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How to keep your home protected while you’re away

This post is sponsored by Blink Home Video Security. 

When we set off on our four month road trip adventure, our original plan was to have a friend stay in our house while we were gone. Plans changed and as it turned out, our house was left vacant for all but one week (when out-of-town friends used our house). Our old house was in a safe neighborhood, surrounded by lots of neighbors who offered to keep an eye on the house, but still, we wanted to take precautions.

We packed everything valuable into a safe. We hid away all electronics. We closed all the windows, locked all the doors and put lights on a timer.

And Ryan installed simple, affordable and very effective security cameras.

He originally discovered Blink cameras on a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 and was instantly sold. He put up five of them in the house before we left for the trip and we were able to monitor any movement from his phone no matter where we were in the country. Crazy, right?!

Once, while somewhere far from home like Texas or Oklahoma, Ryan’s phone alerted him that there was movement in the house. He checked the app and watched video of our good friend, Johan, looking around in the garage to borrow our pressure washer. Ryan called him and totally creeped him out when he told him we were watching him on video :)

Thankfully, that was the only time the cameras were motion-activated and all was safe with our house while we were gone. It was really reassuring to know that even though we were miles from home, we could still check in to make sure everything was safe and sound.

We liked the security cameras so much that we’re using them in this new house as well.

Whether it’s during the night, while we’re out for the day, or on a week vacation, it is nice to be aware of what’s happening when we’re not around.

(Ryan is even thinking about putting a camera out by the chicken coop to watch for predators at night!)

So here’s how they work:

You get a camera and receiver for $99 or a set of two cameras + receiver for $169 – check them out here. The cameras come with very straightforward instructions to make set up very easy. You download the Blink app, follow the walk-through, place the cameras where you want them and adjust the settings to fit your needs.

The cameras work on batteries that last two years (no ugly cords!), and the receiver just needs to be plugged into an outlet and connected to wifi.

Once the cameras are set up, you can place them anywhere in the house that you’d like to monitor (typically near entry points of the house).

So far, we have one set up in the entry facing the front door:

See it right there on the tray? It’s nearly missable.

And the second camera is in the kitchen facing the back door:

The camera comes with a low-profile mounting bracket, so you can mount the camera to the wall if that works better for your home.

You monitor everything from the Blink app on your phone. Each camera can be individually armed or disarmed to record whenever movement is detected. If this happens, a notification will be sent to your phone so you can see what is happening. Alternately, you can also open up the app and refresh the camera to see your home in realtime.

I grabbed a quick video so you can see what the quality looks like:

These security cameras are pretty brilliant. They are so simple to set up, easy to monitor from your phone and offer peace of mind while you’re away from the house.

The best part: you don’t have to pay a monthly fee and all you need is wifi (and NO CORDS!).

I don’t do many sponsored posts, but when Blink asked if I would share about their product, it made total sense. We actually use these cameras! And love them! And you know I like to share things that are helpful to our family as they may be just what you are looking for for your home.

If you’re away from your house during the day, want to keep an eye on things at night or you’re headed off on a vacation and would like some extra security measures for keeping your home safe, we could not recommend Blink Security Cameras enough.

The people at Blink are generously offering a set of indoor cameras + receiver to one lucky JDC reader.

To enter the giveaway, simply sign up for Blink’s newsletter here.

Giveaway ends Monday, August 7th.

*UPDATE: the giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Laura D.!*

If you’re interested in purchasing indoor or outdoor security cameras for your home, CLICK HERE to learn more.

33 Responses to How to keep your home protected while you’re away

  1. Jenn K August 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    This is great! I was looking at the doorbell version of home security but this looks to be more efficient because it can be placed anywhere and they have the all weather/outdoor option. I just entered. :-)

  2. morgan moeller August 4, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    We have been looking into home monitoring systems! Thanks for this timely post, Emily!

  3. Molly Jana August 4, 2017 at 3:18 am #

    Signed up and interested in these pretty unobtrusive little cameras! With my husband out of town for work, I like the idea of security cameras.

  4. Laura Reich August 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm #

    I’m really interested, thank you so much for the information!

  5. Tonya August 1, 2017 at 5:57 pm #

    We have been researching a variety of security systems/camera systems. This looks very easy to install/use!

  6. Katherine H July 31, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

    This is just what we’ve been looking for. I wonder if they work out in the yard as well. I’d love to know if someone enters our driveway while I’m out in my studio in the back yard.

    • emily July 31, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

      There are two different cameras, one for inside (white) and one for outside (black). They both work great and the exterior ones will alert you if they are on in the front yard and you have your device in the back yard.

    • emily July 31, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

      They do work in the yard outside but only the black outdoor blink XT version. The white ones we have are for inside.

  7. terry July 31, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    We’ve been looking for a good security system. We’re new grandparents and have to travel (often) to see our children and their families, plus we’re talking/dreaming about taking a very long (6-12 mos) trip and not sure what all we need to think about. This is a great and timely post for me. Thanks. :)

  8. Kim July 31, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

    This is a great opportunity to win! Thanks for sharing Emily. I’ve been considering cameras since we’ve had several house/car break-ins and mail theft in the neighborhood and the police have yet to catch anyone. There are so many types of security systems that are quite costly or similar to this, you never know which one to get. I also would like to know answers to the questions that others have asked on here. Will check out their website too :)

  9. Megan July 31, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    Just signed up for their newsletter. Definitely looking into this for some added peace of mind.

  10. Cheryl Armstrong July 31, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

    These cameras look fantastic! Love the look and they seem so easy to use!

  11. Sheila July 31, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    Great questions! Very interested! I have 2 goldens so would place one on the front door and one at the huge dog door and sliding door. There will be a new baby to “Grammy” soon! Can I train one at the crib for his naps? Quality at night and dog issues would also apply to me!

  12. Leanne Neely July 31, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

    My husband and I have been looking into adding cameras in our house for trips. I’m also curious about the quality of picture at night. Thanks for sharing about these!

  13. Kristin July 31, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    I think these are great.

  14. Melodye July 31, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    I recently purchased two cameras (Nest) but they have cords and I’m noticing they are not picking up all the movement outside my home as I had expected. These are compact, cordless and look pretty simple. As a Realtor I might suggest this brand to a client to explore. I’m also paying a monthly fee, how many days of video do they store at once?

    • emily July 31, 2017 at 9:49 pm #

      They actually store the video in the cloud so you can access it from your phone. Blink’s server provides each system storage for up to 7,200 total seconds of video (or 1,440 five-second events). If you reach your storage limit, your oldest alert clips will be overwritten by the newest.

    • Amanda August 1, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

      @ Melodye Have you noticed your nest cameras turning themselves on when you have them set to off? I use the away/assist on mine and it will turn off when I come home but then turn back on again like 20 mins later, then when I check my app it says its off… makes me a little paranoid that someone is watching me…. I might have to look into these cameras and switch.

  15. Kim R July 31, 2017 at 11:12 am #

    I just bought a pair of cameras that I am pretty happy with, but these are better because they have no cord! Our plans were to put one in our weekend home, and the other in our townhouse. Now I’m considering putting both of those at the cabin and getting this for our townhouse.

    My current camera indicates on the alert whether it is just motion or a person which is helpful. I’ve heard some people buy them so they can watch their pets during the day.

  16. Stephanie July 31, 2017 at 10:34 am #

    My husband and I were actually looking into getting these cameras! We have been debating between this and Nest. Thanks for doing this post.

  17. Kori July 31, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    How easy would you say they are to disconnect and reconnect periodically for privacy purposes?

    • emily August 1, 2017 at 8:41 am #

      Very, very easy. You can just disarm the cameras straight from the app, or you could unplug the router and it will be disconnected from your wifi.

  18. Annie July 31, 2017 at 10:02 am #

    I always wonder about the security of these as well. How creepy to think that someone could hack your wifi and be watching you. I love the idea but this does freak me out a little.

    • emily August 1, 2017 at 9:02 am #

      Totally. Ryan is super diligent about protecting our wireless network and I think the main thing to consider is the security of your wifi network as well as having strong passwords for the wifi and Blink cameras.

  19. Vicki July 31, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    Great questions, I’d love it Emily if you answered these questions for me too. Vicki

  20. Melissa July 31, 2017 at 9:57 am #

    I’ve been looking for something like this as well. Does the dog set it off a lot? I assume my dogs sleep a lot while I’m at work, so I don’t suspect this would be an issue, but I am curious. Also, like Suzie asked, how is the quality in low lighting/night?
    Thanks for sharing this!

    • Catherine July 31, 2017 at 10:26 am #

      I used to work for a security company so I can pretty much answer this question for you. The motion detector laser generally points out, then scans “down”. If you have large dogs, you set the motion detector above the height of the dog and upside down, so it scans “up”. This will detect any intruder who is not a particularly pint sized elf, but it won’t be set off by your dog during the day. Given the fact that this is both a motion detector and video, turning it “upside down” is kind of a problem. The folks at Blink may have designed their cameras with this in mind, so it’s worth asking, but a regular motion detector that’s linked to camera through wifi may work better for you.

      • Melissa July 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

        Thank you for the information Catherine! We’ve got a St Bernard, so he’s the weight of human, but just much shorter. ;)

      • emily August 1, 2017 at 9:03 am #

        This camera doesn’t use a laser to scan – just a camera. So everything in view of the lens will set off the motion detector. You can adjust the sensitivity straight from the app to account for regular movement from a pet.

    • emily August 1, 2017 at 9:01 am #

      You can adjust the sensitivity to not pick up movement from your pets (you can do this from the app).

      As far as low-light situations, there is an adjustable illuminator on the camera you can set to light up if recording at night. Here is a sample video taken at night: http://support.blinkforhome.com/customer/portal/articles/2081880

  21. Suzie July 31, 2017 at 9:45 am #

    Thanks for sharing. What perfect timing as we are looking into cameras for our home and don’t want messy cords. Can you shut the camera lens while they aren’t being used so that if someone hacks your internet they can’t spy on you? This is the other feature that we are wanting. We don’t want to feel like we are on display is someone inadvertently hacks into our system. Also how do they work at night time? (Is the video quality good in low light?)

    • emily August 1, 2017 at 8:58 am #

      Great questions.

      Probably your best bet for official answers is at blinkforhome.com, but here’s what I learned in researching safety with wifi-enabled cameras:
      1. Make sure your home wifi network is secure.
      2. Create a strong password for the camera + app.

      As far as video quality, there is a light you can enable so when it is recording in low-light situations, a light will shine. Details and example video here: http://support.blinkforhome.com/customer/portal/articles/2081880

      Hope this helps!

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