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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.

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.

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.

5 Causes Of Holiday House Fires And How To Prevent Them

by Amy October 26, 2018

The holiday season is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but, every year, hundreds become the victims of unfortunate holiday fires. Fires during the holidays account for 34% greater property loss and 70% more fatalities than average. Don’t let fire ruin your holiday and follow these tips to ensure a safe holiday season for you and your family.

  1. Cooking

The holidays are all about big meals, and the most common culprit is food left unattended during cooking. Ensure that you have a working fire extinguisher rated for all types of fires and that all the smoke detectors are working properly throughout your household. And be sure you know how to operate the fire extinguisher.

  1. Candles

Candle fires are four times more likely during the month of December. To reduce the risk of fire, maintain a foot of space between candles and anything flammable, including your Christmas tree. Set candles on a sturdy base or cover them with hurricane globes. Do not leave candles unattended, especially near children. Also, consider using flameless LED candles instead of real ones. They flicker, just like an actual candle, but there’s no risk of anything catching aflame.

  1. Decorative Lights

Do not use any decorative lights with frayed or cracked wires. Refrain from stringing any more than three strands of lights together on one outlet. Ensure lights are not placed near any heat sources or anything that could potentially overheat. When placing lights outside, avoid using nails or staples as this could damage the wiring. It is also recommended to take lights down within 90 days as they could be damaged by environmental factors.

  1. Christmas Trees

It will take less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to become engulfed in flame. To minimize the risk of a Christmas Tree catching fire, water the tree every day. If a tree is well watered, it is almost impossible to ignite. Regardless of how often you water the tree, it will begin to dry out after four weeks. When setting up the tree, even an artificial one, make sure it is far away from any heat sources, like fireplaces or radiators. Lastly, make sure the Christmas lights on the tree are always turned off when you go to sleep at night or leave your home. You smart home can automate when to turn your lights on and off.

  1. Fireplaces

Remember to have your fireplace inspected every year by a professional chimney inspector. Soot can harden and become flammable, so this inspection is indispensable. Screen in your fireplace to prevent any hot embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet.

Be cautious and careful when choosing how to decorate your home this holiday season. Make sure that anything potentially flammable is kept far away from heat sources and electronics. If your fire alarm sounds, immediately leave your home, even if you do not know the cause of the alarm.

My Alarm Center wishes you a safe holiday season with your family.

Home Security Tips For Frequent Travelers

by Amy July 26, 2018

Most times when people go on vacation their mind is filled with all the things they don’t want to forget that they forget about the house they’re leaving behind. There are over two million burglaries a year in the United States and it is very important to keep yourself from becoming a victim.

  1. Monitor Your Home

Install a home security system. This will provide you with full video surveillance that you can access from anywhere with your smartphone.

Even if you have a home security system, make sure you have someone keeping an eye on your home, whether it is a neighbor or a friend who is staying over while you’re gone. It is a good idea to keep a set of eyes on your home while you are away for an extended period.

  1. Make It Appear As If You Are Home

Make your home appear as if it is always occupied. It’s not a good idea to leave a yard untidy and a mailbox exploding with mail. Make sure your yard is being tended to and stop your mail and newspaper services. Keep lights on inside the home as well and consider using timers that make it appear as if the house is lived in. Ask if your neighbor will park their car in your driveway while you are away. This would deter a burglar from attempting to enter a home since they believe someone is inside.

  1. Don’t Publicly Announce Travel Plans

You don’t want the wrong people figuring out you won’t be home. Avoid posting about any planned trips on social media, so that any potential burglars will not be tipped in your direction.

  1. Take The Garage Door Opener And GPS Out Of Your Car

If you plan to travel without your vehicle, make sure you remove the garage door remote and the GPS from your car. These things could tell someone where you live and give someone access to your home when you are not there.

  1. Be Prepared For A Disaster

Have information about your valuables available if a disaster does occur. Having documents is important for insurance purposes. Before leaving for vacation make sure you review your insurance policies and keep a full record of your valuables and possessions. Documentation of your belongings should include a picture and serial numbers of the products.

Home Automation In The Bathroom

by Amy June 27, 2018

Home automation has taken over many areas of the household. From lighting to air conditioning, and even smart refrigerators, it seems that nearly everything in your home can be controlled using home automation. Now the time has come for home automation to become part of a room you use every single day: the bathroom! Here are several popular smart home devices that can be used in the bathroom.

  1. High Tech Toilets

Smart toilets don’t require the use of your hands or toilet paper. They have motion sensors that will raise and lower the seat, temperature-controlled water, spritzing wands, and automatic dryers. The smart toilet also has heated, antimicrobial seats and LED lights for when it’s dark. Smart toilets are even self-cleaning. This technology is already very common in Asia and is beginning to take America by storm.

  1. Digital Faucets

A digital faucet will allow you to conserve water. So not only will you be saving money, you’ll be eco-friendly. The faucet provides reduced tap flow and digital temperature control settings. The digital sink also provides touchless technology and infrared tap technology that reads the user and turns on only when it senses hands in the sink. You can take advantage of the digital faucet in the shower as well and use a timer to conserve water.

  1. Soaking Tubs

Soaking tubs are becoming a new trend. They are equipped with sleek and modern faucets that have various pipes to fill the tub rather than just one. They’re furnished with modern massaging jets and mood enhancing lights. They come in a multitude of shapes, giving you a variety to choose from based on your personal preference.

  1. Refrigerator Cabinets

Another (literally) cool gadget found in today’s modern bathroom includes refrigerated bathroom cabinets for storing beverages. Perhaps the ultimate in convenience!

  1. Smart Shower Panels

Smart shower panels allow you to control the temperature, water flow, steam, music, and lighting. Some even act as a TV so you can watch your favorite shows while washing up.

Your My Alarm Center home security system provides you with smart home technology that can be used to control almost every electronic in your household. Take advantage of this unique technology and enjoy leisure in every room of your home.

How Home Automation Helps The Environment

by Amy June 20, 2018

Our homes have become a constant consumer of energy, so it is important to try and reduce the carbon footprint of every home around the world. Home automation services do a great job of helping families minimize energy usage and preserve the environment, and also offer the ultimate in convenience. Especially during summer, with rising electricity bills, take the time to use your home automation system to run your home efficiently. It can also be a lot of fun!

  1. Monitor Energy Usage

Look at your monthly utility bills. See how much energy you’re using and what systems are costing you the most. Normally, the biggest perpetrators of energy waste are the water heater and the cooling system. You can use home automation technology to track energy usage in real time and identify all your home’s worst energy wasters.

  1. Use Smart Plugs

Smart plugs are an awesome way to control your energy usage. You can turn off the smart plug when an appliance is not in use. For example, when your TV is plugged into a regular outlet it is always using energy, even if it is not turned on. With the smart plug, energy will only be utilized when the TV is in use. When you think about all the TVs, computers, and other devices that are plugged in all the time, a lot of electricity is being wasted.

  1. Update Your Lighting

Believe it or not, even the type of lightbulb you use can help you save energy. Incandescent lightbulbs consume and waste a lot of energy, accounting for 35% of carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants. Smart bulbs will save you money and make homes more energy efficient. Just like the smart plug, you can control your smart bulb from your phone and monitor how much electricity your lights are using each month. Smart bulbs also allow you to put the lights on a schedule or simply shut them off from your smartphone, this way no lights are left on when they shouldn’t be.

  1. Control The Thermostat

Most people use default settings on the thermostat. Often, this is not the most energy efficient way to regulate the temperature in your home. Switching to a smart thermostat can save you around 10% on heating and 15% on cooling throughout the year. The smart thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature in your home by accounting for various factors like outdoor humidity and precipitation. It also changes the temperature depending on the time of day and whether or not you’re home. You can also control your thermostat from your smart phone, so you can have full control from any location.

  1. Stop Wasting Water

The average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day. One third of that water is used to maintain lawns. Smart irrigation systems prevent the waste of water and save up to 8,800 gallons of water per year. The system uses AI technology to sync with local weather predictions and help keep your garden and yard healthy by ensuring you don’t overwater.

To reduce the overall carbon footprint on the world, each person needs to make an effort. Home automation services allow you to save energy and monitor how much you are using. Install some new home automation devices and watch how much money and energy you can save!

 

How To Place Security Cameras

by Amy January 30, 2018

The placement of home security cameras is just as important as having them. My Alarm Center is strategic when deciding the location of your surveillance system.

Security cameras are installed at the front door, back door, and near first floor windows.

These locations are the most common entry points for intruders, according to statistics from the Bureau of Justice. Cameras are placed above doors and windows, outside your home, and facing downward. This way the camera can view a few feet in front of the opening. Exterior cameras have night vision and are waterproof. Some can be placed in the interior of the home, looking out, so that there is a view of the windows and yard outside.

Cameras have full view and are in focus.

The range of the camera determines the interior placement of cameras. Anything with a range of around 45 to 75 degrees should be aimed to specific areas like a doorway or garage entry door. Cameras with a full wide view of 75 to 180 degrees allow you to see a full room with just one camera.

Cameras watch over any valuables.

If you have a safe within your home, the camera is angled so that it can be seen. Any important hiding places are guarded with a camera as well. If there is a break in, this will help determine what was taken.

Cameras are kept out of reach.

It’s important cameras are kept in an area where they can’t be easily tampered with. If an intruder can break the camera or cover it, it will not be beneficial. Cameras are placed in areas that aren’t obvious but will maximize the view.

Cameras are connected to your home security system.

Security cameras can work strategically with your home security system and home monitoring to protect your home. They’re also great for home automation, allowing you to check home security feeds any time you wish.

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