The tree, the lights, the smell of freshly baked cookies — there are lots of things to look forward to when it comes to the holidays. But with all that holiday magic comes a pretty packed schedule. Getting your home prepared for the holiday season is easier said than done, and most homeowners could use a helping hand. Luckily, smart home devices of all kinds are standing at the ready to help with holiday to-dos.
But smart home technology does more than just make your life easier (though that’s undoubtedly a huge plus). These devices can also help increase your safety, keeping watch on your home so you can spend quality time with those who matter most. And if you have a home insurance policy with us, these devices can even save you money on your premiums. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Check out how to deck — and protect — the halls with the latest smart home devices below.
Home safe home
During the most wonderful time of the year, your home’s safety should be a given. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Dangers like fires and break-ins are top of mind — but there are other holiday dangers in your home that you might not be aware of.
From falling off ladders to getting shocked by malfunctioning electrical wires, there are a lot of potential issues just under your nose. According to Multivu and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, some of these holiday hazards are more common than you’d think.
- Around 200 decor-related injuries occur every day of the holiday season.
- There are four times the average amount of house fires on Thanksgiving than there are on any other day of the year.
- Over 18,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for decorating injuries in 2017.
To keep your family safe and full of holiday cheer throughout the season, you have a few options. In addition to making sure you have proper liability insurance, you should also consider smart home technology to make your home safer. Devices like smart plugs, sprinkler systems, automatic locks and cameras are designed to bring you extra security and total control of your home. Below, we break down the most common holiday hazards and the smart technology you can implement to make this season a breeze.
A fire crackling is a familiar sound of the holiday season — the perfect background noise when roasting marshmallows outside or cuddling up by the indoor fireplace. But when unplanned, that comforting sound can lead to major damage to your home, your gifts and even your family. And unfortunately, accidental holiday fires are pretty common.
Every year, there are an estimated 160 home fires that start from Christmas trees. According to the NFPA, 44% of those fires start because of an electrical failure, while 25% begin because the tree was too close to a heat source, like a candle or fireplace. And though all Christmas trees are flammable to an extent, real trees tend to burn at a much faster rate than their fake counterparts (especially if someone forgets to water it). So how can you enjoy that real pine tree smell while still keeping your family safe?
This is where smart home devices come in, allowing for 24/7 home monitoring, so you don’t have to lose sleep worrying about a potential disaster in the living room. But smart home devices aren’t just for home monitoring — they can also help you act quickly in the event of a fire. Below is a list of devices that can help you protect your home from a fire:
- Indoor cameras let you monitor your Christmas tree, your fireplace and every other corner of your home no matter where you are. Just make sure your decorations don’t block your camera's view.
- LED Christmas tree lights can not only save you money by using less energy, but they’re also less likely to overheat and cause a fire than traditional string lighting.
- Smart plugs allow you to turn your tree on and off from your phone. You can also set a timer, so you don’t accidentally leave the lights on all night.
- Smart smoke detectors can alert you to a fire (even if you aren’t home) and call the fire department for you.
- Smart thermostats allow you to turn off your HVAC unit from your phone. So if the worst does happen, you can help prevent smoke (and it’s accompanying damage) from traveling throughout the rest of your home.
- Sprinkler systems will activate when they sense smoke to automatically put out a flame and prevent the fire from spreading.
- Tree nannies and other similar gadgets let you keep track of how much water your real tree is getting, alerting you before it dries out and becomes a fire hazard.
While your neighbors might not be green and hairy, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with grinches who are willing to steal anything, from your lawn decorations to packages at your front door. Sources estimate that at least 36% of homeowners have been victims of package theft, but our recent deep dive into the package theft phenomenon shows that the number may be much higher. As more people choose to shop online than head to the store, there are plenty of opportunities for porch pirates and neighborhood grinches to put a damper on your holiday cheer.
But have no fear! While it may not be smart to join hands with your neighbors and sing carols to bring back the holiday spirit right now, that doesn’t mean you aren’t without hope. Smart home devices like doorbells, cameras and motion-sensor lights can offer extra protection and deter criminals from trying to take your belongings. Try out some of the following devices to make sure you’re secure throughout the season:
- Automatic locks on your front door can help keep your home secure even if you have forgetful family members. It also allows you to let workers or dog walkers into your home without giving them a key.
- Motion-sensor lights can flood your porch or yard with light whenever someone walks by to help deter porch pirates.
- Outdoor cameras help you monitor your lawn and can catch any grinches in the act if they try to steal your decorations. Remember to place these cameras high up to avoid obstructions from plants or other holiday decor.
- Outdoor smart plugs can turn your holiday lights on and off on a set schedule to make it look like you’re home even when you aren’t.
- Video doorbells allow you to know exactly when you receive a package and monitor it until you can get home. Plus, you can talk to anyone who comes to your door.
Cooking a holiday feast takes a lot of work. With all the dishes being prepped, there’s a chance that the pie you made from your Grandmother’s secret recipe that’s in the oven may slip your mind. And if you’ve ever opened the oven to a plume of smoke, you know how much of a bummer a burnt dish can have on your evening. But there are smart home devices that can help prevent these mishaps and take some of the work off your plate.
According to the NFPA, cooking fires spike over the holiday season, with Thanksgiving and Christmas taking the top spots for the most accidents throughout the year. But they aren’t the only kitchen fails that can occur. Other issues like burnt dishes, gas leaks and broken glass can also pose a considerable hazard to your family and can potentially ruin a wonderful holiday dinner. To help keep everyone safe and full this holiday season, check out some of these smart devices catered to your needs:
- Gas and carbon monoxide detectors will warn you of a gas leak early on, so you and your family can evacuate safely.
- Robot vacuum cleaners automatically clean up any mess made before the kids or dogs can get to it.
- Smart appliances can alert you when the fridge door is left open for too long or if you forget to turn off an appliance.
- Smart speakers to set timers for every dish, ensuring you never forget to take something out of the oven.
An easier holiday season
The holiday season is a busy time of year. From shopping and decorating to cooking and hosting, it’s not uncommon to be stressed out trying to get everything done. But you don’t have to do it alone. Smart home technology is designed to help homeowners out every step of the way, and in addition to preventing holiday hazards, they also help make the season a bit brighter by saving you money.
Even if you don’t plan to decorate your home as much as the Griswolds, you still might be in for a shock when you get your electricity bill after the holiday season. In fact, Electric Choice estimates it would cost Clark approximately $1,600 to light up his home for Christmas! But things have changed since 1989, and these days, energy-efficient lights and automatic timers can help you decorate your home for less.
Other technology like smart speakers, robot vacuums and strobe lights can come in handy during holiday parties, taking the guesswork out of entertaining (and cleaning up afterward). Just another way this technology can make your life easier. To learn more about how to keep your home safe with the latest technology during the holidays, check out our infographic below.
When you can’t be home for the holiday hazards
Much like your home insurance policy, smart home devices can help protect your home even when you’re away, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice the joy of the season just to keep your home safe. But it’s essential to keep in mind that smart homes aren’t perfect, so having a tech-savvy family member keep an eye on things while you're away is still a good idea. This, when accompanied by smart home devices like outdoor cameras, alarm systems and timed lighting, can help keep your home safe and sound even when you’re in another state.
Smart home products can help reduce your risk of holiday hazards. But unfortunately, accidents still happen (even to the most protected homeowners), so it’s crucial you have a home insurance provider ready to help no matter the time of year. Chat with your insurance agent about your options to increase your protection and save some money. If you aren’t getting the protection you want for the right price, give us a call. Our Hippos are ready to help you switch providers at a moment's notice.