As we enter into autumn and winter, we face shorter days, longer nights and the end of daylight saving time. Coming home from work or dinner with friends, we're often dealing with decreased visibility and a greater risk of accidents. This could make for a minor inconvenience like knocking over your favorite lamp or a greater danger, such as failing to notice an intruder.
Automating household lighting adds security and comfort in the darker months and can keep you, your family and your favorite items safer. Here's a few simple ways to prepare your home for fall.
Schedule outdoor lighting
While we all know to be aware of our surroundings when going out, we often get complacent about places we know well, like our own driveways. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that about 10 percent of all personal thefts occur in or near the victim's home. This is often because residential areas have poor visibility due to taller vegetation or limited exterior lighting.
Proper exterior lighting can create a safer trek from the car to the front door and prevent injuries associated with motor vehicles. An outdoor timer delivers simple automation for your landscape, patio and seasonal lighting. When choosing an outdoor lighting control, make sure it easy to program, has mounting capabilities and is suitable for outdoor use, meaning the timer is weather resistant, such as the new line of GE branded MyTouchSmart™ timers.
These new simple set timers are equipped with ”My On/Off Time” buttons, enabling you to quickly set custom times for your lights to turn on and off, or simply pick any of the three daily preset times or the 24-hour countdown option. For example, the outdoor timer has a preset button for evening times so you can have your outdoor lights automatically turn on and stay on from 5 pm to 12 am every night. If you want to illuminate your home’s exterior all through the night then you might prefer the other night-time preset option from 6pm to 6 am instead.
myTouchSmart outdoor timers make it easy to control seasonal, landscape and patio lights.
Automating the home
"More than one in four adults have at least one smart home device."
A dark house can pose almost as many risks as a dark driveway - from a stubbed toe to a broken limb. However, more U.S. households are turning to home automation technology as a solution. A survey from CNET and Coldwell Banker found that more than one in four adults have at least one smart home device in their house.
Installing a few simple devices can mean coming home to a brightly lit home while still saving money on energy costs. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that using schedules and programmable devices could reduce energy usage as much as 30 percent. It's maybe no surprise then that the same CNET survey found that 91 percent of the people who use smart home technology would recommend their devices.
There are plenty of home control options to choose from as you prepare for fall.
Whether you choose Zigbee, Z-Wave or Bluetooth Smart automation, with a connected home you'll be able to control your residential lighting from your smartphone or tablet and turn the lights on before you even enter the home. You can also set up custom programs to turn on indoor and outdoor lighting when you typically arrive or at sunset.
In addition to making sure you won't stumble around your kitchen, automating your lights can give the illusion that someone is home, helping to deter break-ins.
Adding an alarm system
Even if you've properly lit up the inside of your home, it's important to remember that darker nights will make it harder to see what's going on in your outside areas.
The FBI notes that nearly 60 percent of home burglaries involved forcible entry, typically achieved by breaking a window or pushing in a door. In addition to setting schedules for your landscape, patio and seasonal lights and around the home, wireless alarms on doors and windows are easy to install and can help deter intruders and alert you of any potentially dangerous situations. A wireless system has the added benefit of being more difficult for a would-be robber to bypass than a traditional alarm system where simply cutting a cord can disable the device.