The last thing any homeowner wants to experience is house trouble, like a severe water leak or house fire. A water leak can cause thousands of dollars in damages; fire and smoke damage can be even more devastating and costly. And carbon monoxide leaks, which cause little damage to the home, can have deadly consequences.
The good news? Detection technologies have come a long way over the years, especially in the last decade. With the right set of smart home devices, you can create an effective smart home system that warns you of potential problems the moment they start to develop. Here’s how you can build a system that spans your entire home and protects against the most common threats.
1. Connected flood sensors can detect early water leaks
Household leaks are a common occurrence and happen most often in joints, faucets, and other vulnerable areas in your piping. A smart flood sensor can detect faint traces of moisture around the pipe and alert you to any potential leaks. It’s a good idea to put flood sensors in any spot in the home where a leak might happen, including:
- Under the sinks in your bathrooms and kitchen
- Behind your toilets
- By the washing machine
- In your basement
Some flood sensors can connect to a device on the main valve and shut the water supply off the moment a leak is detected. This helps minimize damage and gives you time to find and repair the source of the problem.
2. Smart smoke detectors will alert you immediately, wherever you are
Thousands of house fires happen every year and can stem from a host of sources, including electrical shorts, candles, and lightning strikes. While house fires can’t always be prevented, early detection can go a long way toward limiting the damage. Traditional smoke detectors do a great job of warning inhabitants of danger, but if you’re away or at work, you won’t know a fire has started until it’s too late.
Smart smoke detectors ring out in the traditional way, but they also send push notifications to smartphones. You’ll receive an alert no matter where you are. Some smart smoke detectors also connect directly to your home security system. Use your connected security cameras to check in to see whether there’s a real emergency or if your partner just burned dinner. If you have professional monitoring, your home security company can contact the authorities if a smoke detector goes off.
3. Smart carbon monoxide detectors can pick up the faintest traces of CO in a room
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas and is undetectable to our senses. Carbon monoxide binds to blood cells and takes the place of oxygen molecules, so the affected person can’t breathe. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are subtle and often aren’t detected until the gas has reached a dangerous level in the body. It’s responsible for hundreds of deaths per year, which is why carbon monoxide detectors are essential to have in your home, especially around potential sources of CO, like furnaces and ovens.
A growing number of smoke detectors have CO sensors built in, but you should add another layer of security. Invest in dedicated carbon monoxide detectors and put at least one on each floor of your home. The ideal placement is about five feet above the ground. Just like smart smoke detectors, connected carbon monoxide detectors will send push notifications to your phone and give audible alerts when the gas is detected.
4. Install multi-sensors to watch for more subtle house trouble
Other sources of house trouble can be more difficult to detect. For example, a loose window can result in increased humidity and higher electricity bills, while temperature fluctuations within certain areas of your home might point to issues with the HVAC system. Keep an eye on your total home health by installing sensors throughout that monitor humidity, temperature, and other important sources of data.
Another powerful tool for monitoring your home is a smart energy sensor. This device connects to your power meter and gives you a detailed readout of every room’s energy usage. Random spikes in power or heavier use from the HVAC system can point you toward potential problems before they get worse.
When these devices are combined into one comprehensive smart home security system, you create a safety net around your home. They can’t prevent house trouble from happening, but flood, fire, and carbon monoxide sensors all serve as an early warning system that allows you to mitigate the damage. Some homeowners insurance companies may even give you a discount on your monthly premiums for having these smart devices in your house. Take time to identify the vulnerabilities in your home and utilize today’s technology to lessen your risk of fire and flood.
Patrick Hearn is an Atlanta-based freelance tech writer and contributor for Xfinity Home. When he’s not writing about the latest gadget or smart tech solution, you can usually find him scouring the streets for the latest and greatest restaurant or on the tennis courts practicing his forehand.