It’s almost summertime, and for many people that means fun family vacations or cozy couples’ getaways. Before you head off on a week-long vacation though, it’s important to prep your smart home devices for your time away.
By setting up your gadgets the right way, you can increase the security of your home, save energy, and minimize the chances of something going awry while you’re enjoying some rest and relaxation. Here are several key tips on preparing your smart home devices for vacation.
1. Turn off your smart thermostat
If you’re only going to be gone for a few days, you can simply put your smart thermostat on “Away” mode. However, if you’re going on vacation for a week or more, your best option is to turn off the thermostat completely. Nest explains that you’ll save the most energy by turning your smart thermostat off, as this will prevent it from kicking on every time the pet sitter enters the house, for example.
Don't worry about your home overheating when the device is off. Even when the Nest Thermostat is in “Off” mode, its “Safety Temperatures” still work, meaning if your house gets extremely hot or cold, the system will turn back on to bring the temperature back to a safe level. With Nest, you choose Safety Temperatures when you initially set up the system, but you can check or adjust them through the settings in the Nest app.
2. Set up smart lock access for housesitters
Is a neighbor stopping by to water your plants while you’re away? Will the petsitter pop by twice a day? You can give housesitters easy access to your home with a smart lock, just make sure to set up guest accounts before you leave. It’s probably best to have any visitors test out their access in advance, as smart locks can be confusing if you’ve never used one before.
3. Set schedules for lights
Thanks to smart plugs, it’s easier than ever to make it look like someone’s home when you’re on vacation. Products like the TP-Link Smart Plug allow you to set schedules for your lights, so you can turn them on for a few hours at night to deter criminals.
4. Enable motion alarms for smart cameras
If you have a smart security camera, like Nest or Blink, you might not use the motion detection alert feature on an everyday basis. However, this option can come in handy if your house will be empty for a long period of time.
Point the camera at the front door before you leave, and when motion alerts are enabled, you’ll get a notification sent to your phone if anyone enters the house.
5. Turn off unnecessary appliances
Smart outlets can also help you save energy while you’re out of the house. Many appliances sap electricity even when they’re not in use, but you can keep them from running up your bill by plugging them into smart outlets. Top offenders include entertainment systems, home offices, bathroom accessories, and kitchen appliances, so put your smart plugs to work in these areas while you’re away.
6. Double-check scheduled devices
Some of your smart products, like a robot vacuum or smart irrigation system, might run on an automatic schedule, so consider whether to turn these products off before you leave.
For instance, if you’re going to be away in the middle of summer, you may want to leave the sprinkler system hooked up to keep your lawn watered. On the other hand, if your Roomba tends to get tangled in wires, turn it off before vacation so it doesn’t accidentally damage anything.
Once you've completed these easy steps, you can head off on vacation knowing your smart home is safe and secure. Bon voyage!