Alarm activation by email

I use ST to monitor a holiday home. It tells me when guests are in my property (in case the agent forgets) and lets me kill the aircon if the doors are left open or prevent the pool heat from being used without payment

I know ST is not ideal as an intruder alarm, and that most methods of activating/deactivating are not fast enough through the ST cloud, but in my case I would like to use the sensors as a basic “alarm” which can send push notifications

I don’t want to use buttons or codes as cleaners etc sometimes need to go in and as I run my own email server I wondered if this would work

  1. Agent/Cleaner etc email - my server can check the sender’s domain and a pass code in the subject line and then email IFTTT

  2. IFTTT can control devices but the channel doesn’t seem to allow settings to be changed in dashboard (eg swap from Disarmed to Armed (away).

  3. If I had a switch (not connected to anything) would IFTTT be able to switch it On & Off and then ST detect the change and alter the status from Home to Away?

It’s a bit involved but I can’t see any other way to achieve it - also is there any advantage to SmartAlarm over SHM since I don’t need entry/exit delays. This set up would also allow my agent to activate/deactivate from anywhere

Any advice appreciated!

Yes. You can use a virtual switch and tie it to the SHM status, then control it from IFTTT.
This way it’s just a button on your phone. You don’t need to use a physical switch.

That is perfect thanks!

What about using a keypad:

If I wasn’t renting it out, I probably would consider a keypad - the problem is that guests let their kids play with stuff or forget the codes etc so I want something which can’t be tampered with and the virtual switch even lets me set it up from the UK (the property is in Florida)

My ideal would be a smart lock, but the one I want is too tall for the space it needs to be installed and I think guests would get themselves locked out and generally not get the concept (although I have had positive comments on the lights & the Nest Aircon controls)

The arrival sensor is a non-starter as there are usually 10+ people and it would be too complicated for them to coordinate who had the fob when they sometimes split up to go out for the day

I’m not sure what kind of time you have on your hands, but I have better things to do than monitor when they open doors or switch on lights :wink:

There are no privacy implications as none of the activities can identify an individual user and most would be observable from outside the property.

I would think a smart lock / deadbolt.
You could manage the codes, get notifications when codes are used, notifications when someone tries to use the keypad, ability to disable keypad, ability to auto relock door.

Those all seem like big advantages to me for managing a remote property.

We rented a place once that had a manual mechanical code lock. They just sent easy to follow instructions in our rental email with the code. Was very easy and actually nice since we didn’t have to worry about losing keys. This was before almost everyone carried smart phones.

Only negatives I can see is getting it installed and set up, maintenance (batteries every so often) managing emergency key to lock.

Just my opinion.

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The Schlage Connect would be my ideal choice. I’m not concerned about batteries etc as I am there myself often enough to change them before it causes a lockout.

I like the fact that different users can have different codes and that codes can be changed and restricted remotely. You can also tell if the door has been locked from outside or inside etc however I have 2 problems

  1. The height of the inside part of the lock is about 8" and I only have 6" clearance to a deadbolt which has been fitted above where this lock needs to go. I think my only solution would be to change the door unless a carpenter could reposition the deadbolt and make it look OK

  2. If I use the lock to set and unset the alarm, what if someone goes out, locks the door from the outside which would then set the alarm - if there are others still in the property, that would trigger the alarm. What you’d need is for them to let the door lock its self after 10s when they leave if others are at home, but if they all go out, they lock it which would then set the alarm.

I’m just not sure that the average user (some who don’t speak English very well) would get that and I don’t want to introduce a source of problems.

Any suggestions as to how it could work, and I will rethink changing the door

No there is a lock box which has a code they can all use (and one key). Leaving a presence tag at the property sort of defeats the purpose

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Sorry I didn’t see your reply till just now.

I am confused by this? Is there 2 deadbolts? My Schlage is a deadbolt. I have a normal doorknob with a key lock on the door under the Schlage dead bolt… We don’t lock it, I just got what was available at my Lowes. Didn’t have an outdoor blank knob we liked.

Yeah I don’t own rental property but I think this would be very hard to get around no matter what you use. You won’t be able to change peoples habits instantly. I would think the door or house alarm would need to be off while someone is renting. Then the agent or yourself could set the alarm remotely when you know the renters are out. You would also have to disable the alarm before someone (cleaning, maintenance,agent) goes in. There is a delay when you enter your pin and unlock the door before the smartthings system can changed mode and or disable SHM. This is one reason I don’t use SHM because we would get in the door before things would change and would get alarms.

There are ways around this, but asking a renter to remember to do a sequence of steps isn’t going to work. Of course the agent and other regulars could be taught to wait a few minute before opening the door after unlocking it, or flipping a switch to change mode and or disable the alarm in time or before they open the door.

Just remember sometimes smartthings doesn’t work. I would be prepared or your agent be prepared to help when something doesn’t work.

You could also put the emergency key for your Schlage lock in the old lock box as a backup.