Boosting Holiday Safety with Automation

AutomationHolidays are getting closer and it’s easy to get lost in all the chaos that is related to coordinating all the guests, keeping track of who is bringing what to dinner etc. One thing that shouldn’t be overlooked under any circumstances is the safety of the house. It’s equally important for the hosts and for the guests, who leave their own houses unattended in favor of visiting friends or siblings who live far away.According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are the cause of one third of all house fires even though the majority of them now have built in safety features.

Installation of smart hubs in the house can spare the homeowner some anxiety regarding the safety of the house. Combined with such security measures as a lock change or a lock rekey service (to make sure that nobody breaks into the house easily, while the owner is having a dinner with the family in some flyover state), they make it possible to have full control over the house from anywhere, at any given moment. Smart hubs can control everything, from decorative holiday lights to cozy electric blankets.

The following are some of the most popular smart hubs nowadays, used in the USA:

Samsung’s SmartThings

Samsung’s SmartThings device is a good choice for those who don’t like to deal with complicated devices. This hub (which costs $99) needs only 2 basic actions to start working – the owner should plug it into the router and download its application. The smart outlet ($55) allows control of appliances from virtually anywhere, and the leak sensor ($40) notifies the user when a leak has happened. Home owners can even purchase a temperature and humidity sensor to place in sensitive rooms, such as a kitchen or even a bathroom. This tool is compatible with many different devices, such as emergency alarms, smoke sensors and others.


Belkin makes a smart outlet called WeMo Insight Switch ($60). This means that the device gives a normal outlet a Wi-Fi connection, enabling the user to control it from anywhere, through its application. From the app, it’s possible to set timers and schedules for such devices as space heaters and holiday lights. It’s also possible to check the status of connected appliances, to see if any of them were accidentally left turned on. It’s compatible also with other devices, such as security cameras. In case that the user discovers that the recently made lock change was not effective enough against burglars, it might be quite fun to drive the thief crazy by turning the lights in the house on and off in a random way, until the police arrives.


Insteon has produced a Hub ($80) that manages multiple devices at a time. This hub lets the user set rules, such as turning off a television when nobody is home, lock the door, or dim all of the lights. This device also works with smart outlets like Belkin’s, but it’s also possible to set it up to work with smoke detectors, door-opening sensors and even leak sensors. The smoke detector can be set to turn on all of the lights and unlock the doors in case of an emergency. All of the hubs and sensors can be unplugged and moved,if theuser moves into a new home.

Whatever the homeowner’s budget may be, there is something for every customer when it comes to automatic safety hubs. Each brand has their pros and cons, but that just means that some market research is needed, before the “buy it now” button is pressed. Keep in mind that these devices are optional, not compulsory to have. It is up to the user to determine what kinds of sensors are important to them and whether the house can be safe without them or not. Remember that it’s still more important to protect the house from the outside, in order to make sure that no unauthorized “guests” can get into it. If there is a need to make a lock change or rekey the front door lock – it should be the main priority, before any gadgets are purchased.

Published by Kidal Delonix (1197 Posts)

Kidal Delonix is a contributor to Mr. Hoffman's blog. The views and opinions are entirely his/her own and may not reflect Mr Hoffman's views.

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