Security Detectors: Your Home’s Sense Organs
Specialized electronic detectors are the home’s eyes, nose, ears, and sense of touch. Detectors help alert you and your family to fire, smoke, or carbon monoxide conditions in your home, or forced entry through doors, smashed windows, and other threats. They send data to the smart security or home integration system regarding unwanted or potentially dangerous conditions, which will then raise the alert via alarm bell, email, pre-recorded voice message, flashing lights, or other forms of notification. See Alerts & Alarms.
Detectors are most commonly used to signal the presence of dangerous or unsafe conditions that immediately threaten the safety of the household and home. But specialized devices are also available to detect other conditions:
Motion detectors (sometimes called occupancy sensors) can signal an unwanted intrusion. They can also be employed to turn lights on when someone enters the room (or outside area), and off when they leave—not just to prevent trips and falls, but also to provide security, and save energy when the room is unoccupied.
Moisture detectors can save water in landscaping, by signaling when it’s time to water the garden or lawn—or not. They are also important for signaling abnormal moisture conditions that, left unchecked, can damage the house structure.
Temperature sensors in the attic can signal when it’s time to open louvered vents in the attic, and turn on the ventilation fan; or when to close them and turn off the fan (when a storm starts to blow.)
Door and window sensors, in addition to signaling an intrusion, can also be used to alert you that someone has gotten into the liquor cabinet—while you’re out to a movie, for example, right after the baby sitter should have finished putting the kids to bed.
Detectors can be doubly powerful when combined with security cameras, as the latter help interpret the data reported by safety detectors. A break-in alert might be caused by a burglar, or it might be a lightweight garden chair that was tossed about during a storm. Smoke detectors might be set off by the smoke of a neighbor’s burning autumn leaves coming through an open window. Or some embers might have blown in and are starting a fire. For many situations, camera images can help clarify the information provided by the sensors, and eliminate the panic of false alarms, or confirm a dangerous situation. See Security Cameras.
An expert in smart home security knows how to manage the signals from multiple sensors and combine them with other—broader data—to help you know exactly what’s going on at your home. The smarter your home is, the more information you’ll have at your disposal to interpret potentially hazardous conditions, so you can act on real threats and disregard false alarms. This approach goes well beyond a collection of individual widgets that are downloaded to a smartphone.