Z-Wave Smart Home Blog

How I Smartened Up My Apartment Using Z-Wave Tech

How I Smartened Up My Apartment Using Z-Wave Tech

By: Alex Gil

We write a lot about the benefits of smart technology for homeowners here on the Z-Wave.com blog, and we’ve even discussed how renters can benefit from Z-Wave as well. As a communications professional who writes about the benefits of smart home every day, I was interested in adding smart technology to my apartment but had minimal experience. I browsed the Z-Wave.com site and utilized some of the helpful guides and blogs to help me choose a few options that wouldn’t break the bank. With just a few products I changed the way my husband and I live – without spending a fortune or littering our walls with holes. Here’s my step-by-step setup experience with some tips I learned along the way.

The products

Through my research on Z-Wave.com I knew that grabbing a smart hub was the first step to getting started with my smart apartment. I opted for the Samsung SmartThings Hub because of its reliability, simple installation process, small size and free smartphone app (although plenty of other hubs offer this as well). Then I chose a few products to get started with. I snagged a few GE by Jasco Enbrighten Z-Wave LED Dimmable light bulbs, a GE by Jasco Z-Wave Plug-In Appliance module, a Dome Z-Wave Plus Door/Window Sensor, and an Amazon Echo to control everything by voice.

After all my gear showed up, it was time to get started on installation.

Getting set up

Setting up was a breeze. I consider myself a smart home tech novice – I know my way around computers and smart phones, but know little about setting up other kinds of household tech. The first product I set up was my SmartThings Hub. My router is set up behind my TV so I placed the hub next to it, inserting the power adapter into an outlet, and connecting the Ethernet cable to my router. Next, I headed to the smartthings.com/start page on my iPhone and followed the on-screen instructions to download the app. From there, I used the app to guide me through the rest of the setup and within 15 minutes my hub was up and running. The next step was to set up my additional smart devices. I grabbed two LED lightbulbs and installed one in my living room and one in our dining room, simply replacing my existing “dumb” lightbulbs with the new smart ones. I installed the plug-in appliance module on a power strip in our bedroom and plugged my bedside lamp into it. We installed the door/window sensor on our bedroom door, and the Amazon Echo was added to a central place in between my kitchen and dining room area. I downloaded the Alexa app and synced my Echo to my phone within 10 minutes with help from the Z-Wave.com video that walked me through how to set up.

Our SmartThings hub easily recognized all of our Z-Wave enabled smart devices, and in less than an hour I was able to access all of them right from the SmartThings app. With the press of a button I could turn the lights on or off, and access the sensor’s activity all from one central place.

How we use our smart apartment

We live in a renovated mill building apartment, with a loft and high ceilings. Our living room space is upstairs and our Amazon Echo is downstairs.

I tested out Alexa’s voice recognition capabilities by asking her to first turn on the upstairs lamp. You can edit the name of your devices at any time in the SmartThings app to make it easier to remember device names. I called out “Alexa, turn on upstairs lamp!” while standing in the upstairs loft. Alexa heard me immediately, acknowledged my request with an “OK!” and the light turned on.

Next, I wanted to check out scene capabilities. In the SmartThings app, under the Automation tab, I chose a “Goodbye” scene and added my lights to the scene. I set the scene to automatically turn off all of my devices at 8:15 AM – the time I’m usually running out the door to work. The scene worked perfectly – the next day I noticed that as I was leaving, all of my lights were turning off as well. I then set a “Wakeup” scene and a “Welcome Home” scene so that our lighting is always perfectly synced with our lifestyles and schedules. Our bedroom door sensor sends an alert to our phone (I’ve since had to turn off push notifications for this due to our nosy cat) whenever the door is opened and closed, so I always know when my husband arrives home safely.

My formerly uninterested husband now asks me constantly about adding new capabilities to our smart apartment, so next on our list is a smart flood sensor (we have automatic water turn on in our apartment in case of fire) or a smoke sensor. Our apartment is proof that you don’t have to start big to smarten up your space!


apartment,z-wave products, amazon echo,smart lighting, smart sensors,how-to,GE by Jaso,Dome by Elexa

Cool Ways to Use Motion Sensors in Your Smart Home

Cool Ways to Use Motion Sensors in Your Smart Home

We often talk about smart home in terms of devices: how flood sensors can save you from soggy disaster; what makes one Z-Wave hub different from another. But when you get right down to it, it's the programming that makes a smart home smart, not to mention uniquely yours.

Deck the Halls with a Z-Wave Smart Home!

Deck the Halls with a Z-Wave Smart Home!

Holiday decorating – whether you have a small set up or a full blown light show in your front yard – is part of getting in the holiday spirit. But it doesn't have to be hard – some quick smart home gear can be you started!

IFA 2015 LG - Smart Home

GE Z-Wave - On/Off Switch

Control your home with the Apple Watch? Z-Wave's got it covered.

Control your home with the Apple Watch? Z-Wave's got it covered.

The Apple Watch is already great at a lot of things. It's perfect for keeping tabs on your personal fitness goals, for quickly checking (and even replying to) text messages and phone calls, for glancing at the weather forecast, and even for paying for purchases with Apple Pay. But what about controlling your home?

Spotted at CES 2017: Cool New Z-Wave Products You Need To Check Out

Spotted at CES 2017: Cool New Z-Wave Products You Need To Check Out

Whether you're a techie or not you've likely heard of CES, the largest consumer electronics show in the world. CES is the place where companies come to launch their newest gadgets and gear

FIBARO Motion Sensor

Complete Home Automation Package - Vivint

5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do with Z-Wave

5 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do with Z-Wave

By now, you're probably familiar with the basics of what a smart home can do: unlock and lock your doors remotely, control devices like lights and thermostats from your smart app and allow these gadgets to talk to one another and create automated scenes to make life easier and comfortable.

A Z-Wave hub, a gateway, a controller - what's the difference?

A Z-Wave hub, a gateway, a controller - what's the difference?

If you've been thinking about adding some smarts to your home, you may have already researched light and dimmers, door locks and thermostats—all of the various bits and pieces that go into creating a connected home experience. But how do you get all of this stuff to talk to each other and create a completely integrated smart home system? Do you need a hub, gateway, or controller?

Aeon Labs Aeotec Water Sensor review


So if you have a Z-Wave bridging smart hub, and want to monitor water levels in your sump pump, then the Aeotec Sensor is a great option.

How IoT & Smart Home Automation Will Change the Way We Live

Business Insider

Smart homes filled with connected products are loaded with possibilities to make our lives easier, more convenient, and more comfortable.

Become an Awesome Neighbor with Smart Home Technology


Instead, just use smart locks to give them a virtual key, and to give a virtual key to baby sitters, dog walkers, and temporary guests. You don't need to ask your neighbor to water your lawn while you're out of town, or to check to see if you closed the garage door and turned off the lights. You can monitor your lawn watering, and the status of your doors and lights, with your smartphone or tablet.

Get Smart With Stacey: When Gadgets, Voice Commands Don't Play Nice

PC Mag

But you could also do Z-Wave. I recommend you steer clear of ZigBee for this because I haven't yet found a ZigBee switch I love. Aeontec and Fibaro offer these $40 modules that fit inside your electrical box that will allow you to keep your switch, if you happen to like your switches.

What's New

Lennar Community Goes Standard with Z-Wave-based Controls


The homes come standard with home automation that includes locks, lights and a wireless alarm system. Among the products are: Schlage Z-Wave lock, Trane Z-Wave digital thermostat, and Nortek Z-Wave lighting control

The Almond 3 Router Wants To Be Your Smart Home Hub and Range Extender


Smart home devices can be connected using the Wi-Fi network, but Almond 3 also works with ZigBee and with Z-Wave and Bluetooth through the use of Bluetooth dongles. As a result, Almond 3 works directly with most major smart home products on the market — including Amazon Echo.

Open Sesame: Smart Locks to Keep Your Home Secure

Digital Trends

Yale Real Living Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt With Z-Wave ($165) - We put the Yale's touchscreen lock at the top of this list because it checks all the basic requirements for a good smart lock. It's easy to install, works with smart home systems such as SmartThings and Honeywell, and the backlit digital keypad eliminates the need to carry around house keys.

7 Ways to Save Energy (and Money)


One of the best reasons for upgrading your home with smart devices is to conserve energy (and money spent on energy bills). And there's no better time than now