When you go on vacation, there are a few things you will likely need to do in your home to prepare it for a long-term vacancy. This list should include taking care of your SmartHome devices.

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If you rely on smart home automation day in and day out, it’s important to know how to put it all into «vacation mode» while you’re away. Otherwise, these automations will become less useful until you can take advantage of them. Here’s what you should know.

Some devices have a special «holiday mode»

Not all SmartHome devices have a dedicated vacation mode feature, but some have this feature and you can use it to have that device automatically enter and exit vacation mode at a specific time.

For example, the Ecobee range of smart thermostats allows you to schedule a holiday mode, which is essentially nothing more than simply setting the thermostat to a specific temperature starting at a specific time and day. You then set an end time and date, which causes the temperature settings to return to normal as soon as you get home, or even if your home is already comfortable for you when you get back.

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Each smarthome device is slightly different when it comes to vacation mode and how you set it up, but you can most often find it in the app settings for the device.

Shuffle your smart lights

Perhaps one of the best features you can take advantage of when you’re away from home is to randomize your smart lights to make them look like you’re at home. Most smart lights have a dedicated feature for this.

For Philips Hue lights, you just need to create a routine. When you select the times that the lights should turn on and off, you can choose a random time within a specific time window. So if you usually go to bed around 10:00 pm, you can turn your Hue light on and off at random times every day from 9:45 am to 10:15 pm, simulating the presence of someone there.

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Other smart light brands may have this feature in the app, but it’s usually easily accessible in the settings.

Make a list of all your devices and set a reminder

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For SmartHome devices that don’t have a dedicated vacation mode, it’s best to set yourself a reminder so you can manually set up all your devices before you leave for the week, and another reminder to turn them back on when you get back

For example, if you have smart plugs that automatically turn on your coffee maker or heater every morning, you don’t want those things to turn on automatically when you’re away on vacation. So you will need to log in and turn off automation manually.

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Depending on how many devices you have at home, some can be easily forgotten. With that in mind, make a list of all the SmartHome devices you’ll need to set up manually, and then set a reminder for it right before you go on vacation.

Sure, this can be a tedious job, and while you can probably let some devices go unharmed, you don’t want things like smart plugs to automatically turn things on while you’re away.

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