Yearly Archives: 2016

DIY Security Systems

 

smarthome_wphone_phoneihIntelligent Homes Canada now offers DIY Security Systems.

Due to popular request we now officially offer DIY security systems. Anyone can go to the “Big Box” stores and purchase all kinds of home automation, cameras, thermostats, light switches, etc. There are some security offerings, but it is difficult to purchase an industry standard system that can be connected to a central station for monitoring. Most suppliers / wholesalers will not sell to the public. Even if you find a way to source the equipment, you then need someone to monitor it, and many companies want a multi-year contract… Until now.

We work together

We help you layout the system, select door, window, motion, water sensors, etc. We program the panel, set up the communication to the central station, test it and send it to you. The physical installation is easy. Mounting the panel is like hanging a picture. Some sensors are “Stick on”. Once you are setup, we schedule a call to test it and verify communication to the central station. That is it. You now have a system just like ones installed by the “Pro’s” with no long-term agreements. If you move, you can take it with you. You can cancel at any time. We even provide a certificate for your insurance company so you can get your insurance reduced by up to 25%.

The system grows with you.

Now you are in control and can adapt the system as your needs change. Add smart locks, a thermostat, lighting and more. We will send you the installer code so you can make the changes. Want to be notified when a door opens to let you know the kids are home from school, or when the door to the liquor cabinet is opened. The possibilities are endless.

Have a system or moved into a house with a system?

2gig-cntrl2-345We can activate almost any panel. If yours looks like the one to the right, we can activate it for far less than the original provider. Some companies (I think the name starts with a V) assume that you believe they are the only option and want to charge you $70-$80 per month with a 36 to 60 month contract. We can activate that panel for as little as $19.99 per month, no contract. If you want interactive services (mobile device access), we offer Alarm.com starting at $19.99/month. They are the biggest and best in the business and the same provider that almost all of the other security companies use.

Insurance Discount – Monitoring Fees = Cash in your pocket.

If you go through the trouble of installing a security system, make sure it is monitored. Most insurance companies will reduce your insurance by 15% to 20% and in some cases give you a 25% discount. In most cases, the discount is more than the monitoring fee.

 

Check out our DIY Security page for more info.

Introducing UltraSync

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Introducing UltraSync by Interlogix.

This panel is truly a game changer in the industry. A security panel that connects to a wide range of wireless (and wired) sensors as well as your thermostat, door locks, garage door, lights, and more. All without the extra fees traditionally associated with “Interactive Security”. It also supports scheduling, automations rules & tasks, as well as geo-location.

This system connects to the UltraSync server via internet. If it is connected via wired, or wifi, there are NO MONTHLY Fees. You can interact with the system using your mobile device, adjust your thermostat, control your door locks, lighting etc.  If connected by cellular communication, there is a small monthly fee starting January 1st 2017.

You read that correctly, free cellular communication until the end of the year. We like the program so much, we decided to match it. Purchase an UltraSync package and there are no fees for monitoring or communication until January 1st, 2017. The system can be monitored by our central station or it can be “self monitored” where notifications are sent via email.

Have an existing system? No problem, we can easily swap the panel, connect all your locks and even re-use all your sensors. Our monitoring packages start at $9.99/month.

 

How old are your Smoke Alarms?

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We all know that it is important to test your smoke alarms regularly and replace the batteries annually. If the ones in your home are more than ten years old, NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends replacing them, as well. This applies to units that do not require batteries as well.

Why? According to NFPA, aging smoke alarms don’t operate as efficiently and are often the source of nuisance alarms. Smoke alarms older than ten years old are estimated to have a 30% probability of failure. Newer smoke alarms work better, but should be replaced after ten years. When moving into a new residence, is also recommended to confirm the age of the smoke alarms and replace them if the age is unknown or they are older than ten years old.

According to an NFPA study in 2015, one in five home fire deaths in the US were in homes that had smoke alarms that did not function properly.
Dead batteries were only responsible for one in four smoke alarm failures.

What to do:
Look for a date or a replace by date on all of your smoke alarms and replace any that exceed the replace by date, are older than ten years old or if you do not know how old they are. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

SmokesAlarmDate OldSmokeAlarm

Increase safety even more:
If you have a newer security panel, you can have a smoke alarm connected and monitored. In addition, you and have the system interact with lighting, so specific lights in your home are turned on when the smoke alarm is tripped, making it safer and faster to evacuate your family.

For more information, or advice on any of the above, contact Intelligent Homes Canada Today.

Easily Prevent Water Damage in Your Home.

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A water leak can cause an enormous amount of damage to your home in a very short amount of time. The areas with the most potential for failure are your hot water tank, faulty toilet valves, and the water lines to your:

  • Dish Washer
  • Ice Maker
  • Washing machine

We have all heard stories from friends and acquaintances where a water line ruptured and destroyed an entire hardwood floor, basement or cause damage to multiple floors where the water made it’s way down. All of this can happen in a few hours. What could happen over the weekend or while you are on vacation?

Fortunately all of this is easily prevented with water sensors and a shutoff valve. There is even a new flow sensor that can be attached to the outside of your main waterline that can detect even small amounts of water flow. This way you can have it setup to immediately shut off the water if flow is detected when no one is home, preventing the damage before the water even gets to the sensor.

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This may sound difficult, complex and expensive, but it is not. Almost every security system installed in the last few years supports a wireless technology called “Z-Wave“. This is how the sensors, door locks, lighting, and more, communicate. If you have an older security system, in most cases you can just add a home automation controller like one from Clare Controls and you now have more capabilities than some of these new security systems without the monthly fees. There are no wires to run, I simply pair the sensors and/or water valve with the security system or home automation controller, set up some rules and notifications and you are protected. The sensors are completely wireless and the batteries last up to 2½ years. At only $99 per sensor, you can place one at the dishwasher, one behind the washing machine, one by the hot water tank… your get the idea.

I have had many people ask me “Why didn’t the people at [Securty Company] tell me about this?”. I don’t know why the security companies are not promoting this. The irony is that you are far more likely to experience water damage than a break-in. A water sensor is low-cost and easy to added to almost any system. Click on the button below to contact me today and learn how Intelligent Homes Canada can protect your home from one of the most common and costly sources of damage.

 

The New Ring Pro Doorbell Cameras are In… And Going Fast.

RingPro

The new Ring Pro is not only smaller and slicker than its precursor, it captures higher quality video (1080p). It also has advanced motion detection that lets you specify motion zones that alert you when there’s activity in a specific area, like your front porch, sidewalk or gate. It includes four colored faceplates to easily get the perfect match for your home.

  • Mobile Access – See and speak with visitors from anywhere.
  • Cloud Recording (Optional).
  • Crystal Clear High Definition Video.
  • Night Vision.
  • Ultra Slim Design.

I have read a lot of reviews for a lot of doorbell cameras, spoken with a number of professionals, and the Ring Pro is the “Go to” device for a lot of people.

If you want one, let me know ASAP as they just arrived and are selling fast. The cost is $299 and installation is $49.

Reduce Energy Usage AND Stay Comfortable.

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With the warm weather finally arriving in Calgary, I can hear the hum of air conditioning units as I walk down the street. This is by far the largest energy consumer in a home and can drive your electricity bill through the roof if not managed. The good news is that there are many ways of keeping the cost under control while keeping you comfortable at the same time. The key is to keep it simple, have a device or system manage it for you, and do it right. Solutions that are complex or ineffective are really just a waste of time and money.

Here are a few ways to easily reduce your energy usage:

  • Install a learning thermostat like NEST – The thermostat “Learns” your schedule, detects when you are home and when you are away. It is truly a smart device and is one of the easiest to use.
  • If you have a security system that is connected to Alarm.com (ADT, Protection, Intelligent Homes Canada, and many more) you can add a low-cost thermostat that connects to, and works with your security system. Actions such as arming while away or leaving the house can be setup to adjust the thermostat while you are out.
  • If you have an older security system, you can (in most cases) add a home automation controller that will give you the ability to do everything these new security systems can do and more with little to no monthly fees. Now you can connect and interact with thermostats, door locks, garage door, lighting, water sensors, shutoff valves, Audio/video, and more. All from your mobile device.

Regardless of your security/system provider, installed systems, etc, as a leading provider of home automation in Calgary, Intelligent Homes Canada can help you select the right technology to get control of these costs. In some cases we will tell you that you have it covered and you don’t need to add anything at all. 

Low Fees…Why Not NO FEES?

NoFees

One of the biggest concerns that I hear about is the high monthly fees with respect to interactive security systems. Initially it seems reasonable when you get this new high tech system for free. After a while some people don’t use it as much as they though they would and are looking at the monthly charges that range fro $60 to $100 per month. What ever happened to basic system monitoring for $19.99 per month?

Clare Controls has the solution connect your basic security system to a Clare home controller and get myClareHome Premium free for life. Now you can use you mobile device to control almost anything in your home, create scenes and schedules with NO monthly fees. The best part is that Clare Controls has far more capabilities and connectivity than the systems offered by Vivint, ADT and others.

myClareHome premium is free for life only until July 1st, 2016. After that it will be $12.95 USD per month. Still a great price for a great service.

 

Need a New Security System… Probably Not!

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People may tell you that you need a new system, you may think you need a new system, but there is a good chance that you don’t.

This strategy (technique, approach, method, racket, call what you will…) has been around as long as security systems and monitoring contracts have been around.

The idea is this:

  • You are contacted by a security company (phone, door knock, etc). If you have a system, they will ask how old it is. If your answer is 4 years or more, it’s game on.
  • They will then try to convince you that you need a new security system and they will give you one for free.
    • The new one will be more reliable.
    • The battery life will be better.
    • You should have this new “digital” system.
    • It has cellular communication incase the phone lines are down during a break in (This can also be easily added to existing systems).
    • The list goes on and on…
  • All you need to do is commit to this multi year deal (typically 48 months) where you pay an inflated monitoring fee to cover the cost of the free equipment.
  • It seems fair, you get a brand new system and pay for it a little bit at a time over 4 years.

What is the problem:

  • Chances are ( are they are betting on it) that you will forget the contract expiry date and continue to pay the inflated rate.
  • What will the fees be after the contract expires and the equipment is paid for? Few, if any will provide a price or even estimate prior to signing.
  • If you do remember to call them, they will often offer to upgrade you to the latest equipment and start new 4 year contract.

Here is the interesting part. You probably don’t need a new security system, unless your system is very old. I have a system that was installed in 2006 and it works great.  If it works fine, just ensure that it is monitored by a reputable company for a reasonable price. If you want to add additional capabilities like lighting control, door locks, smart thermostats, etc, all you need to do is add a home automation controller like the Clare Controls Cliq Mini and you will have the capabilities of the new security panels and much more at a lower cost.

A low cost home automation controller will connect to:

  • Your security system
  • Lighting
  • Door Locks
  • Garage door controls
  • Thermostats
  • Water sensors & shutoff valves
  • Shades & Blinds
  • AV Receivers
  • Audios systems such as Sonos
  • TVs
  • Mobile devices and remote controls
  • More…

If you are considering a new security system, or you have an “Off Contract” system, contact us first. We will help you by assessing your needs and offering recommendations. In most cases we can cut your cost by close to 50% with no long term commitment!

We don’t:

  • Try to sell you a new security system unless you really need one, and even then, we have a variety of options.
  • Offer free equipment based on long term contracts.

We Do:

  • Offer a variety of solutions so you can select the one that right for you.
  • Work with you to determine your long term goals, so you can select the right equipment and grow with it.
  • Clearly explain the pros and cons of everything we offer.
  • Provide best in class equipment, service and monitoring from the best in the business, all at reasonable prices.

Welcome to our new website.

Welcome to our new web site and the new company. In addition to offering Clare Controls, we have expanded our product lines to include more options for security by partnering with 2GIG and Alarm.com. We have more camera solutions with Clare Controls, Hikvision, 2GIG, Alarm.com and more. Need a Great remote? We supply and program remotes from ProControl, RTI, URC and Harmony. If you need anything to improve the security, comfort and convenience in your home we have you covered. Already have security system that is past the committed contract date? Contact us Today to find out how we can lower your cost AND improve your system.