Keeping my home safe and secure could not be more important to me.
Hi I’m Becky and I blog about living creatively on a budget with a young family at Baby Budgeting and Family Budgeting. I have 2 children, 1 of each, aged 5 and 8, and I work from home as a blogger and freelance writer. My home is where I work as well as have precious family time and so this campaign is one that is very close to my heart
Keeping my home safe and secure could not be more important to me so when British Gas asked if I would like to review one of their smart technology products I was really excited to hear that the Safe & Secure was an option for us.
The campaign is all about real people testing out these products to really share how it is for them. Rather than taking British Gas' word about their product they are giving people like me the chance to tell you what we really think of their products. How refreshing! I’m going to share my journey with you from the point of installation through to how we use it in our daily lives.
I have been given freedom to say whatever I want in regard to my experience so that's what I will do. I am so excited about the product though. In simple terms it’s going to mean from a distance I will be able to track movement in my house, turn on lights, and view what's happening in our home as well as knowing who is at home.
You would think because I blog for a living I am a technical wizard wouldn’t you? Honestly you could not be more wrong. I am terrified of changing plugs or light bulbs, I can barely turn the fancy TV on by myself and anything technical done on my website is done by my partner (and yes I am a bit embarrassed by that). I just have never been very practical. The lovely guy I am liaising with from British Gas about Safe & Secure told me that it is very straightforward to set up and just to have a go. He said you can get technical assistance at the end of the phone should we need it, or someone could come and install it if I felt completely at sea. I assured him we would be fine (nervously).
When it arrived I told Jonny he had to do it. Unfortunately I had given him LOADS of jobs to do that morning so he insisted I was fully involved in this installation and did most of it myself (aaagggh!). It was also a lovely sunny day when it arrived, as you can probably tell from the photo, and I guess he didn’t want to be dragged indoors!
Here is what we received in our kit (including additional devices to the standard starter kit);
- 1 x Hub
- 2 x Motion Sensors
- 2 x Door Contact Sensor
- 2 x Key Fobs
- 1 x SmartPlug
- 1 x Decoy Box
- 1 x Internal Siren
- 1 x Smoke Detector
All this is connected to the internet so, for example, we would be emailed and texted if our smoke alarm went off. Safe & Secure indeed!
I could talk you through what each bit does in detail but, a) I am going to save that for more detail another day and b) I want to focus on the set up. Hands up, I was all prepared for confusion to reign, but actually it was pretty straightforward. Once the hub was plugged into the router (previously known as ‘the internet thingy’) the other items simply needed their batteries popping in next to it. Then we just put them where we wanted them. After that we registered them on the website.
You have to go online and work step by step through setting up each device. Once we were in the swing of things it was straightforward. The online instructions were surprisingly clear and after a while I was feeling quite confident. The only thing I struggled a bit with was opening a sensor to pop in the battery. Getting a tad frustrated I handed it over to my hubby who followed the instructions and squeezed the sides and it popped open. Hmm. I have the same problem with kid-proof tablet bottles!!!
I loved that the sensors all went up with sticky pads rather than nails or wall damaging glue. Fabulous and this saved no end of trouble. We can control our system through a free app which is awesome and we will be alerted to any system breakdowns, intruders etc through our phones and email too. It sounds brilliant and looks simple to use. It took us about one and a half hours to read everything and sort ourselves out. We had LOADS of interruptions from the kids and a few little tea breaks and I had a streaming cold. However I would say this is very do-able. If I was single I would however have paid the extra £70 or so to have someone do it because I would have been intimidated by the very thought of doing this. But that would have been a shame.
I would suggest anyone practical would find this a simple set up and definitely worth doing it themselves. Once it is set up the app is so, so simple to use my 8 year old could control it. I think it is a well-designed system. Now let’s see how well it works!!!
Bye for now,
Having to leave the lights on
Normally when we go on holiday my husband has this really bizarre sort of ritual. He leaves lights on in various rooms, shuts a few curtains and leaves a few open. He thinks he has it down to an exact science. He seems to think leaving lights on will look like we are in and will deter potential burglars. Now I don’t know about you, but if I was a burglar I would think that a light that is on at night and all day is a sure indictor someone is on holiday. (Not that I am a burglar I just find trying to think like one quite interesting!).
I was burgled once and although the boys were caught in the house (hurray for fab neighbours and quick police officers) I was still very upset. They had rifled through my stuff and touched precious belongings. I know it could have been a lot worse but it was horrible and I never ever want a repeat.
Within the Safe & Secure package that I received from British Gas there were a number of devices to deter burglars but I want to tell you about one that’s very simple and I think could be very effective. I’m talking about the smart plug. Which is basically a plug wirelessly connected to your hub which you can control remotely.
Now I know it could be used to turn on an oven when you are away from home if you are domestically well organised. It could also start a CD player and frighten the kids when you are in another room (‘no it wasn't mummy! ooh how spooky – ha ha ha!!')
We went away a few days ago just overnight and we attached our living room lamp to the Smart Plug. We popped it on in the late afternoon and evening and turned it off at night. A burglar watching could easily be convinced someone was in (or we were haunted, both deterrents right.) This gave me real peace of mind whilst we were away. So simple but so fab. Just a click on the phone App for on and a click again for off.
How brilliant is that?
The fabulous Safe & Secure dashboard
As you know I have had Safe & Secure from British Gas for a while now .
I am loving the CONTROL I have over my home.
The Safe & Secure dashboard allows me to control my home monitoring system from anywhere in the world over the internet. I like to use the myHome iPhone app but I could just as easily use any PC.
I love that I can disarm my intruder alarm, for example. If I am away and I know my neighbour is coming in that morning to check my home I can just disarm the intruder alarm. When she sends me a quick text to say she has moved the post, watered the plants etc. and left then I can turn it back on. How useful is that! Rather than giving someone else that horrible responsibility you can hold on to it yourself.
My dashboard gives me real-time information about my home.
For example, I can turn on the slow cooker by activating the smartplug plug at the right time so a hot meal awaits us when we get home from a chilly Autumn day out. How lovely.
I love that I can see how warm it is in the house.
I can also see if J (my hubby) is home or not through his key fob activating the dashboard. Sometimes he doesn't answer his phone or he is engaged and I panic thinking he may not be back in time for the kids when I am elsewhere. Through the dashboard I can see if he is in the house (and If I need to tell him to turn the heating up!).
I can change any settings or customise my alerts,through my dashboard too. For example, I can set the system so that, if there's a break-in, I'm alerted by email and text, while J may just get a text. It's great I can alter this as I need to.
It's pretty clever that I can do this from my phone and anywhere in the world isn't it!
Just think when my kids are bigger I can give them one of these key fobs and if they ever bunk off school and come home I'd know about it wouldn't I!
Ooh I love a bit of power.
As you probably know I am trialing British Gas's Safe & Secure home security system, which is particularly brilliant for budgeters because it enables you to turn devices off at home from your mobile phone. How cool is that! So there is no need to leave them on standby all day. We have been so much more mindful since installing Safe & Secure about turning plugs off, I can see on my phone if we have or not and it calls me to action. I love the fact that I can leave the clothes in the dryer then turn the whole thing off later. Money saving on energy is vital to lowering those bills (I hasten to add I only use my dryer occasionally!)
This is not the only energy saving device that British Gas have launched they also have Remote Heating Control, a device that allows you to control your heating from your mobile from any location (I can’t wait to use this) and an Electric Vehicle Charging Solution and the smart meter that monitors your energy use. They are really on the ball. For example, in the U.S (who are slightly ahead of the U.K in rolling out smart meters), case studies were recently carried out to discover exactly how customers were using their smart meter to save money and energy. Their findings were quite remarkable with 98% of customers owning smart meters reporting a significant decrease in their bills.
Lots of bloggers are trialing these energy saving devises if you want to check out what they have to say, do take a look at www.britishgas.co.uk/smarter-living/smart-technology-reviews.html.
It's great that real people are saying what they think!
The final part of my Safe & Secure journey
Areas of interest
Homes are about to get smarter
Discover more through our interactive video.