One of the nastiest surprises a homeowner can encounter is finding out about damage to their home that they could have prevented had they caught the problem earlier.
For example, a leak that’s been slowly dripping behind your wall and causing extensive damage may not be covered by your homeowner’s policy since you should have caught it with regular upkeep.
Homeowners have countless stories of leaks that caused extensive damage, sump-pump failures that flooded whole rooms, frozen pipes that burst and gas leaks that led to fires, or worse.
Fortunately, technology has come to the rescue with a number of smart home sensors that can detect problems when they develop, either suddenly or slowly. Thanks to a number of smart sensors that can alert your phone is something is amiss, you can greatly reduce the damage any of the above scenarios may cause.
You can set up some smart sensors as stand-alone units with their own dedicated hub, while others are adaptable and can communicate with brand-name smart home hubs like:
- Apple HomeKit, or
The sensors communicate with a central hub using Bluetooth technology, while the hub uses your home Wifi to alert the app on your phone.
Here are the sensors that can give you the most bang for your buck in terms of safety and preventing damage to your home, its contents, your family – and even pets.
There are a number of smart leak detectors on the market, and depending on the brand, the system can shut off water in about five seconds after detecting a leak in your home. This can save you thousands of dollars in property damage.
You can place these sensors at specific points where leaks are possible, such under sinks, appliances and water heaters. This allows you to customize a leak detection solution based on your needs or concerns. Some sensors can even detect changes in water temperature, which can help you avoid damage from frozen pipes.
These sensor units may also include shut-off valves, which can be installed at strategic locations in your piping. It’s best to call a plumber because installing a shut-off valve may require cutting into the water line. Leave that to the pros.
These are typically only necessary in regions that have freezing temperatures and snow for periods of time in the winter. When pipes freeze, they can back up, expand and burst and possibly flood parts of your home.
Many of the systems that detect leaks also can detect if pipes have frozen. Like leak sensors, freeze sensors are small devices that constantly monitor the temperature of the object or area they’re in touch with. If a sensor detects frozen pipes, it will notify you via your smart phone app or activate a shut-off valve if it’s installed.
Smart smoke alarms
A smart smoke alarm works just like a normal smoke alarm, except it has the added feature of notifying you if there is a fire and you are not home. That gives you the opportunity to call the fire department or a trusted neighbor to ensure a faster response.
If you own an Alexa speaker, it has a feature that will act as a smoke alarm by listening for the sound of your regular smoke alarm then send you an alert. There is also a smart 9V battery on the market that you plug into your smoke alarm and which alerts you in case it goes off.
Smart temperature sensors can alert you to changes in areas of your home that need to have steady temperatures, such as wine cabinets, crib rooms, pet enclosures and humidors.
Window and door sensors
For your home security needs, you may want to consider door and window sensors. They usually come in two parts – one that attaches to the door or window frame, and another that attaches to the door or window itself.
When the door or window is closed, the circuit between the two parts of the sensor is complete and so is marked as ‘closed’ – but as soon as a door or window is opened, the circuit is ‘broken,’ which triggers an alert.