Your smart home equipment is not just for your comfort and enjoyment when you are at home. It is absolutely invaluable when you are on vacation. Here are the common features and benefits you should set up before heading out the door.
Why put your smart home in vacation mode?
You spent a lot of money stocking your house with great smart home products, so be sure to make the most of them, even when you’re not home to see them in action.
There are plenty of good reasons to do it. By using the official or informal “vacation” setting, you can keep your home safe from damage, protected from burglary, and automatically keep an eye on everything while you’re away.
A quick note though before we dive into our list of suggestions. Take notes on which settings and tricks you take advantage of to remember which settings to turn off when you return from your trip. Voice of experience here: Your family won’t be amused by your smart home turning lights on and off randomly, so it’s wise to have a checklist back from vacation.
Enable imitation of presence
One of the best things about smart home equipment is how easy it is to automate it. Automation is not only useful for day-to-day things while you’re home, like setting your landscape lighting to always come on at sunset or running a sunrise routine to wake you up in the morning, but it’s also really good for , well, being you.
Call it faux presence, vacation mode, away mode, or whatever, but it’s the same thing: harnessing smart home automation to make it seem like you never left.
You can use smart home technology to turn your smart lights on and off at random intervals as if you’re wandering around your house, mimic a TV, make it look like someone upstairs is having a conversation, and more. Check out our faux presence guide for ideas.
Set a temporary smart lock code
Whether you have a house sitter, pet sitter, or just a trusted neighbor to check on your home in an emergency, forget about physical keys.
Instead, set a temporary smart lock code. You can set the code to work all the time, during specific hours, and when you’re home, you can easily deactivate it until you need it again.
And even when you are not on vacation, it is very useful to have smart lock codes for different people and different purposes. If you have a dog walker that comes in every day between noon and three, for example, you can set your code to only work during those hours Monday through Friday.
Set your thermostat to vacation mode
If you don’t have fussy pets or houseplants, now is a good time to turn your thermostat into vacation mode. There’s no point in heating or cooling your home to optimal comfort levels when no one is there to enjoy the optimization.
No vacation mode? No problem, just set up a new routine for cooler (in winter) or warmer (in summer) temperatures. Before you do, however, we recommend that you review these tips and considerations for turning down your thermostat in cold weather.
A smart thermostat is invaluable, even if you don’t reset the thermostat while you’re away. If the temperature drops too low, it will alert you and you can use it as a temperature sensor to look for anomalies like unusually high humidity.
Use security cameras to keep an eye on things
Security cameras are really useful for keeping an eye on things, and placing one in your backyard or on your driveway ensures that you’ll be notified while you’re away that someone is lurking at your back door.
You may be wary of placing a security camera inside your home during your regular daily time there, and we certainly understand your reservation. There’s a reason people don’t put them in their living spaces or turn them off when they’re home. But it’s helpful to have an extra security camera or two that’s part of your existing camera rig to pop into living spaces when you’re away.
For example, I wouldn’t want a security camera right at the top of my stairs year-round, but when I’m out of town, I put one on my stair landing temporarily because it’s a walking spot in the home. our cats. for several times a day. It’s easy to see the cats going about their daily routine as expected, with the added bonus of capturing crisp video footage of any intruders on their way upstairs.
Use smart sensors to monitor leaks and fires
When you’re in your home, smart smoke alarms, water monitors, and the like have relatively limited usefulness. When you’re home, you’ll probably hear the chirp of your alarm. But when you’re out and about, those phone notifications are a real lifesaver.
A six-pack of Govee Smart Leak Detectors is less than $75. For that price, you can put one under your main water valve and anywhere else you’re concerned about leaks or water ingress. We especially like the Govee sensors because they have two types of sensors: metal “feet” to detect standing water, and a small equal sign-shaped metal plate on top to detect drips directly on the unit. If you place it under the water valve of your washing machine, for example, it will detect both valve drippings and water seeping through the floor from the machine.
If you want to go even further, you can detect leaks and automatically shut off your water system remotely. There are valve controllers that you can fit over your existing valve to remotely shut off the water, and if you want to hire a plumber, you can even install a smart valve online. Through the magic of automation, the system will shut off the water supply if there is a leak.
Smart smoke detectors are also great. They’re a bit pricey compared to traditional smoke detectors, but unlike traditional smoke detectors, they can tell you if your house is on fire while you’re 1,000 miles away. Google Nest Protect is one of the most popular on the market, along with Fire Alert’s Z-wave line of smart detectors. If you have a bunch of traditional detectors and you’re using the Ring platform, you can add a module that listens for alarms.
Whether you just tweak your smart lights to look animated while you’re away or check out our entire list, you’ll have a safer, better-monitored home for your efforts.