For many vacation home owners, there has always been great excitement and enjoyment associated with “getting away from it all.” Vacation properties can provide a terrific respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But what happens during the rest of the year when the vacation home is left vacant and unused? What’s more, how do you manage to keep your property in tip-top shape if it is being used by multiple parties? How can you have peace of mind without knowing that your home away from home is safe and sound?
Until recently, the options have been limited – and not overly effective. Many homeowners have depended on property management companies to keep an eye on things, but finding a good one can be difficult and the cost can be high. Asking a neighbor to keep an eye on the place might be feasible in some instances, but what if there are no other houses around for miles? The seclusion that you value so highly in your property is now a bit of a liability.
Things have changed. Now it’s possible for homeowners to directly manage their vacation property regardless of the distance using Z-Wave technology. Z-Wave is a wireless technology that allows for remote home control and monitoring using a smartphone, tablet or PC. Z-Wave is, in fact, the most broadly adopted wireless protocol in the world for control and automation products and services, with over 20 million devices in use today.
With simple apps, homeowners can utilize Z-Wave technology to look after and control their vacation residences in a number of different ways.
1) Security Is Key
When a vacation property is equipped with a Z-Wave-powered home control solution, security is increased exponentially. (Z-Wave powers virtually 100% of the North American residential security panels.) By using a handy smartphone or tablet app, property owners can remotely lock doors (equipped with “smart” electronic locks), turn off appliances, and make sure windows and other openings are properly closed.
A Z-Wave home automation system, in conjunction with a high-quality monitoring systems, can also alert vacation property owners when someone has entered the residence, allowing them to quickly alert authorities should a break-in occur. Plus, security alerts can not only be sent to the owner’s phone or computer, they can be sent to a local partner, property management company or police/fire departments, depending on the nature of the security breach.
2) Maintaining Maintenance
One of the biggest issues for vacation property owners is maintaining basic upkeep on a house or condominium located far away; Z-Wave can help in this scenario as well. For example, when a technician needs to come over to fix an air conditioning unit, refrigerator or another appliance, the homeowner can remotely unlock the door to let them in. What’s more, with many of today’s Z-Wave-powered smart locks, a technician or service provider can be given a temporary code that only works on a certain day at a specific time, after which it is inoperable. Consequently, access to the home is effectively controlled.
3) Share and Share Alike
Many people use vacation homes on a shared basis, whether that means a timeshare model, renting out the space on a part-time basis, or an informal sharing arrangement with others. Plus, as Airbnb becomes more popular, some homeowners are turning their primary or secondary residence into a home away from home for out-of-town guests. Under these circumstances, maintaining the property can be difficult as coordinating upkeep and oversight with so many people can be daunting. Z-Wave is perfect for these kinds of arrangements, allowing either one person or many to have access to the home control system.
4) Working Well With Others
Since the Z-Wave standard is interoperable at the product level and capable of working with thousands of different smart devices and objects, it’s easy to use Z-Wave technology to control virtually every aspect of the home. This also makes it simple to expand your home automation capabilities with additional Z-Wave devices.
5) Save Energy – and Money
The cost saving benefits of a Z-Wave home control system is seen prominently in the energy savings arena. With a Z-Wave-powered vacation home, owners can use their smartphone to operate heating, cooling, fans, lights and other major electronics. Intelligent dimming can save lighting energy by 25-40%.
Perhaps a guest has left the lights or the heat on after their stay at your vacation home. You can turn them off rather than having them burn for days or possible weeks, unabated. Z-Wave pays for itself with the money saved on electric bills alone, not to mention the benefit of receiving a text notification if anything unusual happens to the property.
6) Damage Control
One of the worst fears of vacation home owners is the prospect of damage to their property when no one is there to deal with it – or even prevent it. There are a wide variety of Z-Wave-based devices that can alleviate this concern; leak detectors and automatic water shutoff valves, to sense leaks and shut off the water are a prime example.
Managing the temperature and humidity are more than just a matter of saving energy and money, as noted above. Too-high temperatures and/or humidity can cause a variety of issues, including peeling paint, mold, and more. These problems can be alleviated by controlling fans and air conditioning, dampers, humidifiers, and the like. There are additional sensor products and window shades that can help avoid damage to interiors caused by exposure to the sun. Same principle for cold-weather vacation homes, as freezing pipes can be alleviated through Z-Wave control of the heating system.
7) When It’s Time to Go…
When vacation season is over, you’ll want to put your house in “storage” mode. But can you trust that the last person who uses the property will actually do it? Z-Wave-based devices like the aforementioned power window shades and shutters, combined with powered water and drain valves, lighting timers, thermostat programs, and security programs, all help to simplify the process of closing up the house for the season – while easing the owner’s mind that something small but important was forgotten. No more long check lists that renters invariably forget to follow.