Home automation

I hangar my plane in an unheated hangar. Since it is now winter in NW Indiana, that means the plane is cold when I go to use it.

So, on the advice of my airplane mechanic, I installed an oil pan heater. That way the engine is somewhat warm at the time I go to start it.
Except he advised me not to leave it plugged in 24/7, but only for a few hours before starting.

Dilemma: I live 20 minutes or more away from the hangar. It takes a MINIMUM of one hour for the heater to work it’s magic.

Solution: Since there is WI-FI available in the hangar (or at least nearby) I use a Smart Plug, a wi-fi enabled plug to switch on the Smart Plug in the morning an hour or two before I plan to use the plane….

This is kinda handy, actually. So handy that I also have a (single) smart plug in my home to turn on a light when I am gonna be returning at nigh, obviating the need to keep a light on so I can see when I enter after dark.

I use an app for my Iphone to turn these two devices on and off.

I’d LOVE to use one of the Home Assistant devices (like Alexa) to do this, or even use Siri (which I have (hopefully) disabled) as this would be very handy….In fact, if i COULD use them, my home would likely be even more heavily automated. (“Siri: Warm up the plane”)…

But I cannot trust any of the vendors of voice activated Home Assistant devices to ensure my privacy…..Not from the companies themselves, nor from them giving that data to a government nor even a third party. I can’t even trust them not to record the sounds in my home (or picked up by my smart phone, for that matter)…

I simply don’t trust them to keep my privacy. Not one bit. Not from their own “analysts”, nor to keep my voice or other sounds in my home from being sent to (sold) to third party vendors without my knowledge, much less my government (who I definitely DO Not Trust).

For the same reason, I don’t have any “internet of things” devices. no Ring doorbell, no Nest Thermostat, no connected TV. I simply don’t want to have my privacy invaded. It’s not like I have anything to hide, I’m not doing anything illegal or immoral, or anything that could get me into trouble….I simply like my privacy. And since the vendors of these devices can choose to do whatever they wish with the data these devices collect WITHOUT MY CONSENT, I simply don’t own any. Don’t purchase any, and won’t own any.

Hell, I am not even sure my conversations in the vicinity of my cell phone or my cars are private anymore (but I have carefully labeled the correct fuses for the data collection devices in my vehicles in order that, should I choose to, I can easily disable them)…I can choose to leave my phone at home.

But if I put a listening device in my home, one where I have no control over the usage or monitoring of, then how can I expect to have any privacy? 

5 thoughts on “Home automation

  1. Excellent points all! I have NONE of them, nor will I ever have them in my house.

  2. I use a Wink system in my house. Yes, it's net-enabled, but what's a hacker going to be able to do if he hacks into it; turn my lights on and off? Should that happen, I can unplug the bridge. The upside is that the outside lights come on at dusk and go off at dawn, with the on and off times adjusted daily for sunset and sunrise. That's not a big deal for a suburban house, I know. If you have outbuildings though, it's a Godsend.

  3. A low tech alternative might be to figure you usual departure time and to heat the oil pan for an hour EVERY DAY. It is 1/24th as much electricity/fire risk as running 24-7.

    Obviously, this won't work if your windows of opportunity are all over the place. The upside is that you won't forget and you can grab a chance to fly if somebody cancels an appt.

    Just my two, low tech bits.

  4. A good old fashioned 7 day timer might work for ya. You could plan for a certain hour on a certain day a week in advance. And, any aircraft owner has to go to the hanger at least once a week.

    However, whatever you use, I wonder what your insurance agent would say about a power cord or device plugged into the receptacle 24/7. I don't know, I've not had a powered hanger. My guy at KVNY Van Nuys is very accommodating not to mention affordable.


  5. Recently I yanked every "enabled" device in my house. I decided the alleged usefulness of them wasn't all it was cracked up to be compared to the surety of knowing they will be abused by somebody.

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