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 for 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. In 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 the water in the Netherlands is not really expensive, I wanted to get more insights into how much water we are using and if there is any way to save some water. Unfortunately, water delivery doesn’t come with a smart meter. There’s just an analog counter. So how do you measure the water usage and make this analog meter smart?
See water usage in the Home Assistant Energy Dashboard
The 2022.11 release of Home Assistant added the option to track water usage in the Home Assistant Energy dashboard. The ESPhome configuration has been updated to support this feature. Thanks to MJV for sharing his configuration on the Home Assistant forums.
Some places in the Netherlands have city heating. The intention is to reuse warmth from industry to heat your houses and get warm water. In theory this is a very nice system, but in real world this provides pure vendor lock in, as you can’t switch vendor. This makes city heating very expensive for the consumer. Also most of the warmth is not generated by (green) industry residual warmth but generated by burning gas, biomass and other fuels. So not really a green solution. But enough about my complaints about city heating. More important: how can you read the values and get insights of your usage.
The idea of a smart home is not to only control your home, but also get insights out of your home. A warm home and shower is a crucial for a comfortable day-to-day. It’s also the most one of the biggest costs of living. So we need insights.
Home Assistant has an amazing Energy dashboard, that can also your heating by gas. Unfortunately city heating is not measures with M3 gas but it’s measured measurement called GigaJoule (GJ). So how do we get the energy insights of city heating into Home Assistant?
That’s what I’m going to describe in this article :).
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.
In previous article series I provided an overview and step by step instruction how to make you Bellfire fireplace with Mertik Maxitrol controller smart. This project that was presented during the Home Assistant Conference 2020.
In the article series and presentation I focused on the essential controls, basically turning the fireplace on and off. I received number of requests to extend the controls to support increasing and decreasing the fire and also activating the so called center burner.
After doing some research and trial and error I’ve found the combinations for the relays to add these features to your smart fireplace.
I’m on a quest to decrease the number of points of failure in my home automation setup. Moving everything as close to Home Assistant core functionality. Recently I moved to ZHA for Zigbee support and removed external bridges like Xiaomi Gateway and Philips Hue.
Now it’s time to remove a Raspberry Pi that’s running Zwave2MQTT. I want to start saying that Zwave2MQTT has always worked very well for me, it never let me down. I just don’t trust Raspberry Pi’s anymore, SD-card get corrupted and they sometimes just die on me. This is also a reason why I prefer embedded solution with ESP boards.
A few of the garden lights, our bedroom window and a few power plugs are on Z-wave.
Most important are the lights downstairs that are all controlled with Fibaro Dimmer 2. These are lights used by the family every day and are also included in automation for automated turn off and on based on presence. So this migration needed to go seamless.
I documented my steps for future reference and to help others. To be hones the installation was pretty seamless. For continuity I choose to rename the entity IDs to match the old entity IDs. All details and steps can be found below.
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.
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.
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.