Help control home monitoring system with smartphone | Business

The latest generation of remote home monitoring goes far beyond smoke detection and intrusion alerts. Multiple professional and do-it-yourself options are available to help make your home a smart home.

Every 30 seconds a home is burglarized in the US with an average value of $2,661 in property loss. Data from the FBI shows that during 2019, 55.7% of all burglaries were due to forced entry. In addition, 62.8% of all burglaries happened in homes or residential properties.

According to the National Fire Protection Association a fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds, and a home fire happened every 89 seconds during 2020. In addition, a 2021 report from the US Fire Administration shows that electrical malfunctions were the fourth-leading cause for fires in residential buildings during 2019.

These days, home monitoring systems are about more than just preventing burglaries. They’re about protecting your home and property from theft, fire and even water damage.

Many remote home monitoring systems don’t even require the typical touchpads, key fobs or monthly monitoring fees. There are many easier, cheaper and more versatile alternatives you can access in a smart home using something that’s probably already in your pocket – your smartphone.

In some cases, monitoring homes remotely can be a minimal, do-it-yourself effort by using products that provide single device you can control from your phone. But for a more comprehensive service – some including 24-hour monitoring by security professionals – the latest generation of smart-home systems goes far beyond smoke detection and intrusion alerts. Many options include for real-time video monitoring, motion-activated recording and even night vision. Systems also can monitor air quality, temperature and humidity.

Remote-controlled ovens, water heaters and washing machines are here, too, although still in early stages, and many more items are in development.

Several days a week I have breakfast with a friend and his brother. The very first thing they do is discuss how their father is doing. Because of modern monitoring devices they are able to video monitor him, control his home temperatures, detect carbon monoxide levels, receive activity reports and medical alerts. These new monitoring devices allow them to care for their father and enable him to stay in his home.

There are devices that monitor water activity. Moisture detection can alert you of leaking washing machines, hot water tanks, dishwashers, burst water lines or overflowing sump pumps. These devices can shut off main water lines when leaks are detected.

Some devices provide convenience: They turn on and off lights and appliances and adjust thermostats.

If you are thinking about adding monitoring devices check with your home insurance company to find what devices they recommend and what discounts you can earn on your home insurance premium.

Bob Hollick is a State Farm Insurance agent based in Washington. His column appears every other Friday in the Observer-Reporter.

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