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Smart Home Checklist: Prepare your home for vacation travel



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Josh Miller / CNET

The charm of the intelligent home lies in part in the management and supervision that takes place during work or on business evening. With the right guidance from you, your Smart Home can perform well in several days or even weeks. If you're on vacation this holiday season, we have the tips you need to confidently leave your smart home alone.

Thermostats

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Adjust the thermostat thresholds to save the most energy during your absence.


Chris Monroe / CNET

If you have a smart thermostat, most types recognize that you are absent and provide a way to remotely change the thermostat. That's probably why you bought the thing. It's a nice treat if you're out and about for a few hours or a working day.

For longer periods or for vacation mode thermostats, it is recommended that you check the threshold settings before a long absence. Sure, you can remotely adjust them, but the whole idea here is to hire them and get started. Before leaving, set the temperature ranges on your thermostat so you can save money while protecting your home.

Read our review of the Nest Thermostat E

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

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Light and Shadow

My parents always left the TV on when we left, so people thought we were home. I thought it would be a strange game to pretend as a child, as a homeowner, it makes sense. The lighting is not a fail-safe protection against intruders. However, setting the light or TV to emulate human activity is a good place to start. Smart switches and schedules can do just that.

Read our review of the Lutron Serena Sunglasses.

As a rule of thumb, the outdoor lighting should be switched on at night and off during the day, while the interior lighting should be switched on and off in different rooms. If you have smart switches, you should create a time-of-day schedule that mimics what you would normally do at home.

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


Tyler Lizenby / CNET

If you use automatic window blinds, you should set them so that they do not open during your absence. Failure to turn off the light can prevent crime. However, leaving the shutters open may make your living room a window for a burglar.

Cameras, Doorbells and Security Systems

Lately, several new security systems for smart homes have hit the market. While they do most of the work for you once they're done, it's important that you give them a quick status check before you leave. The security settings differ depending on what products you have. Regardless of the brand, it's a good idea to make sure motion sensors, cameras, locks, and doorbells have fresh or fully charged batteries, and the notification is properly enabled to get the right emergency contacts.

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Chris Monroe / CNET

Read our review of Ring Video Doorbell 2

For cameras, make sure that the lens is free of dirt, cobwebs, or decor that could obscure the view. If you reduce the sensitivity of motion or have the camera set to ignore movement in some areas of your home, now is a good time to reset these features to maximum alertness. Finally, make sure that all notification settings are set to notify appropriate people at the appropriate times.

Environmental Detectors

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

Read our review of Nest Protect (second generation).

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Chris Monroe / CNET

If your detectors are not connected to a live monitoring service, it's even more important to send a notification to the right mobile device. This will allow you to ask a friend or neighbor to check suspicious warnings.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaners and Other Small Appliances

There are several robotic vacuum cleaners with one version of a scheduling option. If you use this feature frequently, turn it off while you're away. When nobody is home to mess up, the vacuum does not have to expire. If you have increased the sensitivity of the motion detector part of your safety system (as I have suggested), a robot vacuum can trigger false alarms. [Vac-promo-photos-4″height =” 0 “width =” 370 “data-original =” https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/gGCoOHmXnsQ8FQhgqU6_qT3yfrE=/370×0/2019/08/21 /757f1b33-8533-488d-85ab-37fd27cc789f/robot-vac-promo-photos-4.jpg”/> [19659045 <robot-vac-promo-photos-4 [19659046 <Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Read our first impressions of the iRobot Roomba S9 +.

You save battery life and wear out your vacuum by making sure it does not run when it's not needed. The same is true for other small devices that may be running on an intelligent schedule or with intelligent switches. Browse the list of managed devices to make sure that all devices are enabled or disabled accordingly.

Add Human Element

Yes, smart homes are cool. You can do a lot of things daily for you and keep in touch with your home when you are thousands of miles away. Still, smart homes are not perfect, and it's a good idea to have one or two very trustworthy (and tech savvy) people keeping an eye on things.

Whether you're sharing a camera feed, a security code, or a Bluetooth key, you can travel happier if you know someone can physically check your house if something looks suspicious.


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