Z-Wave Smart Home Blog

How my Z-Wave Smart Home Saved the Day

How my Z-Wave Smart Home Saved the Day

Ellen Farrow is a Z-Wave customer whose experience serves as a reminder for just how powerful a smart home can be. Ellen explains in her own words how on one day in February this year, her Z-Wave system helped save her home.

We live out in the mountains, about twenty minutes out of town, so we have to be a little more self-reliant. Also, since being burglarized I had become very anxious about leaving the house unlocked by accident. I had even turned around and driven home several times to make sure the door was locked! Several months ago my tech-loving husband decided to make our home smarter with Z-Wave, and I’m so glad he did. We started with just a few things- a motion sensor, some door sensors, two smoke detectors, and then a little later we added a front door lock.

All these devices have helped bring peace of mind to me and my family. Now I know for sure that the door is locked after I leave the home, because it does it automatically as I drive away. I can tell when my pet-sitter shows up to feed the cats, and I can tell that nothing is happening at my house when it should be empty. But that Monday something did happen.

The kids were off school and I had a lunch meeting that day, so we locked the dogs downstairs and drove to the restaurant about 30 minutes from home. We had just ordered hot chocolate when my husband called to say the smoke detector had texted him and he wondered why. I thought it might be a glitch. Then he called and said he had gotten multiple texts from the downstairs alarm, and now the upstairs alarm was going off.

Chris and I were each at least half an hour from home, and I was starting to panic at this point. I paid for the hot chocolate, hustled the three kids into the car, and started driving home with my heart pounding and my stomach churning. Luckily for us, Chris called our closest neighbor who was home and offered to go check. At our house, the neighbor called me from the deck to tell me there was a fire in our downstairs room. I told him I could unlock the front door for him, and where our fire extinguisher was. My daughter was able to navigate the SmartThings app with my guidance (I couldn’t as I was driving) and unlock the front door.

My neighbor didn’t ever hang up the phone, so the exclamations and noises I heard were pretty scary. The fire was out when I got home about 15 minutes later, right after my husband, but if the fire had continued those 15 minutes, and been able to catch the structure on fire, we wouldn’t have a house to come home to.

The culprit? It was a perfect storm of circumstances. Our dogs accidentally knocked over a heat lamp onto a comforter on the couch in the downstairs room, catching on fire. If I couldn’t open a door for someone, a door or window would have to have been broken. And if my neighbor hadn’t been the stand-up guy he is….well, it could have been so much worse. I had to catch my terrified dogs who had broken out of the dog pen- scared out of their wits by the beeping alarms. I had to vacuum and sweep and deal with all that fire extinguisher stuff. I had to buy new guest linens. I missed the conference planning meeting. But I still have a house thanks to my Z-Wave home technology!

Want to tell us your Z-Wave story? Email zwave@castercomm.com and we’ll feature your story on the blog – we might even send you some free gear!


Ellen Farrow,Z-Wave,safety,fire

Eco-friendly Smart Home Gadgets to Green Your Spring

Eco-friendly Smart Home Gadgets to Green Your Spring

Spring is here, and that has all of us feeling a lot greener. After all, it's hard not to think at least a little bit about the environment when you've just watched nature call forth all of her bud-tipped bounty! Green devices offer plenty of ways to celebrate the springtime renewal from the safety of the porch—while cutting the Earth a break at the same time.

3 Smart Home Projects to Work on This Spring

3 Smart Home Projects to Work on This Spring

Whether it's the inside or outside of your home that could use some fine tuning, we have a smart home project using Z-Wave tech for you. Check out these 3 projects that you can do over the weekend without spending a ton of time or money.

GE Z-Wave Plug-in Outdoor Smart Switch

Linear - Z-Wave Wall Mount Switch

Summer's here! Throw a party with ease with Z-Wave

Summer's here! Throw a party with ease with Z-Wave

Smart home gear is all about convenience. It saves you time and money and keeps you safe – but it's summer! Time to kick back and relax. So let smart home tech help you do that for all your outdoor entertaining.

You have smart home questions, we have... well, smart answers

You have smart home questions, we have... well, smart answers

Have questions about getting started with smart home technology and feeling a little overwhelmed? You came to the right place, because we have answers.

GE Z-Wave - On/Off Switch

FIBARO Home Automation System

Getting started with Echo + smart home

Getting started with Echo + smart home

If you're reading this blog, my bet is that you have both an Amazon Echo product – either an Echo or it's smaller sister, the Echo Dot – and some smart home gear you'd like to connect and control via Alexa. We'll go through the setup

3 Ways Your Smart Home Helps You Meet Your Goals

3 Ways Your Smart Home Helps You Meet Your Goals

Chances are good that by the time you read this, you've broken most if not all of your New Year's resolutions. Nobody's blaming you, of course. Our brains to follow through on hard promises. But what if you could program your home to help you keep those promises?

Week 2: Paul's Smart Home Diary


For while this diary is going to be all about the latest and greatest smart home tech – an area I consider myself at least mildly authoritative on – getting that tech connected and playing nicely is a different beast entirely.

Get Smart With Stacey: How Do I Set Up Automatic Blinds?

PC Mag

I have Somfy motorized blinds, and I ended up buying a Z-wave controller that translates Somfy's proprietary protocol to Z-wave so I could control it with the Echo, $179.99 at Amazon using a hub like SmartThings or Wink, $60.28 at Amazon for voice control.

15 Gadgets To Make Your Home Smarter


The Fibaro Smart Z-Wave detects temperature, light, and more. It alerts you on your smart device when it detects activity.

Best Smart Locks of 2016

Tom's Guide

Of all the different types of smart home products — lights, thermostats and cameras, to name a few — smart door locks are among the most popular. Going beyond the simple key, these locks can be operated using your smartphone, and can be connected to a larger smart home system to make your life easier.

What's New

How to Build Your Smart Home: A Beginner's Guide

PC Magazine

Home automation is what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a simple push of a button (or a voice command). Some activities, like setting up a lamp to turn on and off at your whim, are simple and relatively inexpensive.

Three Smart Security Features for Your Front Porch


The traditional American front porch isn't just a timeless scene. It's also a functional part of your home, where safety, security and convenience are paramount. A few subtle 21st century additions can really enhance your porch, making it an even more enjoyable area to use.

3 Practical Benefits of Turning Your Ordinary Home into a Smart Home

Realty Today

It is good to realize that a smart home is not just mere product of a person whims and caprices. Like your smart phones and watches, a smart home may also serve you beyond convenience. And here below are some of the benefits of turning your home into a smart home.

Three of the Best Uses for Smart Home Technology

House O Matic

Smart home technology is still shiny and new, and people are adapting to it more and more every day.