Hacking Your Home: My Automation Setup

In recent weeks, I’ve began the process of adding a ton of automation to my home leveraging a lot of new technology to making my place fun and easy.

Why care about automation?

Time!

20 min vacuum from Roomba x 52 weeks a year = 1,040 minutes.
5 minutes getting up and turning off lights every day * 365 = 1,825 minutes.

It saves you tremendous amounts of time. Over 1 year alone just those 2 things is over 40 hours, which makes it a full-time job for an entire week to do what could be automated in seconds.

Here’s what I use in my home setup:

iRobot Roomba Vacuum Cleaner

iRobot Roomba
iRobot Roomba

The Roomba Vacuum Cleaner is one of my best purchases to date.

I have it scheduled to vacuum every day at 10 a.m. It powers up on its own, does the job and returns back to its dock to charge automatically. It goes behind couches, under beds and hard to reach places. Best of all, it does the job with no complaints.

It’s always a nice feeling coming home to a freshly vacuumed and clean place everyday.

I’m still trying to think of a cool name to name it.

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo Dot

The Amazon Echo is one of those devices you didn’t know you needed until you have one. The Echo Dot is the entry model to the “Alexa” system, and at $50, it is a very easy way to get all the power of Alexa, without the high cost.

Alexa allows me to control my automation setup with just my voice. It is the best way to play music, control lights and temperature in your place, manage your calendar and even tell you how much traffic there is on the way to work.

They are constantly adding new skills to Alexa so it is constantly getting better. At the time of this post, I can order pizza from Dominos and even order from my nearby Starbucks as I walk out the door with just my voice.

Nest Thermostat

Nest Thermostat
Nest Thermostat

You might already know about this one. But with Alexa, it makes it even better. All I have to do is say “Alexa, set the temperature to 70 degrees” out loud without having to move from my bed.

Even without Alexa, it helps save you a ton of money by monitoring when you’re in and out of the house and changing the temperature to levels that are easier on your bill. I was pleasantly surprised when I got my first bill.

Philips Hue Smart Strip Lights and Hub

I have a strip behind my tv which can pulse with music and make my living room pop a bit more. You can also control the colors depending on time of day or the mood you’d like. It can also make your bed look amazing (think of laying in the clouds of heaven).

Philips Hue Smart Bulbs

Philips Hue Smart Bulb
Philips Hue Smart Bulb

See above but in bulb form.

Philips Hue Go Light

Philips Hue Go Light
Philips Hue Go Light

Awesome Christmas gift. Has preset settings to set lights for different moods. Has an awesome default meditation setting.

Samsung Smart Things Hub

This is the main thing I connect all devices to and then connect this with Amazon Echo. You can then voice command everything or set it up based on as many rules as you want.

Next Steps

As I continue to add and make my home more automated, here are things that are next on the list.

Philips Hue Motion Senors

Imagine just walking into a room and the lights turning on, leaving and the lights turning off. Practically magic, plus saves on electricity.

Philips Hue Light Switches

If the bulbs can’t be changed, you can always change the switch to become automated instead.

Logitech Harmony Hub

With the Harmony Hub, Alexa will be able to turn on your television to your favorite channel. For example, say ‘Alexa, turn on the TV’ or ‘Alexa, turn on Netflix’ to begin streaming content.