Not home? Use technology for safety and security


A14-PIC-TechieFor all homeowners who are lucky enough to have a second home here in Canyon Lake, there’s some new technology that will make coming to and leaving the lake stress free and safe while you’re away.

  • Belkin WeMo Switch can turn a device on or off from anywhere by using your smart phone or tablet.

The Switch plugs into any regular socket; then plug anything into it, like a lamp that can be turned on in the evenings and off during the day. It can be accessed remotely from your phone so you can control when and how often the device is on.

It also includes a motion detector with a six-foot cable that can detect any motion in the home, up to 10 feet, while you are away.

The WeMo app is free and, once downloaded, you can dictate the rules for what time you want it turned on or for how long. The motion detector can easily be turned on or off if you are having guests at your home while away. You can also receive a text when the motion detector has been activated. It operates over your home’s internet.

The cost is $69.99.

  • Want your home to be cool before you arrive at the lake? Invest in a new programmable thermostat like the Nest 3.0.

Once the free Nest app is downloaded, the Nest thermostat works off the home’s internet and the thermostat can be set accordingly. It offers an Auto-Away setting when, even if you forget to set it to Away, it will sense nobody’s home and will set itself.

Before you arrive, you can set the thermostat so the home is cool or warm, depending on the season. The display on the thermostat is extra-large, which makes it easy to see the temperature from across the room.

If you have a forced air system, the device has the technology to check for patterns so the system doesn’t overheat; and if there is an issue, it will send you a text.

Studies show that it can save an average of 10 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling bills. It’s super easy to install and it even can even tell you when it’s in need of a new filter.

The cost is $249.

  • Need to let the bug guy in while you’re away? With the August Smart Lock 2.0, you can access your deadbolt from your smart phone or tablet and lock or unlock the deadbolt at any time. If the kids or grandkids visit, you can check to make sure the door’s locked after they leave, all from your phone.

The free August Home app is easy to use and you can create virtual keys for family or guests.

It also allows you to see who is coming and going. It only replaces the interior hardware, so the outer hardware stays the same. It works off your home internet and is even compatible with Siri.

It doesn’t work with all deadbolts, so check the website to make sure your deadbolt is compatible.

There are four colors to choose from at a cost of $229.

  • Not home? Try the SkyBell HD door buzzer that allows you to answer the door right from your smart phone or tablet.

It’s a video doorbell where you can see, hear and speak to visitors at your door, even when you’re not home. It offers a built-in camera with 1080p high definition resolution.

The visitor presses the doorbell and SkyBell sends you a live-feed alert to your phone. You can receive an alert through motion, even if the visitor doesn’t ring the doorbell.

You can also turn on the live feed to monitor or see if there is anyone at your home or anything was left at your door. With the touch of a button, the device will snap a photo of your visitor and you can review photos of all visitors, even the ones you missed.

The device will work only with a hard-wired system and if your doorbell is on your door frame. Check the website for measurements to make sure it will fit your door.

It comes in brushed aluminum or oil-rubbed bronze at a cost of $199.

  • There are some easy and affordable do-it-yourself security systems without the monthly fees.

One that is highly recommended is the iSmartAlarm. Their Preferred Package includes a motion detector, two contact sensors for detecting when doors or windows open and close, two remote tags that clip onto your keychain and allow you to aim and disarm the system, and the CubeOne, which connects to the internet and offers a panic button.

The free iSmartAlarm app offers access to the system via your smart phone at all times.

The Preferred Package $199 and $150 to add the iCamera.

Don’t let your time away from the lake cause concern with these innovative and fun products to keep your home safe and offer peace of mind.