Vacation home seems to be the new practical application for the technology coming out of the west. If you're a realtor, own a time-share, or just want to let a handyman in from time to time, a gateway, a camera, and a Z-Wave door lock can make your life a lot easier (Isn’t that what your spouse promised when you bought that property?).
Just about any hub will do for your second home. If you have an alarm system or gateway at your primary residence, it’s usually easier to replicate it again at your vacation home. You can usually combine interfaces (log in once and choose the property you want to view/control) and the learning curve will be less with something you already know. We like Vera Edge for this application, as long as the internet is fairly reliable. Zipato is rapidly closing this gap and will be a real contender (I say by the beginning of next year). Fibaro has some nice features for multi sites (including a VoIP connection possibility) and their solid performance speaks volumes.
- So the first part of the vacation home trifecta is the gateway. (Contact us if you want to discuss a controller that will fit your needs).
- The second would have to be the door lock. Your real estate agent wants to preview the property to someone interested in a summer rental. It’s last minute, and you don’t feel like driving down to drop a key (you just didn’t want to leave a key; how many times have you changed the lock?). You can give the agent a code to open the door, or you can just unlock it remotely. Temp codes can be given for renters, mechanics, family (or your spouse). One word of warning. If you depend on a deadbolt to ensure security of your entry door, purchase one with a motor. There are less expensive deadbolts with the Z-Wave protocol, but they depend on a person ON SITE to throw the lever. Entry locks don’t suffer that fate, but they are not as secure as metal thrust into the threshold of your brick molding.
- HVAC is the third on the ‘must haves’ in your home away from home. There is a balance between heating the place for people, and keeping the temps just high enough that the pipes don’t freeze. A Z-Wave thermostat can give you reports, trigger warnings, and generally hold down the fort while you work during the off season. Have an HVAC specialist tune up your system before you leave; there’s no reason to invest in a smart home to have the heating system fail while you’re away.
Speaking of fail, once you get the basics installed, you can monitor them on your smart device; pining for the day you’ll return. But you don’t have to stop there. Z-wave and home automation can give you even more peace of mind. If you are in an area prone to flooding, there are water sensors. If you’re worried about the pipes failing, there are remote controlled zone valves. Security cameras in rental properties are a little strange, but one outside the front door (so you could see who you’re letting in) is acceptable.
In the case of a smart vacation home, a notification to your smart device that someone is breaking in, probably doesn’t raise anything but your blood pressure. But motion sensors, door and window sensors, and sirens can thwart intruders, and wall switches and low wattage Z-Wave LED’s can give the home a lived in look to deter thieves from the start.
a zwaveproducts.com to help you with customizing a solution for your seasonal residence.