Another Use for ConnectSense Sensors: Power Outage Monitoring

A few months ago we received an email from one of our ConnectSense Temperature Sensor customers with the subject line: "Another great use for your sensors."

In the email, Greg explains how his wife, Nancy, told him that they should reconsider going to their cottage that weekend. When Greg asked why, Nancy explained that the power was out.

How did she know the power was out without being at the cottage?

Nancy had received a text message saying that their Temperature Sensor was offline. The only reason the sensor would be offline would be if there was no power for the Wi-Fi router to run on.

Because it was a nice day and Greg and Nancy were not concerned about the temperature at their cottage, they chose not to take action, but rather to just wait until the power came back on. In other cases, such as inclement weather, they would have known about the power outage immediately and could have made a quick decision to check up on the cottage or call neighbors to make sure power lines weren't down or that there was no damage to the house.

 Greg and Nancy's Temperature Readings

Greg and Nancy's Temperature Readings

Greg then got online and began monitoring the power outage using the recorded temperatures (or lack thereof) from the Temperature Sensor at their cottage.

In the graph to the right, you can see no temperature recorded from about 9pm to 12am. From this, Greg was easily able to see that the power had been out for about three hours. In addition, he was able to determine when the power came back on so that him and Nancy would know when it made more sense to go visit the cottage.

Thanks for the email and sharing another use for the ConnectSense Temperature Sensor, Greg!

What you do when you’re 10,000 miles away and your basement’s flooding

Earlier this year, Perry Marshall, a revolutionary in sales and marketing, took a trip from Chicago to India. 

He had just gotten to his destination when he received a text from his ConnectSense Water Sensor that his basement was flooding. 

So what do you do when you're 10,000 miles away and your basement floods?

Read Perry's story here.

How to Prevent Freezing Pipes this Winter

frozen pipes

When the temperature drops and pipes freeze, the result can be disastrous.  A 1/8th inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day! Leaks like this can result in flooding, major structural damage to your home and leave you at a huge risk for mold.  According to State Farm, the average cost of a claim for broken pipes due to freezing is $15,000.  Pipes that burst when no one is home are much more devastating. When the basement and other areas of the home unknowingly flood, costs in damage can rise to as much as $70,000.

Traditionally, people try and prevent pipes from freezing by leaving cabinets open and letting the water run from their faucets at a slow trickle.  Neither of these methods are foolproof or ideal.  

Leaving the cabinets open in some homes is fine, but for parents of small children (like myself), it poses a huge risk.  There are cleaners and other toxic substances inside of my kitchen cabinets that I would not want my kids to gain possession of out of concern for their health.

 He may be cute... but he gets into everything!

He may be cute... but he gets into everything!

Leaving the water running does not always prevent frozen pipes and can be a costly decision. A quick check of the USGS Water calculator shows that 2 faucets left running at a trickle will waste 22 gallons of water or more per day.  After a few weeks of cold weather, the cost to your water bill is sure to add up.

temperature sensor

The ConnectSense wireless Temperature Sensor is a better solution for preventing frozen pipes in your home. This sensor can monitor the temperature of your pipes and alert you only when the temperature gets low enough and you should take action. This eliminates the need to waste water or leave cabinets open unnecessarily.

I set up my own wireless Temperature Sensor in my home last year as the temperature started to drop into the teens on a regular basis.  I am always particularly concerned about the sink in my kitchen since it is right on an outside wall.  If underneath your sink is anything like mine, there are no open power sockets to plug into, so ConnectSense's long-lasting battery power works perfectly for this application.  I set my sensor to record at every hour, as I felt that would be satisfactory for catching any drops in temperature.  If you are concerned about rapidly dropping temperatures, you can set the sensor to record the temperature even more regularly, but note that it will drain the batteries in the unit faster.

I then set up my rules in the ConnectSense cloud application for my wireless temperature sensor.

ConnectSense rules

First I created a rule to send a text message to both my wife and me if the temperature drops below 40°.  Should it get that low, we would take some of the traditional precautions of running the water, wrapping the pipes, or opening the cabinets.  The nice part about having this alert is that none of those methods are necessary until the temperature actually gets to that point.  This allows us to save money by not running the water and not have the hassle of having the cabinets open.

The second rule I created for the more urgent scenario is a rule that would result in a phone call to my wife and me should the temperature below the sink drop below 35°.  This would be close to freezing temperatures, and immediate action would be needed.  Having the phone call option for notification is also particularly important because a text message would likely not wake either of us while sleeping, while a phone call would.

water sensor

For added protection, I also installed a ConnectSense Water Sensor under my sink.  In the event of a leak or flood from a burt pipe, I will receive a phone call so I can deal with the water before it becomes a huge problem.  

After a few days of having the wireless Temperature Sensor installed under my sink, I can attest that it definitely gave me the peace of mind to not worry about having my pipes burst while I am at work or away from the house.  Checking the data, I saw that even when it was around 0° outside, I could easily monitor the temperature under our sink and make sure our our pipes—and our home—were not in danger.

Give Peace of Mind this Holiday with a Portable, Wireless Water Sensor from ConnectSense

Water sensor perfect gift for vacation home and boat owners, the elderly

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (October 07, 2014) This holiday season, gift givers can give friends and family peace of mind with a wireless and portable water sensor from ConnectSense. The ConnectSense Water Sensor can detect the presence of water anywhere before it becomes a problem, and notify homeowners by email, phone call or text message, making the sensor a good solution for vacation homes, boats and basements that may be difficult to access. 

Even a small amount of water can create a lot of damage. According to FloodSmart.gov, just an inch of water in a 2,000 s.f. home can cause more than $20,000 in damage and create unhealthy levels of mold.

The ConnectSense Water Sensor is an easy Do It Yourself (DIY) system that does not require monthly monitoring fees. Owners simply place the sensors probe on the floor where the first signs of water may appear. Owners then set up notification rules at ConnectSense.com about who is contacted and if notification is by email, text message, phone call or Tweet. Notifications are sent using the existing Wi-Fi network and can be sent to more than one person.

ConnectSense also manufactures sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, motion, security and light.

A valuable gift that delivers peace of mind, the ConnectSense Water Sensor retails for just $149.95 and can be purchased on Amazon.com or at shop.connectsense.com. Included: Water Sensor, USB cable, Industrial Velcro and Screws for mounting, 4 AA NiMH rechargeable batteries and Quick Start Guide.

More information is available at www.connectsense.com.

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For information contact:

Linda Muskin, 847-432-7300
lmuskin@teamclarus.com

Mara Conklin, 678-825-2000
mconklin@teamclarus.com

 

April Showers Bring Floodwaters

Flooding is America's most common natural disaster, yet many homeowners are unprotected. In Grid Connect’s home base of Naperville, Illinois, rainstorms and especially winter storms and melting snow this season can create a high flood risk.

Transient

What Causes Floods?

Everyone lives in a flood zone and just because you haven’t experienced one in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. There are a number of factors that can cause a flood, one of which is weather. Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are often overlooked causes of flooding. More common causes of flooding include heavy rains and the spring thaw that usually begin mid-March to early April here in Naperville.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “April showers bring May flowers?” Unfortunately, many times April showers also bring floodwaters.

The Cost of Flood Damage

Water damage can be deceptive and go undetected for days in places such as your basement. At a minimum, this damage will cause stinky odors while greater damage can cause your property and the things you care about to deteriorate to the point where they need costly repairs.

As little as two inches of water can cause devastating damage to your home. In a 1,000 square foot home, those two inches of water can mean up to $10,000 dollars worth of damage and most Homeowners Insurance does not cover these costs. In many cases, the sources of this type of damage require additional coverage or a separate policy.

Homeowners Insurance vs. Flood Insurance

There are two types of policies that cover water damage: homeowners insurance and flood insurance. Though many people believe that flooding is also covered under homeowners insurance, they are two separate and distinct policies.

Most homeowner policies cover damage to your home caused by a sudden and accidental water event such as a burst pipe, an overflowing toilet or melting snow that enters your home after a winter storm.

Flood damage is many times caused by environmental factors such as an overflowing river or lake or the ground being saturated with too much water after a violent storm. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, “A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.” Water entering your basement after a heavy rain or winter runoff is usually considered flood damage as well, which again, is not covered under your standard homeowners insurance.

Just because your neighborhood hasn't flooded yet doesn't mean it won't this year. It is important to talk to your insurance agent to make sure your home and belongings are properly covered especially if you live in an area where flooding events are common.

Do-It-Yourself Home Protection

Thanks to the “Internet of Things” revolution where everyday objects can be connected to each other through the Internet, there are a number of devices available that can help reduce the amount of water damage in your home by immediately notifying you when something goes awry.

Water sensors are readily accessible and inexpensive, especially in comparison to the cost of water damage. Battery-powered, smart sensors can be mounted near plumbing or other appliances that might leak. Installation is easy and requires very little maintenance beyond making sure to check the batteries and/or power sources regularly.

Once installed, water sensors will alert the you when water is detected somewhere it shouldn’t be such as in a basement, crawl space, or even just under a sink. These notifications can be received in the form of a phone call, text message, email, or for the social media-savvy, a tweet.

You can find water sensors through online retailers such as Amazon.