About a week or so ago, I purchased a Schlage lock, lamp module and Z-Wave bridge, and set up a new Nexia system to control these components. Here is the story of my installation!
About a week or so ago, I purchased a Schlage lock, lamp module and Z-Wave bridge, and set up a new Nexia system to control these components. In this article, I’ll explain how I came to purchase this system and then walk you through the installation.
I have a Vivant alarm installed in the house. This alarm system is Z-Wave-based and provides excellent control over the alarm system in the house. Access to the alarm system via mobile devices is provided by Alarm.Com, and my wife has gotten used to being able to disarm the alarm for babysitters and contractors coming and going from the house. She wanted to have a solution that allowed her similar control over the lock on the door between the garage and the kitchen, and since the builders’ grade lock on the door was on its last legs, it made sense to look into devices that could be controlled via Z-Wave.
A Z-Wave system consists of a Z-Wave controller, which attaches to your router to give you system access and control over the internet, and Z-Wave devices like locks, window shades, thermostats and lighting modules. The devices form a Z-Wave wireless mesh network, with all of the devices connected and repeating traffic from the controller. Installation is a simple process of pairing the new device with the Z-Wave controller, and then configuration of your system using a simple web application.
First up, I looked at adding on some locks to my Vivint account.
Vivint Locks/Alarm.Com Back End
We already use Vivint as the alarm provider, and we are already very happy with the Alarm.Com backend solution that Vivint delivers. I contacted Vivint and they quoted me $150 per lock, a 52 month extension of my Vivint contract and another $20 or so per month increased fee to add the locks. We are currently on a month-to-month contract with Vivint, so they wanted us to also pick up the increased alarm monitoring fees as those charges have increased since our contract expired. In addition, they only offered an entry-level KwikSet lock that did not look as nice as the Yale and Schlage products. In the end, we decided against Vivint, even after they offered the locks for free; we did not want to extend our contract.
Mi Casa Verde
Mi Casa Verde is a company that will sell you a controller and provide internet access, with no ongoing monthly charges. You pay upfront for the device and internet access and control is bundled. The Vera 3 controller runs about $299, but the Vera Lite at $179 looked like it would do the trick. As long as the devices that you want to control are Z-Wave compatible, Mi Casa Verde will control them and provide you with access and control over the internet. I opted to pass on Mi Casa Verde as I’ve never installed any Z-Wave devices and I wanted to make sure that the system that I chose had live telephone customer support. If you are confident about the installation and system configuration, then Mi Casa Verde makes sense.
M Control is another approach to Z-Wave: it turns your computer or home server into the Z-Wave controller and hosts the remote access web page on that computer. M Control is supported on Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Home Server v1, Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Server, and installs a remote access website onto your system, much like the one that is installed by Windows Home Server. The basic package starts at $179, and provides all that you need to control Z-Wave devices in your home. I chose to pass on M Control as I don’t really want to install a new web page onto my current Windows Home Server 2011.
Nexia Home Intelligence
I told you about Nexia Home Intelligence here, and I visited with them at CES2013. This used to be known as Schlage Link, and is Ingersoll Rand’s entry into the home automation space. With brands such as Schlage and Trane under their corporate umbrella, the idea is to provide a system that allows for control of a broad range of devices across the Ingersoll Rand portfolio. Remote access to your account is provided by MyNexia.Com, which costs $8.99 per month or $99 per year. Nexia supports all Z-Wave compatible hardware, giving you the ability to choose the hardware that you want to use yourself. In addition, Nexia has customer support available, and that proved invaluable to me as a first-time home automation customer.