Smart Home Security Guide

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Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

Health and wellness isn't just about food–in fact, the very definition of holistic health is the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.

I truly believe that health isn't just about how many calories we consume or how many minutes we spend on the treadmill; rather true and lasting wellness is understanding ALL of the parts or our health as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

All this to say, having a safe home is an area that is often overlooked when it comes to health. While we may think about the safety of the cleaning products we're using, or strive for non-toxic bedding, the literal security of our homes isn't a topic that many people typically put in the wellness category.

Here at R+R, we're changing that up! Having peace of mind about our physical security is of utmost importance when it comes to decreasing our stress levels and increasing our overall sense of well-being.

With smart technology, security devices have come such a long way and can literally be controlled from our fingertips, from anywhere!

Whether you're on vacation, at work or out on date night with the kids at home, being able to relax and know that your family, pets and belongings are safe allows your vigilance to take a back a seat, so you can rest assured and focus on being present and enjoying yourself.

To wit, we've created a Smart Home Security Guide highlighting our favorite safety products that can truly make a difference in your peace of mind.

After moving into a transitional neighborhood myself last year, I know firsthand how important it is to feel safe, and have personally used all of the products listed below to enhance my sense of safety, security, peace of mind and well-being.

Let's get to it!

Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

SMART HOME SECURITY: CAMERAS

I've found extreme peace of mind being able to monitor and secure my home with cameras. I’ve recently been enjoying next-level security and convenience with Ring’s Wireless Video Doorbell 2! Armed with motion-activated alerts, 1080HD video and two-way talk, Ring lets you watch over your home and answer the door from anywhere through the app. This means that – day or night, rain or shine – you’re always home and can monitor what’s going on right at your doorstep.

I also got the Ring Outdoor Wi-Fi Cam with Motion Activated Floodlight, which we have in our backyard. It’s amazing–not only does it provide lighting at night (which is conveniently motion activated), but there’s even an alarm feature that you can sound if you catch somebody that shouldn’t be there.

Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

I’ll admit, I also love using the camera to keep an eye on our puppy when she’s outside without us.

Ring also sells spotlight security cameras and they’re getting ready to launch a comprehensive whole-house security system, which I can’t wait to get! Check out their website to discover all your options!

Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

SMART HOME SECURITY: AUTOMATIC GATE OPENERS

If you – like me – have a gate at the bottom of your driveway, or anywhere on your property like around a pool – Mighty Mule automatic gate openers are the answer! We have the Mighty Mule Medium Duty Dual Swing Automatic Gate Opener and are really pleased with it.

No more getting out of your car in the dark or in the pouring rain to open a gate.

The Mighty Mule brand offers the “Do It Yourselfer” a professional grade gate opener that is affordable, easy enough to install yourself and exceeds all national and federal safety standards. You can also install the Mighty Mule Automatic Gate Lock for additional security, which automatically locks the gate (and has a manual key as well just in case).

If you're wanting to restrict access to a dangerous area for your kiddos or pets, like around a pool, the Mighty Mule Bulldog Pedestrian Gate Lock is just what you need. It's pedestrian friendly, meaning it does not require a gate opener but instead utilizes a digital keypad for security.

Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

We personally have two remote controls that we keep in our cars for easy access. I'll admit, the gate can be a little slow to open and close, and the remote's don't work too well from a distance (i.e. you have to be pretty close to the gate for it to open), but it sure as heck beats having to get out of the car and open it manually!

Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

SMART HOME SECURITY: LIGHTING

Smart switches can not only help you save money (who doesn't love that?!), but also create ease and safety with their customizable timers and remote access from the app. Make it look like your house is occupied when you're away by turning on lights from the app. Or, if coming home after sunset, turn on the lights in advance so you can return home to a well lit space instead of into darkness.

One of my favorite smart lighting products is the Philips Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit, which is a device that also allows you to control your lights through your smartphone. With this one, you can select from 50,000 shades of white light, from daylight to a warm glow, to match your mood or activity. Plus, LED lights save a ton of money!

We've hooked ours up through Siri, so all we have to do is say “Hey Siri, turn the kitchen lights down to 20%” and it's done. Pretty cool, right?

Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

Wemo (by Belkin) is another great brand I've been using – their Wireless Light Control Switch has a range of capabilities: smart dimmers, app or voice controlled timers, smart plugs where you can control your outlets from the app, and more, plus real-time energy reports on your devices so you can further cut costs. I love being able to turn appliances off from my phone and adjust lighting with the click of a button!

We installed their smart switch in my office and I couldn't be happier with it. I can control it from my phone, set timers and schedules, save on energy costs and make it look like we're home when we're not.

Wellness tip: I have a schedule set in my office so that lights go on at 9:30 in the morning and off at 5:30 at night to give me a gentle reminder when to start and stop working.

Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

SMART HOME SECURITY: KEYLESS DEADBOLTS

If you're still hiding an extra key under your doormat, it's time for a major upgrade. When you go keyless, not only do you never have to worry about losing your house keys, you also never have to worry about someone stealing them.

That’s one of the reasons why we upgraded our door locks with smart deadbolts–I’m obsessed with our Schlage Sense Matte Black Century Smart Lock!

Simply enter an access code on the touchscreen to unlock the door. You can lock and unlock your deadbolt from anywhere using their app – so you’ll never again have to go back home and make sure you remembered to lock your door.

Reduce stress and increase your wellness by setting up a safe home for you and your family! In this Smart Home Security Guide, we'll share our favorite savvy products that will help you rest easy, both when you're home and away.

Plus, you can share access codes with trusted friends and family with just a few taps – no more keeping track of spare keys. Or, simply unlock the door from the app if you're expecting company when you're not home.

I love this feature for when we're out of town and need someone to come check on our kitties.

Schlage locks also have a built-in auto-lock and alarm feature where your deadbolt will activate an alarm when the lock is tampered with, or a significant amount of force is applied to the door.

Auto-lock allows you to set your deadbolt to automatically lock after a given amount of time, so if you forget to lock the door behind you when you get home, you don’t have to worry about locking up before you go to bed – it will already be done! We have ours set to auto-lock after four minutes and it's so helpful!

SMART HOME SECURITY: ALARM SYSTEM

At our old house, we used to have the Vivint alarm system, which we really loved since we could control everything from our home and check on our house easily while we were away. But it was super expensive (something like $70/month at the time) and the customer service was pretty terrible.

So when we moved into our new house, we did a ton of research on which alarm system we wanted to get. Here are some notes from our comparison shopping:

  • Frontpoint, $2,234.35 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.
  • Vivint, $2,798.40 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.
  • Abode, $1,526.00 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.
  • Ring Protect, $859.00 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.
  • SimpliSafe, $1,298.40 would be our total cost over 5 years including equipment and monthly monitoring.

**Note: each of these systems included a control panel, motion sensor, at least 4 door/window sensors, and a yard sign and window decals. A few also threw in remote key faabs, app usage, and a camera. Otherwise, it was a pretty apples to apples comparison.

So Ring Protect was by far the cheapest, and though they haven't officially launched their system yet, if their doorbells and cameras are any indication, I know it'll be super easy to use and high-quality, sleek devices.

In the meantime, we decided to go with SimpliSafe, which was the 2nd most affordable choice. It's a DIY alarm system that couldn't have been easier to install (literally just stick the sensors where you want them and pair with your device), and it's effective and provides lots of peace of mind.

However, it's not without its flaws. For one, we can't control the system from our phones unless we upgrade our monthly monitoring from $14.99/month to $35/month, which doesn't seem worth the cost to us. Secondly, the system sometimes sets off false alarms when our pets are inside and set off the motion sensors, which can be a pain.

We may switch to Ring when it comes out, but for now, SimpliSafe has been a good option for us.

What are your favorite ways to keep your home safe? Let us know in the comments below!


Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Disclaimers: I was provided with free products from the brands mentioned above in return for their inclusion in this post with my honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by these partnerships. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.

This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust.

3 thoughts on “Smart Home Security Guide”

  1. Wow, there’s so much to consider here that I haven’t really thought about before! Thanks for all the comprehensive information!

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Tips for a healthier home

Here are some eco-friendly home care tips for a healthy and green living:
  • Switch your cleaning products to eco-friendly options. You can find many of these in the grocery store and online.
  • Use sustainable materials for furniture, such as wood instead of plastic or metal. This will help create less waste and reduce the amount of natural resources that are used to produce them.
  • Choose lightbulbs with little or no mercury. These not only create less waste but also have an impact on climate change by using less electricity.
  • Plant trees around your property. Trees benefit the environment by providing shade, absorbing carbon dioxide, and purifying the air with their leaves. They also provide fuel for firewood during colder months and a habitat for wildlife. The benefits of planting trees go far beyond what you see right in front of you!

Green cleaning products

One way to make your home more eco-friendly is by switching over to green cleaning products. These products aren’t as harsh on the environment as traditional household cleaners and are less likely to cause allergies or other health issues. Plus, you can find a variety of green cleaning products that work for every type of surface in your home.

Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products

There are many cleaning products that you can use in your home that are environmentally friendly. One of the best ways to start is by switching to eco-friendly cleaning products. Many people don’t know that there are many types of eco-friendly cleaning products on the market today, including laundry detergent and dishwasher soap. A switch to green cleaners can be a simple way to create an environmentally friendly living environment.

Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean your home

If you want to make your home safer and more environmentally friendly, then you can switch from using toxic cleaning products to using eco-friendly alternatives. For example, if you want to clean your toilet, then you could use vinegar instead of bleach or other harsh chemicals. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer, so it will do the job without harming the environment. You can also use baking soda as a healthy alternative to many household cleaners. Baking soda is an abrasive cleaner that breaks down dirt and grime; it’s also non-toxic, so it won’t harm people or the environment. It’s also inexpensive, so you can use it liberally without worrying about running out of supply too quickly.

Sustainable living

Most people are more aware of the environment these days and want to do their part to make it a better place. Homeowners and renters alike are doing everything from switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products, to using sustainable materials for furniture. Here are some tips for living an eco-friendly lifestyle in your home:
    • Clean with white vinegar – You can use this as a natural disinfectant that is also eco-friendly. It is also inexpensive and easy on your pipes because you won’t be putting harsh chemicals down the drain.
    • Avoid aerosol cans – Aerosol cans contain harmful chemicals that will release into the air when sprayed. Try switching to an eco-friendly product or find another way to clean.
    • Use reusable napkins – Napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, even facial tissue all come wrapped in paper (or other packaging). Reusable napkins or dish towels will give you one less thing you need to throw away every day!
    • Put up a clothesline – Even if you live in an apartment or condo where putting up a clothesline isn’t possible, there are many ways you can still dry your clothes without using electricity or gas. For example, hang them outside on a sunny day or turn your oven on low heat and hang them from the top rack.

Living with less waste in your home

One of the best ways to reduce your ecological footprint is by reducing the amount of waste that your household produces. Take a look at what you’re throwing away and try to find alternatives.
For example, instead of buying disposable napkins, use cloth napkins that you can throw into the wash. If you need face wipes for removing makeup, consider making them yourself from reusable materials like cotton rounds. And if you want to stop using plastic bags, use canvas bags or have bags made from recycled material. There are many other ideas for eco-friendly alternatives in your home as well.

Sustainable materials for furniture

Did you know that the average American generates over 4 pounds of waste every day? This means that we are throwing away a lot of furniture and other items in our homes. To stop contributing to this problem, it is best to use sustainable materials for furniture. Sustainable materials are made from recycled materials which can be up-cycled into new products. Not only are these items better for the environment, but they also save money because the items will last longer.
Sustainable materials for furniture include:
      • Recycled plastic
      • MDF
      • Plywood
      • Timber reclaimed from old buildings or driftwood
      • Bamboo
      • Faux leather (made from cotton)
The pursuit of a healthy, green and sustainable home is achievable for anyone. It will require more time and effort, but the payoff will be worth it.
Start with the small things. Make a conscious effort to recycle, turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them, and check your thermostat. It’s easy to get into a routine of living without giving it much thought, but the more you make an effort, the easier it will be to live sustainably.
After you’ve made changes in your everyday life, look for furniture that is made with sustainable materials. You can also buy an eco-friendly houseplant for your home that requires little care.
    1. Tips for a healthier home:
      • Turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them
      • Check your thermostat
      • Make a conscious effort to recycle
    2. Green cleaning products:
      • Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products
      • Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean
      • Sustainable living:
      • Living with less waste in your home
      • Sustainable materials for furniture
  • Sustainable materials for furniture:
    • Consider buying furniture made with sustainable
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