The “away” conundrum

The problem and solution for vacation homes, time-shares, and vacant units

True story: a property manager gets a call from one of her tenants. There’s water leaking from the ceiling and dripping into their living room. It couldn’t be rain — this particular resident has another floor above them. And it isn’t a pesky neighbor — the unit above them is empty.

The property manager arrives on the scene, unlocks the above vacant unit, and is greeted by a completely flooded floor. A pipe has burst, and has been flooding the room for — minutes? Hours? Who knows? Hundreds of dollars are wasted in utilities and repairs, and it could have been worse if the resident hadn’t reported the water dripping into their home.

But, what if they hadn’t been there? Or what if this happened in an empty property hours away?

The situation escalates.

The problem

Maybe it isn’t a pipe bursting, but anyone who rents has had the fear. What if the vacation home five states away suddenly caught fire because you forgot to turn the stove off? Or what if you left all the lights on? What if you have a squatter in that empty property you’re renting out?

It’s the “away” conundrum. Anytime you lose eyes on the situation, there’s the possibility of disaster. Especially since that possibility lurks nearby even when you’re paying the upmost attention.

Too often, we have little to no insight in these situations. We can’t spend our every waking second at that vacant unit. And we can’t be both at home and in our Florida vacation home. Or can we?

Is there a solution? A way to be connected so we’re never really “away”?

The solution

With the continued rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), there is a growing reliance on energy monitoring technology. But, this tech isn’t just for reporting on your energy overuse. It’s also purposed for keeping you in the know, and helping you to be proactive. It monitors your energy use, and reports it to you. As it occurs. And, it notifies of problems.

Let’s take the property manager and the vacant unit scenario. You’re away from one of your properties, checking on a problem at another. Your phone vibrates. You check it: one of your vacant units is suddenly using more energy than the others. Far more energy. Is someone in the unit? Did something break?

You drive back to the property, check the unit, and discover that the HVAC has been running on high for the past hour. Luckily, it just requires a little maintenance.

You sigh with relief. If you hadn’t caught this, it would have continued to run sporadically for days, uncaught, and you would’ve been stuck with a high bill. That’s a cost you normally would have been unable to catch until it surprised you at the end of the month. And what about the money you might have wasted if the unit had worn itself down and actually kicked the bucket?

That’s the nature of energy monitoring tech. It provides insight. You can’t always be in your vacant unit, or even always on sight. But, thanks to sensors, it’s like you are. You can receive the information you need to catch mishaps before they become full-blown disasters.

And it’s the same for vacation homes and timeshares. IoT tech helps us to be everywhere at once, without it being overwhelming. And energy-monitoring tech helps us get the relevant data we need to make smart decisions. We can be proactive, and react in time when sudden events occur. With the increase in control technology, you can even have an effect from afar.

No more need for separation anxiety. You can be away, and still in the know. And still in control. That’s IoT.