Remembering that you left the garage door open may stop you in your tracks on the way to the office. Burglars can sometimes enter homes through this often overlooked area of home security—and even if they can’t enter your home, there are likely still expensive items in your garage that they could steal.
You might think home automation is just about smart coffee pots and Alexa playing your favorite tunes as you walk from room to room. These things are definitely cool, but there’s a lot more to home automation—especially when you harness this technology to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Imagine if you could have those eyes in the back of your head that your mom always talked about. Well, home automation does even more. With remote apps, motion alerts, and streaming video, you can keep an eye on what’s going on at home from just about anywhere.
You can do more than simply observe, too. If you leave your garage door open, or you’re afraid you didn’t lock the front door, all you have to do is access your home security app to lock everything up nice and tight right from your office. And it doesn’t stop there. You can control the lights to make sure the living room light turns on before your kids get home from school, ensuring no one ever has to walk into a dark house again.
Depending on the type of system and components you choose, home automation devices can even let you greet people at the door when you’re nowhere near home. Certain security cameras and smart doorbells provide two-way audio that allows you to hear what’s happening at your house and speak to delivery people and other visitors. You can also use door and window sensors to be alerted if a door or window is opened or tampered with.
In addition to all the bells and whistles of home automation and security, there’s no arguing with the stats. A 2012 study found that more than 40% of burglars would skip a house if they saw a security camera1—now just imagine if you could talk to them through it.
Is Home Automation Easy to Use for Security?
It’s all fine and good to hear about the perks of using home automation for extra security, but it doesn’t make a difference if the systems are too complicated to use. Luckily, these devices are pretty simple. If you know how to use a smartphone, chances are you already have the skills to operate an automated home security system.
Most systems come with user-friendly apps that you can access on your phone or other mobile device. The apps have a control center that lets you set up alerts, check in on what’s happening, and interact with your system. If you connect your system with your garage door, it shouldn’t take more than a swipe of your finger to make sure that your garage door is closed.
Best of all, the alerts that automated systems provide are typically either texts or emails. If you’re already used to staying in touch via these forms of communication, then you have nothing new to learn. In addition, most systems provide 24/7 customer service to help you if you get stuck.
How Do I Get Started Increasing My Home Security?
Contrary to what you might think, adding home automation doesn’t have to break the bank. Depending on your home security needs, your DIY prowess, and your budget, there are plenty of automated security options available.
Install a Full Security System
Let’s start with the whole enchilada. If you are ready to pull out all the stops, a full-service security system, like ones that Vivint offers, is a perfect fit.
Vivint provides cutting edge home security and automation technology. You can get a system that includes everything from automated locks and smart lightbulbs to a video doorbell and a smart thermostat. The company’s security cameras offer live streaming, and the whole system communicates wirelessly—so you don’t need to worry about adding a home phone line, or burglars cutting the wires.
Security companies like Vivint require a monthly service package and may include installation and activation fees. Vivint offers packages that start at $39.99 per month and often throws in installation and activation for no extra charge. Look through the best home security systems and find out what packages and deals are available in your area.
Pick a Few Outdoor Security Cameras
If you don’t need the whole kit and caboodle, consider starting with security cameras aimed at your home’s vulnerable entry points, like the garage door and front door. You can have cameras professionally installed, but this would also be a quick job for those HGTV addicts out there.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the type of security you’re looking for. Do you want cameras that can detect and respond to motion? Is checking video in real-time important to you or is reviewing recorded footage later good enough? You may also want cameras that include night vision so that you always have eyes on your garage, even after the sun goes down.
We like the ZOSI 960H outdoor camera for its low cost and outstanding customer reviews on Amazon. It also has excellent night vision capabilities and is tough enough to withstand all types of weather. The ZOSI isn’t the best for image quality and has no motion options, but if you’re looking for reliable surveillance that you can install on your own, this camera is a good bet.
A more advanced option is the Uniden GC45S. This camera produces a high-resolution image, will pan and tilt for better view, and comes with a two-way microphone.
Make Use of Smart Locks
You don’t need a smart house to add electronic or Wi-Fi enabled locks that you can control remotely. On their own, or as part of a bigger security system, smart locks make it so you never have to wonder if the garage door is open.
A smart lock can be as simple as a keypad or as advanced as a biometric lock that uses a fingerprint for entry. The key, so to speak, is selecting a lock that gives you the ability to lock things up even when you’re far from home.
In addition to your main garage door, you need to secure other entries into the garage, like patio or backyard doors. These entryways are the ideal spot to increase security with a smart lock. The Kwikset Kevo smart lock uses Bluetooth to turn your smartphone into a key. It works with both iOS and Android devices and lets you lock and unlock the door with the touch of a finger. You’ll never have to worry about where to safely hide a spare key again.
Use a Smart Garage Door Opener
What could be better than turning your current garage door opener into a smart garage door opener? Garadget does just that. It lets you upgrade your existing garage door opener for remote control through your phone, wearables, and other home automation products. The device is easy to use and a breeze to install. Customers report that in less than an hour they transformed their old openers into automated ones that they can control no matter where they are.
Garadget adds more security than a keypad panel or traditional garage door remote. It also lets you monitor, open, and close your garage door. Once installed, it will send you alerts if you leave your garage door open. It also eliminates worry about leaving the remote in another car, on the counter, or in your gym bag.
Garadget doesn’t require batteries and there is no monthly service charge to use it. This clever gadget is a nice one-stop solution for adding extra security to your garage.
Make sure you don’t give burglars an open invitation by forgetting to close the garage door. Explore these automated security measures to provide extra security for you and your loved ones, starting today.
Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more