Homeowners must prepare for the unexpected when it comes to safeguarding their families and property. This includes environmental hazards (e.g. flooding, carbon monoxide poisoning, etc.), which can result in the loss of possessions, costly repairs and even health risks.

Luckily, sensors and alerts can help homeowners accurately detect environmental threats. This way, you can more readily prevent, or mitigate, damages.

Read on for the most common environmental hazards, and how you can overcome them, and then discuss your options with your security provider.

Prevent Water Pipe Bursts

When water freezes, it expands. If this happens inside a pipe, the pressure buildup can cause the pipe to explode and lead to serious plumbing damage. As State Farm explains, "A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold."

Many homes in the North are built with insulation around pipes to prevent them from freezing, but homes in the South are often susceptible to temperature drops, as pipes are less protected overall, according to the Weather Channel. However, as one plumber recounts, even well insulated homes can face challenges if the furnace malfunctions, if there is an extended power outage, or if the fuel supply runs out/is shut off.

To safeguard your home, we recommend installing low temperature sensors in bathrooms, basements, kitchens and other areas where pipes are present. Sensors can notify you if temperatures fall below 45 degrees, giving you the opportunity to proactively prevent the issue before it becomes serious by turning up your thermostat or turning off your water supply.

Mitigate Flooding Damage

A second, related, environmental hazard is flooding, often caused by cracked or broken water pipes, loose pipe connections or inadequate drainage.

In a 2,000 square foot home, a one-inch flood could cost you $20,920 in damages, according to FloodSmart.gov. (Note: To see how more severe flooding stacks up, check out the site's interactive tool, which lets you measure estimated damage, inch by inch.)

Leak sensors installed in flood-prone areas of your home can help you detect water accumulation—especially in areas you can't always see or don't frequently access. If excessive water levels are reached, you are alerted immediately, and a signal is sent to your security provider's monitoring center. The result is faster response and less damage, saving you money and headaches.

High Carbon Monoxide Level Alerts

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can have deadly consequences if consumed en masse. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 150 people die from accidental CO poisoning each year in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate several thousand go the emergency room for CO poisoning treatment.

A high concentration of CO—more than 70 parts per million (ppm)—in the home is typically a result of a faulty or improperly used furnaces or heating appliances (stove, fireplace, clothes dryer, etc.). Because it's impossible to detect via human senses and early symptoms resemble that of the flu, CO poisoning can often go unnoticed until moderate to severe complications arise.

This is why CO detectors are so important. Using sensors, they can instantaneously detect high concentrations of the gas and notify you of the risk. This way, those in the home can immediately exit for fresh air outside.

If tied to your home security system, detectors can also alert a monitoring service of the hazard, so that they contact you or send help, as needed.

It's recommended that CO detectors be installed on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas. Test and replace them regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. At Vector Security, we routinely replace detectors, ensuring our customers are always protected.

Image Source: Thirteen of Clubs