State of the (IoT) Union 2022: Smart Home Year in Review

Hello again! It’s almost the end of the year, and I think it’s a good moment once again to run through the various smart home things I shared and how they’ve panned out after the post were published.

A pot noodle surrounded by tools including a soldering iron, wire cutters and a multi meater.

Bathroom Fan

Last year, I shared how had used a Shelly Relay, Home assistant and some humidity sensors to add some smarts to my bathroom fan. Since then, the system has been running un-modified and I am very impressed with its reliability. The only issue I’ve encountered is that as the fan switches on, sometimes the relay will reboot, and the fan would stop again. It was very irritating. This is caused because the fan cam sometimes causes electromagnetic interference as it starts and can be fixed with the installation of an RC snubber.

Smart Heating

One of the first things I wrote about here was how I built a smart heating system without damaging my property. Last year I mentioned that I was going to upgrade the system to also use Shelly relays.

I did, indeed, complete this project but didn’t really write about it. I’m really pleased with this upgrade, as it allows me to switch on an off individual heaters, rather than the entire properly at once. I created some somewhat elaborate Home Assistant automations to switch on only the rooms I need when I am working from home. Hopefully this should help me save some energy.

Cat Litter

In June, I wrote about my connected cat litter project, which I could use to track my cat’s health over time by automatically weighing her whenever she uses it. While getting it working at first was a little bit of a struggle – requiring me to film the litter tray to figure out how Ellie was using it that was causing issue – this has been incredibly reliable and a great success. I’m very happy with it.

A notification reading Ellie (3.65Kg) has left you a present in the litter box (20g)

Unfortunately, Ellie was a little ill early this year and lost a lost some weight. I’m pleased to say that she has made a full recovery now, and the smart litter was fantastic for tracking her recovery as she gained back a healthy weight.

Misc Smart Stuff

  • Automatic Blind – While renovating my bedroom, I added a very basic blackout blind, to stop the morning some from shining around the curtains and waking me up. In an Amazon sale I picked up an automated blind opener. I integrated this into Home Assistant, and I was really happy during the summer heatwave, that I could leave both the window and curtains open, for the best cooling, but have the blind shut itself just before sunrise.

  • The lights in both my bathroom and kitchen are both Ikea Tradfri GU10 spotlights. Initially I was pretty impressed with these as a cost effective solution to adding smart lights to rooms that require a lot of individual bulbs. However, during use, they’ve proven to be really fickle. I have one set connected to my Hue Bridge, and the other to a Zigbee card connected to my Home Assistant Pi. Both sets of lights exhibit odd behaviour where they will turn on really dull and then 30 seconds or so later, go to full brightness. This stopped for a while during summer, while they worked perfectly, but came back again – given they are installed in the roof space, I wonder if this is temperature related somehow?

  • Living in an older property, keeping an eye out for damp in cold weather is a way of life, I recently added a dehumidifier to keep a handle on the indoor humidity when cooking. To keep running costs down, I made use of the humidity & temperature sensors in each room to detect when it needs to be turned on and when it can be turned off again.

Looking Forward

I’ve got a few projects planned for 2023, some big and some small, but I’m going to keep them as a surprise for you. I also want to take a look at energy monitoring, possibly making use of the Home Assistant Glow project.

I hope you have a happy new year, and I’ll see you in 2023!

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