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I’ve been using Home Assistant for 2 years now. After my first 2 hours playing with it, I knew it was something special, and it has become the perfect smarthome hub for me. I recently wrote about my favorite Home Assistant Integrations. Over that time I have written over 100 Home Assistant automations. Here is a list of my favorite automations that I hope will inspire you.
I should note, in many cases, these aren’t individual YAML Home Assistant automations. They are sets of automations that together are my favorites.
The best Home Assistant automations are the ones that just work and everyone in the house takes for granted. You want the comfort of the temperature of your home to be one of these.
Normally a smart or programmable thermostat is all one needs to achieve this. I wrote about my install and review of the Ecobee 3 Lite and it works great. The problem is, I have two HVAC systems, a hydronic heating system, and a Honeywell Heat Pump based system. They are unable to integrate with each other directly, but they both integrate with Home Assistant.
They both have extremely different characteristics. My hydronic system is extremely energy efficient but takes a long time to heat a room from cool to a desired warm temperature. It also doesn’t have any air conditioning capabilities. My heat pump heats very quickly but draws a lot more electricity than my hydronic system. It also does A/C.
I have a few automations that make sure that one isn’t heating while the other is providing A/C. I also have automation that use the heat pump to heat the home when I need the temperature to jump quickly (like after letting the house cool overnight) and the hydronic system to maintain the temp. My Home Assistant automations allow my two HVAC systems to work seamlessly as one. Oh, and since I’ve made my fireplace smart, it even plays nicely too!
LED Light Automations
I have fallen in love with addressable LEDs over the last year. The WLED library has made it simple to make cool LED designs. I actually got an early start on my Christmas lights this year by installing year-round LEDs. I love my simple automation that turn my LED lights on and off and to different patterns and colors depending on the occasion.
My sons love having LED lights under their beds that automatically come on for them right before bedtime.
Garage Door Alerts
Making my garage doors smart was one of the easiest and best projects I’ve done with the Shelly 1. I set up simple automations that alert me when the garage doors have been left open for a while, and also alert me when they have been closed after being open a while. Simple peace of mind.
Maybe one day I’ll automate the opening and closing of the garage doors as I arrive home. I haven’t found a way I feel comfortable with that from a security standpoint.
Better home security is one of the most important reasons to automate your home. The following automations help keep my home, belongings, and family safe and secure:
- My exterior deadbolt doors automatically lock under a few circumstances: If the alarm is armed or at a certain time each night. This way, even if we all forget to lock the doors or arm the alarm, our doors will be secured overnight.
- My alarm came with only two motion sensors, but I have other motion sensors in the house. I use automation to allow the extra motion sensors in the house to work in concert with the alarm when it is armed.
- When my alarm is set off, the siren comes on, and I am notified via text. To scare intruders, I also have certain lights come on throughout the house and my smart speakers announce that the authorities have been called and are on their way.
- My exterior security lights automatically come on at night and turn off in the morning.
I wrote an article about how smart homes improve safety and security that you might be interested in.
I love Home Assistant automations that are simple but effective. I have some simple RF buttons placed strategically around the house. When pressed, they send notifications to the adults of the house via text and Google Hangouts. The notifications contain the name of the room where the button is located. If something bad or scary happens in the house, we all know where the panic buttons are.
Automating my fireplace was a little scary at first, but it was also informative. The automation makes my fireplace safer. It automatically turns off when the room reaches a certain temperature or it has been on too long. A message is sent to the smart speaker in the room explaining why the fireplace turned off.
Monitoring my energy usage over time has led to a lot of awareness and savings in dollars and usage. I developed power usage and cost monitoring automations that I can use to keep tabs on how much power we are using, and track down the causes.
I’ve had an irrigation system for a few years, but recently I decided to automate my irrigation system using Home Assistant. Now my sprinkler system is smart enough not to turn on when rain is in the forecast. Another environment and money saver.
Turn on Nintendo Automation
This one is simple, but my kids love it. We have our Nintendo switch system set up in our basement theater room which uses a projector and A/V receiver. The projector is older and takes some time to warm up. I have an automation that turns on the projector using an IR blaster and turns the A/V receiver to the Nintendo Switch input (see this article for how I set this up). Lights in the theater room are turned on to low brightness. The kids can simply say “Hey Google, turn on Nintendo” and everything will be set up for them by the time they get to the basement. Similarly, the kids can use a voice command to turn the receiver, projector, and lights off.
Honestly, it was hard to pick my favorites. There are so many things that Home Assistant can do, and so many automations. My automation and configuration files actually became massive, so I broke them up and organized them. I have quite a few more ideas that I’ll be implementing over time. If you are in need of inspiration, check out my list of Home Automation ideas. If you want more details on how I implemented these, check out some of my other articles or contact me on Twitter.