LOCK-in on the Latest Home Security Tech

You’re running late. You grab your lunch, jump in the car, and you’re off. Minutes down the road, the questions pop into your head. Did I close the garage door? Is the front door locked? Was the dryer finished?

For most of us, our home is our #1 investment. It is also a major source of worry, according to a recent survey by Schlage.  The survey of an estimated 1,000 U.S. adults 18 and older showed 75 percent of Americans have felt uncertain about whether or not they locked their doors. Increasing that fear is the fact that almost half of Americans (43%) have experienced or know someone who has experienced a break-in when they were not home.

For parents and young people, fears about home security are even stronger. Four out of five Millennials (83%) and parents (81%) reported anxiety about home security. These groups also reported high rates of misplaced or lost keys.

Today’s technology makes home security easier than ever. Keyless entries, remote sensors monitored by smartphones, and voice-activated alarms are just a few of the options now available, and they are more affordable than you might think.

For example, the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt is a new product available for homeowners and renters in single-family residences. Used with the Schlage Sense app, users can use their iOS device to check the lock’s status and control it remotely. The lock also allows up to 30 unique access codes for guests and the app allows homeowners to schedule visitors and view their use of the lock.

“As technology evolves, locking devices will continue to advance and offer additional capabilities,” said Ann Matheis, marketing director at Schlage corporate owner Allegion. “Smart home technologies like the Schlage Sense can help put renters and homeowners minds at ease, knowing that no matter where they are they can check on the security of their single-family home through a simple app.”

For those looking for a lower tech, less expensive keyless entry system, many companies, including Kwikset and Master Lock, offer simple-to-install deadbolts in several designer finishes to match existing door hardware. These locks are simple to use and eliminate the need for residents to carry a house key.

Another frequent point of arrival and departure—and another source of anxiety—is the garage door. Several garage door opener manufacturers, including Genie, Chamberlain, and Craftsman, offer tech-enabled door openers or add-on devices that monitor your garage door status. Depending on the model, these devices integrate with your home Wi-Fi to alert you when the door opens and closes. Alerts will also let you know if you forgot to close the door when you left home, and some allow you to open and close the door remotely.

These systems offer peace-of-mind and convenience. For example, you can open the door remotely for a delivery, then lower the door to protect your purchase. Visitors arriving before you get home from work? Open the door for them so they don’t have to wait outside.

Home security includes more than locks, which is why cameras and sensors that integrate with your smartphone are another good idea for home monitoring. New options are do-it-yourself and require no monthly fees—a welcome change over past systems.

One option is the Blink Home Security Camera System. Another is the Arlo Pro Security System by Netgear. Both systems have a single unit option to get started with the capability of adding additional cameras and sensors. Monitoring options include live-streaming or video recording, and both systems have motion-sensing alarm capabilities to trigger an alert. Reviewers give both systems a high rating, but expect to see upgrades and new options in this area as the demand for DIY monitoring increases.

Avoiding break-ins and theft is certainly one desire most homeowners share, but thieves are not the only danger while you are away from your home. Fires, pipe leaks or ruptures, and even freezer failure can be devastating. Technology has you covered there, too.

Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are a must in every home. New Wi-Fi connected protectors, like those from Nest, will send an alert to your phone if the alarm goes off or the batteries run low. Another cool feature of newer models is voice warnings. The alarm will speak to tell you if there’s smoke or CO and where the problem is. If you’re like me and guilty of walking away from the toaster oven for too long, you will even get a friendly voice alert before burned toast turns into a burning toaster. The 10-year CO detector and multi-level sensors make these models an investment worth considering.

For protection against freezer failure or heating and air conditioning breakdowns, consider theSensorPush Wireless Thermometer/Hygrometer or the La Crosse Alerts Wireless Monitor System Set. These systems allow you to monitor moisture and temperature levels in your home or vacation home while you are away. Depending on the model, sensors are placed in sensitive areas, including attics, basements, and rooms where valuable items like guitars might be stored. Integrated smartphone aps allow monitoring of each sensor to catch a problem early so you can prevent major damage.

Other sensor systems can detect water leaks and pipe freezes—two very costly causes of damage in a home. Reviewers really like the products manufactured by Honeywell, but several options are available.

Monitoring of homes, vacation properties, businesses, and rental properties has never been easier, and we can continue to look for more products to enter the market as the demand for the technology increases.