From Condo Renter to Homeowner: A SmartThings Journey

As Alison and her boyfriend Jeff have increased their living space, they’ve also enhanced their SmartThings setup. While they use SmartThings each day to secure their home and save them money on energy bills, the most memorable time they’ve relied on SmartThings has come on a night when they least expected to need it.

“We can’t imagine a life without SmartThings now that we’ve been using it for so long. Jeff got started with it after discovering the company on Kickstarter and backed it right away. Since our Kit arrived, we’ve been adding to the list of cool things we can do with SmartThings.


Pixel and Brutus–all 200 pounds of them.

When SmartThings first arrived at our door, we were renting a condo. We started with the basics by using the SmartThings Hub, a SmartPower Outlet, and a SmartSense Multi Sensor to monitor whether our main doors were open or closed (which prevented more than one occurrence of our dogs escaping), as well as to turn on the living room lamp just by opening the door. As long as the sun had set for the day, the lamp would turn on regardless of which door we used.

The SmartPower Outlet simply plugs into the wall, so those are easy to plug in and then unplug when it’s time to move. The sensors use an adhesive that we could remove from our doors without damaging them, so we could rest easy knowing we wouldn’t lose our security deposit for mounting those on the front door and garage door.

After living in that condo for about a year, we started the process of building a house, which gave us a lot more freedom to incorporate SmartThings into our home + routine.

Be alerted & prevent a leak from causing a flood.

One of the major pluses of using SmartThings is that it’s portable. We brought our Hub, outlets, and multi sensors with us, but also picked up some SmartSense Moisture sensors, SmartSense Motion sensors, a Filtrete 3M-50 WiFi thermostat, and installed Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. We even got a LiftMaster MyQ garage door opener. With those pieces, we were able to use SmartThings in every room of the house and on the exterior, too!

We use the SmartSense Moisture sensors to make sure that our washer isn’t leaking any water. We’ve set one in the washer tray in the laundry room, and another near the sump pump in the basement. The SmartSense Motion sensors keep tabs on the house while we’re gone–but mostly, they just let us know which room the dogs have moved into and whether or not they’re sleeping.

Be notified when the mail comes each day.

We can lock, unlock, monitor all exterior doors as long as we have our smartphones on us. The same is true for our garage door. (Ahem… one of us… and I’m not naming names… had a harder time getting used to having to shut the garage door, so this setup has come in huge handy for us.)

Now that we’re up and running in our new SmartThings house, here are some of the things that we love the most:

1) Getting a notification when our mail arrives each day. We put a SmartSense Multi on the mailbox cover, and so we know each time it opens and closes.

2) Automating the outdoor lights to turn on and shut off at a specified time each day.

3) Being able to automatically trigger the thermostat to turn down when we both leave the house each day (and are carrying our smartphones), and then triggering it to turn back on when we arrive home.

4) Monitoring our home by installing a Foscam cameras around the exterior of our house and integrating them with SmartThings.


SmartThings catches the ding-dong-ditcher red-handed.

In fact, soon after we installed these outdoor security cameras and set them up with SmartThings to snap a series of photos if any movement was detected while we weren’t home or after sunset, something really funny happened.

Late one night, we awoke to the sound of our doorbell ringing. Not knowing who could possibly be stopping by in the middle of the night, we stayed in bed. The next morning, we checked our SmartThings app and sure enough, SmartThings caught footage of our very first ding-dong-ditcher ringing the doorbell and running away!

SmartThings has since caught a second ding-dong-ditcher on camera… but it was a midday joke from a family member.” – Alison
Alison is a self-employed web designer + developer. Jeff is a systems engineer. They are both total nerds for technology, automation + The Walking Dead. Their dogs, Brutus and Pixel are waiting for SmartThings to develop a line of treat dispensers and peanut butter jar openers. 

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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Tell us how you integrate Foscam please! I have 3 outdoor and 6 indoor cameras I would LOVE to integrate with ST!!!

  2. what model foscam did you use, and how did you integrate with ST?


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