When you go on vacation, there are probably a handful of things you to do to your house to prepare it for a prolonged vacancy. That list should include taking care of your smarthome devices.

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If you rely on a smarthome automation from day to day, it’s important to know how to put all of it into “vacation mode” while you’re away. Otherwise, that automation becomes less useful while you’re not there to take advantage of them. Here’s what you should know.

Some Devices Have a Dedicated “Vacation Mode”

Not all smarthome devices have a dedicated vacation mode feature, but some do, and you can use that to have that device automatically go into and out of vacation mode at certain times.

For example, the Ecobee line of smart thermostats lets you schedule a vacation mode, which is basically nothing more than just setting the thermostat at a specific temperature starting at a certain time and day. You then set the end time and date, which makes the temperature settings go back to normal once you get home—or even have your home already comfortable for you when you get back.

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Each smarthome device is a bit different when it comes to vacation mode and how you set it up, but more often than not, you can find it in the app settings for the device.

Randomize Your Smart Lights

Perhaps one of the best features you can take advantage of while way from home for an extended amount of time is randomizing your smart lights so that it looks like you’re 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 make it choose random times within a certain time window. So if usually go to bed around 10pm, you can have your Hue lights turn on and off at random times each day between 9:45pm and 10:15pm—simulating someone being there.

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Other smart light brands may have this kind of feature set up differently within the app, but it’s usually easily accessible in the settings.

Make a List of All Your Devices and Set a Reminder

For smarthome devices that don’t have a dedicated vacation mode, your best bet is to set yourself a reminder so that you can manually adjust all of your devices before you take off for the week, and another reminder to re-enable them when you get back.

For instance, if you have smart plugs automatically turn on your coffee maker or space heater every morning, you don’t want those things to automatically turn on while you’re on vacation away from home. So you’ll need to go in and turn the automation off manually.

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Depending on how many devices you have across your home, it can be easy to forget some. With that in mind, make a list of all the smarthome devices that you’ll need to adjust manually and then set a reminder for it right before you leave for your vacation.

It can be tedious work for sure, and while you could probably let some devices remain on without harm, you don’t want things like smart plugs turning on stuff automatically while you’re away.

Profile Photo for Craig Lloyd Craig Lloyd
Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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