I am a big fan of technology and making it work for me--to make my life more efficient and enriched. Here you will find information about how I have designed and implemented various technologies in my life, why I chose certain things or moved from one technology to another, and general technology-related thoughts. I no longer provide detailed how-to documents in most cases--just high-level implementation notes.
There have been a few incidents over the years where my basement (cellar) has incurred water damage. The worst time was when the sump pump stopped working and the basement floor was covered by several inches of groundwater. While the basement is not a finished area, it is a recreational, work, and storage space containing furniture, electronics, tools, and more. It also houses all the major equipment that provides the home network and automation services.
The other fluid-induced cases did not cause much damage other than clean-up time, but could have been worse if the issues were not found when they were. These cases include: a time the hot water heater developed a leak, a couple of times the drainage path for the whole-house humidifier became clogged causing water to leak out of the furnace, and when the main pipe transporting sewage out of the house became restricted enough that the pressure forced some of the sewage through an access point in the basement floor.
I have multiple Logitech Harmony Hubs (which I will call "Hubs" with an uppercase "H"), devices in my house that act as remote control transceivers. In other words, the Hubs can receive commands from a select set of Logitech-branded physical remote control devices such as the Logitech Harmony 950 and then issue commands to other devices via infrared (IR) or Bluetooth. The Hubs can also receive commands from other things such as an app on a phone or tablet, or a home automation controller such as openHAB. A single Hub can also be "linked" with an Amazon account meaning that you may control it using voice commands to an Amazon Echo, (which I will refer to as "Echo"), device. However, in houses such as mine where there are more than one Hub, there is no way to control additional Hubs directly with an Echo without either losing some natural language options or creating multiple Amazon accounts. To get around the "one Hub per account" restriction while retaining natural language control and not losing things such as whole-home audio with the Echo, I use the openHAB automation software to receive voice commands from an Echo and forward those commands to the proper Hub.
There have been a number of times in the past where the garage door has been left open all night or when no one was at home. This could be due to issues such as someone forgetting to close the garage door, or the door having problems closing without anyone noticing. I wanted to get a text message on my phone when the garage door had a problem closing, or had been open for more than 10 minutes. While there are some very well-written scripts for openHAB that do this in a more robust and flexible manner than my implementation, they are much more complex. I chose a more simple solution that does what I want. To implement this in openHAB I used a combination of groups, metadata, rules, and scripts.
When I am getting ready to leave the house I like to be able to issue a single command such as "turn on leaving mode" and have the home automation perform the following actions:
Then, after a certain period of time passes, do the following:
When I am returning home through the garage, (meaning the garage door started opening when formerly closed), I want to automatically turn on the lights inside the house in the area where you enter it from the garage. As I add more equipment, I can also automate more things such as: lock all the doors, arm security, and alert me if any windows are open before I leave.