I am looking to computerize parts of my house this summer. I would like to know if anyone has experience with thermostats, front door openers, weather sensors etc.
Currently, we have three smart home devices. Two outlets hold a lamp each, and a thermostat lives on the wall. Unfortunately, we lack the hardware for remote access and automation, but hopefully that will change soon.That said, I like the devices. It's easy to turn on the lamps, but the big draw is the thermostat. I can see the temperature, and change the target temperature, from anywhere in the house. Coming off a digital thermostat that was totally inaccessible and an ancient analog one that was not at all easy to use, this new setup is great.I'm looking forward to automation, and adding more devices. I'll want the lamps to come on when I get home, and the front porch light (beingadded to the smart home soon) to turn on at a certain time of day. As we get more devices, this kind of thing will get even more fun. Is it necessary? No. Is it fun? I think so. Plus, there's the accessibility of the thermostat to consider, and the ease of using Siri to control all this. Automation is the other draw for me, but I can't yet speak about it from personal experience.
Which thermostat are you using?
I scored a Lyric T5 by Honeywell for under $100. Our heating system lacks nearly everything this thermostat can do, such as cooling, fans, and zones, so all we use it for is heating, but it does the job. The app it uses is weird, and I'm still not sure about scheduling vs geofencing, but Honeywell phone support is really good. Still, I have no special love for this one and would tell you to shop around without bias toward the Lyric. So long as what you get workswith your HVAC system and supports HomeKit, it should work.
The Nest thermostat works great for me. I got it when I renewed my contract with my local gas provider for two years. I love being able to control heating, air, and fan with it. IT was a bit clunky at first, but they actually did a good job of getting the accessibility bugs mostly worked out.
For anyone wanting to get into home automation, here is a link to a smart outlet that supports HomeKit (I don't know about Alexa support) for $25. The normal price seems to be $30, and I don't know how long this deal will last. I use two of these, and have had no problems so far. They're a little big, but aside from that, they work well.http://9to5toys.com/2017/05/18/koogeek-smart-plug-deal/
So far, I've got one lamp on a Wemo smartplug mini, and I have a nest thermostat. I don't know that either works with homekit, but both have iPhone apps that are mostly accessible. My lamp comes on at sunset and has different off times for week days and weekends. Setting up the rules was a little tricky at first, but I managed, never mind if you really don't want to argue with the app beyond set-up, there is always IFTTT that can connect with it. As for the nest, like someone above mentioned, the app is largely accessible, and I love that I can see what is going on from anywhere and/or make adjustments if I need to. Bonus to the fact I connected it to IFTTT and thus in a round about way have a motion sensor, as I get a notification if it changes to home. The only part of the nest app that is completely inaccessible right now is the schedule portion. Otherwise, you can see energy history, set temperatures, change settings, etc. I wish it worked with home kit, but you can't have everything I guess, or at the time I got mine didn't want to pass up good offer to get it just because it didn't work with homekit. One last thing, if you opt to purchase a Wemo switch instead of a smart plug, there are ways to automate it and next. For example, when your nest is set to away, it can turn off your lights with the Wemo switch. My miniplug doesn't do that, but if this is automation you want, it might be worth checking out your options.