Back in October, I shared our smart home and security system for the first time. About this time last year, we had a break in and opted to get security shortly after (read my initial post here). Fast forward to present time, we’ve been living with our smart home system for almost a year (10 months, to be exact), and I wanted to share my favorite things about it. I’ll admit, I’m not a techy type of person. In fact, I’ve had a new phone sitting in the box on my desk for months because I’m dreading switching things over from my current phone (even though Emmett assures me it’s a breeze). Don’t judge me, friends. I am who I am. I’m just not tech savvy, I don’t have a strong interest to learn, I’m pretty stuck in my ways, and honestly- I’m ok with that. However, despite my lack of enthusiasm for tech… I really do love our smart home system and use it multiple times each day. It’s easy, efficient, and makes life run more smoothly. It’s something I didn’t know I needed, wanted, or how much use it would actually get, until we had it installed. If you’ve been considering any smart home tech, I thought I’d share my favorite features from ours… the things we use most often and really appreciate. Click through to read about it, if you’d like. I also have some codes for free gadgets (like a doorbell cam, if you’re in the market)!
*While this post is not sponsored, I am proud to be a Vivint partner. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!
1. Package Protection // Our doorbell cam is probably my personal favorite feature. Since opening the shop, we’ve been getting more packages than usual- one day I came home to 25+ boxes sitting on our porch (yes- that was a crazy moment). This is by far the most handy, functional tool because we usually have a handful of deliveries each week. Once a package is delivered, I get a notification on my phone, with the option to “protect the package”. If I click protect, and someone tried to take the package from my porch, an alarm would sound. Thanks to audio capabilities, I’ve given verbal consent for a delivery person to leave a package on multiple occasions, when a signature was required.
You can easily talk directly to the person (back and forth) through the camera. It’s also a great way to avoid a face-to-face conversations, which was awesome during quarantine (or when I just don’t want to answer the door, if I’m being honest). I’ve also avoided some door-to-door salespeople with that feature… a quick, verbal “So sorry, I’m not interested, but have a great day!” usually does the trick. Emmett always keeps tabs on our meal deliveries. We buy HelloFresh each week and he always makes sure the cold box doesn’t sit outside on the porch in the heat for too long. That’s the image below- our green meal box sitting on the front porch…
2. Security // While our outdoor cameras mostly capture a LOT of deer (we have notifications turned off for wildlife, so our phones don’t chime all day long), we were able to assist our local police department over the winter. Our neighbors had a vehicle break-in, and we were able to share footage. I’m also confident that’s why the individual avoided our home- because he noticed our cameras. At least three days a week, I work from home and am home alone. Having a system just makes me feel at ease- especially after our incident last year. We also arm our house when we leave and while we’re sleeping. You can set the system for staying or leaving. Feeling comfortable in our own home, in terms of safety, was a big reason we got the system in the first place.
3. Seeing Family // This is really just a fun feature for us, but Emmett and I are able to have spontaneous chats throughout the day. We’re notified when there is a person in front of our outdoor cameras, and you can talk to each other through the camera (it’s the little white & black box to the left of our sconce, pictured above). We have them on all sides of our house. When I’m working from home, I’ll take the dogs outside on the patio and Emmett will receive a notification that we’re in the backyard- so he’ll hop on to say hello and watch the dogs play. I’ve even had him troubleshoot the lawnmower through our security cameras… he was at work and I was trying to help with outdoor chores. He walked me through replacing the belt. It’s fun to see what the other is up to, and we also like to scare each other occasionally. Haha! Maybe that’s creepy and we’re just weird that we enjoy talking through cameras? I feel like if you have kids, this would be a great way to spy on them! I don’t know… it’s kind of a fun and easy way to connect. Anyway, I took a screen grab of that same scene (from above), so you can see what it looks like on the app, and how we talk to each other.
4. Safety & Alerts // This is one of those things that you hope you’ll never need, but could make a huge difference if the time comes. I have notifications turned on for any sign of leaking or flooding, carbon monoxide and fire, etc. Vivint actually has a dedicated 24/7 emergency response team who can cut off air flow to contain a fire, raise the temperature in your home to keep pipes from bursting, and dispatch immediate help. They even have thought of a secret security code that silently alerts help if someone follows you into your home and demands you disarm your system in front of them. I hope we never have to use any of those features, but I definitely have peace of mind knowing they’re in place. The last time we travelled internationally, a pipe burst, and our basement flooded… that totally could have been avoided if we would’ve had our smart home system at that time.
5. The Thermostat // This small update has been a game changer for us because we have two HVAC units and two thermostats (one for the basement & main level and one for the upper floor). We have the app set to specific temperatures for each, and it changes depending on the time of day and the weather. We’ve actually saved quite a bit of money on our utility bills, and I never have to worry about lowering the temp before bed (we like it a bit cooler at night, so it automatically adjusts). The last time we were away for the weekend, we had already hit the road and realized we forget to adjust the thermostat accordingly… with the click of a button on our phone, we were able to increase the temp- even though we were hours away from home. It’s very convenient!
6. Assigned Codes // As we’re getting back into the swing of traveling and socializing more frequently, our unique codes have come in really handy. We have different codes (a specific number sequence) for the people in our lives who frequent our home- our best friends, the neighbors, our trusted dog & house sitter, etc. Whenever someone enters our home by punching in their assigned code, we know exactly who it is and are notified. I immediately see “Anissa entered through the garage” or “Angela opened the front door” on my phone. It helps us keep tabs on what’s going on, who is at our house, and assurance that our place (and dogs) are being taken care of while we’re away. We’re so lucky to have incredible people in our lives who are always willing to lend a hand.
7. Automation & Connection // Everything is connected and accessible at any given time. I notoriously leave home and think, “Did I shut the garage door?” I quickly check my app to see that the garage door is shut- or occasionally I actually do forget and can shut it right there on my phone. I can also lock & unlock doors, should anyone need to get inside (who doesn’t already have an assigned code), automatically arm & disarm our house, record video clips, or do anything I need remotely. Our household robot of choice (lol!) is Alexa, and it also syncs with that system… so I could say something like, “Alexa, lock the garage door” and boom- it locks.
It feels like there are hundreds of cool features, and not being a very tech savvy person- I probably don’t use the majority of them, but these are the ones Emmett & I constantly rely on and enjoy having. We also didn’t have to set anything up- the technician who came out last year to install our system did everything for us… because let’s be real- you know I don’t have the time or patience for tech. Anyway, I hope that was helpful if you’re considering implementing some smart home / security features! Those are the ones we use on a regular basis.
If you want to check out ways for disguising and styling tech or smart home gadgets in your house, check out this post! Most tech feels like an eyesore to me, but I will say- the Vivint gadgets we currently have are pretty sleek, minimal, and not very noticeable.
After setting up our system last year, I agreed to be a Vivint partner because we obviously use and love our smart home system, so if you have any specific questions- let me know and I’ll try to find the answer for you! Being a brand partner, I also have a personal customer service team that can help. Their phone number is (844) 654-5206 … you’ll hear my voice first, then you’ll be connected. I’ve got a special link you can click, if you prefer to do things online. Be sure to use my code ROOMFORTUESDAY for a free Doorbell Camera Pro, with the purchase of a system. You can find pricing, terms, and conditions here. Do you have any smart home gadgets you consistently use and love? I’d love to hear about them! Am I the only one around here that isn’t great at tech? For not being tech people, I feel like our home feels pretty high tech. Now- trying to figure out how to use our GoPro for our upcoming diving vacation… that’s a totally different tech dilemma. I’ll be watching YouTube tutorials on that one.