am about to get this because it has only dropped a few points in my time. Although he doesn’t support HomeKit Secure Video yet, I know it will come very soon. Although not compatible with HomeKit, the Eufy ringtone is on my list to try. I was so happy with the Eufy cameras that I think I might not have the ringtone on HomeKit. It comes with wired (requires existing ring wires) and wireless option.
My interior room is a Netatmo interior room. It just got compatibility with HomeKit Secure Video, but I’m still testing how it works, so I’ll have a longer review soon. So far, it has worked as expected.
As you create the HomeKit video environment, I want to recommend HomeCam as a dedicated camera monitoring application.
Wrap your home on HomeKit
Right now, I’m pretty pleased with our HomeKit home. All the lights we use regularly are on HomeKit. Our alarm is on HomeKit. Our front door is on HomeKit. My exterior projectors are on HomeKit. Even my garage doors are on HomeKit.
HomeKit makes our lives easier and I know I can trust security. As Apple continues to develop the HomeKit platform, I will continue to purchase products compatible with it. If I could look into Dream HomeKit devices in the future, I would love to have a HomeKit compatible washer, dryer and refrigerator. I would love to be able to monitor and control these devices, as well as create various automations around them.
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