The year 2023 is now wrapped up, so it’s time to look once again back in last year. Last year I set the targets for energy saving and optimisations along with some smaller topics like continuing room tours and finalising the wall mounted tablet dashboard (neither of these smaller topics did happen).
Anyhow.. here’s the summary of 2023 of my smart home and the status of the blog.
Before year 2023 I only had ZigBee, Z-Wave and WiFi networks available for smart home devices and I kind of tried to avoid Bluetooth as I’ve got few bad experiences of it in the past. However, since testing couple of SwitchBot devices, I changed my mind about Bluetooth and it finally got a place in my Smart Home ecosystem! BLE 5.0 has a meshing feature so the devices can route message through each others. It’s also rather easy to build a ESP32 Bluetooth proxy to route all messages from supported Bluetooth devices directly to Home Assistant!
Collaboration with SwitchBot
It was last year spring that I got contacted by SwitchBot and they were asking if I would like to test their devices and write reviews of their their equipment; I was thrilled. This was one sort of a milestone of my writing: the blog was getting attention around the world from a bigger company! Eventually I dived into their full ecosystem, reviewed blind tilt controller, tested their awesome outdoor meter, made a review of an outdoor camera, had a guest writer Kimmo to review of curtain bot 2 and curtain bot 3. Also at the end of the year, I got a change to check out their latest robot robot vacuum k10+!
I was so impressed of most of their devices that I eventually participated in their kickstarter program of S10 robot vacuum: self cleaning, self emptying, fully automated vacuuming and mopping robot!
Can’t wait to see what they come up in the next year! I see they are trying to do something different rather than just copying others 🙂
For few years I’ve had been thinking of installing a solar system to provide me clean energy during the spring/summer time and I finally decided to invest on it. The solar system is build from 20 pieces of 430wP Hyundai shingled solar panels and Growatt 9kW inverter so that the total peak of the system is specified to 8.6kWp.
The installation date was 24.5.2023 and from that date until 31.12.2023 the production has been 4490.1kWh. About half of that has been sold back to grid and half has been used myself, mostly to charge car, heat water or heat the spa.
After couple of months of usage I did find the Growatt cloud to be very unreliable and finally they ended the support for 3rd party devices so I installed Solar-Assistant to locally collect all the data from the Growatt inverter.
Even more energy saving..
The theme of energy saving continued after switching to dynamically priced electricity (energy exchange) even more. I finally managed to set up my house heating and other appliances to follow cheap hours and avoiding the expensive ones. I even wrote an automation that take advantage of Home Assistant local calendar to handle the schedules for the energy hungry devices. (articles #1, #2, #3).
I also installed more energy meters so I can truly tell what appliances are consuming the most electricity. It’s said that analyse first before taking the action 🙂
Without any hesitation I can say that those automations have saved me a lot of money without compromising comfort!
While transitioning to the Google Analytics 4, I unfortunately lost some of my previous data prior to April 2023. Therefore the data collected can’t really be compared to previous years. However, comparing the last few months of the last year it’s obvious that the blog has reached its all time high pages views for the year (November AU30 = 7.6k).
Comparing the blog visibility on Google Search, it’s safe to say that the page impressions and click amount has been nearly doubled since last year! Hurray!
Even though the blog is getting more visibility and attention, I’m still planning to keep the blog as hobby rather than making it more commercial. I just want share my smart home work and write more or less helpful articles when I have the inspiration and spare time 🙂
For this year I think the energy saving theme will continue even more. For the next summer I really need to automate the solar panel production more: when to sell the electricity back to grid and when to use it for maximum profit. It’s not an easy task though, but if interested, keep scanning the blog during the spring 🙂
Another thing I really should improve is my Home Assistant dashboard. I haven’t really give it the love it deservers for ages and I really want to make a ‘wow’ effect with it. The problem is though, that when having tons of devices, it’s rather challenging to make a good clean dashboard that will display only the data you ‘want’ to see.
Third thing I should at least investigate is the use of machine learning and AI in the smart home environment! Wouldn’t it be cool to have Home Assistant learning your behaviour and automating devices? Or at lest suggesting you to do some actions through UI if it notices some known patterns?
Oh, and I’ve been asked few times if I could make a list of all the devices I’m currently running in my smart home. So that list should come online in few and I’ll try to keep in updated almost real time 🙂