Automating a Large House

Douglas

Member
As I had this very question about 2 years ago (new house, starting over), a very smart man told me once "go with what you know".  And if I never said "thanks" to Pete C., then thanks!
 
I stayed with all the technology I knew (HAI OP2, UPB, Z-wave locks) but was forced into a new audio system (URC's Total Control).  I can make all of my original technology sing and dance as I wish (timed closet light switch flags, timed shower light switch flags are a complete blessing!!! Also in version 1.8 UPB switches you can make the switch time itself for turn-off!!!).  Yes, there is always the issue of remembering how to do things on the system, but eventually you can figure it all out.  
 
As for the URC system, I can't recommend it at all.  I'm due for the URC "version 2" upgrade from my original installer, and when that happens I want to strip it out and make it an "audio only" system.  Then I will build it up to include other functionality.  (As a side note, I had NuVo audio in the previous home and it worked pretty flawlessly, especially the OP2 integration; they stopped production on the NuVo MPS4 server or I would have it in the new home!)
 
As for "new stuff", there is a new(ish) android app out for the OP2 (NQ Link) and there is an Alexa integration add-on.  So some new tweaks to do for the base system.
 
We're all getting older, and as much as we all love the home control game, there is only so much time in the world.  We all need to set it up quickly and enjoy the functionality, then tweak and add touches to keep our tech side satisfied!
 
So let me say again - "go with what you know".
Doug
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
Sorry I've been MIA a bit... that house didn't work out - we had to pull out... so still on the hunt, and also in talks with builders... there should be more to come between now and late summer - just depending on when we find the right deal.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
Back to provide an update!  We found a new house and we close on it on Friday.  Slightly different layout - it's 6,200 sq. ft ranch-style with basement (so two floors, ~3,100 sq ft each).  Prewired for audio in the master and all common spaces.  Basement is 95% finished so I'm sure running any wires will be a challenge, but at least upstairs is just single story, so as long as I can find a route from the attic to the important areas, I'll be golden, although I'm getting WAY too old for this attic crap.  There's an existing hardwired alarm but I noticed the master keypad was dead so I'm sure there's work to do.  HVAC is ancient but there are two heaters and one AC.
 
I didn't spend nearly enough time in there before we put in an offer - and didn't get to poke around during the inspection, so it'll be AFTER we close that I finally see if we even have ethernet around the house or anything like that.  I do know that the security and whatever structured wiring may be in place is in the little bit of remaining unfinished basement, and all the audio runs to a built-in cabinet in the middle of the basement which is unfortunate - it might be nice to tie in the whole house audio into elk paging alerts - but we'll see.  Also totally odd - there's no doorbell - in fact it looks like there was recent stucco repair there to remove it - which is going to make adding Doorbird that much harder!
 
I'll figure out how to best document what we do... and ask questions.  They sucked away a bit more of my reserve funds than I'd expected for the downpayment, so that's sure to slow me down a little. 
 
I'm still torn on lighting - UPB worked and was extremely flexible; I know I want at least some Z-Wave even if only for locks and some motion sensors.  I'm pretty sure I'll go back to Elk (now I *REALLY* wish I hadn't left so much in the old house when I left!).  Also thinking Venstar for the thermostats just because I like the look (I'm not into nest or any smart t-stats - we set one temp and leave it 24/7).  I also want to figure out soil monitoring - it's 2.5 acres, but despite having our own well, we're limited in how much water the state allows us to use. 
 
So much to do...
 

RAL

Senior Member
Sounds like some interesting work ahead!
 
Question:  If you have a private well, how does the state know how much you use (or don't use)?
 

cobra

Active Member
RAL said:
Sounds like some interesting work ahead!
 
Question:  If you have a private well, how does the state know how much you use (or don't use)?
 
Why would the state need to know?   :blink:
 
(Partly tongue in cheek... but I recently moved from a location that I paid $100 a year for sewer service, to a location that charges sewer based on public water metering.  Our water and sewer costs are a lot. compared to what I am used to.)
 
There are places where the state doesn't know how much water you use.
 

kwschumm

Active Member
cobra said:
Why would the state need to know?   :blink:
 
(Partly tongue in cheek... but I recently moved from a location that I paid $100 a year for sewer service, to a location that charges sewer based on public water metering.  Our water and sewer costs are a lot. compared to what I am used to.)
 
There are places where the state doesn't know how much water you use.
 
In Washington they have been trying to put water meters on private wells for years. Just a matter of time before it happens. Maybe other states are already doing that? I'd think California would be right at the top of the list to do that.
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
From what I gather, most if not all wells in Colorado are regulated.  In this particular case, there is a meter on the well, and the HOA is required to gather annual readings of said meter.  The HOA is responsible for tracking the water usage of the whole community then arranging for augmentation of the water used by the community that doesn't make it back into the ground via the septic systems.  This isn't my HOA, but from another one I think is in the area:  https://www.foxtailpineshoa.org/wells-water-usage/
 
I'll be looking for a way to track this usage in real-time so I can monitor month over month and see how I'm tracking... once I get into the house, I'll dig up specs on whatever meter is in use to see if I can interface with it.
 
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