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Smart home checklist: prepare your home for vacation trips



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Josh Miller / CNET

The appeal of the smart home is in part the management and monitoring that take place while you work or are on the road for the evening. Your smart home can perform just as well over several days or even weeks away, with the right guidance from you. When you set off this festive season, we have the tips you need to leave your smart home with confidence.

Thermostats

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Set thermostat thresholds to save the most energy while you are away.


Chris Monroe / CNET

If you have a smart thermostat, most types detect that you are gone and offer a way to remotely change the thermostat. After all, that's probably the reason why you bought the thing in the first place. It is a nice extra when you are away for a few hours or a working day.

For longer periods or for thermostats that include a vacation mode, it is a good idea to check the threshold settings for a longer absence. Of course you can adjust them remotely, but the whole idea here is to set it up and go. So before you leave, set the temperature range on your thermostat so that you can save money and keep your house safe.

Read our review of the Nest Thermostat E

High and low temperature thresholds save the most energy when they are set closer to the outside temperature than you would probably prefer to be at home. However, they must still be safe enough for your home.

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Lights and shadows

My parents always left the TV on when we were gone, so people would think we were home. I thought it was a strange game like a child, but now as a homeowner it makes sense. Lighting is not a fail-safe protection against intruders, but it is a good start to use your lamps or TV set to mimic human activity. Smart switches and diagrams can do exactly that.

Read our review of the Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades

A good rule of thumb is that outdoor lighting & # 39; night and & # 39; must be on at night, while interior lighting must go on and off in different rooms. If you have smart switches, consider creating a schedule based on the time of day that replicates what you would normally do at home.

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If you have shades or window treatments, it's best to lower them in your absence.


Tyler Lizenby / CNET

If you have automatic blinds, consider setting them so that you stay away while you are away. Keeping the light on can deter crime, but if you leave your shades open, your living room can turn into a burglar window.

Cameras, doorbells and security systems

Several new smart home security systems have recently entered the market. Although they do most of the work for you once they are out of the box, it is important to give them a quick status check before you leave. Security settings differ depending on the products you have. Regardless of brand, it is a good idea to ensure that motion sensors, cameras, locks, and doorbells have new or fully charged batteries and notifications that are correctly enabled to reach the correct emergency contacts.

  ring-video-doorbell-two-4 cialis19659029 unobstructed view of your front door, unobstructed by debris or decorations.


Chris Monroe / CNET

Read our review of the Ring Video Doorbell 2

For cameras, ensure that the lens is free of dirt, cobwebs, or decorations that may obscure vision. If you have reduced motion sensitivity or have set your camera to ignore motion in some parts of your house, this is a good time to put these functions back on maximum vigilance. Finally, ensure that all notification settings are set to inform the right people at the right times.

Environmental detectors

Leak, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors provide peace of mind every day, and even more when you're out of town. Make sure all of these new batteries, have a solid Wi-Fi connection, updated apps or firmware and correct notification settings, are worth a few minutes of your time before you head out.

Read our review of the Nest Protect (second generation)

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Chris Monroe / CNET

If your detectors are not connected to a live monitoring service, it is even more important to get a notification on the correct mobile device. That way you can ask a friend or neighbor to view suspicious notifications.

Robotic vacuum cleaners and other small appliances

There are several robotic vacuum cleaners with a version of a planning option. If that is a feature that you use often, turn it off while you are away. If nobody is home to make a mess, the vacuum doesn't have to work. In addition, if you have improved the sensitivity of the motion detection part of your security system (as I suggested), a robot vacuum cleaner can trigger false alarms.

  robot-vac-promo-photos-4 cialis19659045Buchrobot-vac-promo-photos-4 cialis19659046ibreylyl Lizenby / CNET

Read our first impressions of the iRobot Roomba S9 +

You can save battery life and wear on your vacuum cleaner by making sure it doesn't work when it's not needed. The same applies to other small devices that can work according to a smart scheme or with smart switches. Scroll through your list of managed devices to ensure that everything is turned on or off accordingly.

Add a human element

Yes, smart houses are cool. They can do a lot for you every day and they keep you connected to home when you are thousands of miles away. Yet smart houses are not perfect, and it is a good idea to keep an eye on one or two very familiar (and technically educated) people.

Whether it's sharing a camera feed, security code, or Bluetooth key, knowing that someone can physically check your home if something looks suspicious will help you travel happier.


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