Protect Your Home With The Latest In Smart Home Tech
24 January 2021
As Debbie and I work through our home design with out architect, our goal is to make a functional, efficient, welcoming and safe environment for us and our guests. We believe a home should be a sanctuary, and feeling as safe and secure as possible is a foundational element of that idea. A huge upside of the progression of IoT is that home automation and security now seamlessly intersect in an ecosystem that opens up endless possibilities to increase home safety. No matter where you live, setting up your home (new or existing), to be more safety-conscious with smart home technology can be done simply and quickly.
Security cameras are one of the most obvious and fundamental things that come to mind in protecting your home. Smart cameras provide you with remote-seeing power from anywhere and have useful purposes beyond just security. Many people use them to act as a baby monitor, check in on pets during the workday or check when a package is left at the front door. Though I’m not a big fan of cameras inside the house due to hacking potential they can be useful. I have a friend who relies on web cameras in the home of his elderly, widowed mother out of state to make sure she’s OK.
Many homeowners and apartment dwellers are choosing to outfit their homes with easy-to-install video doorbells, spotlight cams, floodlight cams, indoor cams and more. In the case of many video doorbells, you can listen and speak to whoever’s there — whether it be a neighbor, the mailman or a Porch Pirate. I’d imagine it’s pretty frightening for a burglar when they realize they’re on camera and someone’s telling them to go away.
Generally, security cameras can provide peace of mind by letting you keep an eye on what’s going on inside or outside your home at any time. Plus, all of the activity can be recorded and saved on a smartphone app or on cloud services for future reference.
Ring has a wide variety of security products depending on your need, preferences and budget. They allow you to get notifications when your cameras detect motion, check in on your home anytime with live view and speak to anyone there with two-way talk. I installed a Ring doorbell camera at my parents house so they can be alerted when they have visitors or as packages are delivered. They really like the ability to configure zones in areas around their front door to pick up activity in their driveway, walkway and front yard.
Arlo also brings cameras, video doorbells and floodlight cams to smart home with some of the best selling models on the market. Arlo is America’s #1 internet connected camera brand thanks to intelligence, innovation and thoughtful design. Complete command of your connected home is at your fingertips through the Arlo app — customize settings, communicate instantly and more. Outdoor installation is fairly simple with versatile magnetic mounts and the unites have weatherproof enclosures. The only downside for me is their dependence on the internal battery.
I installed some Arlo cameras as well near the garage doors and on the back patio of my parents home. To overcome the need to charge batteries, we also installed compatible Wasserstein Solar Panels for Arlo cameras. There are a lot of other accessories for Arlo cameras like different mounts, skins and more.
If you can never remember if you locked the door or not after you’ve left the house, a smart lock may be the cure for your worries. With just a couple of taps from your smartphone, you can check the status of your lock as well as lock and unlock it from anywhere.
Adopting a keyless lifestyle is safe for another reason too — you’ll never have to hide a physical key under a mat again. You can easily let in trusted guests to your home by creating unique access codes that can be shared securely. When it’s time to revoke access or change passcodes, that can easily be done as well.
If your smart home is based in wifi voice assistants and you don’t use hubs, I’d recommend a lock that works with your wifi network (or at least a wifi adapter). Consider whether you’d like a keypad and can replace your existing deadbolt (you’ll need a new physical key for locking), or prefer a simpler, retrofit design.
Schlage smart features include built-in wifi and it works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant with simple account linking through their apps. It’s also compatible with Amazon Key providing convenience for in-home delivery services. Some models however will also need a Schlage lock wifi adapter to connect with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Sleek keypad designs are available in both modern and traditional styles and multiple finishes. Schlage also offers one of the strongest, most intelligent Bluetooth enabled locks available. And no incremental fees or subscriptions and no additional payments for electronic access.
August is another great option for many reasons. they give you the ability to track activity and always know who is coming and going at your doorstep with a 24/7 Activity Feed. Like the Schlage, you can grant unlimited digital keys valid for weeks, hours or minutes. Only August has DoorSense that checks the status of your door and tells you if your door is securely closed and locked.
Installation is a snap as all August Smart Locks simply attach to your existing deadbolt, on the inside of your door. Since it does not change the exterior of your lock your keys will still work. And the app works with biometric verification, enabling your smartphone’s fingerprint or facial verification for unlocking and locking your door when you are away.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to obnoxious chirping due to a battery needing to be replaced. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that can be controlled via a mobile app or central hub are an excellent choice to avoid the rude awakening and keeping your family safe at home.
Smart detectors provide remote monitoring and many other capabilities that go way beyond the classic battery-powered alarm systems. Some smart devices will alert your phone and tell you what’s wrong and where smoke is coming from. You can easily hush alarms straight from the app and the device can be connected to smart lighting to turn on lights in the event of smoke detection.
Nest Protect is a good example of a solution that’ll alert your phone and tell you what’s wrong and where smoke is coming from — and in a soft, human voice color coded messaging. It has a Split‑Spectrum Sensor that uses two wavelengths of light to detect smoke from both fast-burning and smoldering fires because the foam and particle board in much of today’s furniture make fires burn faster. It also checks its batteries and sensors over 400 times a day. The battery is designed to last a decade. And it uses Sound Check to quietly test its speaker and horn once a month.
Nest Protect has the most accurate type of carbon monoxide sensor available with a state of the art carbon monoxide sensing algorithm. If you need to be up in the middle of the night for some reason, it lights up as you walk underneath it. Pathlight is one of their customers’ favorite features.
Samsung SmartThings ADT Smoke Alarm as well will let you know when there’s smoke or extreme temperatures in your home. You can receive alerts or set lights and other connected devices to turn on and off when there’s an alert.
It does require a SmartThings ADT Security Starter Kit as it won’t pair with SmartThings Hub nor any other ADT panels. The solution also has optional ADT Professional Monitoring Services with low month to month rates and no long term contracts.
As we’re a SmartThings smart home currently this option looks particularly attractive. I like the idea of a monitoring service but I’m more excited about the other integrations available through the SmartThings platform like lighting which could be critical during a late night emergency.
Water sensors can detect leaks and unwanted water in your home near appliances such as dishwashers, water heaters, faucets, washing machines and more — and potentially save you from major water damage and expensive repair bills. I’ve had friends who have had water damage issues and the disruption alone is worth the investment, not to mention avoiding the need for repairs to your home and furniture.
Along with checking for corroded, damaged, or rusty water supply lines and performing regular maintenance, water sensors can help you manage your risk through remote monitoring, early alerts, and freeze warnings. By catching problems early, you may be more apt to avoid expensive repairs and loss of treasured belongings.
The Honeywell Wifi Water Leak and Freeze Detector keeps you connected and aware to potentially costly water activity in your home. Whether you’re in the kitchen or on vacation you can receive notifications when a pipe freezes or a leak is detected. The integrated Resideo Home App keeps you updated to alerts and also guide you through a step-by-step setup of the water leak sensors for easy DIY installation. The wifi-based battery-operated sensor includes a 4-ft. cable sensor which detects water along its entire length. Additional cables can be added, extending the sensor length up to 500 ft., allowing you to loop and lay the sensor through a basement or utility room. The battery last up to three years. The device can notify you by sending notification to your phone with LED status lights and a 100 dB alarm.
The Ring Alarm Flood and Freeze Sensor can be placed on any floor or any flat surface near a water source, and you’ll get alerts when water is detected or when the temperature drops below 40°F, so you can stay ahead of water damage. Position the sensor near sinks, bathtubs, showers, refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, water coolers, toilets, basements, and any other sources of potential leaks. Simply download the app to receive instant push notification of any water leakage. This solution is battery powered like the Honeywell Wifi Water Leak and Freeze Detector and the Ring Alarm Security Kit is required for setup.
As you can see there are a variety of smart home security solutions ranging from easy to “some assembly required.” By combining these smart home devices together with remote monitoring and control, you can customize new ways to make your home more safe and secure. Debbie and I are still evaluating solutions to see which will be the best matches for our needs, as should you. Home security can involve some very critical decisions so do your homework.
Another element of our home design Debbie and I are considering are safe rooms and tornado shelters as we live in “Tornado Alley.” We still have a lot of work to do on this subject. If I end up with a enough material I may post more but they are a little off-topic for Smart Home. Let me know if there’s interest here.
Have you seen anything here that particularly piques your interest? What is your favorite smart home device that you think will keep you and your family safer? Let us know in the comments as we’d love to hear from you. Until next week, stay safe out there.