Home Security Tools for Seniors Living Alone

As we get older, our home security concerns change. What works for families or young people may not meet the unique needs of seniors who live alone. And, just over one in four adults over the age of 65 lives alone. Concerns about seniors’ health, memory, and physical safety can create anxiety for loved ones and caregivers. But there are several strategies that can help seniors maintain both their safety and their independence. Read on for some of the best home security tools for seniors.

Medical Alert Devices

Every 11 seconds, an older adult suffers a fall serious enough to send them to the emergency room. If a senior is injured in a fall in their home, they may not have the ability to get up and call for help. Boyd & Associates Medical Alert can help. It is a safety and medical alert system that allows an individual to signal for help from a wireless alarm pendant.

These systems immediately alert an emergency operator who will dispatch the appropriate help. In the event of an emergency, the local 911 Emergency Response Team will be dispatched. Otherwise, a family member, neighbor, friend, or caregiver can be notified for assistance.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the most common kind of poisoning worldwide and is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas found in the exhaust of generators, stoves, furnaces, cars, or anything that burns fuel and most victims have no idea they’re being poisoned.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 500 people die from unintentional exposure in the U.S. every year. Another 8,000-15,000 people are examined or treated in hospitals.

Most of carbon monoxide injuries and deaths are entirely preventable. That is why carbon monoxide detectors are crucial to have in your home, especially seniors who are living on their own.

Monitored Fire and Burglar Alarms

According to the Bureau of Justice, 59 percent of violent crimes against seniors happen at or near their homes and they are more likely to be victims of property crimes. A monitored home security system can offer seniors living alone an added layer of protection in the event of a burglary or fire by alerting an alarm monitoring center. An alarm monitoring agent will contact emergency responders quickly, saving precious minutes.

Most home security systems offer a feature that allows you to remotely control your home security system. This feature is accessible through an app by using your smart phone or tablet. This is a great feature for those who want to check the status of their senior family member’s system and receive alerts when an alarm or event triggers.

Video Doorbell

With smart video doorbells, seniors can answer their front door remotely via a tablet or smartphone to ensure visitors don’t know they are home alone. Family members of seniors can also use this feature to ensure the safety of their loved one.

Environmental Monitoring

It’s a scenario that can be more frightening and dismaying for an elderly individual than anyone else: a pipe burst, or a water heater leaks, causing damaging flooding that can go on for hours while they are away or asleep.

Environmental monitoring can alert seniors of the problem right away no matter where they are. The longer a leak goes unfixed, the more likely structural damage will occur. By getting the news right away, seniors and their families can avoid expensive and inconvenient repairs.

Home Automation Tools

A senior’s financial security is as important as their physical safety. With home automation tools, you can save time, money and energy by setting scenes and schedules, turn lights on or off, or control the thermostat.

Ask an Expert

Modern security technology means that it’s easier than ever for seniors to enjoy security and independence in their homes. If you’d like to learn more about the kinds of security planning, processes, and technology available for every budget, give us a call today to request a free quote.

The Importance of Flood Alarms and Flood Alarm Monitoring

Flood alarms and flood alarm monitoring are essential to preventing damage when a disaster arises. In the U.S., statistics show that households report roughly 850 water main breaks every single day. And for homeowners, it is estimated that the average cost of repairing flood damage is about $15,000. These damages are not only a nuisance but very costly to repair. And sometimes, the real damage goes much deeper.

It only takes 24 hours for mold to develop in water-damaged areas, so it is essential to repair damages as quickly as possible to avoid adverse long-term effects. With flood alarm and monitoring from Boyd & Associates, you receive real-time flood alerts via text message or phone call the minute a flood is detected, so you can quickly cease the flow of water.

WHAT CAUSES FLOODS?

There are many causes of home flooding which can include natural disasters as well as manmade causes.  Natural disasters might include:

  • Mudflows
  • Flash floods
  • Heavy rains

It is also important to consider the environment around your home. Are you located near major bodies of water like lakes or rivers that can be at risk of flooding? Do you have a basement or other area in your house that is particularly exposed and susceptible to potential damage? General awareness is a major step.

Most manmade floods occur with a pipe bursting, plumbing problems, or when a malfunctioning water heater is present. 70% of floods are actually due to water heaters bursting or leaking. So outside of flood monitoring, you should be aware of the age and condition of your household utilities. Generally speaking, try to commit to an annual inspection from a professional to ensure your home utilities are in safe working order.

HOW DOES FLOOD ALARM MONITORING WORK?

What if there was a way to interrupt a potential flood, before any damage can occur? Here’s how flood alarms and flood alarm monitoring from Boyd & Associates protects you:

  1. Water sensors are installed near appliances such as your hot water heater and washing machine.
    2. When overflowing water is detected, a flood alarm signal is sent to the home alarm panel.
    3. When water is detected on the alarm panel, an alert will notify you via call or text.
    4. Alarm systems with the Flood Avert feature are designed to automatically cut off the water source at the onset of flooding.

HOW DO YOU PREVENT OR PREPARE FOR A FLOOD?

Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable. While you cannot always control natural disasters, you can control how you protect yourself against the unknown. Some quick flood prevention and preparation tips include:

  1. It is always a good idea to have flood insurance.
    2. Ensure that all pipes, water heaters, plumbing, and foundation are working properly on a regular basis.
    3. In the event of a natural disaster, attempt to seal the perimeter of your home with waterproof materials that may help prevent damage.
    4. Create an emergency plan for your family’s safety and any valuables.
    5. Consider adding a flood monitoring system and flood avert automatic shut-off to prevent costly repairs.

FOR MORE SECURITY AND HOME AUTOMATION TIPS AND SOLUTIONS, STICK WITH BOYD & ASSOCIATES

It is important to protect your home before a flood or disaster occurs. The best way to protect your home from damage is with a flood monitoring system installed to always ensure you are aware as soon as the flooding starts. Contact Boyd & Associates today for information on flood alarms and flood alarm monitoring protection.

And, if you’re looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you are ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what’s next.

What Does the End of 3G Mean for Your Security System?

Carriers like AT&T and Verizon have announced their sunsetting 3G wireless networks at the beginning of 2022 and the end of 2022, respectively.

Just like 2G, the 3G network has become outdated as more wireless customers demand greater bandwidth and faster speeds. Shutting down the older network will drastically increase data capacity and speed on 4G, 5G and LTE networks.

If you are like most Americans, your cell phone no longer runs on a 3G network anyway. And many carriers are no longer activating devices on the 3G network.

But what about your security system?

What is 3G and What is the Difference Between 3G, 4G and 5G?

Before we get into how the 3G sunset could affect your security system, here’s a quick rundown of the different networks available.

The “G” stands for generation. The newer the network, the more capacity for more devices to connect to that network. Introduced in 1998, 3G and is now considered a slower network compared to the current standard 4G. As more people get access to mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) expands, as many as 24 billion devices are expected to need cellular network support by 2024. That’s where 5G comes in, offering peak capacity and latency.

Do Security Systems Run on 3G Networks?

Yes, some security systems run on cellular networks. 3G networks were the standard communication technology used in security panels starting in 2016.

When landlines became obsolete, there was a shift to wireless security systems that use cellular technology to relay messages. These systems were more reliable, convenient, and accessible than their landline counterparts.

Cellular security systems also do not have onsite wires, which can be tampered with by a burglar to render your security system useless.

What Does a 3G Sunset Mean for My Home Security System?

If your alarm system was installed with a 3G-compatible communicator, it will no longer work properly once carriers begin to sunset 3G networks—regardless of who your security provider is.

Although wireless carriers have published specific dates for 3G termination, this does not guarantee 3G services will be fully available until the sunset. It is common practice for carriers to reduce coverage during transition periods.

That is why it’s imperative to take action as soon as possible to avoid service disruptions.

What Can I Do to Limit Disruption to My Home Security System?

The cellular communicator on your security system will need to be replaced to operate on the new networks.

Your security provider should proactively reach out to ensure there is no lapse in service for your system. If you do not hear from them or you want to get the ball rolling on updating your system, contact your provider and ask the following questions:

  • Will the 3G sunset impact my security system?
  • When are cellular carrier changes expected to roll out in my area?
  • What is your company’s timeline and plans for customer updates?
  • Can I update my system in advance, or do I need to wait for a tiered rollout?
  • Will I be charged a service fee to upgrade my system? If so, how much?
  • Do I need to purchase new equipment, or will it be provided free of charge?
  • How can I schedule a service call to update my system, if needed?

Your home security provider should be willing and able to answer all of your questions about the impact on your system and should have a plan in place to prevent disruption.

If you want more information about how Boyd & Associates is handling the 3G sunset, just reach out. We are happy to work with you on getting your system updated.

Home Security and Spring Cleaning Guide: How to Prep for Safer, Warmer Months

Depending on the weather in California, you may find yourself in flip-flops one day and furry boots the next. But there is no denying that warm, glowing orb that’s suddenly making more frequent appearances: Sun’s out. Spring is coming!

During COVID-19, many of us have already become legitimate cleaning and disinfecting ninjas — so a little spring cleaning? No sweat! Take advantage of this mindset, and any extra time you have at home, to make your home a more pleasant place to be.

But don’t stop at dusting and power-washing; it might be time to clean up your home security, too!

Why spring cleaning is the perfect time for a home security check

As stay-at-home orders and state guidelines continue to shift, people everywhere will be pumped to step out into the sunshine. Summer may still not be completely back to normal this year. But overall, we expect the trend of people spending more time away from home during the warmer months will hold true.

Crime often rises after we “spring forward” at Daylight Saving Time.

When temperature rises outdoors, we take more time off, get more active, go on more vacations, and just stay out later. It’s probably no coincidence that home burglary rates increase during summer months, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Some spring cleaning tasks can make your home safer.

For some, spring cleaning may be the one time of year you do a thorough deep cleaning and decluttering of your entire home. This is when we address the areas that might often get passed over, which means furniture is getting moved, and doors and windows are being examined. It’s a good opportunity to uncover safety issues, or spots where a burglar might try to break in.

Like anything else in your home, security alarm systems need regular maintenance.

If you have a smart home security system, you have probably noticed they do a lot of the thinking for you (that’s the point!). It’s easy to adapt a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. But a little bit of maintenance and regular check-ins go a long way — and milestones like Daylight Savings and the start of spring are great reminders to do just that.

Set yourself up for a safer, more secure spring and summer by making home security part of your spring cleaning ritual.

If you own a smart home security system, there are a few extra tasks we suggest adding to your checklist:

 

  1. Sanitize your security and home automation equipment.

Some of the equipment you use to control and secure your home may be hands-free — like a motion sensor — and some you might touch every day, like your panel.

From your smart thermostat to your security panel to your cameras, make sure your security and home automation devices are on your spring cleaning list. Too much dust and debris can interfere with how devices like smoke detector’s function. Play it safe and keep ’em clean!

  1. Set up a schedule to test your system.

If you have professionally monitored security, it is important to test your system to make sure it’s communicating properly with the monitoring center. It is simple to do and will give you peace of mind.

We recommend testing once a month, and after making any adjustments in your home that that may impact your system, such as landline, internet, and broadband service changes. If you are planning to do any remodeling or home renovations, make a note to test your system afterwards. It’s also a good idea to do a test a week before taking a vacation as an extra precaution.

  1. Update your emergency contacts.

Take a minute to make sure all of your account information is correct, and update your emergency contacts. Your emergency contacts are the people your monitoring team will call if anything goes wrong, and they can’t get in touch with you.

  1. Set up your security notifications.

All the bells and whistles that come with a smart home system are amazing, but ultimately, your safety and peace of mind is what it’s all about. Alerts and notifications provide instant awareness anywhere via your smartphone. If you haven’t programmed any alerts or notifications for your system yet, get started now!

Get smart home security for better home protection this spring

A professionally installed and monitored smart home security solution will give you peace of mind and confidence, especially during your warm weather excursions.

Even if you’re still on the fence or aren’t sure what you need in a system, you can learn more about the benefits of smarter security by contacting us today!

 

 

 

How to Effectively Place Motion Sensors in Your Home

Outside of the physical structures of your home, motion sensors are often the first line of defense for your security system. But how does a motion sensor work? Basically, motion sensors trigger alarms and direct the home security feed to wherever the alarm was triggered. This is usually based on motion or intrusion (hence the name!)

Taking the time to plan out motion sensor placement for your home is so important. If your motion sensors are not in locations where they work the most effectively, your entire system may be flawed. Check out these helpful tips for motion sensor placements:

The most effective motion sensor placements

Motion sensors work to detect movement in an area where there should not be. When thinking of the best placements for your motion sensors, consider important access points and any potential vulnerabilities in your home or business that an intruder might exploit.

Corner spaces

Put a motion sensor in the corner of each room, aimed toward the doorway. That way, if the door opens or someone passes through, the sensor will detect the motion and set off the alarm.

Near valuables

What exactly are you looking to protect with your motion sensors and security system? Place motion sensors directly at your most valuable items. Or, in the case of a small business, consider where you keep or display any important products or business profits. No one will be able to get close to them without you knowing.

Second floor bedrooms

Even if you feel as though a burglar could not enter the house through the second floor, it is a good idea to keep a motion sensor near the bedrooms in your home. As a rule of thumb, all entry points should be accounted for. This way you will be alerted if anyone approaches while you’re asleep.

Basements

It never hurts to be extra careful. Especially if there are any access points or vulnerabilities from the basement. Having several sensors down in that area is a great idea. If you have lots of clutter, make sure they are placed in an area where they won’t be blocked. Also consider installing one near the staircase leading upstairs to the main levels of your home or business.

Ceilings

When an intruder enters the home, they may already be looking for motion detectors. A great place they would not immediately look is the ceiling. Sensors work on any angle, so this is a great way to keep a thief from easily avoiding detectors. And these days, sensors are made to fit discreetly wherever you place them. So, they won’t be an eyesore in your home either.

Within decorations

A great way to hide motion sensors is by making them part of your household decor. Hide them amongst photos and knickknacks so they are not easily spotted by intruders. Plus, they won’t detract from your home’s look and feel.

The least effective motion sensor placements

Motion sensors are designed to detect motion, that means any kind of motion. Placing your motion sensors in certain areas can not only detract from the functionality of your system, but it can also cause false alarm triggers. Avoid placing motion sensors in the following locations:

Near windows

This is a bad location for a few reasons. The first is that heat activated motion sensors can be confused by direct sunlight, which most windows receive a lot of! The second is that the sensor works best when a burglar walks parallel to them rather than straight ahead. Finally, you would not want a false alarm trigger from every single passerby, or even just an innocent visit from the neighborhood cat.

Near heat sources

A heat source could potentially create a false alarm, so it is a good idea to keep motion sensors away from hot air vents and radiators. Any change in infrared heat could trigger the alarm. Plus, extended exposure to high temperatures could potentially damage your equipment as well.

For more security tips and solutions, stick with Boyd & Associates

Ensure that your security system is working to its full potential by strategically installing the motion sensors that are included with it.

And, if you are looking for more ways to keep yourself and your family safe, check out our home security and automation services at Boyd & Associates. We offer a wide range of home security options to protect you and your family. If you are ready to discuss our custom solutions, contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you prepare for what is next.

Research: How We’re Managing Our Home Deliveries in 2021

Have you disinfected a package delivery to protect yourself from germs lately?

You’re not alone. In fact, one in three Americans do the same, according to new research. We’re relying more on home deliveries, and we’re taking new precautions as we adapt.

According to a survey of 2,000 Americans by OnePoll, the average person now receives 10 home deliveries a month: a 60% increase from the pre-pandemic average of 6. It’s a trend that’s likely to stick.

With social distancing and shortages in stores as a root cause, we’re using home deliveries to get everything from clothing to essentials like milk and toilet paper, as well as to support local businesses. Along the way, we’re discovering extra benefits that we’ll want to keep—as well as a few new worries to navigate.

Here’s what we discovered:

We’re waking up to the benefits of home deliveries.

  • 53% of Americans have ordered a delivery to support a local business in the last year.
  • 48% say that home deliveries feel safer than shopping in stores.
  • 44% say that deliveries are more convenient.
  • 36% say the items they need are sometimes sold out in stores, or online-only.
  • 70% say that they appreciate delivery workers more than they used to.

Safety worries don’t stop at the front door.

Pre-pandemic, package theft was the main concern for online shoppers. Today’s deliveries arrive with new concerns: worries about our health, and the health of others.

  • 29 % of Americans worry about being exposed to germs at the front door
  • Two out of five now wash their hands after handling packages.
  • One third disinfect their deliveries before opening them.
  • One in six let their packages sit unopened to give germs time to die.

We’re still wary of opening the door to strangers.

Although we’re concerned about deliveries being left outside, we’re also hesitant to open our doors when they arrive.

  • 68% of Americans say they don’t open their door unless they’re certain they know who’s on the other side.
  • 35% wait until delivery drivers leave before they open the door.
  • 31% are worried about potential burglars posing as delivery drivers to case their home.
  • 41% say they don’t trust that visitors are always who they say they are.

Help is at hand.

If you’re looking for a better, safer way to manage your deliveries while protecting your home and family, look no further. Boyd & Associates has a variety of systems and tools to help you and yours feel safe and protected.  Contact us today to learn more!

Five Smart Home Security Tips for a Worry-Free Holiday Season

 

Do you feel that your home is more attractive to criminals during the holidays?

Two-thirds of homeowners do, according to recent research. After all, with valuable package deliveries, brightly-lit windows and the hustle and bustle of holiday travel, it’s easy to make home security mistakes—or to worry about them.

If you’re concerned about holiday security and looking to step up your crime prevention game for the season, start with these smarter home security tips.

1: It’s easier than you think to deter a burglar.

Have you ever wondered if your home security system will really keep a burglar away? According to the experts (a panel of actual burglars), it will. 83 percent of burglars look for them, and 60 percent say they’ll go elsewhere if they spot one.

This means that it pays to make your security system visible. You can do this by adding smart outdoor security cameras, placing stickers and yard signs where they’re easily spotted, or automating your outdoor lights to put prowlers in the spotlight.

Don’t have any of these features? It might be time for a home security upgrade from Boyd & Associates

2: Avoid leaving gifts out for package thieves.

Not all holiday crime involves breaking and entering. With more Americans shopping for gifts online every year, the holidays have become prime time for package theft.

If you’re concerned about your gifts falling into the hands of a porch pirate, it’s worth investing in a home security setup that includes a doorbell camera and smart lock. This gives you the ability to secure any package delivery in seconds, using only your phone. It’s an easier alternative to staying home for valuable deliveries, and far smarter than leaving things to chance.

3: Safeguard against security mistakes when you travel.

Half of homeowners worry more about home security when they travel—and with good reason. The hustle and bustle of a holiday road trip leaves plenty of room for security mistakes like leaving your garage open or front door unlocked, or forgetting to turn your alarm on.

If you own a modern security system, be sure to set up a few smartphone alerts and reminders before you travel this year. You’ll know if you forget anything essential, and you’ll often be able to fix the problem without having to return home.

4: Connect with your neighbors for peace of mind.

Not every holiday security safeguard needs to be hi-tech. Teaming up with your neighbors is a simple and effective way to stay safe and worry less over the holidays. It’s also one of the most popular home security measures: this year, more than half of US homeowners will keep an eye on their neighbors’ homes when they travel.

If you’re teaming up with your neighbors this year, consider trading in your spare keys for a smart lock. While you may not be among the 20% of homeowners who lost their house keys this year, a smart lock with temporary user codes is worth it to ensure that no one else loses them for you.

5: Think beyond the holidays for long-term protection.

Not all home security technology is the same. If you’re looking for year-round, whole-home protection, it’s worth doing some research before hopping online to buy a standalone doorbell camera as a quick fix. It’ll cover your front door, but not much else.

A complete smart  security system gives you many more ways keep your home and family safe–such as professional monitoring for emergencies, connected smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for safety, and safeguards like unexpected activity alerts and “crash and smash” protection.

For more information on options to upgrade or add on a new system, contact Boyd & Associates today!

Things to Consider when Buying a Home Security System

 

If you look around your neighborhood, chances are you will see a handful of home security yard signs. Home security systems are a popular addition to homes for good reason. It is a fact that homes with monitored security systems are less likely to be targeted for a break-in. However, today’s home security systems deliver more than security. They let you talk to visitors and remotely turn on lights. With home security cameras, you can see who is in your backyard or check in on an elderly parent. Home security systems that include home automation devices can help reduce energy use, turn on sprinkler systems, and so much more.

When looking for the best, a local home security company or considering your security needs, consider these questions:

What does a basic home security system include?

While it varies, most basic home security systems include door and window contacts, a keypad, a mobile app; an audible alarm, a yard sign, and 24/7 alarm monitoring. These home security components help detect or prevent break-ins and are a base for a more comprehensive system.

What types of home security cameras or upgrades are available?

While a basic home security system can go a long way in helping protect areas of your home, there are many options available to increase the security of your home and family. Popular upgrades or additions to a basic security system include the following and help create a complete, secure smart home:

  • Home security cameras
  • A doorbell camera Smoke detection
  •  Carbon monoxide detection
  • Water leak detection
  • Glass break sensor
  • Window and door sensors
  • A smart thermostat
  • Smart lighting
  • Remote garage door control
  • Smart or keyless locks
  • Automated sprinkler systems
  • Temperature sensors
  • Panic button – medical alert pennant
  • Integration with a sound system

Most homeowners choose to install these upgrades because they add convenience and peace of mind. Busy families enjoy the ability to control home automation devices via an app or check in to see that all is well. In our daily rushing around, the ability to remotely close a garage door, lock or unlock a door, turn lights on or see if a package was delivered is invaluable.

Should I install home security cameras? Where are popular places to install the cameras?

Home security cameras are one of the most popular additions to a home security system. Homeowners enjoy checking in and seeing that all is well at home or reviewing video if something is amiss. Ideal placement for home security cameras includes the front porch, garage area, front gates, and around a swimming pool. Homeowners also like to install home security cameras near sensitive areas such as safes and back entries, or at vacation homes.

At Boyd & Associates, we offer a free mobile app, making it easy to view video or receive alerts and video clips based on personal preference. Our trained security consultants will also conduct a security evaluation to help determine the best security camera placement for your family’s needs.

Is the home security system monitored by a professional alarm monitoring center? Is the security alarm monitoring center in the United States?

When researching local home security providers, check if they provide their own alarm monitoring or if they pay a third-party monitoring provider and where the center is located. DIY security systems might be a quick fix but do not offer the assurance that someone is there to help even if you cannot get to the phone or cannot keep a constant eye on your security alerts. At Boyd & Associates, we are proud to provide a U.S.-based, UL listed alarm monitoring center that is Five Diamond designated and offers an average alarm response time of under 20 seconds.

Can I receive a discount on my homeowner’s insurance premium if I have a home security system?

Typically, yes! As we shared above, most home insurance providers offer a discount on your home insurance premiums if you have a monitored home security system. This discount helps the security system pay for itself!

What are some common and popular home security devices?

In the past, common home security devices included door and window contacts for intrusion detection. However, now, some of the most popular home security services are home security cameras, doorbell cameras, smart locks, and mobile app control of security devices.

Are other protective devices available, such as carbon monoxide, water leak and smoke detection?

You will want to ensure that the home security company you choose can offer security and home automation devices that meet your family’s changing needs through the years. You will also want to know you are working with a company that can provide multi-levels of home security protection including alerting you to carbon monoxide, water leaks and smoke or fire. A company that also offers 24/7 alarm monitoring can alert you to these dangers even if you are not home or cannot get to a phone. Early detection of these dangers can save lives and thousands of dollars in damage or complete loss of your home.

Does the company also offer home automation devices and services?

Top-rated, leading home security companies often include home automation devices that integrate with home security to make your home smarter and safer. Home automation solutions help busy families more easily manage things at home, increase security, and save money. Popular home automation solutions allow homeowners to remotely adjust the temperature, turn lights on or off, lock doors, turn on sprinkler or sound systems and so much more. When combined with home security devices, home automation products alleviate worry. You will know whether you left a garage door open or a door unlocked and be able to take quick action to secure your home if needed.

What does a monitored security system provide that DIY security cameras do not?

There are many up-and-coming tech companies that advertise the latest security services or easy-to-install security cameras. Often, these companies are not backed by experienced support or reputable technology vendors. Or, maybe they are startup companies and have difficulties maintaining financial backing to provide ongoing support or service. These smaller, online companies also most likely will not provide support with installation or if you want to integrate your cameras with other security devices.

Look closely at the costs and benefits of a DIY camera or security system vs. working with an experienced, local provider. Consider if support, professional monitoring, and a discount on your insurance premium are important to you. Another benefit of working with a professional installer is the ease in integrating security or home automation components. A full-service security company also provides the ability to control all your devices easily with one app.

When searching for a company to trust with your security, you will want to choose a top-rated, local company and ask the following questions:

  • Does the home security company have a local branch?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Does the company perform background checks on employees?
  • Does the company offer an insurance deductible reimbursement program?
  • Does the company offer a move program?
  • What is the security company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau?

Choosing the best, local home security company does not have to be hard. Learning what security devices will best meet your family’s needs is easy with professional help and experience on your side. Boyd & Associates offers over 50 years of experience providing professional installation of home and business security systems, along with award-winning, 24/7 alarm monitoring. To learn more about your home security options and answers to the above questions, visit our website of give us a call today!

What to do if a Package is Stolen

It is an all-too-familiar scenario: A long-awaited package finally arrives, only to be grabbed off your front porch before you get home. Augh! If you are like most people, you probably feel violated, helpless, and really, really annoyed. And while you have every right to be upset, luckily there are a few things you can do to minimize the chances of getting a package stolen off your porch.

With the rise of online shopping has come the disturbing trend known as porch pirates. Porch pirates are thieves that steal packages right from your front door. This theft is happening to millions of homeowners and costing victims countless dollars.

These pirates may not be sailing the high seas, but they are just as clever. They are known to follow delivery trucks around and as soon as they drop off the packages, the thieves grab their loot. Research shows that more than a third of Americans have had a package stolen from their porch at least once. So, if it has not happened to you yet, you could be next—if you do not take the right measures to secure your property.

 

3 Tips for Stopping Porch Theft

 Let’s cut to the chase: Here are some ways to start protecting your packages today, plus some advice on what to do if a package is stolen off your porch.

 

  1. Install Doorbell Camera and Consider Extra Security Cameras

Thanks to modern technology, we can see what is going on in our homes even if we are miles away. A smart home security system that includes a smart lock and a doorbell camera gives you several ways to prevent theft.

You cannot always schedule when your packages are delivered, but you can use Boyd & Associates easy-to-install doorbell cameras that send alerts to your smartphone when a delivery person rings your doorbell. This allows you to go home to secure your packages or ask a neighbor to secure it for you. You can also receive real-time notifications of suspicious activity and share them with the local police.

 

How do Doorbell Cameras Work?

Doorbell cameras are one of the easiest and most affordable home security devices. Most cameras on the market today offer a 160-degree field of view and two-way audio that connects straight to your smartphone.

With doorbell cameras, you can both hear and see what is happening on your front porch. Even better, you can see when your package is being delivered and communicate with the delivery person to place it in a safer location.

 

Additional Security for your Home

Adding additional security cameras to your property allows a broader perspective of what is happening at your home while you are away.

If you, like many homeowners, have multiple locations a package could be left, adding security cameras will help keep every part of your property secure. The best part is, with wireless connectivity, you can still monitor everything from your smartphone.

 

  1. Use Real-Time Streaming

Today’s video technology allows you to live stream your home so you can see what is happening whenever you need to. This is a helpful feature because not only can you see and speak to a thief in real-time, but you can also see a delivery person, unlock your door, and ask the delivery driver to set the package inside the door. After the door closes, you can easily lock it. Porch pirates are not big fans of this technology and will stay away from homes that are equipped with these systems. So, whether you are worried about a neighbor who stole your package in the past or any other porch pirates, real-time streaming can minimize the chance of it happening again.

 

  1. Invest in Smart Home Security

When it comes to protecting you and your home from porch pirates, the most effective method is smart home security.

Using a single app, your smart home security allows you to monitor everything from who last accessed the system to whether a door was left open or a light was left on. You will never have to wonder what to do about stolen packages again because you will have all of the information you need to handle any situation and deter would-be porch pirates.

Smart home security is the most complete way to secure your property, your packages, and your family. Arm and disarm your system, switch off the lights, or adjust the thermostat from wherever you are. How do you think the porch pirate will feel about being greeted with the blaring Pirates of the Caribbean theme when they approach your packages? Between your smart home system and connected smart home assistant, you can make it happen. With real-time alerts, you will know what is always happening at home.

 

What to do if a Package is Stolen

By now you are a porch pirate pro. You have a much more secure home and a slim chance of getting packages stolen off your porch. But—never say never. In the small chance that someone does still swipe a package off your porch, there are a few steps you can take to possibly get a replacement or refund. Here are a few tips on what to do if someone steals your package from your porch:

 

  • File a police report. If you have had something stolen off your porch, your first item of business should be to file a police report. They may not be able to do much about it if you don’t have any evidence, but if you have footage from a video doorbell or other home security, they’ll have a better chance of catching the criminals. You can also use your police report to file an insurance claim.

 

  • Contact the sender.Some companies have generous policies relating to porch theft and will send you a new product right away if you reach out to them. Get in touch with the sender to find out if you can get a replacement or if you can at least get a refund on the item.

 

  • Report it to the delivery company.Whether your package was delivered by Amazon, FedEx, UPS, or USPS, it is worth contacting the delivery company to see if they will give you a refund or resend the package. You may need to fill out a lost package claim, so keep track of your order number and emails relating to your package.

 

Expert Security for any Home

Before you get overwhelmed at the thought of deterring porch pirates, don’t forget—Boyd & Associates is here for you! We’ll use our over 50 years of experience to help you find the best home security solution. From smart home systems to alarm monitoring services, we have it all. We also know how important it is to keep your home, packages, and family safe. Contact us today and let us help with your home security needs.

Help Prevent Water Damage and Save Money with Flood Detectors

 

Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of homeowners quite like these four syllables: water damage. To understand how something so pure could be so scary, you need only check the price tag. It reads: Just 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to your home.

You may be thinking, no big deal, I have home insurance. But be careful.

First, many homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. Second, keep in mind when it comes to insurance coverage and water damage, it is not the total damage that matters, but rather how the damage was caused. If it started suddenly and incidentally, such as accidentally hammering a nail through a water pipe while hanging a painting, it may be covered. If the damage is caused by old, slow leaks — for example, your pipes are old — chances are it is not covered (check with your provider for specifics in your state). So those hefty repair costs may be coming straight out of your pocket.

Even if your bill ends up being just $2,000 — less than the average cost according to HomeAdvisor — that’s no small chunk of change. And you may find yourself asking a painful question as you swipe your credit card or crack open your checkbook — could this have been avoided?

How do floods and water damage happen?

If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may already be familiar with how water damage happens.

But for everyone else, some water damage is a result of natural causes, like a flood brought on by heavy rainfall. But it does not always happen that way. Water damage can be caused by:

  • A burst pipe
  • Cracks in your home’s foundation
  • A leaking roof (cracked or old shingles)
  • A failing water heater
  • An overflowing washing machine

One of the most insidious parts of water damage is that it tends to happen in places that are tucked out of sight, like in a basement or a closet. A leak that started out minor — and was in the beginning relatively easy to fix — can turn into a nightmare if it goes unchecked for too long.

Water sensors make smarter homes

Security is not just about preventing break-ins — although we can certainly help you with that! It is about protecting everything that matters most to you, whether it’s your family, your pets, your business, or your home. And as we just learned, water damage is one the most devastating things that can happen to a home.

Taking proactive steps to prevent water damage is likely to be far less expensive than making repairs after it happens. Luckily, your friendly neighborhood smart security company (that’s us) has a solution: We’re now offering wireless, easy-to-install water sensors (also known as flood detectors) that can really make a difference.

What are water sensors?

water sensor does exactly what you would guess — it detects the presence of water and alerts you to potential flooding before extensive damage may occur.

If it is part of your professionally monitored security system, it can also signal an alarm to your company’s monitoring center and also send you a notification via text or email.

How do water sensors work?

One of the cooler things about water sensors is their simplicity. They are easy to install, do not need to be plugged in, and, are incredibly small. You also do not have to be an expert to understand how they work.

The flood detector can rest right on the floor, or it can be mounted to a wall or baseboard. When the metal contacts at the base become wet, this completes the circuit.

The transmitter then communicates the signal to your panel, which triggers a notification that you receive. Boyd & Associates’ protection specialists in the monitoring center would read this as an environmental alarm and notify you accordingly to make sure you get the help you need. Easy, right?

It’s also important to understand what flood detectors do not do: They do not make your home flood-proof or water-proof, and they do not “stop” floods or water damage. For example, if you already have a leaky roof, a flood detector will not prevent water from getting in. Rather, the device will instantly alert you when it senses water so you can take action before that leak becomes a big problem.

Where should water sensors be placed?

You will want to place your water sensor anywhere flooding or water damage would be a concern. For example:

  • Behind an appliance, such as a washing machine or a refrigerator that makes ice cubes or dispenses water
  • In your basement, near the water heater
  • Inside a cabinet underneath a bathroom sink

Get proactive with Boyd & Associates

Water damage can cause thousands in home repairs, not to mention the loss of precious personal items. Catching drips and leaks early can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and major disaster. But no need to worry — being proactive is easier than ever when you add monitored water sensors to your smart home security system.

Call (805) 650-3267 to talk to a Boyd & Associates expert. We’ll give you a free consultation to determine exactly what you need to help protect your world.