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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    A buyer that I did a 1 year warranty inspection had spent a good bit of his first year adding wireless home automation. I did not do anything with the wireless aspect except to note the automated switches, Nest thermostats, and this control center .control pad 2.jpg
    Pretty neat stuff but mostly superfluous except for the water sensors in the water heater drip pan, door locks, and video camera in his door bell. I mean really who needs to be able to control the kitchen lights from your iPhone?

    Inspection Referral SOC
    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    A wireless system with a plug-in base unit typically ... typically ... typically does not require a permit.

    Unless the security system is monitored, in which case a permit is typically required because the police and fire department want to know about it.

    The most common code violation I find is that the alarm company tries to hide the wireless but plug-in base station and in doing so they run the power cord through a wall.

    Now they have to pay an electrical contractor to run an outlet where the base station is.

    I like that hand cradle for the controls.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    We have a Del Webb retirement village not far and they had the bright idea to put in automated systems in a group of their new home builds.

    Think analog seniors living in a digital home!

    I have looked at a couple of them and they are very nice but honestly they are so technical that Del Webb stopped building them after they had around 30 home completed and the complaints were rolling in almost ever hour about the owners not being able to operate anything in the home.

    I have Nest thermostats and love them...

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    I would pass on inspecting such a home. I don't know how any particular system works, I don't want to spend time on the job learning how nor do I want the call backs when the system acts up which most electronics will do at some point.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    We have a Del Webb retirement village not far and they had the bright idea to put in automated systems in a group of their new home builds.

    Think analog seniors living in a digital home!

    I have looked at a couple of them and they are very nice but honestly they are so technical that Del Webb stopped building them after they had around 30 home completed and the complaints were rolling in almost ever hour about the owners not being able to operate anything in the home.

    I have Nest thermostats and love them...
    I can see it now. Some old couple pushing buttons and their neighbors lights are going on and off, the garage door is going up and down, and somebody else is trying to figure out why the AC is on in the winter.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Massacusetts
    Posts
    149

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    This is a whole business in itself. I have been learning building automation for the last six months and I can tell you it is highly specialized even in the HVACR area most technicians have no clue how to set them up nor what to do with them. We have some wonderful technology coming down the road and little education is available.

    The smart person will refer to an expert in the field for full evaluation even testing the systems can be time consuming. Although some of it has been around for 25-30 years with the advent of the internet and dynamic IP addresses it has become even more complicated , add to the fact the software can control the shades to control the light level or heat (or both) just one example. Systems in offices can be set up to not only reserve a room (turn on heat, lights , order AV equipment , schedule cleaning, order lunch (yes that's right order lunch) also add elevator access , building access , feed the dog , and even kick the cat (if you have a cat kicker)

    it reminds me of watching the cartoon the Jetsons including Skype


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia, electrical only
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    Any automated control system, wired or wireless, is IMO a deficiency, to some degree, when the house is sold if the instructions are not included in the sale. I've seen this.


  8. #8

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    As a residential remodeler we see technology coming quite rapidly, especially when dealing with home owners under 35 years old. We now prefer to install wireless smoke and CO detectors (well, to appease some jurisdictions, the first is usually wired) and love the NEST thermostats too.

    Since we've been involved with low voltage (i.e., phone, data, CCTV) installations for quite awhile, we have found significant training opportunities available through one of our suppliers, ADI. Check out their 2015 Training and Expo schedule.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    My Mom is 87 and has Macular Degeneration - which is common with Seniors, as is forgetfulness / dementia. If any of you out there know of someone that needs a cell phone and can't see very well, checkout the "Snapfon". They use a sim card - $89 if you have your own sim card and service provider, $39 if you get service through them. The cradle works great too.

    https://www.snapfon.com/


    As for automated homes - just another electronic device / system to fail - IMHO. As for "nest" thermostats - I have saved money leaving my programmable thermostat set at one temp 24/7 as opposed to dinging the thing up and down in the morning and bedtime like many people do - think of "radiant heat" - walls, floor, ceiling, furniture, etc.. Again, JMHO...

    Last edited by Jim Hintz; 02-03-2015 at 12:39 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Anacortes, Washington
    Posts
    395

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    "As for automated homes - just another electronic device / system to fail - IMHO"

    When have we heard this before? When touch panels were being introduced in appliances some people said this, when computerized thermostats were introduced some inspectors would not touch them (probably the same guys using 3 part carbon inspection forms). Like many things you have adapt or fall by the wayside. I used to have X-10 controllers all over my home controlling lights, thermostat and pool pumps. It work really well and the system stayed when we sold the home. So I agree its coming and we need to understand it. We will see more of it in the future in fact I just installed a WIFI thermostat from White. Have the price of the NEST, great programming and controllable from Iphone, tablet or PC.

    However I won't inspect it because its just like an alarm system or high end controller in a media room. They are all set up different and it takes too long to figure it out. Not worth it.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    Get set, Eric, you will be seeing wireless controllers if you have not already. As for not inspecting a home because of it... how would you know until you arrived?
    I agree with not inspecting the wireless devices, just like I don't inspect alarms, too much liability and too many platforms to become an expert with each.
    But almost everything I have seem has a manual override so you can test the system the wireless device controls.
    I will say the nest thermostat seems to require a bit of programming to bring on the backup heat for the heat pump (I found after the fact).
    Me?, I inspect what I can and disclaim the rest. But I do try to become accustom to each new trend as I see it.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Doane View Post
    ...... Although some of it has been around for 25-30 years with the advent of the internet and dynamic IP addresses it has become even more complicated , add to the fact the software can control the shades to control the light level or heat (or both) just one example. Systems in offices can be set up to not only reserve a room (turn on heat, lights , order AV equipment , schedule cleaning, order lunch (yes that's right order lunch) also add elevator access , building access , feed the dog , and even kick the cat (if you have a cat kicker)

    it reminds me of watching the cartoon the Jetsons including Skype
    However, the "internet of Things" right now is on shaky ground reguarding security. Trade talk says that most of the products, if not all, have minimal or no security. This means that the kid next store, who is probably into computers better then all of us put together, can have the garage door opening & closing, turn on the AC in the winter, etc. The security industry is very concerned with this and at this time---no light at the end of the tunnel. Think how many time your PC get's updated with a security patch. (BTW, there are a few that MS just came out with to be installed immediately. ) Will these devices be updated and can they be updated????


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    This reminds me of a thermostat that was dead. I put in my report I was not able to test the in-floor electric heat. There was no major issue with the house, good house, but my clients wanted the heating to work obviously. The sellers and realtors did battle for several days and eventually a heating professional was dispatched to the house $$ to install a couple of AA's in the thermostat.
    This would be a funny story except that I never saw that realtor ever again and he had been a good source of referrals before that.

    I carry a few batteries and occasionally leave my good batteries in there when we're done because they can be a hassle to remove as well.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Me?, I inspect what I can and disclaim the rest. But I do try to become accustom to each new trend as I see it.
    No disagreement on that. The problem I have with electronics is the farther a product gets from the designer's drawing board the less likely you're going to find someone who knows how to fix it when problems develop.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Ready or not, wireless home automation is here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    No disagreement on that. The problem I have with electronics is the farther a product gets from the designer's drawing board the less likely you're going to find someone who knows how to fix it when problems develop.
    I agree.
    My issue now is trying to operate the units in the manual mode.
    I had two houses recently that had heat pumps and never did get the "nest" thermostat to allow me to test emergency mode.
    I later read that some setup configurations would have to be changed to allow. Then the second was a significantly older T-stat had a completely different procedure to accomplish the same thing but neither T-stat was an intuitive interface.

    Not only are there a multitude of different systems but a bunch of different protocols. From a Fine Homebuilding article I just read, there is no common platform /protocol and the different brands won't cross over. Kind of like VHS vs Beta video players but with lots of different big money interests if may be a long time (if ever) before a common standard comes about.

    It will be interesting to see how long it takes for this fad to take hold or fizzle.
    I think it is inevitable for this or a similar technology to overtake the home market in the US, but who knows how long or what it will look like in a decade or more.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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