Smart home technology is taking the worry out of vacationing. Just a few years ago, if we were heading out of town, safeguarding our homes consisted of stopping the mail and newspaper and asking a neighbor to keep an eye on the place. Now we can do that ourselves from the campgrounds or the Bahamas.
As you plan for your next trip, consider these six smart home features to keep your home safe — and give you peace of mind.
Smart Camera-Enabled Security
Home security cameras have been around for a while. But now you can keep an eye on the house — inside and out — by linking your surveillance system to your phone and other smart devices. Today’s cameras can see in light or dark so your home is never left vulnerable. Many will alert you when someone is at the door and allow you to talk to them. You can choose from a single “doorbell camera” or go for multiple cameras. Costs for a simple single camera start at about $100.
Today’s sensors monitor everything from motion in your home to smoke and the opening or breaking of windows. Like surveillance cameras, smart sensors work with your phone. You can buy single-window sensors for as little as $30, and motion detectors start at about $40. You can also buy systems that include several sensors.
Smart Security Lighting
Lights set on timers or motion detectors have long been a deterrent to burglaries, but now you can control lights remotely from your smart device. Setting these lights up is easy, most of them just screw into traditional bulb sockets and allow you to connect & control them with ease.
Smart Interior Lighting
Leaving a few lights on in the house while you’re away is a time-honored method of befuddling would-be intruders. Smart interior lighting allows you to program your lights through your phone and dim them or even change the color.
You’ll find a wide array of smart locks on the market, so it’s wise to think about how you want to use your devices. Most can be activated by your smartphone. Some work through Wi-Fi and others through Bluetooth. Some models come with a touchpad or standard key entry. Although some start at about $100, the ones that get the best reviews range from about $150 to $250.
Smart Sprinkler Systems
Yard sprinkler systems operated by timers have allowed us to keep our lawns watered while we’re away. Smart systems go a step further by allowing you to set watering through your phone. This advance comes with some added perks. Some systems will assess the soil conditions and even read the weather forecast to see if the lawn needs watering.
At present, there is no industry standard for smart home security, so it pays to choose your components wisely. As with locks, some operate on Wi-Fi while others use Bluetooth. Some require a “hub” to control multiple devices while other devices can be operated independently. Some can be controlled by virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Echo devices, Google’s Assistant, or Apple’s Siri. Some security products are easy DIY, while others are best left to professional installers. The best vendors offer customized packages of components and services to fit your needs.
Your next vacation can be worry-free — if you do a little homework in advance.
Olivia Stevens designs homes that practically run themselves. She credits her own laziness for inspiring her to find the latest smart-tech device on the market for each one of her home makeovers. You can bet her own home has a self-watering garden, automatic locks, and lights that turn on at dusk.