How to prepare your smart home when you go on vacation

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Whether you’ve come home to find you’ve been robbed or someone left the bathroom faucet running in their last minute packing panic, nothing puts a sour note on a vacation like a comeback. to a disaster.

We do all the street checks when we know we will be away for a long time. windows closed? TV disconnected? a???? but putting the smart home in vacation mode is another matter. Well tamed, the smart home can help keep your home safe, clean, and ready for your return.

Here are our top smart home tips for keeping your home safe while on vacation.

Check your smart thermostat settings

Most smart thermostats are designed for the holidays. that is, there should be a mode you can switch to when you are away. Now is a great time to explore some of those unused settings you’ve seen. That said, if you are going for a long time, you might be better off turning the thermostat off completely, especially if you know you have visitors who might turn it on unnecessarily.

Read it: The best smart thermostats

The Nest Learning Thermostat and Ecobee4 have mechanisms that turn on if they sense that your home is getting too hot or at risk of freezing. You can deactivate them and have peace of mind. There are default values ​​set for these temperature thresholds, which vary depending on your location, but you can adjust them if you wish.

If you put your thermostat in Away mode, be sure to set the correct departure and return dates in the app (which Ecobee allows you to do, for example).

Use a smart lock to allow entry of certain visitors

If a package arrives while you’re away, it’s best to get it into your home before you fall victim to porch theft. Choosing a smart lock that lets delivery people in is a solution to this problem.

Some smart locks, like August Smart Lock Pro, will also let you check in the app if your door is actually closed and locked. Some also, easily, allow you to assign a number of access “keys” to guests. We especially like that you can often create a schedule that only provides entry at specific times. a feature that we strongly recommend that you use.

Some locks, like the Nest x Yale lock, have a keypad that guests can enter their code on, while the August lock requires them to have the August app and unlock the door using their smartphone. Schlage’s latest smart lock allows Amazon Prime subscribers in select cities to use the Amazon Key functionality for package deliveries.

Read our list of the best smart locks for a guide to what.

Use cheap sensors to avoid costly disasters

God preserve us that the worst does not happen. a burst pipe, a leaking toilet – smart sensors are an inexpensive way to get notified. There are many smart leak detectors out there that will alert you if moisture is detected. a useful tool considering that most home insurance policies do not cover flood damage. If a leak is detected and you are using a smart lock, you can remotely allow a repairman to enter your home to identify the damage. See? Synergy.

You can check out our full guide to smart home sensors, but the iHome Wi-Fi Dual Leak Sensor is an Ambient favorite because it works with the Holy Trinity: Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit. You can set up triggers to turn off your caps if a leak is detected. The Samsung SmartThings water leak sensor also does a pretty good job. The good thing about (most) sensors is that they won’t break the bank. but could save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you leave a pet at home, you could get really smart and install a temperature sensor in your pet’s room and have them trigger the thermostat to heat that room.

Then there are motion sensors, which can provide another layer of home security and primarily use the Z-Wave protocol. Be aware of the different types of motion sensors: PIR (infrared) detects hot bodies, MW sensors bounce microwave pulses off objects, ultrasonic sensors use, well, ultrasonic waves and vibration sensors detect motion (but tend to be less accurate). Again, think smart about the placement of the sensors. Don’t stick them somewhere the cat will drop by every half hour, giving you endless notifications about suspicious activity in your home.

Use lights to pretend you’re home (but you don’t need smart bulbs)

Do you have smart lights? You can harness their powers to create the illusion that someone is home. No more leaving the hallway light on for a week and wasting money.

Whether you use Philips Hue, Sengled, Lifx, or another brand, you’ll be able to create routines that cause your lights to turn on and off throughout the day. For example, the sunset and sunrise routine on Philipe Hue will automatically turn off your lights at sunrise and disappear into your lights at sunset. Hue actually offers a “Randomize” option, which you’ll find in the app, which randomly adjusts the start and end times. just in case someone is looking for models.

But here’s the thing: you don’t even need smart lights to create routines. A smart plug connected to a lamp will let you set routines or control it remotely without the need to splash on fancy bulbs or hubs. Here are some smart plugs. UK and US to consider.

Use your robot vacuum cleaner intelligently

While it is not (yet) necessary to deter criminals from illegal activity, a robot vacuum can mean that you at least come home to a clean house. But be smart about how you use it. Some of the robot vacuums allow you to control them remotely, others allow you to set scheduled routines.

The new Roomba i7 lets you choose specific rooms to clean and when… handy if there are just a few rooms you need to keep in touch while you’re away. In addition, he cleans his own bin. If you don’t have that luxury with your choice of vacuum, make sure the robot bin is empty before you go.

Our favorites: The best robot vacuums

Our advice? Have the vacuum do a big clean just before you leave, and schedule it for smaller cleanings while you’re away, only in essential rooms, to make sure it doesn’t fill up before you return.

Also, before you go, make sure there are no closed doors that will block your vacuum. and make sure you’ve tidied up any wires or other potential obstacles, otherwise go back to your trusty robo buddy in a tangle and your house is unclean.

How to prepare your smart home when you go on vacation

Smart cameras are your friend. but check them first

You can get a complete smart home security system with facial recognition, sensor tags and works. For example, Abode’s smart home security system allows you to automate specific routines., So you can program the system to lock the front door after a certain time, or even when you are at a certain point. distance. of the House.

Or, you can also choose a la carte and combine a smart doorbell with some cameras. Whichever way you set it up, the first thing to do is make sure everything is working. Test the cameras, verify that notifications are arriving as they should, and verify that the batteries are charged.

Read it: The best smart cameras

Smart doorbells can not only show you who is knocking, but they can also trick others into thinking you are nearby by allowing you to ‘answer’ the door remotely through the app (which can also be handy for dealing with the parcels). The Nest Hello doorbell (with a $ 5-per-month subscription) uses facial recognition to “learn” which people visit your home the most.

With interior cams, think about the most advantageous positions to point them. What are the most likely break-in points?

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