Protecting a home from intruders is the often first thing people think about when it comes to home security systems, but it’s also important to consider the other risks a security system can mitigate. More than a million homes catch on fire in the U.S. every year. Homes are at risk of experiencing water damage and families are at risk of being exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. To really protect your family and give yourself peace of mind, it’s important to be sure the security system you install protects from all these dangers.
The five must have features of any alarm system:
- 24/7 Monitoring
- Intrusion Protection
- Fire Detection
- Water Detection
- Carbon Monoxide Detection
Pick a System that’s Professionally Monitored
The difference between a complete home security system and incomplete home security system almost always comes down to monitoring. If you have a system that simply sends an alert to a phone or email, you don’t have 24/7 coverage. What happens if your phone dies? What happens if you’re asleep or don’t have service? A fire could rage, a burglar might make a clean getaway, and this leaves you completely reliant on neighbors sending for help. In reality, you’ll be lucky if they even notice something is amiss.
When it comes to monitoring, you really need a 3rd party to mitigate against the danger of carbon monoxide. Imagine your phone gets an alert that dangerous levels of carbon monoxide have been detected in your home, but you’re already trapped in a deep sleep from which you may never wake. There is absolutely no replacement for having a professional central monitoring station watching over the safety of your home and family.
Monitored Fire/Smoke Sensors
Above all, home security systems provide peace of mind, but they also save lives and property. Fire can be one of the most devastating things to happen to a family. Loss of property, memories and especially the loss of life are all terrible things to endure. The vast majority of the approximately 3,500 fire related deaths that occur each year in the U.S. happen in homes without smoke detectors or fire alarms of any kind.
The five most common causes of fire:
- Faulty Outlets
- Light Fixtures
- Misused Extension Cords
- Space Heaters
- Outdated Wiring
Having a monitored fire alarm system will ensure emergency responders arrive as quickly as possible, which means more lives saved and less damage to property. If you can’t afford the expense of a monitored fire alarm system, we still encourage all families to have battery powered smoke detectors that will give you a much better chance of making it out alive, because after all, human lives are the one thing that can never be replaced.
Monitored Water/Flood Sensors
You’re ten times more likely to experience water damage than a fire, according to Traveler’s Insurance. The longer a leak persists, the more damage that can potentially be done. Additionally, water damage that makes contact with electricity has the potential to cause a fire, and no one wants a leak to escalate to that level.
The most common causes of water damage:
- Washing machine hoses
- Plumbing around water heaters
- Refrigerator ice machines
- Clogged drain lines in air conditioning units
Water sensors placed along the floor in basements, laundry rooms, bathrooms and the kitchen will alert home owners to a serious leak before the water damage gets out of control. What happens when one of these leaks occurs while you’re out of town? If your system is being monitored by a central monitoring station, an operator will be able to take action to ensure your water gets shut off. Whether you’ve set up a remotely controlled water shut off valve at the water main, or you are able to simply send over a neighbor, it’s much better than coming home to a leak that’s been persisting for several days.
Monitored Carbon Monoxide Sensors
An often overlooked but deadly killer is carbon monoxide, a gas that can’t be seen, smelled or detected by humans. Many people simply dismiss a CO alarm as faulty when their lives are actually in serious danger. Carbon Monoxide is the product of incomplete combustion, which can slowly increase to the point of causing pets and people to fall into a deep sleep that can cause brain damage and eventually result in death.
Five common sources for Carbon Monoxide in the home:
- Heating devices like a furnace
- Cooking equipment like a stove, range or grill
- Water heaters
- Gas or wood burning fireplaces
- Generators or any gasoline powered equipment
A Butler Durrell client right here in St. Louis had a near death brush with carbon monoxide poisoning. Her entire family wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the central monitoring station taking action. The customer dismissed the alarm as an error, but the monitoring agent insisted on sending the fire department to investigate further and found dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in the home.
If a carbon monoxide alarm is triggered in your home, the first thing to do is open a few windows, then check on children and elderly occupants. If everyone feels alright, that doesn’t mean everything is alright. Have someone come by the house to make sure something in the home isn’t putting your entire family at risk.
Benefits of Installing a Home Security System
There are tremendous benefits to installing a home security system that includes monitoring, as well as intrusion, fire, water and carbon monoxide protection. Aside from the benefit of keeping your family safe, a complete system provides peace of mind, can increase home value and save you money on homeowner’s insurance. For those interested in taking their security system to the next level, remote access from a program like Alarm.com can provide added benefits like being able to keep an eye on your home remotely, see who is at your front door through home security cameras and help decrease energy consumption with thermostat controls.
For those in the market for an alarm system, be sure to pick one that includes 24/7 professional monitoring, intrusion protection, fire protection, water detection and carbon monoxide detection. Contact Butler Durrell today if you have questions about fire, water or CO detection or would like to learn more about adding any of these features to an existing alarm system.