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Water, Water, Everywhere – Alarm Systems Can Monitor More

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August 26, 2010
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Water, Water, Everywhere – Alarm Systems Can Monitor More

It’s always great when the “experts” get a lesson, and today’s post is about exactly that. And this time, the one who learned something is yours truly!

Common Home Security Themes

I spend a fair bit of time talking about common concerns and advances in home security, and these are often centered on cellular monitoring, interactive alarm features, and the fact that you should expect more (and pay less) for the next-generation services that the better alarm companies are offering today. There is also the opportunity to provide basic information on alarm systems, and you’ll see those posts under the “Wireless Home Alarm 101” heading. And of course there are many other topics for me to address – such as today’s post on environmental sensors and monitoring.

Monitoring Your Environment

The early alarm systems (and this goes way back) were designed to detect and communicate intrusion and perhaps fire, and that was about it. Over time people wanted more features, which only makes sense – and the alarm companies prevailed on the equipment manufacturers to add different types of sensors that can report a variety of conditions, including the following:

  • Smoke and or heat
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Low temperature
  • Water or flood conditions

All these are available today from the full service “real” alarm companies. What’s more, environmental monitoring should not add to your monthly cost (with “should” being the operative word, since many alarm companies will nickel-and-dime you on these “extra” features). I will cover each in detail in a blog entry – and today it’s all about getting wet.

Water Seepage into my Home - Learning the Hard Way about Flood Sensors

So, what happened at my house? Well, the DC region has seen several ferocious storms this summer, and the most recent one was like a typhoon: high winds that brought down many trees, and torrential rains. In fact, the downpour dislodged enough mulch to block the drain at the bottom of our outside basement stairs, and water flowed into our basement. Yes, we have a sump pump, but it was not working – and we were away at the time! And yes, there is a monitored flood sensor in the basement, but it was located near the furnace, and not next to the sump, where it should be. Suffice to say, the flood sensor is now next to the sump: since it’s the lowest point in the basement, a sensor located there provides the earliest warning. It was a humbling reminder, and I should have known better.

The great thing about these environmental sensors is that today’s interactive alarm features can take full advantage of them. And yes, you guessed it: we do have a podcast that features these devices (here is a convenient link). You don’t necessarily want the monitoring center to react to a water sensor (who would they send?), but you can program your system to notify you by text or email – and that is where these systems can really earn their keep. Temperature falling below 40 degrees in your home? A sensor can warn you (or anyone you designate) well before the water in your pipes freezes, and before you get that signal from the water sensor triggered by a burst pipe. Now that can be an expensive repair…

FrontPoint offers the full line of GE wireless sensors, including sensors for all the conditions listed above. The sensors themselves are extremely affordable, and can be added to a FrontPoint system at any time – with no additional monthly cost. As a leader in interactive, wireless home security, FrontPoint specializes in the products and services that provide the peace of mind you deserve in protecting your home and family. We can even protect cats and dogs – or against them!

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Comments
Bob Miller
September 16, 2010 at 11:58 AM
One thing I do with my windows. I leave them open in the summer months. Almost 24 hours a day, each an every day. Rain or shine. I installed two magnets at all windows and when the windows are up, the sensor and magnet are still in a normal mode. The sensor moves with the window to the second magnet position. No alarm or bypassing is required. I use a binder clip from a stationary store to keep the window from sliding down. I also install the second magnet about one inch down from the window maximum opening, so that anyone crawling through would raise the window or move the window causing an alarm. I also use motion detectors all around the place for additional protection.
Bob Miller
September 16, 2010 at 11:58 AM
One thing I do with my windows. I leave them open in the summer months. Almost 24 hours a day, each an every day. Rain or shine. I installed two magnets at all windows and when the windows are up, the sensor and magnet are still in a normal mode. The sensor moves with the window to the second magnet position. No alarm or bypassing is required. I use a binder clip from a stationary store to keep the window from sliding down. I also install the second magnet about one inch down from the window maximum opening, so that anyone crawling through would raise the window or move the window causing an alarm. I also use motion detectors all around the place for additional protection.
Bob Miller
September 16, 2010 at 12:03 PM
I have filing cabinets without locks. I bought a six foot length of metal from a hardware store and fabricated this to drop through each handle of the filing cabinet. I put a sensor on the third filing cabinet drawer and a magnet on the length of metal which slides through the drawer handles. Each time the metal is placed in the drawer handles it lines up magnet on the metal with the sensor on the drawer. I keep this firmly in place with a binding clip from a stationary store. I keep this in place most of the time and I then receive an email or text message whenever the filing cabinet is opened.
Bob Miller
September 16, 2010 at 12:03 PM
I have filing cabinets without locks. I bought a six foot length of metal from a hardware store and fabricated this to drop through each handle of the filing cabinet. I put a sensor on the third filing cabinet drawer and a magnet on the length of metal which slides through the drawer handles. Each time the metal is placed in the drawer handles it lines up magnet on the metal with the sensor on the drawer. I keep this firmly in place with a binding clip from a stationary store. I keep this in place most of the time and I then receive an email or text message whenever the filing cabinet is opened.
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