Z-WAVE BLOG - Lifestyle


You bought a smart home- Now What?

You bought a smart home- Now What?

You have finally closed on your dream home. You have taken the final walk-through with your real estate agent, and you both have confirmed that all is on the up-and-up.
Or is it . . . ?

You may be in love with that new stainless steel fridge, and laundry is going to so much easier with the appliances on the second floor. Groceries are a cinch; no more 4 story walk-up! These are the things that get your attention. So what are you forgetting?

Many homeowners have installed SOME type of home automation while upgrading. When it's time to move, the homeowner usually takes the easy things with him (or her); leaving in-wall switches and installed panels to confound the new homeowner. The first night in the house, the moving trucks are there, your helpers are milling about, boxes and furniture are flying through the halls. Then, either the lights go on, the lights DON'T go on, or, the siren from the alarm system starts to blare. Making friends with the new neighbors has never been this easy.

For the first two items, there's usually some good news. Lights acting on their own usually means the previous homeowner left the panel or gateway in place, and it's running a scene (aka automation or timer). It's annoying, but a little tracking down usually allows one to find the gateway, contact the manufacturer, the real estate company, or the previous owner for some help.

However, from the panicked emails I've gotten from new homeowners, a siren blaring (usually at midnight, after the real estate agent has gone to bed) holds no good news. At all. Unfortunately, there is little someone in my position can do. Actual questions include (paraphrased and sanitized for my G-rated audience): 'Can you give me the secret universal password for this alarm panel so I can shut it off?' Or, 'I know I'm supposed to get an account for this alarm system, but if I give you my address can you just turn it off and I'll call you in the morning?'

I can tell when someone is desperate when they hit all of our emails with a question. As much as I'd love to help, a secret universal password would probably not be secret for very long, especially if I gave it over an email to someone I don't know. And since I don't know the type of panel in the home, the service provider the previous homeowner employed, or even what protocol (radio) we're talking about, I'd say unplug everything you can and deal with it at another time. But isn't there a better way? I have asked a few real estate agents to give a statement for this blog. Unfortunately I have not gotten a response. But now you know to bug them about those 'little white boxes all around.' From the tone of at least some of the emails and tickets I get about this, the new homeowner knows there was something he/she was supposed to do, but wasn't sure what it was.

If you have been caught by surprise and either the real estate company gave you no warning (or the homeowner is MIA and an honest attempt was made with no success) the first thing you'll need to determine is the KIND of radio you're dealing with. There is Z-Wave, WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and 319/345 MHz sensors. See if you can pull off a cover and get a model number. Maybe you did, and discovered it's all Z-Wave and that's why you're here? What's next? A good conversation starter is discussing your wants and needs for a smart home. Since this is a one-way street and I can't talk to you, I recommend reading my Getting Started with Z-Wave guide to see what works best for you. It also explains the various radio frequencies and how to make other devices talk nicely.

If you discover that you bought a new hub/gateway and still are having trouble, your devices may still be paired with the old MIA gateway; use your new one to exclude them first then try again. If you happen to read this blog before you close, share it with your real estate agent before you're panic-emailing panel manufacturers at 2am.

If you find a panel and not a controller, see if you can get the name of the service provider in your area. A good agent will tell this to you; probably while you're staring dreamy-eyed at the refrigerator or already mentally soaking in the hot tub. Call them up and find out; maybe using a few points from the text above.

Are you a real estate agent who would like to share a funny story or advice on this subject? You, or anyone else with questions, can reach me by clicking the tab in the lower-right corner and leaving me a message.

All the best, and congratulations on your purchase of your new home.
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Stop Air Conditioning the Great Outdoors

Save energy with WINK 2 and a simple Robot

Stop Air Conditioning the Great Outdoors
Are you having second thoughts about that tie you bought your dad or husband for Father's Day? Want to really give a thoughtful gift? We guarantee with this simple setup, never again will you hear him scream, "Close the door! I'm not cooling the whole neighborhood!!"

For under $220 you can automatically turn the A/C off when the door is opened for more than a pre-set amount of time. Like everything with Z-Wave devices, you can modify this as needed to fit your lifestyle.

The 3 pieces of this project are a WINK 2 hub, a GC-TBZ48 Z-Wave thermostat from Go Control, and a ZW120 Door/Window sensor from Aeon Labs.

Replace your existing thermostat with the Go Control (instructions on how to do that are here) After downloading the free WINK 2 App, setting up the WINK 2, add the stat and sensor to your network. Check out my blog WINK 2 OVERVIEW for a few tips.

Something new regarding sensors that wasn't in my previous entries, you can select the type of door for the best calibration of the device (you'll see this screen when you're just about done adding the sensor).

By this point you'll be able to control the stat from your smart phone, but that's no fun. Let's create a simple Robot (the WINK word for scene, or automation) to keep that cold air inside.

First, create a new robot by selecting the Robot at the bottom of the main screen, then selecting the + for "Create a New Robot".

You'll have a few choices, including schedule, device, or geocaching. We're going to have the sensor drive this Robot, so choose Product or Sensor.

You have many choices to set up the Robot. In this example I chose, if Any Entry Door Sensor, at any time of day, is open for more than 10 minutes, then turn the thermostat from Cool to Off, and notify me via push notifications from my WINK 2 App on my phone.

Having a grace period (in this case, 10 minutes) to allow the kids or pets to enter or exit the home allows the A/C to run for a little while.


You can create a similar Robot to turn the A/C back on after all the doors are closed for more than 10 minutes. This system will work with windows too; you just add as many sensors as your home needs and add those sensors to the Robot.

Did I get it right? Do you have any questions or issues?

In the bottom right corner of this website is a link to Leave me a Message.

Alternately . . . Ask An Expert by filling out this form, and one of our experts will get back to you with an answer.

I hope this was helpful. Please share this, and check out my other blogs!
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Kit Suggestions for new WINK 2 owners

Kit Suggestions for new WINK 2 owners
A few visitors to Zwaveproducts.com have asked, 'What home automation hub do Z-Wave retailers use at home?' and 'What devices work with my WINK 2?'

Here's the answer to both questions. Pictured above is my WINK 2, which has joined the army of other Z-Wave hubs in operation at home. The WINK 2 a good device (read my overview here), and there are many things you can do with it. In this blog entry are devices that you you consider when getting started with your own smart home network. Going back through my blogs, you'll see similar entries, but I tried to keep this one simple.
Click on the device names for links with more information.

In-wall Switch Lighting Control

Already have a WINK 2? Add these products to add lighting control to your smart home project.

Add two GE 12722 Smart Switches or two GE 12724 Smart Dimmers
Have a 3-way circuit that you want to control? Add a GE 12723 Add-On and READ THIS BLOG on Understanding 3-way Switches.

No Wiring Apartment Lighting Kit!
Have a WINK 2 but are not able to change the wiring in your home or apartment? Check out these plug-in and screw-in units that will have you up and running in less than 20 minutes.

Add two Z-Wave Dimmable LED Light Bulbs and two GE Plug-in Smart Switches for total control of a living room or bedroom.

Security Add On
Want to get notifications or trigger a robot when someone enters a room ? These devices work well with your WINK 2.

Three Aeotec Door/Window sensors are a great start and will allow you to really understand how these will work best for you and your smart home.
One Go Control Z-Wave Wireless IR Motion sensor covers those places where a door sensor won't work.  http://www.zwaveproducts.com/shop/z-wave-security/motion-detectors-and-sensors/z-wave-wireless-smoke-detector-sensor

Energy Saver Add On
Want to cut down on your A/C bills this summer? Use schedules and robots on your WINK 2 for best effect in your busy life.

Add a Go Control TBZ48 Z-Wave Thermostat and program the device to fit your schedule.

Door Lock Add On

Get a notification to your WINK 2 App when someone comes home, or even lock/unlock doors from your phone when you're not there

Add one Kwikset Smartcode Lever Lock and a Ecolink Z-Wave Garage Door Tilt Sensor to manage the coming/going of your family and stop unauthorized access to your home.

Complete Kits Available Too!

We also have WINK 2 kits with a hub and some devices, if you haven't purchased your WINK 2 yet.

Please let us know if you have any questions!
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Swing For the (Geo)fences

How To Add Geofencing to your Smart Home

Swing For the (Geo)fences
We've been really busy answering WINK questions. With the closure of the Staples Connect back end, questions regarding the WINK 2, a natural replacement for Staples Connect, have been flooding the Ask An Expert portal (as well as my inbox). Geofencing has come up enough times that I feel it's time to update the blog I did way back in May of 2015 (Geofences Make Good Neighbors)

A geofence is nothing more than your smart phone knowing where it is, and sending you a notification when you get to a pre-determined location. The timeless example is, the user sets a geofence reminder that any time he/she goes to the supermarket, be sure to pick up the dry cleaning. Geofences can be used as a calendar of sorts; only instead of doing something at a specific date and time, the trigger is a specific place (within the limits of the technology).

How does that help your smart home? Apps that allow you to remotely turn off a light or set a temperature are great. But the whole idea of a smart home and home automation, is that it's automated. What's nicer than coming home and having your exterior lights automatically turn on because your geofence was triggered.

Since summer heat and humidity is in full swing on the East Coast of the US, here's an example to cool off my office before I get home. My schedule (like yours I'm sure) is quirky enough that a pre-programmed schedule would never suffice. I could be in the work office one day, on site the next, going to a customer on a third day, and working from home the rest of the week. Then there's the kids, volunteer events, and maybe even a little fun (gasp) that will make any schedule interesting for the best learning thermostat. How does my home know how to keep up with my busy life?

Let's talk about a hypothetical scenario where I'd like to leave my A/C at a high(er) temperature while I'm away, but have my home nice and cool when I return.

I know that I go past one of two places that are roughly 20 minutes away from my home, which should be plenty of time for my home to cool off. For this geofence we'll use a WINK 2 hub, and one point of reference, but this would work with just about any Z-Wave hub or gateway that supports position-based triggers. You may have to undo some privacy settings on your smart phone to let the NSA in. (That part is up to you).

To start, I'm going to make a new Robot. Instead of the schedule or the device triggering the event, I'm going to use a place. Start a New Robot, and select LOCATION:

Instead of using our home location (which you can set separately) we will select the + to add a New Location as the trigger.

In the next two panels, I've created and named the new location; Turn On AC Spot. When I 'drive through' this address, it will trigger the scene.  Once saved, the trigger is simple to understand when we go to create the Robot.


After the cause is set (trigger), we'll now add the effect, which is whatever we want the thermostat to do when the phone gets to the Turn on AC Spot. In this case the Robot will tell the Living Stat (easy words for Amazon Echo/Alexa to understand in another blog) to change the stat mode to Cool.

That's it! There's really nothing to it. Geofencing can go beyond home automation; it may be part of the 'life automation.' But it can tie in nicely to automatically run your home; the only deciding factor is your imagination.

Have a question about this setup, or any other?
In the bottom right corner of this website is a link to Leave me a Message.

Alternately . . . Ask An Expert by filling out this form.

I hope this was helpful.

Need more information about Geofencing? When it comes to your personal technology, the manufacturer or your customer service department will have the best advice on geofencing. To get you started I dug up a few links that should point you in the right direction.

From the MacObserver (third party site) Set up a geofence Reminder

Basic information was a little lacking on setting up geofences with Android; search through your own instructions or check out this sample from Parental Board (third party site) How do I set up a a geofence?
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