Gadgets Javy House

My Smart Home Vacation Home

In April, Audra and I decided to purchase a home in Indio, CA as an investment property that we should short term rent via Airbnb.  A big part of the home was to be able to keep monthly bills down and be able to control the home from where ever we were. We didn’t want guest leaving lights on or doors unlocked, or the AC on at 65 while no one was home.  I have had some experience in the past with Smart Home technology, my first home I outfitted everything with Insteon products. Our new house was a little different, I searched around and spoke to friends and I decided to go with Z-Wave technology and use Samsung SmartThings.  I decided to go this route because they had a lot more “Things” I could install and take advantage of rather then Insteon or Apple’s HomeKit. Not only all of the functions of these products but the more Open Source it was rather then how picky Apple is with the HomeKit items.  Most of the “Things” I got were from Amazon, because I was on a time crunch and had a small window to receive and install the products.  Later I ordered a a few things on eBay for a lot cheaper, but shipping times were a lot more spread out then Amazon Prime.

Here is a list of the products I used and the price

Samsung SmartThings ADT Hub ($399) This Hub is the brain to the entire system. I chose this because it will also allow me to connect it to ADT’s monitoring service. I have yet to do this, but they have 3 monitoring plans are $14.99, $24.99, $34.99.  These plans are a lot cheaper then ADT’s monthly plans, mainly due to the fact they are all DIY. If you wanted a cheaper route or didn’t want the ADT services you can just purchase the SmartThings Hub for $80. For me it made sense to shell out the extra $320 to add the monitoring service later.

Schlage Smart Sense Door Locks ($166) I got 3 of these, 1 for my front gate, front door, and entrance to the garage.  This was great because it allows me to create codes for all guests and vendors. I am also able to grant access to certain locks, for example, my pool cleaner can only access the gate, not the house. With these and the SmartThings app I can view a history of when each door was unlocked/locked and which code was used.

GoControl Garage Door Opener ($84) Perfect for controlling the garage and will let me know the status of the garage

Centralite Pearl Thermostat ($129) Huge must for managing the AC, real simple UI and easy to control. Connecting it to the hub can be a little trouble, but tons of help out there.

GE Z-Wave Smart Dimmer Switch ($40) A MUST HAVE this will help control the lights in the house. I installed 4 of these to control lights inside and outside the house. You can purchase dimmer or just On/Off switches. If you are going to do the dimmer, I highly recommend you also add LED retrofit light bulbs. If you have a 2-way switch, like in a hallway you will have to replace both switches. The nice thing is GE makes it easy and you can just purchase an “Add On Switch” which will save you some money.

GE Z-Wave Outdoor Plug ($39) This is great for outdoor lighting, I used it for my outdoor speakers.  This way I can set a timer for when the speakers can be On or OFF, making sure guests are not playing music past a certain time.

Amazon Echo ($99) Not necessary, but does make it really nice and convenient in the house. Guests can simply say, “Lock Doors” “Close Garage” “Turn off lights” this can help a guest manage the house that can not find the right switch.  Not only will it help manage everything above but also play music in the house.  I think this is a great tool for inside the house to help the guest feel in control and relax on their vacation.


My total cost to get my house up and running and to be able to manage the entire home from anywhere:

Hub – $399
3 x Door Locks – $498
5 x Light Switches – $200
2 x Add On Switches – $40
Garage Control – $84
Thermostat – $129
Outdoor Plug – $39
Echo – $99


Not the cheapest set up, the 3 door locks (gate, front door, garage door) didn’t help.  Unfortunately those were the most important part because I need to set user codes. I could have also saved money and got a normal hub, but I am thinking about getting the ADT monitoring service. Hope this helps to manage your house when you are away.

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