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How Our Home Automation System Keeps You Safe During Summer

by Amy May 17, 2019

Chances are summer’s warm weather and more relaxing climate means you’ll be booked for numerous outdoor activities, family get-togethers, and vacations. The more time you spend outside, the more you need to secure your home – according to a study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more burglaries occur during the summer compared to any other season. Here are 3 ways that home automation can help keep you and your family safe this summer:

Vacation Security

Our home automation system can provide you with peace of mind with the ability to monitor your home from anywhere in the world. It’s possible to receive alerts when anyone interacts in your home, such as anytime a family member or dog sitter has used an access code to get into your home. You can also get a view of your home through your cameras at any time just to make sure everything is okay.

Family Security

Keeping your loved ones safe is always a priority, no matter what time of year it is. With the kids out of school for the summer, you may want to install a live video feed so you can check on them throughout the day. Whether it’s the kids or a beloved pet, checking on them is as easy as opening an app. A home automation system can also give you alerts if a pool gate or a basement door is opened while you’re gone, and the kids are home alone.

Home Security

During the warmer months, you’ll likely open more windows and be in and out of the house on a more frequent basis. The home automation system, you can check if something has been left on or open. You can even turn off appliances and, with smart windows, close the windows. Everything from windows to a garage door can be easily monitored while you’re away, making sure your home is safe from intruders.

These are just a few ways that you and your family can stay safe this summer by using a home automation system. My Alarm Center provides home automation, home security, and a variety of other services for home and business. With almost 20 years of experience, you know your home is safe with My Alarm Center. Contact us for more information on home security and home automation today.

Yard Sale Items That Can Help Secure Your Home

by Amy April 24, 2019

Spring might be the time to de-clutter and rearrange your home, but it could also be a time to get things for sale that will help with your home. Here are some things you may be able to find at local yard sales that could help to secure your home and your property:

Lamps and Spotlights

Well-lit spaces are more secure places. Smart bulbs applied to smart lamps are compatible with our home automation solution. You can also attach lamps to a timer switch to make your house seem occupied while you are away on vacation or on a business trip. Installing bright spotlights can be connected to motion sensors and scare off nighttime pests and nefarious people.

Storage Solutions

Furniture including file cabinets, lockable shelving, and storage ottomans let you tuck clutter and valuables out of the way, so they are not easily spotted by prospective thieves. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot a fireproof safe to help hide your things.

Etched Glass Window Film and Blackout Blinds

Stick-on films let the light come through, but people cannot see in. Tinted and patterned window films work the same way. Blackout blinds work similarly to window films except they help give you a deep night’s sleep in a darkened room! All these products can help stay secure for any unwanted onlookers spying your home.

Important Home Safety & Security Statistics

Lockboxes

Real estate agents often use lockboxes to access the keys of the homes they’re trying to sell, so why wouldn’t you consider? These magnetic boxes let you hide spare keys around the property with a password. However, don’t install them by the garage or by the front of the house– thieves know to check there. Make sure to view the best lockboxes in the market and snag one at the next yard sale.

Smart Plug Outlet

These handy gadgets connect to a power strip, letting you control multiple devices at once by phone, also compatible with our home automation solution.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Chances are you already have these in your home but doubling up gives you extra peace of mind if one unit fails. Fire and Carbon Monoxide monitoring with the support of our central monitoring station can make the difference in securing your home from flames.

Yard Signs

Home security yard signs such as ‘Warning: Security Cameras in Use’ can be the turning point in thieves deciding to try their luck at a less protected home. Dog signs can also help compliment an existing home security system.

The Next Step

While all these DIY security measures can help keep your home safe, nothing beats the effectiveness of a properly and professionally installed home security system. My Alarm Center Home Security offers a wide range of home products and alarm system monitoring. Contact us for more information about My Alarm Center Security Services.

The Definitive Spring Cleaning Guide For You And Your Home

by Amy

The cold bite in the air is fading and quickly being replaced by hints of warmer weather. With the arrival of spring comes flowers blooming, adventure planning and, spring cleaning. The heralding of a new season brings fresh new energy and the need to organize, declutter, and dust-off from a winter spent indoors. But save for a select few, no one likes cleaning. Sure, the aftermath is satisfying, but moving appliances and throwing out clothes? I’d rather not. If spring cleaning is getting you down, here are some ways to get started:

Clean Your Equipment

The winter months might’ve taken a toll on your outdoor equipment, so make sure to target the cameras, lights, and sensors outside your home for cleaning. Well-kept equipment can help ensure the alerts and monitoring you get is up-to-date.

Break It Down

Not knowing where to start can make a task seem insurmountable. Talk yourself through it and break down the task into small pieces and create a checklist. Aside from not feeling so overwhelmed, crossing things off your list will bring a sense of satisfaction and make you want to keep going.

Procrastinate and Take it Slow

You did not read that wrong. Knowing when and how to take breaks will actually get the job done faster and with more precision than not taking a break at all. Every hour, give yourself 10 minutes of nothing time. It can be scrolling through Instagram or staring at the wall, but taking a break will help you stay energized.

Move It!

If you’re in the middle of a task and feel like you just don’t want to finish, turn up some music and dance or exercise. It’ll give you the extra burst of energy you need to power through to the end.

Goals and Rewards

Sticker charts and ice cream treats are not just for kids! Set goals for yourself and decide on a treat for when you get there. It’ll keep you motivated to focus on getting the job done.

There’s nothing like the feeling of clean living space but getting there can be a drag. With these tips, you’ll stay motivated and can even have some fun in the process.

Whatever shape your home is in, My Alarm Center offers a wide range of home products and alarm monitoring. Contact us for more information about My Alarm Center Security Services.

Animal Break Ins

by Amy April 1, 2019

Whether you live in the city or out in the countryside, sometimes nature comes a-calling when you aren’t at home. These crafty animal intruders as they slip around alarm systems and help themselves to food, couches, and more. Here are four furry and feathery break-ins caught on video.

Ever Heard of Cow Bingo?

Two cows came calling when the homeowner accidentally left her front door open. They took a self-guided tour of the bottom floor and then left large, unwelcome presents on the carpet. I bet the homeowner wishes she’d sprung for Scotchgard on that white rug!

Not Just a Doggie Door

Sometimes the animal kingdom creates some surprising best friends. These homeowners would have never guessed that their aloof cat would befriend a baby deer … or invite it inside. How does a deer that’s wobbly on its legs squeeze through a pet door? That’s a mystery for the ages.

A Too-Tight Squeeze

Word of the deer burglar may have spread through the animal kingdom, inspiring this bear to try the same trick. However, the cub should have done more yoga before making the attempt. He got as far as his head before getting stuck. The homeowner had a camera handy and snapped some shots of this furry goofball.

Picky and Pecky Eaters

Not every animal burglar is of the furry variety, and everyone who lives near the shore knows how sneaky seagulls can be. This bold bird went for the Doritos in the store. Without any scruples, he stole all the bags of his favorite flavor leaving the dregs behind for paying customers.

These animal break-ins sure are funny … when they’re happening to someone else. However, you don’t want to be stuck cleaning up a pile of manure from Aunt Irma’s heirloom rug. This is where complete home security systems come in. My Alarm Center offers both home security and alarm monitoring that can help keep your house secure from all types of unwanted visitors.

Full Home Security Checklist

by Cassie March 28, 2019

Home Security Checklist

The Future Is Now: Your Phone Is A Powerful Home Security Tool

by Amy February 27, 2019

Nothing is more important to us than protecting your home and family, especially as burglars become increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to break in. To keep pace with newer technologies and services, the right security agency is essential. A comprehensive home security system is more than just a set of security cameras and a beeping alarm. It should include modern, effective features like alarm monitoring and integration with smart phones. Here are a few ways that your phone can be a vital part of your security strategy:

Home Automation Gives You Remote Control

Home automation covers a lot of features that range from convenient to essential. These could include:

  • Watching the front door, windows, and any other entry points in your home
  • Garage doors that slide open as your car approaches
  • Exterior doors that automatically lock when you leave
  • The ability to disable alarms remotely if you have someone visiting your home

If your phone can help you navigate through your town, pay your bills, and even keep tabs on loved ones, why couldn’t it help secure your home in a snap?

Surveillance Lets You Keep an Eye on Your Home

Multiple exterior and interior cameras let you keep an eye on your property. With your cell phone, you can tap into the video feed at any time you want to make a spot check.

Alarm Monitoring And Alerts Keep You In The Loop

A multi-pronged security system can trigger alerts for everything from motion detection to smoke or carbon monoxide warnings. It may also cover scenarios like if a door or specific cabinet is opened. You’ll also be warned in the case of power failures or other unexpected events. Your cell phone lets you stay in the loop here and keep control of your house while you’re away.

Do you have any questions about integrating your alarm system with your cell phone? Contact us at My Alarm Center and our experienced agents will be happy to help.

Home Automation Weather Integration

by Amy February 18, 2019

According to a Yale University study, 41 million Americans live in flood zones. These are geographical areas that are either low-lying or are situated near waterways. But today’s climate is so unpredictable that the risk of flooding due to torrential downpours or fast-melting snow accumulations has put most of the country in danger of home or landscape flooding. How can you protect your home in these times? Why not consider integrating your home automation system with a home weather station?

Home Automation Weather Integration

Consider a home weather station that collects weather and other environmental related data using sensors and by monitoring local and national weather centers. These systems include thermometers and barometers to measure outdoor temperatures and atmospheric pressure, along with wind, rain, humidity, and other related climate data.

When this data is integrated with home sensors and smart home security features such as smart windows, your home not only warns of a possible storm, but takes action. Smart windows can open and close as needed depending on the forecast. Flood prevention systems can act to prevent costly water damage before it’s too late.

A home automation system can even check forecasts to determine whether the lawn and garden need watering. Your landscape will be healthier, and your wallet will be fuller, as you save money while conserving water. Homeowners can also integrate smart thermostats that will automatically update interior temperatures to keep the home’s comfort levels perfect.

Flood Protection and Monitoring

To reduce the risk of costly damage due to weather disasters, consult with a flood protection and monitoring service provider that is qualified to install home automation with a smart home flood warning system. Water detection sensors monitor interior water levels for outdoor water infiltration, burst pipes, and leaks.

But the most disastrous home floods are caused by weather events. With a smart home security system integrated with a weather station, climate related activity is monitored, and the proper actions are automatically taken to prevent damage to your home.

Get A Home Automation System Today

To learn more about a residential flood warning system, contact My Alarm Center to discuss how you can manage and prevent interior home flooding due to faulty appliances and plumbing or heavy rain events.

Alarm.com Smart Thermostat is ENERGY STAR® Certified

by Amy January 28, 2019

Staying warm during the frigid winter temperatures is a big priority for homeowners in northern U.S. regions. Alarm.com’s Smart Thermostat, provided by My Alarm Center, is now Energy Star® certified. That makes it the most energy-efficient way to manage temperatures inside your home, which means increased comfort and reduced heating costs.

It might be time to replace your old system if you don’t have an ENERGY STAR® certified thermostat on your home security plan. Modernizing your home’s thermostat will enable much greater efficiency and convenience in controlling the temperatures inside your home – and, can even cut costs!

What is  ENERGY STAR® Certification?

“ENERGY STAR® is a certification backed by the U.S. government. The symbol indicates that the products and practices bearing that label meet the standard for optimal energy efficiency. The goal of providing ENERGY STAR® labeling is to help protect the environment by reducing greenhouse emissions and other pollutants produced through inefficient energy use.

Benefits of an ENERGY STAR® Home

There are important benefits of using ENERGY STAR® kitchen appliances, lighting fixtures, water heating, home heating and air conditioning units, and other residential electrical systems and devices. Here are some of the benefits you can realize by upgrading existing household energy consumers to ENERGY STAR® models:

  • Savings on Home Energy Costs — Installation of and efficient control of a HVAC system slashes home energy costs.
  • Tax Savings Homeowners receive tax credits for using energy efficient appliances, lighting, etc.
  • Improved Quality of Life — Home comfort is increased by more effective control over ambient temperatures, with the help of the Alarm.com application.
  • Helps the National Economy — Savings on energy bills contributes to cost savings, which leads to increased usable income for homeowners collectively nationwide.
  • Helps the Environment — Reducing your carbon footprint means you’re helping to slow the world’s overall consumption of fossil fuels.

Benefits of Smart Thermostats

There is an array of significant benefits from using a smart thermostat. Upgrading to a smart thermostat with up-to-date features provides you with:

  • Ideal Convenience — Adjust your home heating thermostat setting without even getting up from the couch.
  • Optimized Heating Management — Regulate the temperature in your home automatically, by setting your temperature timers.
  • Freedom from Manual Adjustments — You never have to worry about whether your home’s heating system is running or was accidentally left on during your workday or vacation.
  • Big Energy Savings — Cost savings for homeowners who can remotely control when their home heating and cooling systems, water heaters, security lighting, and other systems, turn off and on. Take savings on home energy consumption to a new level.

Ways Smart Thermostats Can Be Used

It’s a smart world, and it’s time for a smart thermostat. With today’s state-of-the-art smart thermostat models, you can use the Internet of Things (IoT) to:

  • Use your smartphone to control your thermostat while you are away from home
  • Run reports of your heating and cooling system’s energy consumption, system run times, etc.
  • Receive notifications that your HVAC system’s air filter needs replacing

My Alarm Center’s Home Automation and the Smart Thermostat

A smart home uses today’s cloud technology to connect all your devices. You can control your thermostat as well as all your other networked appliances, systems, and devices through the same mobile app. With quick and easy setup, all your home’s smart facilities can automatically respond to your needs as you go through your usual daily activities.

For More Information

My Alarm Center’s award-winning home automation services are currently used in more than 5 million U.S. homes and businesses. Our network includes over 4,000 authorized service providers. For more information about ENERGY STAR® Smart Thermostats for your home, or to find your nearest service provider, contact My Alarm Center today. Our experts are here to answer your questions anytime.

7 Security Tips to Protect Your New Stuff

by Cassie January 19, 2019

 

Security Tips

From the big-screen that Santa brought to the snazzy new phone you gifted yourself, your home is likely brimming with brand-new temptations for burglars. Here are seven tips to keep your family, your home and your new goodies protected:

1. Hide Your Priciest Loot from View

The number-one rule of thumb for not getting burgled? Don’t tempt the burglars. And that means keeping expensive deliveries out of view. Walk the perimeter of your home, and see what you can see: Can you spot the glow of your new 50″ TV from the road? Are laptops open within view of the front windows? Does your PS4 hang out near the window ledge? Slight relocation can remove them from the sight path of peeping eyes.

2. Don’t Leave the Evidence at the Curb

The second mistake of new gifts is to leave their packaging out for curbside trash pickup. That 50″ TV box at the curb – guess what it’s telling your friendly neighborhood burglar? Instead of leaving pricey packaging out for all to see, break down boxes and fold them inside out. Wrap them in bags, if the logos are still showing. And put them out the night before garbage day. Preferably when it’s already dark.

3. Sign / Sticker / Digitally Mark Your Gear

If you received new, shiny portable gear – fancy cameras, laptops, tablets, etc. – consider tagging them with identifying labels. (Tip: Don’t put your address on the labels; a phone number and email will suffice.) And if your new phone, tablet, camera or other tech gadget carries a memory card inside, add an IfLost.txt file, complete with your contact information.

4. Slash the Flash

And speaking of high-ticket portable tech, consider transporting it in a very low-ticket, uglified casing. In other words, don’t run out and buy a $250 leather laptop case or blinged-out phone cover; instead, stash your stuff in unassuming wrapping (like a laptop backpack) so it’s not an instant target.

5. Hide the Goods (But Not Everything)

Put expensive jewelry in a safe. Stash your gadgets out of view. Essentially, don’t leave thousands of dollars in gifts out in plain sight. But don’t hide everything away, either. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s a good idea to leave a bit of cash and lower-cost goodies in easy-to-find spots; that way, if a thief does find his way into your home, he’s more likely to snatch your barely-hidden goods and getaway, than to tear your home apart in search of the really good stuff.

 6. Secure Your Laptop

If you just got a new laptop, it’s time to secure it. Of course, you can physically secure it with a lock, but we’re more concerned with the information contained therein. And like home security, you’ll want to secure your computer with multiple layers of protection, like GPS tracking, and webcam mugshots, and password protections.

7. Aww, What a Cute Baby!

File this under weird but true: research has shown that your wallet is more likely to be returned if there’s a baby picture inside. Message received. Our advice: slip a baby photo into your wallet (doesn’t matter if you don’t have a baby, a neice or nephew’s photo will do!), but don’t stop there. Add a few to your camera’s memory card, stock a few on your laptop, etc. etc. Sprinkle baby pictures into all your tech, and it may just be the tipping point to getting your stuff returned someday.

Now you tell us: How are you keeping your new toys safe?

Improving Your Home Security For The New Year

by Amy January 7, 2019

Losing weight or quitting smoking typically make many New Year’s Resolution lists, but what about installing or updating your home security system? Keeping you and your family safe are definitely worth including on your list. We’ve put a few ideas together to help you do just that — a “New Year’s To-Do” list. These little things you can do can make a big difference in making your home more secure:

Don’t Leave Garage Door Openers or Keys In Your Car

Leaving these in your car makes it very easy for someone to gain access into your house without requiring a key. Make sure to stow these away in a guarded place where you can reach it, or entrust them to a close friend, neighbor, or family member. You can also take measures to your garage door by installing deadbolts and heavy-duty strike plate.

Make Your Home Look Occupied When It Is Not

This is easier than ever before with smart home devices and home automation security. You can schedule lights to be turned on and off at different times or even have a TV playing in the evening hours just like you were at home. Most home burglaries occur between 10am to 3pm, when most of us are at work, so seeing house activity during these times can detract unwanted trespassers.

Remember to Set Your Alarm System Correctly

Many people purchase an alarm from a security service but they fail to set it and use it; you’ll want an alarm system to go off when something happens. With a system from My Alarm Center you’ll also get the MyHome app which lets you set and deactivate your alarm system from your phone.

Utilize Our Video Monitoring Service

You’ll never have to open the door on a stranger again when you have video monitoring with My Alarm Center’s high-tech security cameras. You’ll be able to monitor your home right from your mobile device, even from miles away, when you’re at work or on vacation.

Remember To Monitor Other Doors

Burglars have always been creative, so don’t forget about your porch door, French doors, or even large windows. These can prove easier entryways for would-be criminals than the front door, so make sure they are properly secured. Our systems can ensure all these programs can be monitored and tracked, so you’ll know when anyone comes in at any point in your home.

If you have any questions on home security systems, don’t hesitate to reach out and have a security system installed in the Philadelphia and Seattle areas.