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