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Winterizing Your Home, Revisited – Your Alarm System Can Help

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February 3, 2011
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Winterizing Your Home, Revisited – Your Alarm System Can Help

Chicago schools call a snow day for the first time in twelve years. Boston reports a rash of roof collapses under wet snow. Even the Dallas Super Bowl preparations have been affected by a massive winter storm. The winter of 2011 has been really tough on some areas – and it’s not over yet. So here’s a re-post on “winterizing your home” from last November – and it’s certainly not too late to take advantage of these helpful tips.

From November 16, 2010:

Last winter was a weather wake-up call for parts of the US. Certainly that was the case here in DC, with our very own “Snowpocalypse” – though I also liked the name, “snOMG.” Since we are near that time of year, I’ve been researching tips for winterizing your home – be it your primary residence, or vacation retreat – and have a couple to recommend, along with helpful information about wireless home alarm technology that can back up your efforts, and provide additional peace of mind.

The first list comes from Chubb Personal Insurance, and includes warnings on the effects of ice, wind, and snow, while drawing attention to your roof, pipes, and heating system. It may seem counter-intuitive, but they advise keeping your attic cool, since a cooler attic actually reduces ice build-up. Of course, what we like best on the Chubb site is the following instruction:

Install a low temperature alarm if you are away often. These devices activate your alarm system if the home temperature falls below a pre-set level.

Another source of good advice is the MSN Real Estate site. They mention keeping gutters clear, so melt water can drain, plus adding insulation, and several more standard measures. And yes, there’s one that catches our eye:

This is a great time to check the operation — and change the batteries — on your home’s smoke detectors. Test them — older ones in particular — with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the “test” button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works. Also, invest in a carbon-monoxide detector: every home should have at least one.

It would be better if they had recommended the use of monitored wireless smoke and heat sensors, but at least they did address carbon monoxide sensors. This is the season for furnaces to act up, and also when the portable heaters come out – and the latter deserve special attention (read this blog for what can happen).

As for environmental sensors, a full list includes wireless freeze sensors to help you make sure that you’re not at risk for frozen pipes. These sensors trigger an alarm when the temperature hits a certain threshold.  For freeze sensors, that level is 41 degrees; well before the water in pipes would actually freeze. Flood sensors work hand in hand with freeze sensors in case frozen pipes do burst.  Wireless flood sensors monitor water conditions in the home, so many of our customers place them near their water heaters and sump pumps. And of course, with FrontPoint’s 100% cellular monitoring, you never have to worry about your phone line being down – or cut.

It’s getting easier to find interactive monitoring (the kind that FrontPoint specializes in) so you get an e-mail or text message when your alarm system senses that drop in temperature, or a water condition. Especially at vacation homes, or when you are traveling, it’s impossible to react immediately to frozen pipes and flooding. To learn more, here’s a link to the FrontPoint podcast on winterizing – and we warmly encourage you to stay safe – and toasty – this winter.

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Comments
Bob Miller
February 3, 2011 at 11:32 PM
I have the flood, freeze, fire, and carbon monoxide. Just recently I had the plumber come to look at the boiler. There was a blizzard outside. I let the plumber in and out of the side door. When he left, I also exited by the side door. Because I had two tires which were very low on air, I rushed to the gas station. I was so rushed I did not have time to set the alarm, and I was in such a hurry that I did not even use my cell phone to set the alarm which would have been a very quick and easy thing for me to do. I did not even lock this side door. After attempting to get my tires inflated, I got a text alert on my cell phone saying "Side door has been left open for more than 5 minutes"At once I knew what happened. My curious Tom Cat had pulled down the barrier and he pushed open the side door. I got home in time to see him sitting at the open door, looking at the snow. If circumstances were different he would have left the house. In any event I got the alert and drove back home. All was well. Many things could have happened. But, receiving that alert even when the FrontPoint Alarm system was not armed was truly a "cat saver". I keep learning from my mistakes. And at 71 I make enough of them. Now I attempt to keep the system armed when I should do so. I also do not take chances as much. I also lock the doors. I tell many neighbors and friends about my alarm systems. I have two systems of my own, and one for a neighbor. Many people say "I don't need an alarm system, I have never had a fire or been robbed". My neighbors life was just saved by a FrontPoint Smoke Detector. I really see stories each and everyday where a FrontPoint system would have prevented or given a timely alert for flooding, freezing and smoke and even more. My initial purchase cost less than $700 and monthly interactive monitoring is less than $580 a year. A single flood or freeze, or fire or smoke could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars more. Being 71 years old, I do not have to worry about all of these things. It is like that saying on the infomercials.. "Set it and forget it". "Never leave home without it"... and one I changed is "Your in good hands when your with FrontPoint". When I tell people how good my FrontPoint alarm system is, they think I work for them and I sell the systems. I don't have any affiliation with them except being a happy customer. I have only had about a dozen times when I was truly happy about a service provider and FrontPoint, AND alarm.com are on the top shelf.
Bob Miller
February 3, 2011 at 11:32 PM
I have the flood, freeze, fire, and carbon monoxide. Just recently I had the plumber come to look at the boiler. There was a blizzard outside. I let the plumber in and out of the side door. When he left, I also exited by the side door. Because I had two tires which were very low on air, I rushed to the gas station. I was so rushed I did not have time to set the alarm, and I was in such a hurry that I did not even use my cell phone to set the alarm which would have been a very quick and easy thing for me to do. I did not even lock this side door. After attempting to get my tires inflated, I got a text alert on my cell phone saying "Side door has been left open for more than 5 minutes"At once I knew what happened. My curious Tom Cat had pulled down the barrier and he pushed open the side door. I got home in time to see him sitting at the open door, looking at the snow. If circumstances were different he would have left the house. In any event I got the alert and drove back home. All was well. Many things could have happened. But, receiving that alert even when the FrontPoint Alarm system was not armed was truly a "cat saver". I keep learning from my mistakes. And at 71 I make enough of them. Now I attempt to keep the system armed when I should do so. I also do not take chances as much. I also lock the doors. I tell many neighbors and friends about my alarm systems. I have two systems of my own, and one for a neighbor. Many people say "I don't need an alarm system, I have never had a fire or been robbed". My neighbors life was just saved by a FrontPoint Smoke Detector. I really see stories each and everyday where a FrontPoint system would have prevented or given a timely alert for flooding, freezing and smoke and even more. My initial purchase cost less than $700 and monthly interactive monitoring is less than $580 a year. A single flood or freeze, or fire or smoke could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars more. Being 71 years old, I do not have to worry about all of these things. It is like that saying on the infomercials.. "Set it and forget it". "Never leave home without it"... and one I changed is "Your in good hands when your with FrontPoint". When I tell people how good my FrontPoint alarm system is, they think I work for them and I sell the systems. I don't have any affiliation with them except being a happy customer. I have only had about a dozen times when I was truly happy about a service provider and FrontPoint, AND alarm.com are on the top shelf.
Bob Miller
February 3, 2011 at 11:50 PM
Here is an addition to the comment above. I said I make many mistakes. I mentioned that my interactive monitoring cost less than $580. a year. It does. It actually cost less than $480 a year. I also have two "supplementary uses" for my FrontPoint system. I use a few of the door/window sensors as an alert only (no alarm). When activated the "alert only sensors" do not send in an alarm command. One is wired in my system for the tenants who have a very young son. They had a recent emergency and they tried to call me on my cell phone. I had disabled the ringer but had left my text messages active. I did not hear their call and they forgot my home phone number. I have now programmed an alert sensor which they activate when they have an emergency. The alert displayed on my cell phone is "Tarun RED ALERT (his phone number) " which is a backup method used in conjunction with their phone calls to me. Another thing I use the sensors for is to find my cell phone. I open and close my cellar door three times and listen for the beeps on my cell phone. I do this at least once a week. One time I didn't hear the beeps and I did the process again and went to my car in front of the house. When I opened the door on the car I heard the beeps and my cell phone was beeping in response to the monitoring alerts. My phone had fallen beneath the passenger seat. I also get the reminders at certain times to tell me the system has not been armed. Or when a door or window has been left opened. Also a status light on the panel tell me that something unusual or different has happened. I keep learning new things each week. I like FrontPoint and alarm.com so much, that in a way, it has become a 'Happy Hobby". for me. I keep saying that I wish they were a public corporation traded on the stock exchange. I would love to invest in such a great company. I can count on two hands the number of service providers that I have been happy with and FrontPoint and Alarm.com are both on the first hand.
Bob Miller
February 3, 2011 at 11:50 PM
Here is an addition to the comment above. I said I make many mistakes. I mentioned that my interactive monitoring cost less than $580. a year. It does. It actually cost less than $480 a year. I also have two "supplementary uses" for my FrontPoint system. I use a few of the door/window sensors as an alert only (no alarm). When activated the "alert only sensors" do not send in an alarm command. One is wired in my system for the tenants who have a very young son. They had a recent emergency and they tried to call me on my cell phone. I had disabled the ringer but had left my text messages active. I did not hear their call and they forgot my home phone number. I have now programmed an alert sensor which they activate when they have an emergency. The alert displayed on my cell phone is "Tarun RED ALERT (his phone number) " which is a backup method used in conjunction with their phone calls to me. Another thing I use the sensors for is to find my cell phone. I open and close my cellar door three times and listen for the beeps on my cell phone. I do this at least once a week. One time I didn't hear the beeps and I did the process again and went to my car in front of the house. When I opened the door on the car I heard the beeps and my cell phone was beeping in response to the monitoring alerts. My phone had fallen beneath the passenger seat. I also get the reminders at certain times to tell me the system has not been armed. Or when a door or window has been left opened. Also a status light on the panel tell me that something unusual or different has happened. I keep learning new things each week. I like FrontPoint and alarm.com so much, that in a way, it has become a 'Happy Hobby". for me. I keep saying that I wish they were a public corporation traded on the stock exchange. I would love to invest in such a great company. I can count on two hands the number of service providers that I have been happy with and FrontPoint and Alarm.com are both on the first hand.
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