Keytek’s Top Three Smart Plug Picks!

Smart plugs are increasing in popularity as more and more of the population are making their homes a ‘smart home’. Smart plugs are an essential part of the transition as they allow you control over mundane devices easily through the use of your smart phone or voice, allowing for a level of control that creates a much easier way of life. Not only do these smart plugs allow simple turning on and off of products but many come with inter-product connect-ability that allows the option to create a bubble of smart devices. If you are looking to create a smart home system or add to your existing one, read ahead as we have chosen our top 3 smart plugs and have answered some of the most popular questions around smart plugs!

Hive Active Plug

£39.00 from Hive Home – Find it here! 

The Hive active plug, sitting nicely in the Hive smart product ecosystem, is a paramount aspect of the connectivity that Hive Home is known for offering more varied actions and uses than that of the usual smart plug. This plug boasts an extremely easy set-up from the start, even for non-technical minded people by the use of the Hive app. Through this app you can name each individual Hive Active plug in your home for easy control and identification which makes things very clear when you are trying to set up actions within the app.

Much like other smart plugs, using the app, you can turn objects on and off with the simple press of a button on your smart devices giving you a level of remote control many would never have otherwise. Should you want to fall asleep with a device on but don’t want it left on all night, simply go into the action tab and set for the plug to turn off at a certain time or after a set time period.

However, one of the most attractive features of this particular plug is the interconnect ability with other Hive Home products. Through the app you can set up continuity actions, where if one this happens, that will happen. For example, should you have a Hive Motion Sensor and a Hive Active plug that is linked to a lamp, you could set so that if motion is detected the smart plug will activate turning on the lamp. This is handy as you can set it for convenience, so coming home in the evening you don’t have to worry about trying to find a light in the dark, or this could be a safety measure to ward off intruders.

The only downside to this plug is that you will need a Hive Hub to fully benefit from all the features. We do suggest that if you already own Hive Home products that this plug is the one for you, and if you are looking into installing a complete home smart system then with connectivity that Hive offers, look no further. On the other hand, you may want to consider what your budget is and what benefits you are looking for before committing to this plug.

Ikea Trådfri Smart Plug Review

£9 from Ikea – Find it here!

Probably the biggest appeal of this plug is the price. At only £9 for an individual plug this is most definitely the most budget friendly option out there. Much like many other smart plugs out there you can control this one through the use of the Trådfri app, however an important aspect to bear in mind is that to fully utilize all possible features of this plug you must also purchase the Trådfri Gateway which will allow you to access the Trådfri app timing system to set timers for your smart plugs but this can only be done with a steering device.

This plug is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant through the use of a connected Gateway, so if you have already invested in another smart home system this Ikea product can fit seamlessly in creating a bigger smart home ecosystem of different brands. You can also get a range of different smart home products through Ikea, and if you purchase the accompanying gateway all of these smart home products can connect and allow you control through the Trådfri app.

However, one thing to note about this plug is that it could be considered basic compared to all of the other smart plugs on the market. It is being sold at a fantastic price and if you are looking for a very simplified smart plug then this is the one for you. On the other hand, there are many smart plugs that boast many features that this Trådfri smart plug does not. Features like energy monitoring, cost monitoring and total time on are features that are common amongst other smart plugs at a slightly higher price point.

Samsung SmartThings Outlet Review

£19.99 from Amazon – Find it here! 
At a startling low price for the features this tiny smart plug holds, many of the features of this plug are usually reserved for those at a higher price point. Not only does this plug hold all of the basic features that are expected of a smart product, such as remote control and timing settings, but also features like energy consumption monitoring and programmable actions. This means that with the use of other connected smart products you can not only monitor the energy consumption that you are using within your home but also set the smart plug to react to triggers from other devices. For example, should you have a compatible motion sensor then you can program the plug to react, meaning if motion is detected the plug could turn on a lamp. This makes a brilliant security feature but also great for making life that much easier.

Another great feature of this smart plug is the connectivity that it has with other smart products, not only does it work with the big names and connect to Alexa and Google Assistant (however does not support Apple HomeKit) but also can connect to various other third-party smart products through the use of the SmartThings Hub.

Unfortunately, like most other smart plugs, to fully utilize the features of this smart product you will need to purchase the accompanying SmartThings Hub. It is not essential to the use of the product but allows you to access all of the possible features of the product. Something to keep in mind is that if have other smart products or are looking to invest in different brands but want a connected system, the SmartThings Hub has been designed to try and incorporate as many third party devices as possible to create an overall connected ecosystem of smart devices.

Smart Plug Frequently Asked Questions

What can a smart plug do?

Usually controlled by a smartphone app, you can use smart plugs to remotely control items in your home whilst also allowing for your energy use to be more eco-friendly. The use of smart plugs means you can turn a lamp off and on from your phone, ensure that you did turn your straighteners off when you leave the house and set your coffee to start brewing for when you wake up in the morning.

Are smart plugs dangerous?

Smart plugs pass the same safety testing and adhere to the guidelines that all other products that plug into the wall adhere to. The device should be safe as long as you use the product in the recommended ways and don’t overload the outlet.

Do smart plugs use electricity when off?

Most smart plugs will use a small amount of energy when in standby however in most cases it is only about 1 Watt. In actuality smart plugs can reduce energy consumption by up to 4%.

Do smart plugs need Wi-Fi?

Many smart plugs will work with a 2.4Ghz WiFi connection and can be used without the use of a hub.

Will a smart plug turn on a TV?

Smart plugs can be used with most electrical devices as long as it is in line with the power guidelines provided with each individual smart plug make and model.

Protecting your Doors from the Heat

Our doors provide us with home security and a way to shut out the world. When we get the rare heat wave it can cause havoc with our doors, causing lock outs, mechanisms jamming and general inconvenience. By regularly taking care of your door and maintaining it you can not only keep your doors looking pristine but maximise their lifespan too.
 

How Does the Summer Weather Affect my Door?

Brilliant sunshine, high temperatures and high humidity can cause much strain on your doors leading to swelling, faded paint, bleaching and in extreme cases cracking. Not taking proper care of your doors in the heat can seriously impact your home security and the durability of your door.

Sometimes when in heat, materials can expand causing mechanisms to misalign, doors not to lock and handles to jam which is not only a nuisance but also can leave you with a bill should you need to call someone out.
 

How Do I Protect my Doors from the Sun and Heat?

General maintenance of your doors will always help when trying to protect them from the elements, but there a few things that you can which will help your door to remain in working condition when the temperature rises.
 

Wooden Doors

With heat and direct sunlight, the finish on a wooden door can crack and fade leaving your door looking worse for wear. To help with protecting your door, you could consider painting it a lighter colour as it will absorb less light than a darker colour. This means that the door itself will absorb less light and therefore heat, keeping your door cooler.
 
You can also add an external varnish to the door to add a protective layer to the door, sealing in the paint and the finish to ensure a higher durability. We suggest a varnish with a high UV protection for maximum protection against UV Rays.
 

Composite & uPVC Doors

Composite and uPVC doors are easy to maintain in the sense they it is advised that they are simple wiped down with lightly soaped water once a month to remain pristine. This practise is advised to be a regular routine but can also be used in order to protect your door from the heat. Should you find your door getting hot, you can simply wipe it down with cool, but not freezing water, in order to lower the overall temperature of the door and keep it in a manageable state.
 

What Type of Door is Best for Direct Sunlight?

Arguably factors such as budget and practicality will need to come into play when choosing a door. But the best doors for durability in direct sunlight are either composite or aluminium doors. Both door materials are renowned for being low maintenance and extremely durable and one of the many benefits that they have is that the colour of them is not applied to the surface but rather under many different vanishes and coatings.
 

Do Aluminium Doors Expand in Heat?

Timber and uPVC doors can expand in heat, whereas Aluminium doors are much more stable and due to the structure cannot expand in a way to cause difficulty in operating.

 

Keytek Locksmiths

If your doors have expanded and you require a Locksmith to help, find one of our local, friendly Locksmiths on our Find a Locksmith page here! Alternatively, give us a call on 0330 332 0589.

What to do if someone breaks into your home

While it is very unlikely that you will be confronted by a burglar breaking into your home, as most break-ins happen when a house is empty. However, it is always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario. In 28% of burglaries someone is thought to be home when a someone breaks in , if this does happen then it could be an extremely traumatic experience and you might not know what to do. We detail below our suggestions of ways to handle it should this happen to you.

Burglar in your Home? Get to a Safe Place outside your Home

Your first course of action should always be to escape, in the majority of cases a burglar will want to be in and out as quick as possible. They will most likely have their exit route planned, which statistically will be out of the back, according to safe.co.uk; ‘burglars will have a clear exit to the rear of the property through the back door before heading upstairs to check the bedrooms’ so we advise trying to hide yourself away from this route. It is never a good idea to confront a burglar, so confrontation is a last resort, as this could provoke a violent reaction. Nothing they could take is worth risking your life for.

 

Activate Your Burglar Alarm System

Plan B would be to use you burglar alarm, if you have one., this is especially useful if you have one with a panic button, if you don’t have an burglar alarm like that then try the alarm button on your car keys. Anything that is loud and will bring attention to your house will spook a burglar, hopefully enough for them to leave.

 

Hide and Try to Call the Police

Hide. Grab your mobile phone if you can and get somewhere safe. The best place to be is somewhere you can either lock the door from the inside or barricade yourself in. Call 999 as soon as you can and explain that someone has broken into your home. It will be difficult but try to be calm and explain what is happening in short and concise words. However, if you feel that speaking or making a noise would endanger your life or give away where you are hiding then you can stay silent and press 55 (silent solutions) and this will alert the police that you need help but cannot make a noise. Keep the line open so they can hear what’s happening and sit tight and wait for the police.

 

Be Calm, Collected and Compliant

However, you could be in the situation where the other plans fail, so you arrive at plan D. You come face to face with the burglar. Easier said than done but it’s very important that you stay calm, the calmer you stay the calmer the burglar should be. Don’t shout or scream, keep your voice as normal as possible. Don’t make any sudden movements or move towards the burglar, hold your hands up and be compliant; tell them that you are cooperating and they can take whatever they want, nothing you own is worth your life. Whether or not the person’s face is covered, it’s advised that you don’t make eye contact with the burglar, it could be interpreted as a sign of aggression and the burglar might feel like you would be able to identify them afterwards.

 

 

What to Do After a Break-In

The first thing you need to do on discovering your home has been broken in to, is call the police. If you are 100% sure the burglar is out of the house then you need to call 101. However, if there is any doubt in your mind to whether they are still around, call 999 from a safe place. Its very important that you don’t touch anything as the police forensic team will look and test for finger and foot prints. If the burglar is no longer in your property and the situation is non urgent then the police should arrive within a few hours, they will take a full, written statement from you, try to be clear and gove any relevant information you have. Once that is complete you will be issued a crime number, this is essential for you to make an insurance claim. It is then that you need to call an emergency locksmith, who can change or repair your locks and do any boarding up to make your home secure again. To find out more about emergency locksmiths, visit or Emergency Locksmith Page.

 

What am I allowed to do if someone breaks into my Home?

If someone has unlawfully entered your home, you are entitled to act in self-defence using reasonable force. The CPS have stated that you do not have to wait to be attacked to defend yourself, but you must only take actions that are deemed necessary to the situation. The general rule of lawful self-defence is that the more extreme the situation the more force you could reasonably use.

However, it is strongly advised that you never actively try to confront an intruder but rather firstly get to a safe location and then call the Police through 999.

 

How do you Report an Attempted Break-in?

Calling 999 is reserved for when you or another are in immediate danger or if the crime is currently in progress. If a break in has been attempted but you do not feel in immediate danger and it is not an emergency then we suggest calling 101 which will send you through to the non-emergency Police line.

What Attracts Burglars to Homes?

Burglars will pick houses that they believe they can break into with ease. They will look for secluded areas by your house where they won’t be disturbed while breaking in. They will use overgrown bushes and trees for cover, especially if you have no external lighting. 47% of burglaries aren’t planned and are carried out on the spur of the moment, so it’s very important that you make your home as secure as possible. Leaving valuable items in plain view is also what can attract a burglar to your home.

Clearly visible valuables can be a cause of why opportunistic burglars might target your home as most will want to be in and out and grab as much as possible, so if they know what already might be on offer they are more likely to target that house. If you’re home looks very secure, this could mean a burglar moves on without trying to break in.

 

Do Burglars Come Back After a Failed Attempt?

There are a number of things that thankfully could have prevented a burglar from entering your home; however this doesn’t mean that they won’t try again. Unfortunately the burglar thought that they would have been able to enter your home and would have targeted you for a reason, there is a chance that they still could think they may be able to do it successfully at a later date.

 

How to Protect Against Future Burglaries

Consider Installing a Burglar Alarm

The physical sight of a burglar alarm is a great visual deterrent to ward off any burglars scouting the area but also provides the sense of peace that if someone was to enter your home the burglar alarm would sound, alerting people in the area of a break in and scare off the burglar.

Act like More People are Home

If you are home alone and the doorbell goes you should always try to make it sound as though you are not home alone, you could do this by shouting “Can some get the door please” before opening the door yourself. Deterring burglars is all about appearance, giving the facade that your home isn’t easy to break into, that there are multiple occupants in the house are factors that would be considered when a burglar is choosing a target.

Teach Children How to Respond To Strangers and Intruders

A knock at the door can be exciting for children, running up to see who it is and want they might want, but this can be partially dangerous if they were to accidentally let in a stranger. Teach your children to never open the door, especially if home alone, but instead turn on a light somewhere in the house and notify someone that there has been a knock at the door.

Invest in a Few Simple Items to Make your Home Less of a Target

There are multiple things that you can do to make your home more secure and a less attractive target to intruders. Simple things such as outdoor security lights, thorny bushes and anti-climb paint are all blockers that you can implement to secure your home. To find out how to secure all the different aspects of your home head over to our Ultimate Home Security Guide.

 

Change your Locks after a Burglary

Once the police have left your property then you should call an Emergency Locksmith, if any doors or windows are damaged, or if you need emergency boarding up services. Keytek® Locksmiths has local Locksmiths available 24/7 so we can help you out whenever. 28% of people will get burgled for a second time at the same address, so it is important that your house is secure. Burglars will often target the same house again because of ease and familiarity. They might think they have been successful once, so they can be successful again, so it is imperative that you engage a fully accredited, trustworthy Locksmith to make your home secure again.

 

For more info on what to do after a break in visit our Burglary Page.

 

 

https://www.aviva.co.uk/news-and-guides/article/what-do-if-someone-breaks-into-your-house/
www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/natureofcrimeburglary/yearendingmarch2016
www.modernsurvivalblog.com/security/21-things-your-burglar-wont-tell-you/
www.independent.co.uk/life-style/call-999-emergency-services-what-to-do-if-cant-talk-advice-crime-accident-police-ambulance-a7524196.html
www.citizendefensetraining.com/safe_at_home.htm
www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/legal-rights-attack-intruder-home-12505317
www.safewise.com/home-security-faq/house-break-in
www.aol.co.uk/money/2017/02/15/why-burglary-victims-are-targeted-again-several-times/
www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/how-think-like-burglar-revealed-10366694
www.securitygem.com/what-to-do-after-a-home-burglary/
www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/how-think-like-burglar-revealed-10366694

 

Top 5 Baby Monitors

We’ve researched the best baby monitors on the market to give you peace of mind when your little bundle of joy arrives because you’ll probably not get any real peace for a long time!

 

Best All Rounder: Kodak Cherish C525 – £149.99

 

The Kodak Cherish C525 isn’t the cheapest on the market but it is the best value for money. Equipped with a 5-inch HD video display the picture quality and the infrared night vision is superb! The parent unit also displays the strength of the WiFi connectivity, the temperature and humidity levels in the nursery allowing you to adjust your baby’s room accordingly.

The camera can either stand alone on a surface or be mounted to the wall, it also allows the user to pan, tilt and zoom so that you always get the best view of your little one. The Kodak Cherish C525 stays on a low noise level until it detects movement and so the volume gets louder, allowing busy new parents that little bit more of well needed sleep. Furthermore, the audio is two-way and is able to play lullabies and white noise to try and soothe your baby back to sleep without having to jump up at every stir to re-settle them.

Security is also a factor that has been carefully considered as it has built-in secure cloud storage, meaning you can watch the videos of your tiny baby for years to come!

 

Best on a Budget: Motorola MBP481 – £69.99

 

The Motorola MBP481 is sleek in design, portable and budget friendly. It features a 2-inch colour display, infrared LED night vision and a digital zoom so you can take a peek without the risk of waking your sleeping baby. The built-in rechargeable batteries are designed to last up to 8 hours with the camera switched off) and the LED display lights up when it detects sound. The range of the Motorola MBP481 baby monitor reaches up to 300m, which should be substantial enough for the majority of family homes.

Mountable or stand alone, this monitor is simple and easy to use so is perfect for those who want the benefits of a video screen but the simplicity of an audio monitor.

Best Picture Quality: Arlo Baby – £140.00

 

Great quality and cute design is packed into the Arlo Baby monitor. What is different about this monitor compared to the others is that it doesn’t come equipped with a parent unit but if you’re tech-savvy then this is the baby monitor for you as the app syncs to your home assistant including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

The Arlo Baby has the best picture quality on offer with clear 1080p HD video and advanced night vision. It also has the ability to stay connected to the monitor through the app from anywhere, which is great if you’re out for dinner and baby is home with a sitter. The Arlo also records and saves videos to your cloud automatically when it detects movement so you never miss a precious little moment.

Like the Kodak Cherish this monitor is equipped with two-way talk but takes a step further by allowing you to set up pre-recordings of your own voice or lullabies to play to your baby when they’re unsettled.

 

Best for Peace of Mind: Angelcare AC215 – £129.99

 

The Angelcare AC215 baby movement monitor with video will give all parents peace of mind as it comes with an under-the- mattress sensor pad which sets of an alarm if no movement has been detected by your baby for more than 20 seconds.

It also comes in a sophisticated design that mounts to the wall with an adjustable magnetic mount for easy set-up. The camera has zoom and panning abilities and the parent unit features a 3.5” screen, full LCD colour display and temperature control.

This unit is best for parents, who will sleep better with the knowledge that they will be woken by the alarm should there be a problem with their baby.

 

Best for Twins: Wisenet SEW 3048 – £99.99

 

Not one but two babies? You’ll definitely need eyes in the back of your head! That is why we recommend the Wisenet SEW 3048 baby monitor as it allows you to add additional cameras around your home. The malleable stand is uniquely designed so you can bend, straighten, wrap and attach the camera to almost any surface.

This monitor also features two-way communication so you can soothe your babies back to sleep without having to leave the warmth of your own bed as well as soothing lullabies to help them drift off. You can rest easy in knowing your babies will be comfortable in their sleep as it has live temperature feedback with customisable alerts so you can create the perfect environment for them.

 

 

https://angelcarebaby.com/uk_en/angelcare-ac-215-baby-movement-monitor-with-video
https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/baby-monitors/1405242/best-baby-monitors-the-best-baby-monitors-from-tommee-tippee-motorola-tomy-and-1
https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/baby-monitors/article/top-baby-monitors
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/best-baby-monitors