How to Keep a “Smart” Eye on Your Home While You’re Away

    Smart home devices that give frequent travelers peace of mind

Frequent travelers are all too familiar with the nagging question that hits you the second you sit down in your airplane seat: “What did I forget?” From putting the bills in the mail to taking out the trash, every one of us works through the same internal checklist before the cabin doors are closed for takeoff.

Chores and forgotten items are no big deal, but a unique form of panic strikes when you realize something could go wrong at home. It’s hard to enjoy a trip when you suspect that a bathroom might be flooding or your garage doors aren’t closed.

Thankfully, today’s smart home technology offers affordable solutions that can give even the most forgetful travelers some valuable peace of mind. Here are a few essential upgrades to make before your next adventure.

Keep Your Cool from Far Away

The first step that most homeowners take toward a smarter home is to install a Wi-Fi smart thermostat. It’s a helpful upgrade for any homeowner (who doesn’t want to save money through a more efficient home?), but they’re especially useful for travelers. There’s no reason to run an expensive heat pump when you’re gone for the week, and you can easily adjust a smart thermostat from anywhere and turn down the heat or turn it off completely. Even better, a few taps of an app on the way home can have your space at the perfect temperature the second you make it to the door. It’s better for the environment (and easier on your wallet too) to have such precise control over your heating and cooling system.

Watch Out for Intruders

There’s no worse feeling than realizing that you left a door unlocked when you’re hundreds of miles away. However, if you have the right smart home gadgets, it’s easy to keep your home locked down and under a watchful eye.

Smart locks are invaluable upgrades for security-conscious homeowners, enabling you to place highly specific controls on your home’s entryways and even lock an overlooked door from afar. Pair these with a few Wi-Fi security cameras, and you’ve got a powerful home security solution that can alert you to trouble, no matter where you are. (You can also let in a neighbor to water the plants and feed the cat, all with a swipe on the app.)

Through an integrated security hub, you can control your locks and cameras, including recording and live-monitoring capabilities, from anywhere. Sleeping in a hotel bed is a lot more comfortable when you’re confident your home is locked down tight.

Stop Emergencies Before They Start

Of all the emergencies that happen when families are away, none are quite as notorious as water damage from flooding. Pipes and appliances have an uncanny tendency to break when their owners are gone, but the latest smart home sensors can save your home from a catastrophic accident.

Battery-powered water sensors are widely available for most smart home hubs, and it’s a good idea to keep one near toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. If a water emergency is detected, you can receive an instant notification on your smartphone, and even program a smart valve to turn off the water line to your house. It’s much better to wipe up a small puddle than replace hardwood floors after a summer vacation.

You’d be surprised what you can change for the cost of a single airline ticket. Install a few gadgets for your next weekend project, and you might find that your next getaway is a lot more relaxing.

Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to XFINITY Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating smart home automation and security in their homes on his blog At Home in the Future.