Automating the Rental Home

Are you a renter? Don't worry, there are many options for you to Elevate your temporary home without having to worry about landlord permissions or damage to the walls. Your home automation doesn't give you worry about your security deposit!

A major topic for renters is security. Most of the professionally monitored security companies will not talk to you if you are in a rental. That limited your options severely in the past, but not any more. Just create your security the way you want it using smart devices available to you right now! Using battery operated motion sensors, door and window contacts, sirens, and cameras, you can build the perfect security system that you have always wanted.

Cameras: The days of the wired camera are in the past. Solar powered cameras with battery back is the way to go. Easy to install and even easier to use. The solar panel charges the batteries during the day and the batteries will last for many days. The ones I use last around a week in the busy areas and around 3 weeks in the non busy areas. Using the Ring cameras and the Amazon Show you can simply say, Alexa, show me the garage camera. And the live video is right there on the screen.

Motion: Battery operated motion sensors are very popular and they just simply stick to the walls. The batteries typically have a very good life span, 6 months to a year. Motion sensors can be used in your security system as well as your other home automations.

Lights: Do not worry about changing the in wall light switches. The landlord will probably not like that and you would have to change them all back when you move out. Just use smart bulbs and plug in dimmers. Smart bulbs are very affordable and come in all kinds of styles. Some even have built in speakers to stream your music to! You can control on/off/brightness/whiteness and colors. Smart bulbs give you flexibility that you just can not get from an in wall switch. Just take them with you when you move!

Appliances: Yes, there are smart in wall outlets, but you do not need them. Simply get a appliance approved plug in module and then plug your device into it. Be sure to check the current usage of the device, you do not want to overload the smart plug in device. These can be used for anything from space heaters and fans to lights and crock pots.

Home automation has really taken off in the past couple of years. There is not only an app for that, but now there is a smart device for that. And a great thing is that more and more of them also come with Alexa built in. That gives you voice control over your smart devices. Do you want to use an app to turn on the lamp on the other side of the room? No? Me neither. Just tell Alexa to do it! You can find many powerful community created apps right here in the community to make Alexa even more powerful!

Just remember when you're planning any of your automations, "Plug and Play is the Way".

This is an interesting article and video from Cnet that discusses the Smart Apartment:

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Not just rental homes… Condo’s apartments, time shares… Heck even RVs can be automated.

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An RV is a project I’m going to be tackling pretty soon.

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The only challenge I have with my smart vacation home is people sometimes unplug my smart sockets… Arrgh. For the samrt bulbs I find putting child locks on the switches helps with people not turning off the lights at the switch… it’s so useful being able to use my weather station to trigger events like heating / cooling as well as the ability to know if the fire alarms have gone off or all my lights are off when someone leaves (saves me checking).

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