Smart home is partly a management and monitoring that happens when you are at work or out in the evening. Your smart home can work just as well for several days or even weeks away, with the right guidance from you. If you meet the road this high season, we have the tips you need to leave your home alone with confidence.
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If you have a smart thermostat, most types will detect that you're gone and offer a way to change the thermostat at a distance. That's probably why you bought the case in the first place. It's a nice benefit when you're out for a few hours or a business day.
For longer periods of time or for thermostats that include vacation mode, it is a good idea to check the threshold settings before a longer absence. Sure, you can adjust them remotely, but the whole idea here is to set it up and go. So before leaving, set the temperature range of your thermostat so you can save money while keeping your home safe.
Highest and low temperature thresholds save the most energy as they get closer to the outside temperature than you probably prefer when you're home. But they should still be safe enough for your home.
Light and shades
My parents always left the TV when we were gone so people would think we were at home. I thought it was a strange game to pretend to be a child, but now, as a homeowner, it makes sense. Lighting is not a safe protection against intruders, but having your lights or televisions to imitate human activity is a good start. Smart switches and schedules can do just that.
A good rule of thumb is that outdoor light should be at night and during the day, while indoor light should go on and off in different rooms. If you have smart switches, consider creating a schedule based on time of day that replicates what you usually do when you're home.
If you have automated window shades, consider letting them stay down while you're gone. Keeping light on can deter crime, but leaving your shades open can make your living room in a window screen for a burglary.
Cameras, Door Watches and Security Systems
Several new smart-home security systems recently hit the market. While they make the most of your work when they are out of the box, it is important to give them a quick status check before leaving. Security settings vary depending on what products you have. Whatever brand, it's a good idea to ensure that motion sensors, cameras, locks and door bells have fresh or full batteries and messages that are properly activated to reach the correct emergency contacts.
When it comes to cameras, make sure the lens is free of dirt, cobweb or decor that can prevent the view. If you have quit motion sensitivity or set your camera to ignore motion in certain areas of your home, it is now time to put these features back to maximum vigilance. Finally, make sure that all notification settings are set to inform appropriate people at appropriate times.
Leakage, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors offer peace of mind every day, and even more when you're out of town. Make sure all of these have fresh batteries, a solid Wi-Fi connection, updated apps, or firmware and correct notification settings are worth a few minutes of your time before you get on the road.
If your detectors are not connected to a live monitoring service, it is even more important to have a notification sent to the right mobile device. This way you can ask a friend or neighbor to check out any suspicious alerts.
Robots and other small appliances
There are several robotic vacuum cleaners out there with any version of a scheduling option. If it is a feature that you use frequently, turn it off while you're away. If no one is at home to touch, the vacuum does not need to run. In addition, if you've improved the sensitivity of the motion detector's part of your security system (as I suggested), a robot vacuum could trigger false alarms.
To save battery life and wear on your vacuum, make sure it does not get started when it's not needed. The same goes for other small devices that can be run on a smart schedule or with smart switches. Run through your list of managed devices to make sure everything is on or off accordingly.
Add a Human Item
Yes, smart homes are cool. They can do a lot for you daily, and they keep you connected to the home when you are thousands of miles away. Nevertheless, smart homes are not perfect, and it is a good idea to have one or two very trusted (and technically skilled) people who keep an eye on things.
If it's a camera, a security code, or a Bluetooth key, someone may know that you're physically watching your house if something looks suspicious and helps you travel happier.
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