Runaway fire or leaky faucet, and nobody’s home!

Dear HomeIQ,

Whenever we’re away on holiday, I’m always stressed about a broken faucet or leak in one of our bathrooms. I’m also worried about what will happen if there’s an electrical short circuit or a fire that breaks out. By the time I find out, it might be too late!

Is there anything that can help take away the unwarranted stress?

Sincerely,

Kimberley.

 

Dear Kimberley,

We completely understand your plight of leaving a house unattended. I’m sure, we’ve all heard from a neighbour or friend who got called on holiday or came back to a house that was wrecked by a leaking pipe or worse, an electrical short.

We always recommend people turn off faucets from the source or turn water pumps off when you go on holiday. Also, ideally it’s great to turn off heavy duty appliances like air conditioners and power off as much as you can. That having been said, it’s a different story when you’re not on holiday or simply away from home either running an errand or busy at work when calamity strikes. In these cases, it’s great to have someone or something around at home to give you a heads up the moment something untoward happens and more importantly, do something to fix it.

When there’s water on the loose

There are water shut off valves available in the market today, and some of these can be integrated to a flood sensor. Hooking up the flood sensor to a Z-Wave or Zigbee compatible controller or hub will allow homeowners some much needed peace of mind. Homeowners can create automation scenarios to turn off their water supply the moment a flood is detected and also send real time alerts to single or multiple smart devices of their choice. A scenario can also be created whereby a security guard or neighbour is intimated in real time, allowing them to personally visit the area where the leak was detected and ascertain the severity of the flood.

Short circuit, smoke or fire hazards

The same holds true for smoke detectors and their integration within your household. While traditional smoke detectors go a long way toward stopping fires and helping building residents get to safety when a blaze begins, their functionality can be greatly enhanced with a Z-wave or Zigbee enabled smoke detector. While the more traditional smoke detectors send out an alarm, the feature is good only if there is someone there to hear it and take action. With a Z-wave or Zigbee enabled smoke alarm, you can know in real time of a fire or smoke hazard, thus allowing you to take decisive action in real time even when you’re at work or on vacation. Combining a smoke detector with a smart thermostat will get the air conditioning to turn off the moment a fire is detected. A smoke detector can also be effectively integrated with a home security camera to ascertain the severity of the fire.

Some of the leading causes of fires are cooking and heating equipment, electrical and lighting components, washing machines and dishwashers. Combined, these three sources account for almost 70% of all house fires. However, these potential fire starters can become non-issues. Another safety mechanism that you can adopt is to connect these appliances to your smart home network through a simple smart plug; the appliance can then be turned off remotely the instant it appears as though it may lead to a fire or another complication. This way, minor problems do not escalate into major loss situations.

We hope you found this useful and would love to hear your feedback, queries or experiences.

Sincerely,

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