Build a cheap water usage sensor using ESPhome and a proximity sensor

ESP home water meter home assistant proximity

This article will provide you with a walkthrough on how you can build a water usage meter sensor that integrates with your Home Assistant for under 10 $/EURO, without the need of any soldering or coding skills.

This article will also cover the configuration that’s needed in Home Assistants to translate the ‘pulse’ to liters (or any other non-metric measurement) in Home Assistant. At the end you will have clear insights in how much water you are using per day, hour and week.

Why do you want to measure water usage of your home?

These days it’s all about insights. I measure pretty much all my utilities, including power and city heating. The last missing piece is water usage. Although water in the Netherlands is not really expensive I wanted to get more insights on how much water are we using and is there anyway to save some water. Unfortunately water delivery doesn’t come with a smart meter. There’s just a analog counter. So how do you measure the water usage and make this analog meter smart?

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2022 update: Flash ESPhome on ESP32 ESP2866 NodeMCU board

A lot is changed since I wrote multiple articles around ESPhome. One of the mayor things is that ESPhome is now part of HomeAssistant core and it comes with a nice integrated User Interface.

What are ESP32 and ESP2866 nodeMCU boards?

ESP boards are a low cost Wi-Fi chips that have built in flash chips allowing you to build a single chip device capable of connecting to Wi-Fi. newer versions like the ESP32 boards also provide you BLE (Bluetooth low energy) and there’s loads of variety of boards you can use.  

With ESP you can easy make smart solutions for HomeAutomation. You can buy them for about 4-9 dollar/euro on AliExpress or for a bit more with faster delivery on Amazon.

Read more about ESP boards in my introduction to ESP boards article

This article is an updated version of the the Compile and flash your ESP with ESPhome article.

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Build a cheap air quality sensor using ESPhome, Home Assistant and a particulate matter sensor

This article will provide a walkthrough of how you can build a Particulate Matter Air Quality meter that integrates with your Home Assistant for under 20$, without any soldering or coding skills needed.

The sensor will provide multiple air-quality measurements directly visible in Home Assistant.

After seeing all kinds of air purifiers in the market, like the one from Xiaomi and Philips. I got interested in the topic air quality. First, I needed to learn more about how and what to measure, followed by actually measuring the air quality in my home. I don’t want to buy a air purifier if the quality of the air in my home is not bad. But how do you measure air quality?

What is a Particulate Matter sensor?

My search started with looking for a particulate matter sensor. A particulate matter sensor measures tiny particles or droplets in the air that have a specific size in microns or micrometers (µm). Like inches, meters and miles, a micron is a unit of measurement for distance. There are about 25,000 microns in an inch.

Particulate matter is the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air many of which are hazardous. This complex mixture includes both organic and inorganic particles, such as dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. These particles vary greatly in size, composition, and origin.

Source: www.greenfacts.org

Particulate matter (PM) is generally classified into two main size categories: PM10 and PM2.5. As an example, the particulate classified as PM2.5 is the size of 2.5 µm and would be thirty times smaller than that of a human hair.

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Bellfire home automation project

This article provides you with an overview and links of all articles published around the Bellfire fireplace (Mertik Maxitrol controller) project that was presented during the Home Assistant Conference 2020.

Although this solution is presented around Home Assistant you can easily use the same solution in OpenHab, Domoticz or any other open home automation platform.

Slides

View Automate Everything! How to make your stupid device smart on Notist.

Introduction articles

The steps

Shopping list

  1. The ESPboard: ESP8266 board or ESP32 if you also want to use Bluetooth features on AliExpress.com, Banggood, Amazon
  2. The 4 channel relay board. Make sure you select the 5V version The relay: 5v relay board AliExpress.com or Banggood, Amazon
  3. If you don’t want to solder order:
    – Mini breadboards AliExpress.com or Banggood
    – Dupont cables male-female AliExpress.com or Banggood

Optional tools

Introducing ESPHome

This article is part of the Make your Bellfire fireplace smart project that I presented during the Home Assistant Conference 2020.

In the previous article, we introduced ESP boards and Relays that will help to switch the Bellfire fireplace pins of the controller. Now we need to control software that connect the ESP to Home Assistant and that can control the relays using the ESP GPIO pins. We are going to do this with an ESPHome.

ESPHome — ESPHome

ESPHome is a system to control your ESP8266/ESP32 by simple yet powerful configuration files and control them remotely through Home Automation systems like Home Assistant.

ESPHome is amazing, it’s extremely powerful and, more important very stable. It has never failed me. The integration with Home Assistant is seamless, including autodiscovery within Home Assistant and one-click configuration.

If you want, you can build advanced sensors with it. The good thing is that sensors are supported natively by ESPHome and can be used by easy configuration. The possibilities with ESPHome and Home Assistant are endless; the blocking factor is your own imagination.

Key features

  • Easy to work with, no programming needed
  • Seamless integration with Home Assistant
  • Over-The-Air flashing of the firmware
  • Supports a long list of devices.

We’ll use ESPHome to connect the ESP to Home Assistant and to control the relays using the GIO pins.

So we have Home Assistant, a relay, a ESP board, ESP home and a fireplace…. How is this all going to work together? I’m going to tell you that in the next article.