Preparing for a move? Check out these helpful security tips!

You have searched and found your new home, the contract is signed, inspections completed, and now you are preparing to move your family near Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Here are a few ideas to help secure your new property and ensure your family’s safety and peace of mind at your new location.

Thoroughly acquaint yourself with the neighborhood:

Take the time to get to know your new neighbors and find out if they have a neighborhood watch group. If there is, find out when and how you can meet with them to introduce yourself and offer to be an active member. In addition, take the time to locate the local police, fire, rescue stations, and hospitals to understand routes and response times. Finally, acquaint yourself with any enjoyable features of the location like community centers (for example, Bond Park Community Center, Cary NC), pools (Triangle Aquatic Center), walking trails/parks (Umstead State Park) and review safe usage of these areas with your family.

Take inventory and fix/enhance the safety aspects of the property:

Check how well the lighting illuminates the entry, walkways, driveway, yard space and window areas around your house. Take the time to install additional lighting (motion sensor lighting is great) where lighting is not adequate. Then examine the landscaping for overgrown or poorly placed bushes that can give potential intruders a place to hide, especially near doors and windows.

Re-examine the doors to the exterior:

The safest doors for your home are built out of metal or with solid wood cores. Having a deadbolt in addition to your entry locks is a must. Be aware that sometimes the most aesthetically pleasing decorator doors sometimes offer the least amount of safety from intrusion. For example, glass panels in or next to the doors offer burglars easy access. There are many companies in the Raleigh area, such as The Aluminum Company of North Carolina, that can help you select the safest as well as stylish doors for all the entryways in your home.

Home and property security system:

Having a security system can give you peace of mind when moving to a  area and home. If a system is already installed, have it checked out to ensure it is functioning properly, has the features that you and your family use, and consider having it monitored. The window and door sensors may need adjustment, as well as the location and alignment of the motion sensors to ensure they are properly aimed and positioned for maximum benefit. If the home doesn’t have a security system, think about the benefits of installing one, as they are an effective method for ensuring your new residence will offer you the safety and security your family desires.

Moving is an exciting and stressful time. Secur-Tek is here to serve the Triangle area’s home and business security needs 

We offer a complimentary security consultation of your home/business property and offer suggestions on upgrading your current system or new systems that Secur-Tek has to offer. Please call us at your earliest convenience — either before you move (which is best so we can help you get your new home secure before your family arrives) or soon after. 

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio, and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

4 Reasons to Consider Home Automation

Home automation can add convenience and enjoyment to home activities.  Here are some examples:

Music and Entertainment

Whether exercising, entertaining, relaxing, or waking up in the morning, it helps to get the tunes right. This means queuing up your favorite playlist while adjusting the balance of tone, sound, and volume of the speaker system to your mood. With Secur-Tek’s professionally installed Control4 multi-room control, you will be able to queue up your favorite music in whatever room you are in. Or if a movie, sporting event, or TV show is in order, tuning in is just a click away.

Lighting
Your sleeping environment should be a restful one; an easy way to ensure this is to optimize your bedroom lighting. With Control4 home automation, you can set the sensors for bedtime that automatically lower the blinds at sunset and dim the lights to a softer level to help signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down at the end of the day. In the morning, set wake-up times to open your blinds to let the sunshine in and start the day off right. Integrations like these can be set up to be timed or added to voice commands using Control4 approved home assistant to make waking up or going to sleep more seamless and convenient.
 
Temperature

Medical sleep experts recommend keeping your bedroom between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit for sleeping. Using a smart thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature to optimize your sleep makes it easy and comfortable to get a good nights’ rest. You can add an adjustment to your bedtime or wake-up automation so you always have the optimized temperature, whether for sleep or wakefulness.

Outdoor Living

After a long dreary winter, we are all ready to take advantage of warmer weather by relaxing outside. With a Secur-Tek Control4 installation, you can create the same kind of seamlessly automated experience outside that you have available to enjoy indoors. From outdoor TVs, non-obtrusive landscape speakers, and the ability to telecommute from your backyard with robust networking capabilities, Secur-Tek can help you create your ideal outdoor area for relaxing and entertaining.

Secur-Tek, Inc. can help you create a customized environment that enhances your home’s safety, security, and convenience. Call us at  919.387.1800 or fill out the form below for a complimentary consultation.

Secur-Tek, Inc. is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security and monitoring. Secur-Tek also provides automation, audio, and central vacuum systems to customers in the Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro areas.

Carbon Monoxide in The Home — A Hidden Danger!

Carbon monoxide (CO) is harmful because it deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of CO can overcome a person in minutes, causing them to lose consciousness and suffocate. Since CO has no odor, color, or taste, it cannot be detected by the senses. This means that dangerous concentrations of the gas can build up indoors and humans cannot detect the problem until they become ill. Furthermore, the early symptoms of CO poisoning are like the flu, which can cause victims to ignore the signs. The most common symptoms felt are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

Per the CDC, each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized. 

 

What are the potential sources of CO in your home?

Homes with fuel-burning appliances or attached garages are more likely to have CO accumulation problems. Some common sources of CO are:

  • Clothes dryers
  • Water heaters
  • Furnaces
  • Fireplaces, both gas, and wood-burning
  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Motor vehicles
  • Grills, generators, power tools, lawn equipment
  • Wood stoves
  • Tobacco smoke

When appliances and vents work properly and there is enough fresh air in your home to allow complete combustion, the trace amounts of CO remaining are safely vented outside your home. Problems occur when an appliance malfunctions. For example, a furnace heat exchanger cracks, vents clog, or debris blocks the chimney or flue.

What can you do to ensure the safety of your family, pets, and friends?

  • Install a CO alarm as recommended by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). Install a battery-operated or a plugin alarm with battery back-up on every level of the home – including the basement. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall and replace your CO detector every five years.
  • Inspect the pilot lights on natural gas appliances to ensure that the flame is blue. When a flame is mostly yellow, it likely is producing CO.
  • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories, and have it serviced by a qualified technician each year.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should angle up slightly. This prevents CO from leaking even if the joints or pipes don’t fit tightly.
  • If you have a fireplace, have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be partially blocked by debris and this can cause CO to build up inside your home.
  • Don’t use outdoor equipment inside – like chemical heaters, camp stoves, or charcoal grills.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
  • Never leave a car running in a garage — even for a couple of minutes with the overhead garage door open.

Protecting your Family 24/7 —  Monitored CO detection

Adding a monitored CO detector outside the bedrooms ensures that the fire department will be called — even if everyone is asleep or drowsy due to the lack of oxygen. When notified of a CO leak, the fire department will react differently than if responding to a smoke alarm and the home will be searched for non-responsive individuals.

A Secur-Tek security system has a backup battery to maintain security and detection for 20-24 hours if fully charged during the event of a power failure. Your keypad will display when the battery needs to be replaced. For instructions on changing battery: Frequently Asked Questions about Home Security Systems (secur-tek.com)

Secur-Tek, Inc. gives you total confidence that your family is protected from CO poisoning 24/7, and we can also design, install, and monitor specialized monitoring systems to fit your specific needs.

Examples include:

  • Monitoring Children – If you have teenagers or children old enough to be home alone, remote access will allow you to be notified when they get home from school. You can use specialized security codes for each child as well as babysitters and view activity in the interior and exterior of your home for extra peace of mind.
  • Monitoring Elderly Parents – If you need to monitor an elderly parent, you can be notified when they get up out of bed, open the medicine cabinet or when there is no activity in the home.
  • Keeping an eye on Pets – Our technicians will put the cameras in places so you can check in on your pets. Temporary security codes for pet sitters will help give you greater peace of mind that your pet is doing okay.  
  • Detecting Water Leaks – When you are not home, even a slow leak can cause serious flooding and expensive damage.  Adding a water leak detector so you will be alerted if this happens can minimize the damage.  Our monitored smart system can even turn off a water shutoff to minimize damage.

Quality Monitoring

 For monitoring services, Secur-Tek partners with Affiliated Monitoring, a leader in the safety and security monitoring industry.

Affiliated Monitoring is certified by the following organizations:

  • CSAA Five Diamond Certified – The Monitoring Association Five Diamond Certificate signifies compliance and assurance that an alarm system has followed guidelines established by best-industry practice. The certificate recognizes best practices utilizing existing standards.
  • UL Listed — UL listed monitoring centers use the most up-to-date technologies.  UL is the trusted resource across the globe for product safety certification and compliance solutions. The UL Certificate is proof that Affiliated’s listed alarm systems meet the stringent standards of the UL.
  • IQ Certified – The IQ (Installation Quality) Certification Program gives consumers a way to identify alarm companies that are committed to providing them with high-quality security and life safety systems.

For more information, please call us at (919) 387-1800 or scroll down and use the form below.

Five Reasons to Install an Access Control System

 

If you are a commercial property owner, or responsible for controlling building access, you may be looking for ways to increase convenience while protecting business assets and employees.

Installing an access control system can reduce security risk. Most structures – commercial, business, and private have certain parts of the building where restricted access is desired. With access control, there is an array of system options so you can choose one that fits your specific needs.

Some of the specific benefits offered by these systems are detailed below:

 1) Protect Valuables

Does your building contain valuables? This is especially important for items that are easily transported, sold, or “fenced”. With controlled access keycards, you can identify who enters the space day or night. This information can help prevent items from going missing and help catch a guilty individual if this occurs.

 2) Control and Track Employee Access

What happens when an employee is fired or quits? With access control systems in place, the card or code they used to access the building or certain areas can be changed/deleted with ease, so they can no longer enter that space. You do not have to collect door keys from an exiting employee and there is no need to pay a locksmith to rekey the doors. With an access control system your property and personnel are protected from any unwanted intrusions.

3) Control Specific Access to Certain Areas at Specific Times

For most structures, every individual who enters doesn’t necessarily need to have access to every office, inventory/records room, lab, equipment/storage area, or even floor. For example, a business’s accounting department may have highly sensitive/confidential information that most people should not have access to.

In this case, an access control system is invaluable. It allows managers or owners to restrict access to those who should not be able to enter these areas. Another example could be maintenance or janitorial staff, who work at certain times and on certain days. You can program your access control system to restrict their access times to when they are scheduled to be there.

 4) Monitor Who is Coming and Going

With access control systems, you can have a full report of every door that opens for all areas throughout your building. You can check on who is accessing certain parts of the building and when they do it. If there is ever a dispute about something, you can easily pull up this information to help figure out what happened. You can also use the system to track employee’s worktime.

5) Remote Control

Secur-Tek systems make it possible for you to control the locks in your buildings using a smart device (i.e. tablet, phone, etc.). With this type of system in place, you can easily let a trusted individual in without having to meet them on location, or lockdown the buildings if an emergency occurs. This technology also allows you to add or remove credentials as needed.

 If you have responsibility for a structure and the safety of the people and items it contains, installing an access control system will be beneficial.

If you have further questions or are interested in having an access control system installed, please contact us at 919-387-1800 or check out our Access Control Webpage.

We will work with you to customize your access control system, so it is the most effective and cost-efficient for your unique structure and situation.

Eight Reasons a Security System May Be Right for You

home automation wherever you areAs seasons change, we often start to think about home and yard improvement projects that will enhance our living space. One of the ways to make life easier, stress-free and increase your property value is by installing a security system that fits your lifestyle.

Would a security system be the right choice for you? Secur-Tek, Inc, installs many security systems around North Carolina’s Triangle area — here are eight of the most often cited reasons customers call us to install a security system.  

1) Protect your family and Property:  The FBI states that 1 in 3 homes without a security system will fall victim to a burglary. Homes with a security system have much better odds — 1 in 250. This is an average and depends on where you live, but all homes are vulnerable to possible intrusion, especially when the homeowner is away.

2) Fire Protection: Fire protection may be the most important reason to have a security system and have it monitored. On average, a home fire is reported every twenty seconds in the US. A home security system can provide an early warning system for smoke, providing advanced notice that can prevent property damage and even more importantly, save a life.

3) Detect Gas Accumulation or Leaks: Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless toxic gas that is found in combustion fumes. This gas is released from everyday appliances like heating systems, stoves, burning wood, and other things. Since we can’t smell carbon monoxide, our families and pets may be affected without knowing it.

A home security system can be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector that detects high amounts of carbon monoxide in the home and alerts homeowners so that they can get out quickly and seek medical treatment for the possible side effects of this poisoning gas before it’s too late.

4) Home Monitoring 24/7: One of the biggest benefits of having a security system is that your home can be monitored by security professionals at all times. They can track any significant events that occur at the home and quickly dispatch emergency personnel. For homeowners that have aging parents living with them or parents that live alone, adding medication reminders, activity tracking, emergency pulls, or medical alert systems to the security system can be a lifesaver. These signals can be set to dispatch emergency vehicles directly to the home, saving time in critical conditions.

5) Peace of Mind:  When traveling, or just away at work, you may worry about what’s happening at your home with your family or pets. A home equipped with surveillance cameras provides homeowners with the ability to check-in and monitor what’s happening, no matter where you are.

6) Enhance your convenience and comfort:  Home automation services can also be installed with your security system. These conveniences include light controls, door locks, garage door controls, thermostats, and more, providing an additional level of comfort to your environment and security.

7) Home Energy Conservation:  A home security system can be used to monitor your home’s energy use. Have you ever left home and realized you didn’t turn off lights or turn down the heater or the air conditioner? These are expensive home appliances to run; you can save money by turning them on/off automatically or remotely.

8) More Potential Economic Gains: Homeowner’s insurance is designed to cover losses or damages that may occur as a result of several types of devastating events. This insurance can cost hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars a year. Therefore, it is important to understand what discounts and cost savings can be applied when installing a security system in your home and on your property. In addition, a security system is an investment that can add value to your property. These savings can often offset the cost of protecting your home, property, family, and pets through security system installation and monitoring.

Secur-Tek, Inc. installs and services security systems customized to fit our customers’ needs. Please call us at 919.387.1800 to find out more and schedule a complimentary consultation.

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation, audio, and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

Deck the Halls …. With a Security System?

Helping to Make Your Holiday Season Safe and Worry-Free!

The holidays are just around the corner and it’s a wonderful time of year! It’s a time to see friends, family or go on that nice relaxing vacation you’ve been looking forward to all year.

When traveling or staying home hosting visitors, have you ever been distracted by worries of safety and security?  Whether having packages delivered, wondering the garage door is closed, if the pet sitter remembered to feed the pets, or if a burglar “cased” our property and targeted our home – these thoughts can creep into our minds and detract from the joys of the season.

A smart home security system is a great way to control and monitor your home from a distance. Secur-Tek, Inc offers Skybell video doorbells and automated systems by Honeywell and Control 4 that can help to alleviate worries so you can enjoy your holiday.

Property damage:

            When you’re home, small problems like a leaky hot water heater are fairly easy to see and deal with. Leave home for a few days and even a slow leak can cause serious flooding and expensive damage. Or an open window could make your heater run continuously for the duration of your trip. With a monitored system installed by Secur-Tek, you will know if anything is going wrong at your property. We can warn you if you need to call a repair service or turn your thermostat down until the window is closed. Our smart system can even turn off a water shutoff to minimize damage. 

In addition, gas and smoke detectors can also be linked to your security system to maximize the protection for your family, property, and pets while at home or away. These detectors can notify authorities when there is an alarm condition as well as sounding an alert inside your home.

Package Thefts:

            Concerned about your online shopping being left on the doorstep while you are away? You should be: as well as being a target for porch pirates (see our blog https://secur-tek.com/beware-of-porch-pirates/ ) a package indicates that no one is home when potential thieves check out the neighborhood. For peace of mind, a doorbell or entryway camera can verify a delivery with one-way video. A smart security system can unlock your front door so a neighbor or authorized deliveryman can put the package inside. Once they’ve left your package inside, you can lock up again and relax. (See our blog on Doorbell cameras – uses and criteria: https://secur-tek.com/the-rundown-on-doorbell-cameras/

Pet monitoring – Is Fluffy OK?:

Ever wonder if your pet-sitter or neighbor remembered to feed, walk and play with your pets? How will you know? And what if they can’t get in? No worries: just give your pet caretaker a temporary security code so they can enter when needed. This dedicated code unlocks your door and can alert you when your sitter uses it. Should they lose or forget the code, you can always unlock the door yourself with your security app. If you want to see how or what your cute little pet is doing, (or what mischief the cat got into today) add cameras to your security system. Secur-Tek’s technician will put the cameras in places so you can check in on your pets and see for yourself!

Home Security:

Finally, as you travel about on the holidays, you can be assured your property is protected if a burglar should target your home. With a cost-effective Secur-Tek customized security system that monitors 24/7, it will notify the security professionals at our monitoring center, who immediately alerts your local police and fire department for you. This ensures a quick response to minimize any loss or damage if an unfortunate incident should happen.  

Smart home security is the way to eliminate many of the worries that creep into our minds during the holidays. Remote access allows you to be notified, view and control activity in the interior or exterior of your home at any time.

So have a happy and safe holiday season this season, while Secur-Tek takes care of your property, pets, and home.

For more information on the Security System that is right for you, please call or visit our website.

Balancing Convenience, Safety and Security with Access Control Systems for Communities and Businesses

Homeowners Association (HOA) governed communities — residential, apartment, condominium and townhome complexes and larger businesses often have common areas like swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses. These amenities are great for residents or employees but create a number of liabilities for the association or business. Therefore, the board of directors, association or businesses’ management will need to mitigate these liabilities through the control and monitoring of recreational areas.  

To start with, a perimeter fence and controlled access gate are a must. Options available to control this access include:

  • mechanical coded lock systems
  • magnetic strip key cards  
  • coded key fobs.

Card and key fobs are top solutions to control swimming pool and fitness center access. Requiring proximity cards or badges to enter pool gates keeps strangers or unattended children out while offering convenient access to members or residents. They can also be set up to open gates at specific times and coded so authorized personnel can review when keys are used for legal as well as illegal entry. 

For ease of access management, Secur-Tek, Inc. now offers cloud-based storage and log on capabilities. Using internet access with valid user name and password allows a client to make program changes or unlock/lock a door/gate from anywhere. For best control of your point of access, we install Keyscan access systems manufactured by Dormakaba.  https://www.dormakaba.com/us-en/solutions/products/electronic-access—data

 

In addition to good fencing and access point control, we highly recommend installing cameras and monitoring them. Cameras serve multiple purposes. When visible, they act as a deterrent and they can also provide helpful evidence for prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing crimes. Should the unfortunate situation arise of someone getting hurt or drowning, cameras also offer the option to review what happened and validate that safety equipment was in place, and lifeguards and EMT followed protocol. It is important to note that cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation.

 

Securing common areas while allowing convenient access for those authorized to use them is a serious issue for HOAs and businesses alike. At Secur-Tek, Inc. we can help those with that responsibility through the process of selecting and installing the right equipment given your situation, budget and safety/security requirements. Give us a call at 919-387-1800. 

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Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation audio and central vacuum systems.  Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

How a Smart Home Adds Value

 

A smart home can increase your safety and convenience to help you enjoy it!

It’s a new year and believe it or not, spring is right around the corner. Now is the time for planning those 2019 home improvements you’ve been thinking about. Installing smart home features is not only a great investment and wonderful convenience; it can give you greater peace of mind.  

How does it do that you might ask? Think about:

           Traveling– If you are a person that travels a lot – either job related or if you just enjoy exploring on the weekends — you can check on your property and valuables anytime you like. Furthermore, it allows you to let family/neighbors into your home to check on plants, pets and/or elderly parents you might have living with you.

            Maybe you have children that are at the age where you know they will be okay staying at home alone but just want the peace of mind and convenience of being able to check and monitor what is happening while your away. Or even let them in when they lock themselves out (as kids often do). Again, it is also a great way to handle the logistics of senior care or infant babysitting, freeing you up to do what you need to do.

            Beyond providing essential home security, smart home system can also save you time and money. Say goodbye to wasting PTO being stuck at home during one of those infamous “anytime between noon and 5 pm” delivery windows – just have us add a Skybell video doorbell to your home security system.

            When you have smart door locks, you can let people in to drop off deliveries or make home updates from your smartphone app. An exterior door camera lets you see exactly who is arriving, indoor monitors watch the progress while they are in your home, so you know everything that is happening. In addition, a Smart Home can start saving you money immediately. Your system can turn lights on and off and smart thermostat can help automate your temperature settings saving energy while making sure your home is comfortable when you arrive. You’ll be able to remotely access and control the thermostat, set up schedules, and receive temperature alerts, all through the app on your smartphone or tablet.

            It’s a Great Investment! Statistics prove that a home security and automation system can actually help sell your home. Coldwell Banker’s annual smart-home survey, published in January 2018, asked potential homebuyers about the importance of smart home devices:

                        63% want smart locks pre-installed

                        66% want smart home security cameras pre-installed

                        75% want smart smoke detectors pre-installed

                        77% want smart thermostats pre-installed

            Flexibility, with a Smart Home from Secur-Tek, Inc. – you can start with the level of features you would like and based upon your timeframes and resources, build on as you go!

As you can see, installing a Smart Home in 2019 can make sense from an economic, safety and convenience perspective. At Secur-Tek Inc., we have highly trained, reliable and friendly people to help you choose the features and level of Smart Home that is right for you.

If you would like to learn more about the Smart Home features offered by Secur-Tek, Inc. give us a call or fill out the form below.

HOA Security and Access Control — What to Consider

HOA-governed communities  — residential, condominium and townhome complexes — typically have several common areas like swimming pools, fitness centers, and clubhouses.

A private swimming pool run by a homeowners’ association is a very attractive amenity to current property owners and potential buyers. However, while they can be popular, pools create a number of liabilities for the association that need to be addressed to avoid safety and legal concerns. To retain the benefits that a pool brings to the community, the board of directors or association management will need to mitigate these risks of operating a pool by instituting proper safety measures.

There are basically four areas of risk to consider:

  • Someone getting hurt or drowning in the pool area
  • Chemical imbalances in the water that can cause illness
  • Overcrowding and unauthorized entry — people swimming during closed hours or unsupervised children and pets
  • Vandalism

Proper fencing and gating is the basic requirement to start addressing these concerns and is required by North Carolina State law. Check here for Wake County Pool Regulations: 

To control access, there are a couple of options available to HOAs ranging from mechanical coded lock systems, magnetic strip key cards to coded key fobs. Card and key fobs are top solutions to control swimming pool and fitness center access. Requiring proximity cards or badges to enter the pool gates keeps strangers or unattended children out while offering convenient access to members or residents. They can also be set up to open gates at specific times and coded so authorized personnel can review when keys are used for legal as well as illegal entry.

A perimeter fence and locked gate is a good start but will not always deter trespassers or vandalism and can’t help identify the perpetrators if this happens. So cameras are recommended to supplement fencing and gates.

Cameras serve two purposes. If they are openly visible to people entering your community, they will serve as a deterrent to vandalism and off-hours entry. They will also provide helpful evidence for prosecuting individuals caught in the act of committing crimes or in enforcing violations of an HOA’s governing documents. In addition, should the unfortunate situation arise of someone getting hurt or drowning, cameras offer the option to review the situation to ensure safety equipment was in place, and lifeguards and EMT followed protocol.

It is important to note that cameras are only effective if they are regularly maintained to ensure proper operation.

 

 Five Key Considerations when installing or upgrading pool surveillance cameras:

1) Fencing and camera line of sight

Angles and positioning are a major concern for which direction(s) you would like to aim the camera. Consider what type of zooming or panning capability you plan to employ in your surveillance. Be mindful of potential visual obstructions that could become a problem in terms of where the camera is positioned.

2) Height off the ground

If at all possible, cameras should be placed at least nine feet above the floor/ground, so that it will be more difficult for would-be intruders to tamper with them.

3) Image quality

Security Camera comparisonYour surveillance cameras should have “recognizable” image quality – could it be used to identify a suspect or clarify a situation?  

After all, what good is having video footage if you can’t use it when you need to? In addition to having the right camera, there needs to be enough lighting at night where the cameras are placed to produce usable images.

4) Camera angles

For example, a camera that is positioned in an area with seasonal trees could offer a clear view in the winter, but leavers may block the view in the summer. In addition, if you have a camera positioned to shoot into nighttime lighting or morning/evening sun, it could possibly hinder the camera’s field of vision for that span of time.

5) Hidden or Visible

When people (usually kids) want to “sneak into” a pool at night or commit vandalism,  they don’t want to be seen. Having the cameras visible and well out of reach seems to work well as a deterrent in the pool environment. Some HOA’s board prefer hidden cameras but at the end of the day, this is largely a matter of preference, and it’s up to the board to determine what they think will be the right move and at Secur-Tek we can help you through that decision.  

 

As you can see, there are quite a few important things for HOAs to consider when securing common areas. At Secur Tek, we can help HOA’s in the Triangle Area through the process of selecting and installing the right equipment given your situation, budget and homeowner requirements.  To learn more, visit our HOA page, then contact us by filling out the form or calling 919-387-1800.

Secur-Tek is locally owned and operated in Apex, NC, offering home and business security, monitoring, automation, audio, and central vacuum systems. Our service area includes Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Durham, Raleigh, Morrisville, and Pittsboro in North Carolina.

 

Picture credit: www.versatech.co/analog-vs-hi-def-cameras/ 

 

 

Connect Amazon Echo to Control4 for Voice Activated Home Automation

It’s not Rosie, the Jetson’s robot maid. But the future envisioned decades ago is getting a little bit closer every day, especially when it comes to home automation. The latest example is the Amazon Echo.

The Amazon Echo is a small black device that sits in your room. Using voice commands, you can ask it questions about the weather or sports scores, have it order something for you on Amazon, play your music, and more. Just like iPhone has Siri, the Echo has a female voice answering to the name Alexa. One woman says she loves to play a version of 20 questions with Alexa.

By connecting Echo to other systems, you can do even more. One man figured out how to use Echo to pull his Tesla car out of the garage.

Home Automation

Customers often ask us about voice commands for home automation and this is the answer. The Echo connects to smart home devices such as Nest thermostats and the Control4 system so that you can use voice commands to control some of the home automation you have created. At Secur-Tek, we have set up the Echo to work with our Control4 systems so we can turn lights on when we arrive and off when we leave. We can also turn on a TV in our lobby and raise and lower the volume of our lobby music.

While these features are on a limited scale right now, more features are coming every day.

Security Warning

One feature some might consider is using the Echo’s voice command feature to turn your home security system on and off. While this is possible to set up, the Echo does not have individual voice recognition. That means if you set up this option, anyone could come in and tell Echo to turn off the security.

Many of the features offered by Echo you can set up on your own. However, Secur-Tek is happy to help you set up Echo with your Control4 system or other enhancements you request.

Rosie the robot maid may not greet you when you come home, but Alexa is the next best thing. Give us a call if you want to learn more about how we can prepare you for the future.

Security & Home Automation