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Security and Surveillance Systems

Threat Detection Sensors

Many people I know have a fairly free spirited approach to life. They love to “seize the moment”, or live each day as if it were their last. This is fine if you’re young, fearless and have no responsibilities but most of us have families to think about. Not only that, an awful lot of us also have a financial interest in the bricks and mortar in which we live or conduct business in.

You may not have thought about it too deeply, but I am of the opinion that we should all do what we can to protect ourselves from the dangers that surround us.

Of course, when you think about added protection for the home or workplace what immediately springs to mind are intruders who intend to relieve you of your precious belongings, however there are more sinister threats which can, if not detected soon enough, be a real danger to you. For that reason, I’ve decided to give you some idea of the different sorts of threat detection sensors there are on the market.

Carbon Monoxide Sensors

Kiddle Carbon Monoxide AlarmNext to gas, this substance can be incredibly dangerous. In fact, it can be life threatening and it’s not very easy to tell you have this problem, because carbon monoxide is invisible, odorless and tasteless.

You might be surprised to know there are many places in the home where this potentially lethal gas can suddenly start to rear its ugly head. For instance, poorly vented space and kerosene heaters can cause high concentrations of carbon monoxide. Leaking chimneys or furnaces are another source. Various appliances that can back-draft such as wood stoves and water heaters can also be a problem area, and this is just inside the home. In your garage you may use various gas powered equipment, even exhaust fumes from your vehicle can be the reason for an upsurge in CO.

There are an abundance of carbon monoxide sensors on the market but they all have one thing in mind – alerting you to the fact you have dangerous levels of CO hanging around! They can be battery or mains operated (although mains sensors usually come with battery back-ups just in case of a power outage), and you can choose various different levels of alarm as well as the sound. In fact, I even have reviewed one sensor that will “shout” at you if it detects CO. If you’re interested, you can take a look at my reviews here.

They can be standalone (perfect for travelling or moving to different rooms in the home), connected with your security system or at their most complex wired in with several other sensors which is perfect for commercial use.

Smoke Sensors

First Alert Smoke AlarmMany people think that fire is the biggest threat but any fire will start by producing smoke, and in fact this can kill you before flames even get going! This is why we are constantly told that smoke sensors are an imperative part of standard safety in the home or workplace.

There are two different types of smoke sensor readily available on the market and these are ionization and photoelectric. If you would like to find out more about these, take a look at the information I’ve included on my smoke detector reviews page.

If you are just looking for some quick information I’ll go over these very briefly for you:
Ionization smoke sensors are actually better at detecting smoke from fires that will burst into flames pretty quickly. This means they’re better suited to places like a kitchen, an office where lots of paper is stored (paper catches fire very quickly) and anywhere you have flammable substances.

Photoelectric smoke sensors are designed to detect what’s called “slow burning” fires before they get going. For example, if a coal ember happens to fall on a carpet or a lit cigarette finds its way down the back of a fabric cushion, this will smolder before you get fire. For this reason, if you want to protect areas like the living room, bedrooms or study I think a photoelectric sensor is the best type to look into.

Heat Sensors

I came across the phrases “heat detector” and “temperature sensor” and at the time I thought these were different from the subheading you read above. However it appears (after doing some research), they essentially do the same thing – detect a surge in heat or ambient temperature.

For instance, if you use your garage as a workshop and often have electrical or gas powered tools on the go, a heat sensor can alert you to the fact that something is about to go up in flames. They’re also widely used in commercial buildings where various equipment can be susceptible to temperature changes.

Say you have lots of computers in your building. A heat sensor will alert you to the fact that certain elements within are not coping too well with heat. Many fire officers also use them to detect how much heat is behind a door or wall. They are even used in hospitals to ensure that medical equipment is kept at an optimal temperature.

Although you may think this type of sensor isn’t something that will help protect you from fire in the home or office, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many models are relatively inexpensive and will help to detect heat in places where appliances like ovens, furnaces, boilers or any other manner of items can overheat and result in a fire.

Freeze Sensors

Freezing temperatures will rarely lead to the sort of life threatening disasters a fire can, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about protecting your home from this. For people who live in colder climates across the US, freezing water can actually be a real pain (as I’m sure you know).

It can cause all sorts of problems with the plumbing in your home. Furnaces can fail as a result of freezing temperatures leaving you without much needed heat and hot water, not to mention a whole host of other issues that can rear their ugly heads with appliances that rely on water to work. This is where a freeze sensor can really help.

They come in an array of designs from wireless to hard-wired and some models have even been designed so you can connect them up to your current alarm system. Some of the more complex sensors like this can be set so if the temperature dips below a certain level in, say, your basement, the alarm system will immediately let you know.

This should give you ample time to make sure that your furnace is still working correctly, your washing machine hasn’t suddenly come to a standstill and some models will even let you know if the water is about to freeze in pipes you can’t see.

Flood Sensors

Reliance Flood DetectorIt seems that so far, I have been around pretty much all the elements you can think of with the exception of air (although that can have an effect if fire is involved). Just like water freezing, it can also be a major problem if it starts to leak. In fact, flooding is becoming more common place in many areas of the US.

Take basements for instance, if you have a deluge of unexpected rain this area of your home is highly vulnerable to flooding. Even if you don’t get a large amount of rain, water can he hugely damaging if it starts to leak, and there are a plethora of places this can happen both in the home and the workplace.

Flood sensors come in a huge range of prices as well as design. Perhaps the most popular are those that have elongated sensors so you can measure the level of water in an area where it’s likely to build up. These models tend to be battery powered so you can easily move them from one place to another.

Other types of flood sensor (and you can find an example of this on my flood sensor reviews page) are those that have sensor “wires”. These can be placed in areas where water can start to spread but remain undetected until you walk into a room and your feet get wet.

Of course, they all come with alarms that sound off when water is detected, and these vary in level so that’s something worth thinking about if you’re looking for a flood sensor to put somewhere that may not easily be heard.

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