When people think of home security, the first thing that comes to mind is usually something about protecting your home from burglaries and break-ins. Of course, this is very important to protect yourself from. However, there is more to home security.
An often ignored but equally important part of a comprehensive home security system are your detectors like your fire alarms and smoke alarms that can alert you to threats like smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide. A smart home alarm system will keep you safe from these environmental threats.
The three essentials that you absolutely should not go without are smoke alarms, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms. We’ll talk more about the benefits you will enjoy from buying the smart versions of these.
You can also get water sensors and air quality monitors that alert you to other threats like flooding and poor air quality inside your home. These are not as urgently necessary as the previous three but they can be extremely helpful in making you that much more secure. We will talk about them briefly as well.
Smart Smoke Alarm
Standard smoke alarms have one function. They are mounted somewhere in your home and they sit there quietly until they detect smoke. When they do, they let out a piercing siren that feels like it might burst your ear drums.
Smart alarms are much friendlier and more helpful than that. The smoke alarm sound can often be customized or replaced with a voice that informs you what has been detected and where it is.
It doesn’t just sit there quietly until it detects smoke either. Many smart smoke alarms can communicate with you via your smartphone. So you can check in on it when you are away and be alerted as soon as it detects smoke even if you are on the other side of the world.
What’s the use of that eardrum bursting siren if no one is home to hear it anyway? Smart alarms can alert you no matter where you are and they can communicate with you in a lot more friendly way than just a panic-inducing shrieking sound.
Another issue with standard smoke detectors is that they do not detect smoke early enough. Most homes are relying on what is called an ionization-only smoke detector. Many smart alarms use a dual sensor method with ionization and photoelectric sensors.
This dual sensor technology allows it to detect smoke up to 50 minutes earlier than a standard smoke alarm. In other words, it’s capable of detecting smoke from a fire before it becomes a ferocious, unstoppable flame.
That additional 50 minutes could give you enough time to put out the fire that caused the smoke. If anything, it at least gives you time to throw together your most valuable belongings and get your family out of the safely.
Many companies also offer combination alarms that can detect more than just smoke. For example, you can get combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors so that you don’t have to fill your home with dozens of detectors.
Smart Fire Alarm
A high quality dual sensor smoke alarm is going to help keep you safe from fires. But if you aren’t interested in buying a whole new set of detectors and the fire alarm sound doesn’t bother you that much, you can opt for a simpler solution.
Roost makes a smart battery designed specifically to be used with an existing fire alarm.
The benefit of going the battery route is that you can keep your existing detector. Although, if it doesn’t have dual sensors, you may be better off replacing it anyway. Buying a smart battery rather than a whole new detector is definitely cheaper.
The Roost battery also sends an alert to your phone when the battery is low to let you know it is time to replace it well before that awful chirping sound starts up.
While this is a great short term solution, we recommend investing in a complete smart detector. As mentioned, many are capable of detecting both smoke and carbon monoxide (and the dual sensor ones will alert you well before the fire bursts into flames).
Some smart alarms like this Z wave compatible one can even automatically call the fire department for you.
Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Carbon monoxide is a gas with no taste or smell making it almost impossible to detect unless you have a carbon monoxide alarm. Too much carbon monoxide in an enclosed space (like your home) is poisonous and will be fatal.
It is also extremely flammable so if there is a high amount of carbon monoxide and you are unaware of it, lighting a gas stove or even flicking on a lighter will cause an often fatal explosion.
So you do not want to skip out on having a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. As mentioned, many smart alarms are capable of detecting both smoke and carbon monoxide so you can cut down on the number of detectors in your home.
Since they detect both, they usually have a carbon monoxide alarm sound that is different from its smoke or fire alarm sound so that you are immediately aware of what it has detected.
In addition, you can choose an alarm that verbally communicates rather than just sounding alarm so that it can tell you what it detected and which room it is in. Plus, they send alerts to your phone as well so you can still respond to the problem even if you are on the other side of the world. You don’t have to come home to find a burned down or gas-filled house.
Going the Extra Mile With Your Smart Home Alarm System
Smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide are not the only hazards that threaten your home. Depending on where you live, you might be susceptible to other things like flooding or air pollution.
For those of you in places like these, detecting and monitoring those additional hazards can be just as important as detecting smoke, fire, or carbon monoxide.
Smart water detectors can alert you to leaks before they cause serious damage. Small, hidden leaks can end up causing water rot and dangerous mold growth that is a hazard on its own and expensive to fix.
With a water detector, you can detect leaks as soon as they start and fix them easily and cheaply before they cause serious and expensive damage.
Air Quality Monitoring
Poor air quality is not something you can easily detect on your own but it does cause health problems that can lead to serious health issues in the long term. If your home has poor air quality, you will experience systems like difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and lack of physical energy.
It also causes cold-like symptoms such as teary eyes and a stuffy nose. So if you experience things like that more often than others, the air quality in your home could be a source of that.
With an air quality monitor, you can be aware of exactly what kind of air you are breathing and how it might be affecting your health and the health of your family. The air inside your home can easily become polluted and because it is an enclosed space, that pollution tends to linger and build up.
Some common air pollutants found in the home that can be detected by an air quality monitor include:
- Smoke and particulate matter from cooking
- Volatile organic chemicals (VOC) from cleaning and DIY hobbies. Building materials and even your furniture can release VOCs.
- Carbon monoxide from gas-burning and wood-fueled devices.
Using an air quality monitor, you can stay aware and learn when pollutants in your home reach unsafe levels of concentration. Use an air filter or open up your windows to help get rid of the pollutants and restore it to safe levels so that you know you and your family are healthy.
In addition to these, engineers are also working on devices that can alert you to things like tornado and other hazard warnings. These devices won’t just sit calmly and wait for hazards to come to you. They will actively scan the news and keep you updated on weather and hazard alerts.
As you can see, smart home alarm systems offer you much more than a screeching siren when you are in danger (and sometimes when you aren’t thanks to false alarms). They keep you aware and notify you wherever you are so that you can deal with the threat even if you aren’t at home.