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April 3, 2017

Keep tabs on your home remotely

Find peace of mind with home automation features that let you control your house remotely.

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When you’re away from home, it’s natural to wonder about things you can’t see. Take control with home automation features that give you peace of mind by letting you answer these questions remotely.

Did my package arrive?

Count on your smartphone to tell you when there’s activity at your front door. To have eyes on your house at all times (and to later review what went on), you want a wireless camera. The most advanced units include built-in motion detectors and face-recognition technology to sense human presence.

Did I lock the door?

Outfit your entry door with a sensor that communicates with your smartphone; just tap the app to see if the door is locked. For even more information, add sensors to windows, doors and garage doors to allow your smartphone to tell you if they are open or closed. You can also install an electronic lock that lets you know when someone opens the door—and who opened it (based on the number that person used on the keypad). Each family member can have his or her own number, and you can give your neighbor one to bring in your package (then delete her access later).

Does it look like I’m home?

Smart lights and window treatments are your best bet. Yesterday’s whole-house timer won’t fool most criminals (and probably never did). Today’s more advanced lighting systems and motorized blinds and shades let you simulate a real schedule. Lamps and window shades appear to work independently (because you program them that way), but you can control them as one unit on your smartphone.

Is something burning or leaking?

Install a Wi-Fi-enabled smoke detector and moisture sensor: you’ll receive a message as soon as things go wrong. To avoid extensive water damage from burst pipes, take another precautionary step and install a valve that will automatically shut off the water supply.

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