It’s that time of year again: vacation season. But before you go rushing out the door and onwards to paradise, you may first want to think about matters closer to home. After all, the summer months are a notorious peak season for burglars. What’s more, the bill from that heating you forgot to switch off is not the sort of welcome home surprise any of us dream of. So, whether you have a two-week tropical getaway lined up, or plans for a modest weekend camping trip, you’re going to want to make sure your home is in good hands while you’re away. Here’s NONAGON.style’s guide for how to do just that, with a little help from smart technology.
In another life, a thermostat was that ugly beige box on the wall – a blight on an otherwise sound interior aesthetic. Not anymore it seems.
Enter the Ecobee3 Lite: the better-looking, more intelligent upgrade. Granted, this is not the latest of Ecobee’s offerings (the Ecobee4 comes with a built in Amazon Alexa). However, for a more budget friendly option we prefer its predecessor. The vacation feature on this beauty allows you to schedule in the dates you will be away. As such, the temperature settings will automatically adjust when you leave, helping you to conserve energy (and dollars).
As an added bonus, the Ecobee3 will revert back to its regular scheduling at the end of your holiday, ensuring that your home is at a comfortable temperature upon your return. What’s more, if something does happen while you’re away the Ecobee3 will notify both you and your contractor so you can have the situation taken care of immediately. All in all, not a bad little investment to make for that extra peace of mind.
Codes Not Keys
With the smart lock market expected to grow by a whopping 80% between now and 2021, it’s time to ditch the keys for good.
This new generation of smart locks allow for keyless entry via a code or even your smartphone. On vacation, grant your friends, family and neighbors easy access to your home by sending a virtual key to their smartphones. Alternatively, generate a unique code for guests to use during set hours of the day. Once those hours are over, the code will automatically be void. Much smarter than simply leaving your keys under the doormat, eh?
For a smart lock that boasts easy installation and a user-friendly app, we suggest opting for the August Smart Lock Homekit. For the more aesthetically minded however, we implore you to hold out for Kwikset’s new Obsidian smart lock. With a sleek exterior touchscreen and contemporary metal interior, this is arguably the Rolls Royce of smart locks – well worth the wait in our opinion
How about caller ID for your front door? This next gadget is part of a new wave of smart home technology that allows homeowners to secure and control their home remotely.
The Vivint Doorbell Camera allows you to have a two-way conversation with whoever’s at your door, even when you’re away. Being able to answer the door and appear home is an excellent extra layer of protection to add to your security when you can’t physically be there. We particularly love the sleek minimalist design of Vivint’s model, allowing the doorbell to blend seamlessly into your home’s exterior.
Let There Be Light
Truth be told, we’d recommend installing a smart lighting system even if you don’t have upcoming vacation plans.
In addition to being a simple way to get in with the smart home trend, connected lighting helps you save energy and enhances convenience. In terms of security, use smart lighting to deter burglars by setting an automatic schedule for your lighting before leaving home.
Although there are a lot of smart lighting options available on the market today, one of our favorites is the Philips Hue system. It’s simple to set up and compatible with a wide range of smart home ecosystems, including Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit. Another option to consider is BeOn’s Security Lighting, which mimics your regular lighting schedule to make your home look like it’s being lived in as usual when you’re away.
Who wants to return home to a brown, brittle lawn? Not us, that’s for sure, which is why we’re huge fans of Skydrop’s Smart Sprinkler Controller.
Dubbed the “most intelligent sprinkler controller on the market”, the Skydrop allows you to set up automatic watering schedules. We’re particularly impressed by the product’s smart-watering technology, which monitors local weather news using your home’s WiFi and automatically turns off sprinklers if rain is forecast. For more smart gardening devices check out our round up of tech-led planters.
With the advent of IoT, smart homes can make life much better – no more worrying about a sky high bill, while reducing risk of burglary. All in all, when you’re returning from your vacation relaxed and happy, your smart home will keep your mood that way as you step back home through your door.