FutureHome and 6 days without internet

In over 20 years of using broadband in Norway, I have been lucky and never had a long outage (I can’t remember anything longer than some hours). Until Thursday of last week. No real explanation from Telenor other than “a fiber break,” men Thursday stretched until Friday, then Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning.

And, of course, FH has to have internet for the app to work - which I use daily. I’ve always been a bit concerned about needing the internet and had considered Homey Pro just because of that, so for a couple years I’ve wondered if it was the right decision.

I have a good, but complex routine that sets a heating mode based on day of the week and time of day, and from time to time (a couple times per month - maybe) a part of the flow fails and I end up with conflicting modes, and to fix it I need to use virtual switches in the app - this is my weakest link in day-to-day use.

When it was cold (perfect timing to get a cold front in), a couple times I wished I could have changed the mode so the temperature in the house increased, but it wasn’t possible. But with a fireplace that went OK - we just threw in a couple more logs. What didn’t work was the ADAX integration, which wouldn’t be FH specific - if the hub has to talk to an external provider, like ADAX or Easee, it’s simply not going to work. ADAX works manually and just stayed the same temp during the period.

Lighting worked well - all of the physical switches worked, as well as the automatic flows I have around the lights and my hue hub and FH hubs all worked nicely together.

I had disabled the only energy price automation I had a few weeks before, so I don’t know how that would have worked (hot water heater).

Interestingly, all my flows worked perfectly the whole time the internet was down. But yesterday after it came back up, the first heating-related flow that ran failed half-way through. That left me wondering if it was coincidence or if the flows are more stable without an internet connection for some strange reason.

So overall it was a very painless period (related to FH). It left me not concerned any longer about loss of internet and how the hub will function. But I did come out of it with some thoughts.

  1. Flows and switches are critical - I have 3 Hue switches that run my main lighting flows. Using the phone as a main light switch and heating controller would have resulted in the system being quite useless. Where I have hard wired relays, they would have been practically useless without getting out a screwdriver.

  2. Where I have critical flows that may need intervention, having a physical switch that can execute a flow is an easy way to mitigate any issues. Going forward I will buy a 4 way switch or two and set them up to duplicate my virtual switches used in my heating flows.

  3. I need to test energy automations in case the water heater is off when the internet goes down - need to be able to manually switch it on and keep it on.

  4. I could have easily had a backup solution where I had a 4G router that I had enabled if it truly was critical. If someone is really worried about it, for about 1000 NOK and a data SIM, you could just plug in the hub and everything would be back to normal. I have an old one at the hytte I’m going to bring home and test with. It’s 5+ years old and if they last that long it’s probably a very cheap backup which would “normalize life” when there is an outage.

  5. While I use the integrations, direct local links, like zigbee and zwave have a distinct advantage in an internet outage. The ability to manually override was important.