by Eric Murrell for Xfinity.com
As high-tech as our modern homes have become, we’re still at the mercy of Mother Nature every time the next big storm rolls through. While there’s not much you can do to put a stop to strong winds, power outages, and flooding, the right smart home tech can give you a leg up in keeping your home protected in the midst of an emergency.
As you put together your disaster kit and emergency plan, consider these smart home recommendations — they could make all the difference between a short-term inconvenience and a long-term disaster.
Stay Connected Even When the Grid Goes Down
Before you invest in several smart home tools, you’ll want to make sure you have the power you need to keep those tools going when you need them the most. Invest in an uninterrupted power supply (or UPS) to keep your Internet connection and WiFi operational during the next power outage. A UPS can kick in the second the power drops, and even a mid-range device can keep your critical systems running for 12 hours or more.
If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes or other natural disasters that can cause long-term outages, consider investing in a small generator that can power your tech for days and keep essential appliances (like the refrigerator, HVAC system, and medical devices) up and running.
Keep an Eye on Your Property, Wherever You Are
Whether you’re stuck inside riding out the storm, or you’re hundreds of miles away and worried about your property from afar, a few wireless smart cameras can give you a full view of a storm and help you immediately know the difference between just a few broken branches or a devastating weather emergency.
Today’s WiFi cameras are affordable and easy to install. Although they’re intended for general home security, their motion-based recording and night-vision capabilities can make them valuable allies the next time bad weather descends on your town.
Many of these cameras are battery-run (allowing them to function when the power goes out), and their recordings can also come in handy for filing claims with your insurance company. You can check footage right from your mobile device from anywhere. They’re great for keeping your family safe and informed every day, but, more importantly, they can be a lifesaver in the event of an emergency.
Get Alerts When Water Gets In
As you outfit your house with smart home tools, grab a few water sensors to put in key areas, such as the basement and near the patio doors, where there’s a high risk of water leaks or flooding. These battery-powered sensors are inexpensive and work with almost any smart home hub, making them a valuable addition.
As long as your home’s wireless network is running, a water sensor can send your smartphone or tablet a notification the instant a water emergency is detected, helping you stop a leak in a matter of minutes and avoid a potentially disastrous water emergency in the process.
The Simplicity of Staying Storm-Safe
These devices are simple to use and set up — they can be integrated into one system with a smart home hub set up by your local cable or Internet service provider. The right smart home upgrades will not only have a dramatic impact on your daily productivity, but they will also provide a critical safety net that can keep your family safe, and save you thousands of dollars in the midst of a weather emergency — and possibly save you even more on your homeowner's insurance policy. There’s no smarter way to be prepared in any type of weather.
Author Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to XFINITY Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating smart home automation and security in their homes on his blog At Home in the Future.