This post was originally published on October 10, 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Homeowners must be prepared for the unexpected when it comes to safeguarding their families and property. Environmental hazards often strike unexpectedly and can cause substantial damage. Severe events come with big price tags and extensive repair times. Even worse, they could put you or your family’s safety in jeopardy.  

Fortunately, with the right equipment, many environmental hazards can be mitigated. We have outlined four environmental safety solutions you need to help prevent and limit damage from environmental hazards.

1. Implement Water Leak Sensors to Mitigate Flooding Damage

A little water can cause a lot of damage. Even small drips can destroy your home’s foundation and lead to bigger problems. In fact, 250 gallons of water can leak from a 1/8-inch pipe crack in a day. In worse scenarios, it’s estimated that just one inch of water can cause $25,000 worth of damage to your home.

The key to protecting your home is to detect water leaks early. Water 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.

Most modern water sensors have IoT capabilities, so it can send an alert to your smartphone or other device in the event of an emergency. If excessive water is detected, you are alerted immediately, and a signal is sent to your security provider's monitoring center. The result is a faster response, helping save you money and headaches.

2. Enhance Temperature Monitoring to Prevent Frozen Pipes

The winter months can be harsh for millions of homeowners. Colder weather comes a persistent threat: frozen pipes, which are often a mess for homeowners. According to CostHelper, expenses associated with a burst pipe range from $5,000 to $70,000.

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. It’s important to note that frozen pipes are not only susceptible to homes in colder climates. 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.

To help prevent costly repairs, 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°F, giving you the opportunity to proactively prevent the issue before it becomes serious by turning your thermostat up or turning your water supply off.

As a rule of thumb, if you plan to leave your property for an extended period of time and expect cold weather, it’s recommended to set your home’s thermostat between 55°F and 60°F to help prevent a freezing issue arising while you’re away.

3. Prevent Gas Scares with Carbon Monoxide Detection

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can have deadly consequences when inhaled in enclosed spaces. According to the CDC, CO poisoning kills approximately 420 individuals each year, with another 100,000 hospital visits due to accidental inhalation.

A high concentration of CO in the home is typically a result of a faulty or improperly used furnaces or heating appliances (stove, fireplace, clothes dryer, etc.). Since 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. They instantaneously detect unsafe concentrations of the gas and notify you of the risk. When alerted, those in the home can immediately exit for fresh air outside, where you should then contact the fire department. Always remember to never reenter your home if you suspect a gas leak until the proper authorities indicate it is safe.

To ensure optimal coverage, we recommend installing CO detectors on every floor in your home and outside all sleeping areas. It’s also important to test them regularly to ensure they are functioning properly and to replace them immediately if they start malfunctioning.

4. Detect Fires Quickly with Reliable Fire Alarms

House fires are notorious for spreading quickly. A small flame can burst into a big fire in less than 30 seconds. To save precious seconds during a fire emergency, a monitored fire protection solution can make all the difference. In the event of a fire, a monitored solution will:

  • Sound an audible alarm at the first sign of smoke or fire so you can evacuate quickly.
  • Send a signal to a monitoring center, where operators are available 24/7.
  • Help the operator verify the alarm and contact your local fire department within moments.

For optimal protection, you want to pair your fire alarms with your devices, so it can immediately contact you in the event of a fire emergency. A smart fire detection devices ensures you’re connected to your home even when you’re away, and can alert authorities automatically or direct the alert to a monitored center with your security provider.

Fires and other environmental hazards can destroy your property and put your family at risk. But the right environmental monitoring solutions can detect threats and alert you immediately, so you can act quickly. Vector Security offers top-of-the-line home monitoring solutions to help keep you and your family protected from these common threats. For more information, contact us today.