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Safe and Sound

Safe and Sound …From the pages of House & Home…

The best ways to protect your Shore home

For several months during the year, many homes on the New Jersey coast are unoccupied. Securing these homes is essential to protecting the investment summer residents have made, says Neil Wiessler, owner of Shore Sound & Cinema. He recommends installing a quality security system by a reputable company.

“Properly securing the home includes door contacts, motion sensors, glass break detectors, smoke detectors and temperature sensors,” he explains.

The purpose of protection
Mike Galletta, lead residential and small business sales representative at ASG Security, says that peace of mind is priceless when leaving a home or business unattended.

“Home security systems ensure that you will be protected from burglaries and/or fire,” he says, noting that homeowners receive a discount of 5 to 20 percent off their home and property insurance for having a monitored system.

Another popular reason homeowners of Shore houses add a security system is to keep an eye on their pools during the week when they are not at the Shore.

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“Kids like to ‘pool hop,’ and if someone would get hurt it could be very bad for the homeowner,” says Harry Blanchard, senior sales engineer at Creative Systems USA. Additional ways to protect the home include water control valves that will shut off the water supply to the home in the event of a leak or burst pipe.

“Water leaks in an unoccupied home can cause significant physical damage and mold issues that can result in structural damage to the home and financial and emotional loss,” says Wiessler.

Latest & greatest
Also in high demand are security systems that integrate with dedicated home automation systems or offer home automation-like features, such as temperature control, remote door access and security cameras that can all be viewed and accessed on a host of mobile devices. “Homeowners want to see what’s going on from miles away or from around the world,” notes Wiessler.

What’s more, when a home is vacant, it no longer has to look empty. Creative Systems USA offers an option to record the lighting patterns of the user and play it back to make it look like someone is home when they are not.

“Lighting control systems are a great way to give the home a ‘lived in’ appearance when no one is home. [They] simulate someone being home, giving the home the appearance that it is not vacant,” says Blanchard.

The company’s cameras have high resolution color and black and white sensors that let homeowners see details, even in low light situations. Thermal sensors allow a person or animal to be seen in complete darkness. An option to detect motion and ambient light to turn on and off lights for the safety of the homeowners is also available. Blanchard suggests having a specialist program and install an enterprise grade network.

“They are not inexpensive, but they can quickly pay for themselves in the long run,” he says.

Another sought-after feature these days is a “smart” thermostat, where the heating and cooling patterns of a home are learned and adjusted automatically based on real-time weather data, the thermal characteristics of the house and the temperature preferences of the occupants.

“This ‘smart home’ solution can ultimately help lower energy use and generate potential savings on a customer’s energy bill,” says Frank Purcell, senior director of marketing for Comcast. The system can also keep pipes toasty warm in cold-weather months, another plus.

Remote control
Gone are the days when homeowners needed to make arrangements to keep a key with a neighbor, so they could check on things inside or let in a repairman in the off chance that a repair needed to be made while they were away.

“Now you can just grab your iPhone, access an app to turn off the alarm, unlock the door and even turn the heat on. Meanwhile, your security cameras record and keep a silent, watchful eye on your home and can be played back right on your mobile device,” Wiessler explains.

With a custom application, Blanchard says homeowners can have complete control over their entire home through their mobile device or office computer—a feature that can be accessed anywhere in the world where there is Wi-Fi or mobile data connection to the Internet.

Wiessler adds that most security systems work remotely on the iOS and Android platforms, which covers just about all of the cell phones available today. Some systems can also be accessed via a web browser on your home or office computer, giving you the same features and access as the mobile devices.

With Xfinity Home’s broadband and cloud-based platform, homeowners can remotely set their alarm, adjust digital thermostats, turn lights on or off, check water sensors and watch secure, live-streaming video of the home, inside or out—all from a touchpad, smartphone or computer.

“The service comes with a tablet-like touch screen that can be mounted on the wall or carried around the house,” says Purcell. “The color display streams camera footage, controls the alarm, thermostat, lights, and other electronics, and also provides a menu of widgets with the latest weather, news, traffic, and sports scores.”

Xfinity Home also offers the ability to create personalized settings to receive email or text messages when certain things happen—or when they don't happen.

“For example, if a child should have arrived home by 5 p.m., the system can be set to send an alert if the door doesn’t open between 4:45 and 5:15,” explains Purcell. “Customers with flooding issues can have water sensors installed and not have to wonder if their basement is filling with water every time a storm hits.”

Anything is possible
Home automation or “smart homes” are much more than a security system, Wiessler says.

“Home control encompasses the lifestyle of a custom home. The home becomes part of you and how you live,” he explains. “You can even program their home to wake them up in the morning.”

Not yet convinced the future is here? Wiessler leaves homeowners with this vision: “Imagine, instead of a blaring alarm clock waking you, you awake to your favorite music coming on. Softly at first, but then rising to a comfortable listening level as the lights gently come on or the shades begin to rise to let in the warm summer sun. By the time your feet hit the floor, the temperature is adjusting to your preferred setting and the TV in your kitchen has turned on and has tuned in to your favorite morning show.”

It seems anything is possible today with home automation.

RESOURCES

ASG Security
Runnemede, N.J.
(856) 340-7739
ASGSecurity.com

Comcast
Philadelphia, Pa.
(800) COMCAST
Comcast.com/HomeSecurity

Creative Systems USA
Collegeville and Philadelphia, Pa.
(610) 637-6986
CreativeSys.net

Shore Sound & Cinema, LLC
Northfield, N.J.
(609) 645-1300
S2Cinema.com

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 15, Issue 6 (December, 2014).
For more info on House & Home magazine, click here.
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To advertise in House & Home magazine, call 610-272-3120.


Author: Beth Puliti

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