What are some of your "unique" HA setups?


I'm currently building a house, and trying to run Cat5 everywhere where my imagination takes me. :)

I'm curious as to what unique or cool HA features/rules you guys have implemented.

Just as an example... I will have a motion sensor in my upstairs hallway for security. I plan (hope?) to set that up so, in the middle of the night, if it detects motion, it brings up both the hallway lights and the hallway bathroom lights to a dim setting (to make finding the bathroom that much easier).

I know that's probably not as interesting as some of the things you seasoned veterens have set up, but I figure it's a start.

I've checked out the ELK website to look at the expander boards and such, but nothing has jumped out at me (other than the Ethernet expansion) as a "I have to have this so I can do X".

So what are you guys doing that's out of the ordinary?


Make sure you wire for speakers at each door so your system can greet visitors while they are waiting for you to come to the door.
One thing that I forgot to prewire, which I kick myself each winter is wires for a satellite dish heater to ward off the snow. My house is around 60 ft tall at the dish and it is quite a site to see me on a 40 ft ladder brandishing a 20 foot expanding pole trying to sweep the dish clean after a new wet snow.
There are lots of ideas in the wiring guide.

I like monitoring the filter access doors with magnetic contacts so you know when the last time the filters were changed and can have your system remind you when they are due to be changed out (did this in my friend's house that he is currently building).

I would run Cat5e to your water softener if you have one to measure salt level so your system can tell you when to add more (more on this in a future post).

I monitor both of my vehicle's status (home or away) and have an announcement when the vehicle is approaching the house.

I have a side door to the garage where the garbage is and I have a light turn on when that door is opened at night (not a big techno achievement but it's amazing how high this is on the WAF meter).

I monitor the position of my garage door to within a couple of inches (just because I can).

I control my garage door via a remote.

My friend and his wife wanted to know the status of their two garage doors (open or closed) when inside the home. I have two locations that have dual colored LED's that light red if any one of the garage doors are open and green only if BOTH are closed (have pics of this somewhere here).

I can remotely control a circulating pump for my hot water (hit it on a few minutes before someone wants to shower).

Remotely control my outdoor fountain and have it autofill based on it's "base" water level.