A few weeks ago, my wife and I put a contract on a plot of land, so we’re looking to build a new house within the next year. Of course, HomeKit will be a significant part of it. I plan to rethink everything about my HomeKit environment for this new house and start from scratch from a software standpoint. Are you building a new home? Follow along with me to gain tips and tricks on creating the HomeKit environment during the home building process. Some of the products will be installed by the builder, but I will install others after moving into the home.

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.


New HomeKit router?

The first thing I am thinking through is what I want to do for my home network. I’ll run CAT6 wire to every TV location in the home for our Apple TVs, but there is also much more to consider. I am currently using two AmpliFi Alien routers to power my home network. Still, I am considering switching to the eero 6 Pro to take advantage of HomeKit router technology. HomeKit router technology hasn’t evolved much since it was released, so I am not 100% sure what I will do here. I’ve enjoyed having the AmpliFi Alien for the past few years, especially with its built-in VPN when I am away from the house.

Door locks

August Wi-Fi Smart Lock

I have multiple variations of the August lock for the past few years, so I’ll likely continue using it for our front door. I’ve enjoyed using the VOCOlinc for our back door, so I’ll probably purchase another one for our new house.

Of all the HomeKit products I own, having the ability to unlock our doors automatically has been the best smart home experience to date.

Outdoor cameras

Outdoor cameras are something I have to think through. I love the outdoor eufy cameras, but with a new build, I do have the opportunity to install wired cameras, so I don’t have to worry about getting power to them. I could install a couple of Logitch’s Circle View cameras, but then if I wanted to change out cameras in the future, I’d have to rerun the power cord into the attic.

I’ll probably stick with the eufy cameras for simplicity, but it’s certainly something to consider. You have to weigh the balance of never worrying about battery life (or installing the eufy solar panel) or having a more challenging time upgrading cameras in the future.

Doorbell

I’ve been using the eufy wired doorbell at our current home, and while I love it, it’s not HomeKit compatible. I plan to have my electrician install the Logitech HomeKit Doorbell instead of the one they’d generally install, but also still install a standard Chime.

Although the eufy doorbell has been fantastic, I’d like the ability to run HomeKit automations using a motion sensor at the door.

Security system

I’ve been using the abode iota for the past year, and I can’t say enough good things about it. I will continue using abode, but I might switch to the smart security kit version that doesn’t include a built-in camera/motion sensor in the base station. I love those features of the iota, but I will install this version in my wiring closet to not need those features.

I’ll continue to use the slim door sensors. I’d rather not have to drill holes in my doors, and these strips have worked great with my existing system. I’ll continue to use abode’s premium monitoring thanks to the peace of mind it brings, LTE backup, and 24/7 monitoring station.

I’ll add a few abode motion sensors, glass break sensors, keypad, and smoke monitors to round out my system. The HomeKit compatibility increases the system’s usefulness because you can use their motion sensors and door sensors as triggers inside of HomeKit for setting off automations.

Thermostat

I’ve got two thermostats in my current one. One is a Nest, and the other is an ecobee. You’d think this would be an easy decision for HomeKit compatibility, but with the Starling Home Hub, a Nest thermostat becomes compatible with HomeKit. My wife prefers the Nest app over the ecobee app, but I know Nest looks to be moving into the Google Home app long term. I like the Nest app, but I don’t want to use the Google Home app.

HomePod minis

I plan to have a HomePod mini in every room in my new house as they are essential to getting the most out of HomeKit. Instead of relying on an iPhone to access HomeKit through Siri, anyone in my home can control the smart home experience with just their voice. In my few months with HomePod mini, it’s become one of my favorite Apple devices.

What’s next?

We’re just now to the point of talking with builders about our plans, but I am planning to start purchasing products as I see them go on sale at 9to5Toys throughout the year.

I’ll be setting up a brand-new “home” in HomeKit to eliminate any software “crud” from my current home.

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