Will you kids please turn out the lights when you leave the room!

I have resisted automated lights for as long as I could.  I struggled to see the point since we have no desire to use scenes, and it has been hit or miss with getting my family to use the myriad of apps required with our home.  Even with Homekit, and the apple control panel, adoption has not been as complete as I had hoped.

A few months ago, I decided to take the leap with Lutron Caseta starter kit.  I started with my hallway recess lighting since I wanted a dimmer in both the upstairs and downstairs halls.  I chose the Lutron Caseta line because it was home kit enabled, and because my wife wanted physical switches so the traditional functionality would not be impacted.

The install was typically boring as most of my projects were.  One important thing to note is because I was replacing 3 way switches I had to do some more advanced wiring.  First of all, on the secondary switch i had to tie together, the hot, switch, and traveler wires to close the circuit, as documented here.  Since there is only one switch with a remote, I also had to purchase a wall holder for the pico remote.  Luckily this mounts behind a wall plate, and appears to be a traditional switch.  On the primary switch, I wired the traveler and the hot together as per the documentation.  The entire install took a few min.

The switches work without the hub connected, they are simple toggle switches, but once connected to the bridge, I was able to bring them up on my phone using the supplied app, or homekit.  This lead to several more dimmer switches, and then the outdoor porch lighting.  The best part of the front porch lighting was the scenes as it turned out.  I was able to tie them to turn on at sunset, and off at sunrise.  Keeping the front of the house lit up makes it less inviting for someone who might be up to no good.

The real surprise for me was when I tied the lights into our Amazon Echo.  Suddenly my family was yelling at Alexa to change lighting.  The dimmer functionality was the biggest surprise, everyone wanted to set the lights to some percentage on, and at night, telling the system to turn the lights off.  Even my wife will use Alexa to turn on the lights to a low setting when she walks out for coffee in the morning, or set the foyer light on as she walks out the door in the evenings so she doesn’t come home to a dark house.

As always your mileage may vary, connected lighting is not for everyone, and I chose traditional LED bulbs over colors because it fit our family use case.  This has been one of the more surprising projects, but I am very impressed with the Lutron brand, and the adoption by my family.

Will you kids please turn out the lights when you leave the room!

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