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How do you guys handle Home and Away occupancy settings?


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From my reading on this forum, geofencing seems to be a bust so I'm thinking my only way to set a home/away status is with a boolean variable.  The real trick- how does one trigger it?  Some ideas came to mind, but they have a number of challenges:

  • Use the alarm panel.  Maybe, but we don't set the alarm very often (small children and dogs) except on vacations.  I suppose I can change my habits, but I fear a lot of false alarms to the cops....  6 year olds are notoriously unreliable when it comes to verifying the alarm is off before they let the dog out the back door...  
  • Program a keypad button near the door that sets home/away.  That's not very "smart", but effective.  
  • Set a timer that's reset every time a manual activity inside the house happens.  TV turns on,  lights turn on, etc resets the "Home" timer.  Would have to figure out how to separate scheduled activities from manual ones.  

My primary desire is to have the HVAC setting change based on the occupancy.  My last house had a Honeywell Lyric thermostat and geofencing worked beautifully.  I'm struggling with it in this new house- the builder installed Cor thermostats and they don't have geofencing....

Any other ideas?

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I have geofencing setup in my system using Alan’s IFTTT driver and it works awesome. Rock solid. Entire family uses iPhones. Been using it for a very long time, ever since Phil’s follow me driver stopped working. 

I recommend it. 

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I have a "Goodbye" and "Hello" button on a keypad next to our main entrances.  We only use "Hello" if it's night and we want lights to come on throughout the house, or if the home has been in "Vacation" mode and we want to disable it.  The "Goodbye" scene is much more useful for us; it turns off all A/V, lights, sets timers to lock all doors/garage doors, etc.

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For geo fencing and if you have unifi.  Check out our network driver. It can track any network attached device and you can program off of when that device is online/offline including the length time offline.  

we use the unifi driver and when mine and my wife’s  phone disconnect at the same time we set vacation mode using the modes agent.  This was nice because we could then map vacation mode onto our other automatic events. 

The modes agent has has a nice notification system and connection bindings for simple keypad ‘vacation on/off’ buttons.  
 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, jillmark99 said:

I have geofencing setup in my system using Alan’s IFTTT driver and it works awesome. Rock solid. Entire family uses iPhones. Been using it for a very long time, ever since Phil’s follow me driver stopped working. 

I recommend it. 

Interesting- any links to this configuration?  I'm not real savvy on IFTTT so this might be an adventure!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello David,

I approach this a little different. I use variables and timers. We have an away button that when pressed starts a timer for 2 hrs and sets away variable to ‘1’. When 2 hrs expires it resets itself to 24 hrs and when that expires it moves the away variable to ‘2’. The reset happens again on a 24hrs basis with the away variable counting up to ‘5’, then the reset stops. When a door opens, if the away variable is >0 then it moves it to zero, ‘0’ means we are home. From there, I have a bunch of things happen at all stages. Works great, never an issue and I like it because the system knows that we have been away for certain periods of time, for water shutoff, mockupancy, blinds control, HVAC setback, other timers, etc.

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On 10/5/2021 at 12:02 AM, Nick L said:

Hello David,

I approach this a little different. I use variables and timers. We have an away button that when pressed starts a timer for 2 hrs and sets away variable to ‘1’. When 2 hrs expires it resets itself to 24 hrs and when that expires it moves the away variable to ‘2’. The reset happens again on a 24hrs basis with the away variable counting up to ‘5’, then the reset stops. When a door opens, if the away variable is >0 then it moves it to zero, ‘0’ means we are home. From there, I have a bunch of things happen at all stages. Works great, never an issue and I like it because the system knows that we have been away for certain periods of time, for water shutoff, mockupancy, blinds control, HVAC setback, other timers, etc.

I've actually considered doing something similar.  If you manually turn on or off any activity it resets the away to zero, etc.

But now that my Cor thermostats appear to not work with C4 (suddenly stopped working 3 weeks ago), I might just end up replacing all the thermostats anyway.  

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