Home Mode

Home Modes are a very simple yet powerful system to control devices in your home as your home goes through its day. Let's assume a normal day and see how your home can respond to how you live your life.

Time What's going on
Midnight Asleep
6am Wake up
7:30am Leave for work
6:30pm Return home
10:30pm Go to bed

OK, so that's the schedule now let's see how your devices should respond.

TV: Most televisions these days are never really off. They are in a lower power mode when they appear off but are still using power. This makes it possible for remote controls to turn them on. When you are asleep or not at home the TV might as well be truly powered off. You can do this by plugging it into a controllable outlet.

Battery chargers: Anything with a "power brick" uses power even if nothing is attached to it. When you are not at home it should be off. When you are home - even when you are asleep - it should remain powered on so things can charge. Again, a controllable outlet can be used here.

Interior lighting: This should be off when you are not at home and should go off when you leave or when you go to bed. While you are home, the lighting should respond as desired.

Circulation Pump:There is no point in having hot water distributed through your home when you are away, but it should be available when you get up or when you return home

These are just some of the devices in your home that can be controlled based upon what Mode your home is in. The intent here is to have off what should be off, when it should be off. This results in energy savings and reduced electricity use. Some very simple options in the properties for your devices can make all this happen.

HCA supports up to 4 user defines modes. These are the default modes created when you make a new design but you can modify them as needed for your home:

  • Home and Awake
  • Home & Asleep
  • Away

Configuring devices for modes

To configure devices for what actions they take to control the device when the mode changes and how they respond when in the mode, open the device's properties and select the Green tab.

HCA Device Properties Green Tab

There are two settings for each mode: "Action when entering mode" and "Response while in mode". It's important to understand the distinction. The "Action when entering mode" only happens when HCA shifts from mode to mode. If the current mode is Away and is in that mode for days, nothing happens. But as soon as the house changes from "Away" to "Home and Awake", then each device is examined to see what should happen when entering the "Home and Awake" mode.

The choices for what happens upon entering a mode are:

  • Do Nothing
  • Go Off
  • Go On

Let's first examine the options for what happens when a mode is entered, by looking at the examples given at the start of this chapter. In this table each device shows what action should be taken when your home enters the mode.

Device Home and Awake Away Home and Asleep
TV Go on Go off Go off
Charger Go on Go off Go on
Lighting Do nothing Go off Do nothing
Pump Go on Go off Go off

Focus first on the "Away" column. When you tell your home that you are leaving everything goes off. This is a great way to save a lot of energy. When you return home, or when you wake up in the morning, your home goes into the "Home and Awake" mode. The TV is powered on so you can use your remote to actually turn it on - the picture doesn't appear because we are just powering on the outlet it is plugged in to. The circulation pump goes on to make sure hot water is distributed. Nothing is done with Interior lighting - you turn on what you want when you want it.

When you go to bed, energy is again saved by shutting lots of things off, except for the phone and iPod chargers which stay powered on so they can charge your iPod and cell phone at night

Actions while in a mode

In the device properties tab shown above, there was a second column of configuration parameters: Response while in mode. Let's look at these parameters with another example. Suppose that every day you would like some lights to come on automatically at dusk. That's easy - you create a simple schedule that controls those lights at that time. The problem is you don't want it to happen when you are not home.

There are many ways to solve this problem. One method would be to have two different schedules - one for when you are home and one for when you are away. Another method would be to have a program control the lights and in that program make a test to see if you are home or not. Then schedule the program to run every day at dusk.

With the Home Mode concept it is much simpler. All you need to is to schedule the lights to come on everyday at dusk. That's all! On the properties for those interior lights, mark them like this:

Mode Response while in mode
Home and Awake Behave normally
Home and asleep Behave normally
Away Suspend all actions

When a device is marked as "suspend all actions" for response while in mode, as long as your home is in that mode that device will not be controlled by a schedule or any programs regardless of what the schedule says or the programs does.

This is quite a feature! With just a few checkboxes you can control every device in your home to respond to the most common actions of your day.