Introducing smart home technology to your home is a great step in the right direction if you're concerned about fire safety. Adding a smart smoke detector is usually what most will begin with, but it's not your only option for keeping your home and its occupants safe from a fire. There's now a whole host of other options to consider, and we'll go over each of them below.
Smart Smoke Detectors
As we mentioned above, smart smoke detectors are one of the first things most people think to add when transforming their house into a smart home. They have been around a little longer than most other devices in smart homes, so there's more options to choose from. Most of these devices come with the following features: alerting you to the alarm sounding when you're not home, calling the fire department for you, and alerting you when the batteries are low. Some high end models even come with a camera, which is what you'll want for extra verification if you get a lot of false alarms. There are smoke detectors with technology for every level of smart home, including those that will even shut down your HVAC system to prevent smoke from spreading to other rooms. The cost of these devices runs from $30-100.
Smart Fire Detectors
We may sometimes call our current detectors fire detectors, but we'd usually be wrong. Smoke detectors have long been the way of monitoring for a house fire, but they never were designed to actually detect a fire—they're designed to detect smoke particles. But, thanks to new technology you can now actually have a fire detector. These smart fire detectors work by detecting the rise of heat or by sending out an alarm when a rapid rise in temperature is detected. These are not meant to replace your smoke detectors, but instead to accompany them in aiding your home's safety should a fire occur. These are also great for anyone experiencing a lot of false alarms. They range in price from $50-150.
Smart Monitors for Stovetops
An especially helpful piece of technology for any home is a smart monitor for your kitchen stovetop that reminds you when you've left the burner on. Although this is a relatively new device in smart homes, it's already becoming a popular one, which means there's now multiple brands of smart stovetop sensor devices available for preventing stovetop fires. Most have preset times installed at the factory that will remind the cook that they've left the burner on after 6-10 minutes time has passed. If no one returns, the audible alarm will continue going off every few minutes until it's turned off. Some go further with app alerts; this way, a family member can be notified as well and know that their loved one needs assistance or a little reminder to turn the stove off. Installing these monitors is very easy, but the cost is quite high. In fact, these smart monitors cost much more than most smart devices. However, with some having the ability to shut the stove down entirely to prevent a fire, the $300-600 cost may be worth it.
Smart Outlets and Plugs
Do you remember leaving for vacation as a kid and your mother going through that list of all the appliances she wanted to turn off before you left the house? Thanks to technology, that's no longer an issue and it's one of the simplest and least expensive smart home devices to install and use. You can purchase outlets that will go with your smart home system or simply add a plugin device to them, allowing you to connect through your smartphone or computer to check the device's power status. You can turn the power on or off from anywhere you can get an internet signal and rest easy knowing that the coffee maker won't burn the house down. This option is relatively inexpensive at $10-15 per outlet.
If you don't have the time or the DIY skills to add some of these smart devices to your home for fire prevention, you could take the easy road and use smart batteries. These batteries will alert you through your smartphone when devices are low on power. This is a perfect option for smoke alarms, fire detectors, and carbon monoxide alarms that you don't want to replace with smart devices. The cost, however, is a whopping $35 for two batteries, which is nearly that of some of the high tech alarms you'd replace it with.
Remote Monitor or Smart Alarm Detector
Let's say you already have a home that has prewired smoke detectors, and maybe they're even hooked up to a sprinkler system. In this case it would be very expensive to replace them with smart smoke detectors, and really not necessary due to remote monitoring devices or smart alarm detectors. These smart monitors are made to listen for the specific frequency of a smoke, fire, or CO detector alarm. Should it hear one go off, it will then alert you the way any other smart device would, through an app. Even in a large home, only one of these remote monitors is normally needed per floor when located in a central location, making it very cost-effective. Speaking of the cost, smart alarm detectors or monitors run $50-100, which is much less than having to replace all of your detectors. The only downside to this type of monitor is that you cannot tell if it's a false alarm unless you also have a security camera system installed that allows you to also check for an actual fire.
Worried about all the tech aspects of this new technology? Don't be. Adding smart security cameras, smoke alarms, thermostats, and nearly anything else you can monitor or manage through your phone or computer is so very easy to set up that anyone of any tech skill or background can do it. In most cases, all you have to do is plug it in, enter your wireless security code, and download an app.
One final tip is that if you're considering adding more to your home than just fire prevention smart devices, go with a large brand name so that you can tie it all into one central smart home hub later. You'll love all the new things you can do with it, but the best part is that you'll be able to sleep better at night and stress a little less at work knowing your home will let you know when it notices a problem.