Fibaro home appliance monitoring

Receive a notification when the washing has finished.

One of the many advantages of Z-Wave is the ability to monitor the energy consumption of appliances and devices connected to Z-Wave power modules - besides monitoring energy consumption (which is handy in itself), we can also trigger other Z-Wave devices or notifications based on energy usage changes. In this blog I will show you how to receive a smartphone notification when your washing machine has finished its cycle.

Now you may well be thinking... "Why would I need a notification on my phone when the washing is finished?". A great question, to which the answer is rather simple (and a little sad)... if you are anything like me, there is a good chance that the wet washing may sit in the washing machine for a few days, only making itself known by emitting a rather putrid and mouldy smell!

So essentially I am using technology to make up for my absent-mindedness (that's my favourite kind of technology - the kind that saves me from myself!) - you may find other useful ways to adapt this blog to your particular needs or inadequacies ;)

Aeotec Smart Switch 6

Overview.

We are going to use the Aeotec Smart Switch 6 as our energy monitoring Z-Wave device. Your washing machine will be plugged into this Z-Wave module and the energy consumption data will be fed into the Fibaro Home Center.

We will then create a Variable (more on this below) and two simple Scenes that will allow you to receive a notification to your smartphone(s) when the washing is done.

This won't take long at all...

Creating the notification.

First, we want to create a Notification within Home Center - this will be the Push Notification message that will be sent to our smartphone(s).

Within the Fibaro Home Center web interface...

1. Click on “Panels” in the top menu.

2. Select “Notification Panel” from the list on the left.

3. Name your Notification: Washing Machine (or whatever you like).    4. Enter the same notification text for each of the text fields.    5. Click Save.

Great. Now we have a Push Notification that we will trigger later in one of our Scenes below when your wash cycle is finished.

Now on to...

Creating a Variable.

Next, we want to create a Predefined Variable - This Variable will keep track of the current state of your washing machine... Off or Running.

Within the Fibaro Home Center web interface...

1. Click on “Panels” in the top menu.

2. Select “Variables Panel” from the list on the left.

3. Click the “Add” button under “Predefined variables”.

4. Name your Variable: Washing (or whatever you like).    5. Enter 2 Values: Off & Running.    6. Click Save.

Hint: After creating and saving our Variable above, be sure it is set to "Off" before moving on to the next step.

Perfect. Now we have a way of letting Home Center know the current state of your washing machine... Off or Running – now we move on to creating scenes that will change the washing machine variable above and send a notification when the washing cycle is finished.

We are almost done...

Creating the Scenes.

Our last step is to create two Scenes in Home Center. These Scenes will adjust the Washing Variable we created above and send a notification when the washing cycle is complete.

Scene 1 - Washing Running.

Our first Scene will detect when your washing machine has started its cycle - this is done by monitoring the energy usage through the Smart Switch 6 (to which your washing machine is plugged into).

Let's go through the Scene logic step-by-step...

Our "Triggers"...

  • When "Washing Machine" (Smart Switch 6 module) W> (Watts - Greater Than) 10
  • And "Washing" (our Variable) is "Off"

Our "Actions" (Then)...

  • Set our "Washing" Variable to "Running"

That's it for our first Scene. We are simply changing our "Washing" Variable from "Off" to "Running" when the Smart Switch 6 detects energy usage (the washing machine is powered on).

Our "Washing" Variable plays a very important roll here. The Scene needs two conditions to be true for it to run... The "Washing" Variable must be "Off" and the power consumption must be greater than 10w - by changing the "Washing" Variable to "Running", we eliminate the chance that our Scene will get caught in a "loop" (which would break our logic) as "Washing = Off" is no longer true.

On to our second Scene...

Scene 2- Washing Done.

Our final Scene will detect when power consumption drops (washing machine has finished its cycle) and send the Notification we created above - as well as re-setting our "Washing" Variable back to "Off" (ready for next time).

Let's go through the Scene logic step-by-step...

Our "Triggers"...

  • When "Washing" (our Variable) is "Running" (set from the 1st Scene above).
  • And "Washing Machine" (Smart Switch 6 module) W <= (Watts - Less than or Equal to) 1 (1 Watt)

Our "Actions" (Then)...

  • Send Push Notification ("Washing Machine" Notification we created above) to a Fibaro User's smartphone
  • Set our "Washing" Variable back to "Off" (ready for the next cycle)

That's it, we are done.

Now when your washing machine has finished its cycle, you will receive a Push Notification to your phone.

Some tips and tricks.

You may need to adjust the wattage detection settings in your Scenes - as each washing machine will be different (and consume varying amounts of power during the wash cycle). The settings above worked well for me and I expect should suit most washing machines.

You can add as many Fibaro Users to receive the Notification in the 2nd Scene as you like.

Instead of (or as well as) receiving the Notification, you could adjust the 2nd Scene to do something else when the washing has finished - flash a Z-Wave enabled light or lamp or perhaps have the Dome Z-Wave Indoor Siren make a noise - adjust the 2nd Scene as you see fit :)

You may wish to change the icons for your Smart Switch 6 and Scenes, feel free to use the icons below...

 

Hint: Right-click on the images above and choose "Save image as" to save them onto your computer. You can then use these icons for your Smart Switch 6 and Scenes (see How to change Fibaro Home Center icons).

Knowledge is power.

Monitoring energy consumption of appliances may surprise you just how much certain appliances are costing to run. The Aeotec Z-Wave Plug-In Smart Switch 6 is perfect for this task. Best of all, it is easy to move around to different appliances, leave it plugged in for a day or two and monitor the connected energy consumption - you can then make informed decisions on how it may be possible to save energy (and therefore money).

In a Z-Wave enabled smart home, we can do more than just monitor energy consumption (which in itself can be very enlightening) - we can also use this information to trigger some very clever automated scenarios (including the one above). Here are some other ideas...

  • Receive a notification if your kid's gaming console has been on for more than 2 hours (and automatically switch it off!)
  • Automatically turn on a lamp when the TV is turned on during the evening (and switch it off again when you are done with the idiot box).
  • Detect if a hair-straightener has been left on for too long and automatically turn it off (I'm looking at you Mr's Arthur!).
  • Automatically turn off a plug-in heater if it has been on too long.
  • You get the idea ;)

Final thoughts...

As always, please leave a comment below if you run into any issues – we are always happy to help. If you have found a better or more efficient solution than above - or have some clever ways you have put energy monitoring to good use, let us know below in the comments section so we can share it with the World :)

All the best,

Brad

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