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So this is a question that has probably been asked before but the answers of course get dated as technology improves quickly.
I am buying a remote Condo on a small gulf island to rent as an AirBnB. This will be my second property so I have about a year under my belt as a host but I live a little closer to my first property.
So keep in mind that the internet is AT&T DSL so I need devices that don’t need huge bandwidth and don’t burn their batteries if wifi is a little spotty or slow.
So here are my questions:
I want a smart lock, that I can automate code creation to send to renters. I am reading up on the SmartThings hub.
I want a smart thermostat that I can automate temp changes based on people being in the unit. I am not trying to control it when they are there but when the unit is empty I don’t want to be cooling the place to 72. I feel like this would pay for itself in saved electricity over a year or two. The thing is I kind of want the thermostat to use the same hub as the lock for bandwidth and ease of setup purposes.
I am also considering a ring doorbell but the verdict is out on that due to bandwidth.
For the thermostat look into ecobee. You can use motion detectors to turn off the AC during certain hours if no motion is detected for 2 hours for example. I haven’t used it so I can’t comment on the accuracy.
I assume you’ve checked data speeds on the DSL offering. If not, don’t assume that DSL won’t provide enough bandwidth to efficiently operate smart home components.
DSL speeds are distance based and I am across the street, 1/2 block from the Central Office and I have a commercial grade service (40M/40M) which allowed my 5 long term guests last year to zoom and make presentations simultaneously.
I pay about $70/mo. I use SmartThings hub. We have another one house on Alexa platform and a third on Google. I would choose the lock first, since not all have the capability of programming times and codes - locks are the long pole in the tent. Thermostats are much more simple since the features you need are more universal.
Even with residential DSL (7M), I had cameras. You don’t need as much bandwidth as the industry had led us to believe.
I use Honeywell 9000 series thermostats, I have a schedule set up, as people in my area are generally out & about in the daytime, so the AC isn’t running super low when no one is there. I did not want a Nest learning thermostat, can’t learn with all the guests changing their needs, plus Nest kept resetting the display time based on our WiFi, which originates in a neighboring state in a different time zone.
I set a minimum for the AC (68 because people just need to see a “6”) and maximum for heat, 80, just because a guest complained 75 was not high enough.
My software sends me an email every morning of a check in/out so I can adjust the HVAC.
I also have smartlocks via Remote/ResortLock, I know they sync with some sites, I use a channel manager that syncs the doorlock codes. I am very happy with all that!
That is a great question, the DSL speed is not great I was hoping going with a Hub would help mitigate the bandwidth (not trying to do video or a ring as I don’t think I have the bandwidth) for just a lock and thermostat.
Got it! The other thing I would recommend is setting up a default Guest Code. All of my staff have different codes, so I know who is coming and going. I then customize the code for each guest (last 2 of phone number, repeated). I also have a default guest code in case there is an Internet outage when I’m loading new codes (my lock does not have a time/calendar function, so I have to load manually the day of stay.) If for some reason the Internet is down or the lock isn’t responding, I can give the guest this default code to use during their stay.
A SmartThings hub can be a great option for automating your smart lock and creating unique access codes for renters. SmartThings integrates with a wide range of compatible smart locks, which can be controlled through the SmartThings app on your smartphone or tablet.
I can’t recommend a smart lock because I still manually code mine for each stay but I did change my key code locks to ones that also have a key.
I have a lockbox on the front porch that has open access and then behind a specific painting I have the code to the lockbox with the keys.
Should a guest have issues with the lock and message me, I tell them where to find the combination for the code and then I work with the guests at a more convenient time to show them how the locks work.
The only issue is that if the guests don’t return the keys at the end of their stay, there’s a not that says they have to pay $200 to replace the locks. It’s never happened yet and I only needed the backup keys once.
Just an extra way to give peace of mind to you and your guests should the batteries die or they are technology challenged.
Batteries do not ‘die’, they gradually lose the ability to output power at 100%. Most smart lock apps have the ability to read that. Changing batteries on a timely fashion will prevent this.
Keys can leave the premises with your guests, be copied, and returned without anyone the wiser. It is extremely unsafe. In fact, it is extremely dangerous to have the keys to your location in someone’s hands without your knowledge. As a guest, I would never be comfortable with a key option that a guest has used in the past. My imagination runs wild as I see people entering the Airbnb While I’m sleeping there.
Finally, your idea of changing codes manually tells me that up to, and after the reservation the Airbnb is accessible with that code. Guests arriving early having that code information can enter the Airbnb hours or even days before their scheduled guest time. Same with checking out - the airbnb is accessible until you change the lock information. That could give you that situation where a guest comes back the next day, or even just a few hours later, and lets themselves in.
You have made some inaccurate assumptions. Safety of my guests is alway one of my priorities but also being able to accommodate technology challenged guests or malfunctions of the locks are also important.
If the keys walk off, the locks are changed and the guest has to pay for the new locks. The keys are the type that are not easily copied. There’s a tag on they keys that tell people of the fee and it’s in my house rule.
It’s true that batteries don’t lose just lose their power but if by chance I miss the beeping notes to let me know, then I want a backup option for my guests.
Again, a misconception. I live in the unit below. I don’t code in the the lock until right before the reservation. And immediately after the guest leaves, I eliminate the code.