Winter is Coming: How to Prep Your Smart Home for the Cold

November 05, 2018

How to Prep Your Smart Home for Winter

Winterizing your home used to mean lots of physical labor - caulking windows, installing heavier drapes, maybe even changing out older windows and doors that were too efficient at releasing insulated air. Winter prep can still mean all of the above, but new Z-Wave technology has made certain aspects of winterization easier while adding another level of protection as those temperatures drop.

Here’s what we’re using to stay cozy and make sure our energy bills don’t make us freeze in our tracks:

Stelpro KI Z-Wave Plus Thermostat

This is one of our winter must-haves. It’s the first Z-Wave line voltage thermostat in North America (but be careful, it won’t work with forced air systems!). Use it to control electric baseboards and convector heaters all from your Z-Wave hub’s app interface. Reduce your energy consumption by 30% with custom heating schedules, or just switch to the thermostat’s built-in Economy mode to keep things efficient.

Qubino On/Off Thermostat Module

This tiny device puts no limits on your smart home creativity. Use it to automate electric radiators, electric water heaters, hot water pumps, and floor heating systems. Not only is it small enough to fit behind a standard wall-switch, it comes with a digital temperature sensor so you can monitor your heating systems closely and make custom rules based on temperature.

Zooz Power Switch

Looking for a way to automate a humidifier so you can get rid of the dry air and save on electricity this winter? If you tried controlling larger motors and appliances with Z-Wave you’ve probably seen many plugs fail rather quickly. The Power Switch was designed for heavy duty control, so use it freely with any 120 VAC equipment up to 15 A. It’s also great if you need to remotely monitor a sump pump. It’s an affordable, user-verified favorite.

Fibaro Wall Plug

Like the Zooz Power Switch, this new plug can reliably control a variety of loads and devices, including fans, humidifiers, and even your coffee maker for those chilly winter mornings. It’s small, comes with a bunch of advanced features, and a much nicer-looking plug than the Zooz Power Switch, if we do say so ourselves. Did we also mention that it’s officially integrated with SmartThings? That means NO custom device handler for a fully functional smart plug and power monitor, just plug and play!

Dome Shut-Off Valve Controller

We can all agree -- there is nothing worse for homeowners than a burst pipe and a flooded basement. This Dome device adds a crucial layer of protection for any kind of winter water disaster by allowing you to remotely open and close your water main. When paired with a Z-Wave flood sensor, you can even shut off the water automatically as soon as the sensor detects a leak. And check your homeowners insurance - some will give you a discount for installing this type of device!

Got winterizing ideas of your own? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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Your Gift Guide to Z-Wave Hubs

December 08, 2017 3 Comments

The Smartest House Gift Guide to Z-Wave Hubs

Choosing the ultimate smart home system for your needs and lifestyle can be daunting if you don’t know what to look for. Each hub comes with its own advantages and limitations; a certain feature might be a godsend for someone else but a deal breaker for you. That’s why we’ve listed our top 3 Z-Wave hub recommendations below, including what we love about these hubs but also some things to consider when choosing the right one for you. And good news! They all support Alexa, so you can count on a voice-activated smart home this holiday season.

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The best Z-Wave Motion Sensors: Compared

June 08, 2017 13 Comments

Detailed Guide to the best Z-Wave Motion Sensors: Compared

You often ask us for recommendations: what are the best, most reliable Z-Wave motion sensors out there? The choice seems endless with new devices coming out every day. While we have our favorites, choosing the right sensor for YOU will depend on YOUR needs, lifestyle, and ideas on how to apply the product to your Z-Wave network and collection of devices. So we thought we should ask one of you to test and compare our best-selling smart home security sensors.

We wanted feedback from someone who has tested and programmed lots of Z-Wave devices but most importantly, from someone who has used them in real-life scenarios at home. The comments detailed below and the invaluable side-by-side comparison chart are by Kevin LaFramboise, an expert SmartThings user and the creator of some of the most advanced and stable custom device handlers for the popular platform.

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Can the Strips Sensor Really Last a Decade?

April 09, 2017 3 Comments

Can the Strips Sensor Really Last a Decade

It’s easy to be wary of claims of long-lasting battery life, as so many products out there promise reliable and worry-free battery power and then fail to deliver. So when the Sensative Strips Door/Window Sensor arrived to the market – a sensor thinner than two credit cards stacked together, and featuring a brand-new kind of battery that lasts for 10 years – some of us were skeptical. 

Sensative recently turned to Sony to put their product’s power consumption to the test with the help of Otii a new energy-optimization tool that measures and analyzes the power consumption behaviors of battery-powered devices. Of its many useful features, it allows the user to pinpoint the cause of a draining battery by syncing the software’s debug output with its power readings. Otii’s findings confirmed that the battery in Strips can last much longer than 10 years with optimal configuration and network conditions.

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