Safety and security have always been at the forefront of home automation. A residential home security system may have been your first experience in this area.
As smart hubs become more powerful with their ability to detect and alert you to both security and safety concerns, they are replacing the need for a monthly security service. Beyond that, you now have the ability use newer platforms to automate security and safety functions, set up conditions and define a variety of actions that might be triggered in response to those conditions. Let’s look at some of the ways home automation can keep your home safe and secure no matter where you are.
Types of Safety and Security Home Automation
Automating your security systems is one of the first home automation projects you might want to tackle. This includes motion sensors, cameras, door sensors, outside lights, sirens, and flashing lights.
Safety monitoring, such smoke detection, is another high-priority automation. Now you can be notified instantly of any smoke alarms when you’re away from your home. Safety also includes other situations: flooding from storms or washers, extremely high or low temperatures, extremely bright conditions or others that may affect you, your family or pets with high sensitivities. Some types of safety automation might make a huge difference to your peace of mind as well as your ability to take action quickly to limit any damage.
Getting Started with a Security Home Automation Project
Automating your security covers a broad range of options. Let’s look at the basics of setting up a system to alert you in the case of an intruder.
Think about your two alarm states separately: when you’re at home and when you are away from home. In both cases, you’ll want contact sensors for windows and doors that would be likely entry points.
- When you're away, sensors generally operate by detecting the opening and/or closing of a window or door, which kicks off an alert, and sensors connect with an automation platform, such as Hubitat Elevation. When you place your sensors, make sure they can’t be easily removed from outside your window and also that they register a full contact when closed so you don’t get false alerts.
When you’re not at home, you’ll want motion detectors as well as contact sensors. These will detect any movement inside your home, so be careful about placement of these if you have pets because you don’t want false alarms.
There are several types of alerts you can receive when you’re not at home – you can have a text message sent as well as sirens and other noise. You may even want to automate a phone call to a security company.
You may also want to set up a slight delay on your door sensors to give yourself time to disarm your system before your alerts and alarms go off.
- When you’re at home, you can set up a variety of alerts you will receive when a window or door is opened or closed. You may just want to get a notification – for example, you might want to know if your child has opened a door or window. Or you may want to have a full on siren, lights flashing, and speaker warning. And you may want to set these up differently for different windows and doors. That’s the beauty of home automation: you’re not limited to an ‘all or nothing’ option – you choose what works for you, and how you want it to work.
Setting up your security needs to work for you. And generally, choosing the options you want is a lot easier than you may think. Take a look at our video on setting up alerts for intrusions.
Putting Safety Home Automation in Place
Among the very first safety automations you need to add are smoke detection and water detection. After that, there are all kinds of options as mentioned above. Let’s take a look at setting up a safety alert for a potential water damage situation. The key to limiting water damage is to know as soon as possible so you can take action — so alerts are critical.
You might have several types of potential water damage scenarios you could set alerts for:
- Hot water heater breaking
- Dishwasher or washing machine hose breakage or flooding
- Flooding from rain
- In any of those scenarios, you’ll need a water sensor. The water sensors will connect with your home automation platform, such as Hubitat Elevation. Place the sensors in the locations that are most likely the first place water will leak if there’s a problem.
- Set up the type of alert you want to receive: a text alert is always a good one, especially if you’re not at home. You can set up additional types of alerts as well.
That’s it! Now you’ll get information right away if there’s a problem. Make sure you put a plan of action in place if you’re not at home: is there someone who can go into your house and fix the problem? Set that up so you can take action if you ever get that alert.
We have a quick video on safety alerts that shows you how easy this is to set up.
A Temperature Safety Home Automation Alert
Let’s take a quick look at a different type of alert: suppose you have someone at home who is very sensitive to temperature and you live in a hot climate. You might need to know if the air conditioning has broken and the temperature is climbing to intolerable conditions for this person. You can set a temperature alert:
- You’ll need a temperature sensor. This will connect to your home automation platform, such as Hubitat Elevation.
- Place the temperature sensor in a location that will register the correct temperature without false alarms. Ideally, someplace near the person but out of the direct sunlight of a window.
- Set an alert for a temperature that’s high, but not so high that you don’t have any time to take appropriate action if you’re not at home for this situation. You may want to consider a doctor’s advice if this is because of a health condition.
- Your alert may include not just a text message to you, but also some other forms of alert if there are others at home or other people to notify.
That’s it! This is the type of safety automation that can give you peace of mind about the care of someone else.
You Can Stop Wondering Whether Your Home Is Safe When You’re Not There
Safety and security automation is a great way to start automating all kinds of activities in your home. You’ll get the immediate benefit of knowing more about what’s going on and what might require you to take action — without having to wonder about it while you’re off at work or on vacation.