Cottage Automation

Many people these days are renting out their cottage to help cover the expense.  This can be great but with it comes additional work.  We recently worked with a customer to help reduce the effort around the rental.  This client had several key areas of concern to solve.

  • They lived more then 1 and 1/2 hours away from the cottage.  How would they get the key to the renter without having to drive 3 hours each time?
  • When the place was not being used how would or could we make it look occupied?
  • As part of the rental, the pool could be heated to a comfortable level but not in all clients wanted to heat the pool.
  • The cottage owner found out many times that someone had turned the air conditioning lower than was needed.

The solution to this was designed using Z-wave devices.  The great advantage of Z-wave is it uses mesh technology to communicate.  This in simple terms means that you can use each device as a repeater in the network and this network runs on a low band frequency so not to interfere with other devices like bluetooth or WI-FI.

zwave-ihomectrl
Mesh Network

 

Solution

  • We used Z-wave deadbolts to allow remote programming of pass codes.  This allowed our customer to program codes that would only be good for the duration of the rental (not before and not after).  This also allowed notification to the cottage owner that the renter had entered the cottage and to trigger the owner to send a welcome email to the renter.  Within the property we used internal door locks that protected areas the owner of the cottage did not want the renter to have access to.  This helped solved the issue of getting a repair person into the utility room if something was not working, but restricted the renter.
  • We used Z-wave switches and electrical plugs to turn lights on and off as needed.  These switches are just like any other switch and allow for the automation to turn them on before/after sunset (Yes depending on the time of year it would change so you’re never turning them on at the same time every day).  We would then program the light or plugs to turn off at different times based on actual time or number of hours/minutes of use.
  • We installed a Z-Wave pool/hot-tub controller that allow us to control the temperature of the water, as well as how long the pool circulation pump turned on.  This made sure that the renter could not turn the heat on if they did not pay for heat and it also controlled that someone did not turn the heat up past the set value.  This allowed the cottage owner to turn heat on and off as they wished remotely.  The owner could set the heat to what they wanted for when they went to the cottage.  We scheduled the pump to turn on and off each day saving electricity, money and reducing pump wear.
  • We installed a thermostat that would allow remote control but was also integrated with the Z-wave controller so that we could program control points.  If the air-conditioning was lowered below the define set point, it would reset the temperature back to the original setting.  This worked both for heating and cooling.  Also with the ability to alert we could set alerts for cooler months if the furnace stopped working and the temperature dropped below a set point, an email or SMS is sent to the owner.