If you want a quick and easy way to monitor your home while you’re away, here’s how to set up the SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit.
What Is SmartThings?
SmartThings is a smarthome product line from Samsung that aims to be a user-friendly way for homeowners and renters alike to keep tabs on their domain while they’re away from home.
The main Home Monitoring Kit includes the necessary hub, two multipurpose sensors (open/close sensors for doors and windows), one motion sensor, and one smart outlet. It’s not much to outfit your entire house, but for a small apartment, the kit itself can work rather well. Thankfully, SmartThings has all sorts of sensors and devices that you can buy separately to completely deck out your house or apartment, including cameras and even water leak sensors.
You can also connect other third-party devices to SmartThings, like Philips Hue, Kwikset smart locks, and more (Samsung has a full compatibility list available). That way, they can work together with your various sensors for a seamless smarthome experience. So, if you want to turn your Philips Hue lights on whenever the front door opens, SmartThings makes this possible.
How to Set Up the SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit
Setting up the SmartThings kit is really easy with the help of the SmartThings app, so if you don’t already have the app downloaded, go ahead and grab it from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
When you open up the app, tap on “Sign Up” to create an account.
You’ll then enter your name, email address, and a password. Tap Next in the bottom-right corner to continue.
Select the country you live in and hit “Next”.
On the next screen, you’ll enter in the code that came with your SmartThings kit. It’s a big six-digit code printed on a piece of paper inside of the box.
Tap “Next” on the next page.
You’ll now connect your SmartThings hub to your home network. Start by taking off the bottom cover and inserting the four AA batteries. These are backup batteries in case your power goes out. Put the cover back on when this is done.
Next, plug in the ethernet cable to the hub, and the other end into an open port on your router. After that, connect the power adapter and plug it into an available wall receptacle.
Wait for the hub to boot up and you’ll soon see three small LED lights appear on the front. Hit “Next” in the app when you see these lights.
On the next screen, give your home a custom name if you want, and upload an optional photo. Down below, you can also set up geofencing, but none of these things are required. Hit “Next” in the top-right corner to continue.
The next screen will say that your hub is now connected. Hit “Next”.
You’ll now begin connecting your various sensors to the hub and begin arming and monitoring your residence. Tap on “OK, got it.” down at the bottom to get started.
Take off the back plate from the sensor and remove the mounting template and the battery tab on the side. Once you do this, the sensor will automatically start pairing to the hub. With the smart outlet included in the kit, you’ll simply press the small button on the front to begin pairing it.
When it pairs, it will confirm it in the app. Hit “Next”.
On the next screen, you can give the sensor a custom name and add it to a room.
Rooms are helpful for when you have multiple devices in one room, making it easier to monitor and set up automation for specific rooms.
Hit “Done” and then “Next” to complete the setup process for that sensor. If it’s an open/close sensor, go ahead and mount it on a door or window using screws or the included 3M sticky pads.
After you’re done with the sensor, you can move onto learning about the Smart Home Monitor feature in the SmartThings app. Tap “Next”.
There’s a video that you can watch that explains what Smart Home Monitor is. Essentially, it’s your one-stop shop to see if everything in your house is okay and that all your sensors are in the correct state. If not (like if Smart Home Monitor says that the back door is open), you’ll receive an alert letting you know of this.
After you watch the video, the setup process is done and you’ll now see the Dashboard in the SmartThings app.
If it shows just a blank white screen, you can tap on the settings gear icon in the upper-right corner to configure Smart Home Monitor again to hopefully make it show up this time, but if it’s still not appearing, give it a little bit of time. This appears to be a bug with the app currently.
To configure Smart Home Monitor, start by tapping on the settings gear icon in the upper-right corner.
Tap on “Security”.
By default, all of your sensors will be armed to monitor your house, but you can turn off the toggle switch and select specific sensors. Hit “Next” when you’re done.
On the next screen, choose what kind of notifications you want to receive. You’ll need third-party devices to alert with sirens or lights, or you can just get text and audio notifications. Hit “Done” when you choose a notification method.
Tap on “Done” again to finalize the configuration.
From the main screen, you can add more SmartThings devices to your setup. To do this, start by tapping on the “My Home” tab at the bottom.
Next, tap on the “+” icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
When the pop-up at the bottom appears, select “Add a Thing”.
At the top, tap on “Connect Now”.
As with the first sensor that you set up, take off the back plate, remove the mounting template, and remove the battery tab to begin pairing it to your SmartThings hub. When it finds the sensor, you can hit “Done” and go through the same process as before with your first sensor, like naming it and putting it into a specific room.
After you’ve set up all of your sensors and devices, you can begin to monitor and arm your house at any time. From the main screen, you can quickly change your home’s status, so when your house is “armed”, you’ll receive notifications when anything happens. When it’s disarmed, you won’t receive any notifications.
Tapping on “Right Now” will also show you the state of each sensor and device, letting you quickly look to see if a door has been left open or if someone is occupying a room.
You’ll notice in the screenshot below that there are two states of “Arm” available. There’s “Arm (Away)” and “Arm (Stay)”. The former is when you’re not home at all, and the latter is when you’re home, but are sleeping or you just want the security in place for your own piece of mind.
When you configure Smart Home Monitor, you can choose which sensors and devices alert you when something happens with each armed state. So I could setup certain sensors to be armed in “Arm (Away)” and other sensors to be armed during “Arm (Stay)”. For example, “Arm (Away)” may have all sensors enabled, but “Arm (Stay)” might only have door sensors enabled, so you aren’t setting off motion detectors when walking around your house.
Take the time to explore the app and become familiar with the different features. Obviously, the setup process is only the beginning, so be sure to check back for more SmartThings how-tos in the near future.
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