So you’ve finally done it, you’ve gone and bought a vacation home! Now your next thoughts are on keeping it secured, since it is so far away and probably vacant most of the time. Be it on the side of a mountain, a tropical island, at the beach, or just in your favorite city, there are some steps you can take to secure it. This is how I secured and monitor my vacation home.
Do you have internet?
For me this was the first question, as a lot of the items I talk about below require internet access. Maybe not cable or fios, but at least DSL is going to be required. Otherwise you aren’t getting the full potential of this setup.
Make sure you get a security monitoring company. I know your first instinct is to save a few dollars and have it just text you directly, but you really want a 3rd party monitoring things! The cost is minimal!
I opted for a security system with a cell phone backup, in case the primary internet line goes down. This way a thief can’t just cut the phone line and take whatever they want, there is no way around it. It has a battery and sends me a text message in case the power goes out as well. For example a Honeywell Vista 21iP as the primary security system unit, and a GSM4G card for cell phone backup. This system has an app that I can use from my phone to arm/disarm as well.
I bought a few cameras, and set them to trigger based on motion. I did this since the internet line is not that fast I didn’t want to clog it with video or pictures that upload. Cameras for outside like the Gigaeye GB170 and for inside like Foscam FI8910W work well.
If you buy outdoor cameras, make sure they can handle the weather! If you are in a cold climate not all outdoor cameras can handle the cold.
One thing that helps greatly is to be able to turn lights on/off and adjust thermostats remotely. You could buy a zwave controller for the security system like a Honeywell Tuxedo or a separate system like a VeraLite. Then you can use almost any Zwave compatible device, from outlets to light switches, thermostats and even door locks!
With the system I am describing above, you can let in deliveries or cleaning people, see them on the cameras inside and outside the house, remotely lock and unlock doors, adjust the heat and cooling before you arrive, and arm/disarm remotely. And of course, call the police automatically for a break-in.