Having a vacation home is a luxury well worth the time and money, but the nature of a second home is that it won’t be occupied year-round. So it goes without saying that it’s important to keep it secure when you’re not in town. There’s nothing worse than the possibility of a water leak or open garage door keeping you up at night. The good news is, there are now cost-effective technologies that solve these problems. Let me explain:
Technology designed for the home has evolved over the years, and is now truly sensational. The days of worrying about a door left unlocked or open are over, thanks to inexpensive sensors like Notion, Korner and SmartThings.
Smart sensors intuitively pick up whether objects are open or closed, like windows and doors, using motion data. So, leaving your garage door open at your ski home doesn’t have to keep you up at night; ease your mind by logging into a mobile app and know for sure.
Other than peace-of-mind, these technologies can change the way you save energy, and therefore money. Naturally, you want to keep your ski home warm enough in the winter so your pipes don’t freeze, and cool enough in the summer so it’s not a sauna when you arrive.
Sensors can notify you if the temperature is getting out of whack, and smart thermostats, like Nest, let you take action. Ideally, a vacant home would have both sensors and thermostats that work together to automate your home’s efficiently. Sensors can be placed in areas where you don’t have thermostats, like your basement and bedroom, and thermostats allow you to remotely control the temperature of your second home.
When you look at the cost of an open door, or a light bulb that doesn’t need to shine, it all starts to make sense. For example, an incandescent light bulb can cost you about $0.75 cents per hour. This may not seem like much, but add it up for hours and days, especially when you’re away for a few weeks or months, and multiply it by every bulb in every room.
An open door wastes air conditioning and heat, and that will cost you hundreds of dollars per season. So if you’re headed home from your ski house, it’s essential to know the exact temperature of your home and ensure doors are closed and electronics are powered down in order to protect your hard-earned dollars.
A Leaky Home is an Expensive Home
Water leaks typically happen near appliances like a sink, washing machine, toilet or water heater. In homes in cold areas especially, they can also happen thanks to burst pipes. If you’ve ever experienced this, it’s a disaster, and tends to happen very quickly. According the Home Advisor, the average cost of water damage repair is $2,156 not including any increase in your homeowners insurance rate.
Smart sensors make it easy to identify both temperature changes and leaks the moment they happen. If you’re away from your ski home, this feature gives you time to hire someone, or kindly ask a neighbor or property manager to shut the water off. We like to say it’s the difference between a mop and a hefty insurance claim!
Fire and Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide and smoke monitoring shouldn’t be a perk; it’s a life-saving practice. Unfortunately, the classic smoke alarm is pointless unless you’re there to hear it. That means a second home is at a much higher risk of fire and carbon monoxide since they are often vacant. Again, sensors and smart smoke alarms are here to save the day. By installing these technologies in your home, you’ll be alerted within seconds, wherever you might be.
Having a second home in the mountains is one of life’s best luxuries, but is also another thing to worry about. To relieve yourself of this, it’s always a great idea to have a neighbor or friend check in, but if that’s not an option, technology can help keep your largest worries at bay.