We have a cat. We love to bits that weird creature, but I wish looking after him would have been easier. I am in charge of cleaning the litter and sometimes find myself forgetting to do that in time. This can be unpleasant for Archibald, but also smelly for us.
This routine is part of the Automation Bank, a community-driven list of over 50 practical automation ideas for your smart home. Read more about Automation Bank or search ideas by room, by device or by use case. Also, have a look at best home automation ideas as voted by our users.
The simple routine below can ease the cleaning process.
How does it work?
You need a sensor to understand when a cat made it to the litter, sensor to understand if you cleaned it and notification system.
- Install a motion sensor at the top of the litter box
- Install the door/window sensor so your smart hub. Its purpose is to avoid false notifications and it will detect once you opened the litter for clean-up (ADVANCED ONLY)
- There are a couple of options for routines:
- Use TTS (text-to-speech) in your voice assistant to say “POOOOOOOP” or something similar
- Notify to your phone via SMS or IM that you need to clean the litter
- ADVANCED: notify to your phone only if the litter has not been cleaned after 3 hours since the last time the cat was in.
What do you need?
Device Our Recommendation Price
IR hubA dedicated bridge
that emulates your
- Broadlink RM Pro4 ($44.99) is best IR blaster to use. It is simple to install and easy to operate
$10 - $30
Comms SticksUse Z-wave and Zigbee with your smart hub
$40 - $50
Home Assistant ServerUse Z-wave and Zigbee with your smart hub
- If you are new to Home Assistant, start with CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter PRO Kit - 4GB RAM (). It will cover your basic needs and easily expand.
- No products found. () once you understand how cool Home Assistant is, go for NUC. There are dedicated images for NUC which makes it great to use and simple to set up.
$80 - $400
RF hubRF bridge that emulates your Remote
$20 - $30
Shut off valveA valve that will close and open water supply
- Dome Home Automation Water Shut-Off Valve – DIY, Retrofit Solution for Copper, Pex, or PVC Water Pipes up to 1 ½” (DMWV1) (Indoor Use) (Price not available) is the most affordable option. Easy to install (you do not need a plumber) and operate. Requires Smart Hub
- leakSMART Water Leak Detection Kit ($335.03) is a more expensive option. It has all you need to set you up shut off valve. There are some negative comments on the hub but it works well in general.
- Grohe 22503LN0 ($555.00) is even more expensive. For the additional price, you have flow sensors capable to detect the pipe bursts without the sensors and better overall build quality. At the same, it has fewer options for integrating with your smart hub.
$99 - $400
Door/Window SensorReports if a door or window is open or closed
$20 - $30
Motion SensorDetects any motion. Ideally combined with luminance sensor.
A relatively simple device, with the price, mainly depends on the protocol you are using:
- Z-wave Motion Sensor: Our favouritez-wave sensor is Aeotec TriSensor ($54.99) for a good battery life, responsiveness and price. It also has luminance sensor built in. For a multisensor we recommend Zoos 4 in 1 multisensor ($44.95) or Aeon 6 in 1 ($62.99).
- Zigbee Motion Sensor: AGSHOME ZIGBEE Motion Sensor ($18.99) is the best for its price and stability.
$25 - $60
MultisensorMeasure several environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, or light levels
This is a more complicated device than a motion sensor and can be used where multiple environmental factors need to be detected:
- Z-wave: Our favourite z-wave sensor is Aeon 6 in 1 ($62.99) for its reliability and flexibility in use. It detects motion, humidity, temperature, light lux, UV, vibration sensor and has 2-year battery life
$20 - $60
Water leak detectorA sensor that will trigger the shut-off valve to work
- HomeSeer HS-LS100+ Leak sensor ($39.00) is the most affordable and simple solution. At this price, you should cover all the areas in your house. Requires A Smart Hub
- FIBARO Flood Sensor ($49.99) is a very good Z-wave leak detector. It has great battery life, easy to pair and very accurate at alarms. Requires A Smart Hub
$20 - $55
OutletAllows you to remotely switch on and off. Can be retrofitted to any existing devices.
- Wifi outlet: Kasa Smart WiFi Plug (price for 2 - $35.99) is the best for price and local connectivity.
- Zigbee outlet: Sylvania Smart Plug ($20.85) is also a good option for ZigBee outlet
- Z-wave outlet: GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Smart Plug ($35.99) is good practical device that do not take a lot of space and work perfectly
$20 - $35
Plug with Energy MonitoringReports the power consumption
- Wifi outlet: BN-LINK WiFi Heavy Duty Smart Plug Outlet, No Hub Required with Timer Function, White, Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, 2.4 Ghz Network Only (4 Pack) ( ) is the best for price and local connectivity.
- Z-wave outlet: Aeotec Smart Plug (Price not available) is a good practical device that does not take a lot of space and work perfectly
$23 - $32
Smart Color Bulb
A colour bulb you can remotely control
$24 - $35
White BulbPractical bulb that would work for majority of use cases
$10 - $20
Switch USSwitch to turn on and off lights. Require neutral wire in the box.
- Zigbee: Innr Zigbee Smart Plug ($34.99) is a great device. It does not require neutral wire so will be really easy to install.
- Z-wave: Honeywell Z-Wave Plus On/Off Switch ($27.99) is a switch that easy to install and operate. Works with all the major hubs and looks great.
- Z-wave Dimmer: GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Smart Dimmer Switch ($90.00) in addition to being a great dimmer can also act as extender.
- Wifi: Wemo Light Switch ($64.49) is really good if you do not have Z-wave of ZigBee and not planning to buy.
$30 - $45
Voice assistant:AI driven device that can respond to voice commands
There is no right answer which Voice Assistant to choose, but we have the following recommendations:
- The most comprehensive: Amazon Alexa (Price not available) has a lot to offer. Zigbee radio means potentially one hub less (although we still recommend getting a dedicated hub). It also has the biggest ecosystem to tap into (including Ring, Phillips Hue, TP-link)
- The most intelligent: Google Home is using the brains behind the biggest search engine in the world to deliver the best answers for your questions. It is definitely more capable compared to Alexa
Smart BlindsMotorised shades that automatically open and close the blinds
- Best DIY Blinds: Rechargeable Wireless by RollerHouse ($95.99)
- Best Horizontal Blinds: MySmartBlinds Automation Kit Bundle (Price not available)
- Best Vertical Blinds: Somfy Sonesse ST30 (Price not available)Read more: Best Motorized Blinds
$40 - $279
Smart ButtonsA convenient way to trigger routines and specific actions
$8 - $50
Irrigation SystemMake sure your plants are always watered
$180 - $220
Outdoor LightsLightning for your garden protected from water
- Zigbee: SSengled Flood Light with Motion Sensor Light Outdoor ($26.99) is a very convenient way to bring smart lights to your garden. Easy to install and integrate. GLEDOPTO Smart ZigBee LED Strip Controller RGB ($29.98) is also a good option and has more brigness and metal chasis.
- Z-wave: Z-wave is not great with lights, but GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Outdoor Smart Plug Switch (Price not available) would work great to control existing lightning solutions.
$49 - $70
Smart TRVThermo Regulator Valve that can be controlled remotely
$60 - $200
Outdoor OutletsProtected plugs for outdoors
- Wifi: Kasa Smart WiFi 2 Outlet Outdoor Plug by TP-Link ($19.99) is a great outdoor plug and wifi connection would work great for the majority of users
- Z-wave: GE Enbrighten Z-Wave Plus Outdoor Smart Plug Switch (Price not available) is a well functioning outdoor plug with good range.
Outdoor CamerasCameras that would work well outdoors
- Best Overall Outdoor Camera: Amcrest 5MP UltraHD Outdoor Security IP ($57.99) is a great quality outdoor camera. It has 5k resolution making it perfect for large outdoor areas. It is ONVIF protocol compliant making it easy to connect to almost any NVR
Outdoor SensorsProtected sensors for your garden
HomeSeer HS-FLS100+ Z-Wave Plus Outdoor Floodlight Sensor (Price not available) is a AC powered motion and lightning sensor. It would work with your smart home but also control floodlights. $40
Moisture SensorReports the level of humidity
- Best for most users: OLLIVAN Plant Monitor, Smart Plant Tracker Soil Moisture (Price not available) is a Bluetooth device that can monitor moisture as well as Sunlight, Temperature, and Soil Fertility
Security Alarm SystemSystem to alarm you of any unauthorized entry to your house
- The best for the majority users: SimpliSafe 8 Piece Wireless Home Security System ($169.91) has all the main things for a good security system. Great customer service, main sensors included for the most users and good quality hardware.
- More affordable security system: WiFi Alarm System Kit Smart Security System DIY ($59.99) is a cheaper no-monthly-fee system. It will be more difficult to integrate with your hub but can be done with Sonoff Bridge.
- More capable security system: No products found. () is a great option for more sophisticated needs. The system has great good integration with hubs, an optional monthly-fee system, and a well-designed mobile application.
$89 - $300
Robot VacuumLittle helper to clean your house
- Best Overall: iRobot Roomba 690 ($399.99) for great value, good quality and connectivity to all major smart hubs
How to set up?
Section below will have step by step instructions how to set this automation routine in the most popular smart hubs like SmartThings, Home Assistant, HomeSeer and Hubitat
Please leave comments below if you have any questions, or interested in the instruction for a specific system. This will help us to better focus our effort.
Last update on 2022-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API