Smart Home Wiring Design

Smart Home Wiring Design

Smart Home Wiring Design – Building a new home or remodeling? One of the most common questions to consider is how to cable a home for automation. Since the popular smart home devices send your commands over standard electrical wiring, adding various additional cable runs isn’t necessary, but automated lighting and appliances aren’t the only conveniences to keep in mind when planning your cabling. Many homeowners contact an experienced electrician company, such as by visiting websites like https://vertechselectric.com/, to get some advice on the work that will need doing. There are a number of different theories on how automation wiring should be done and what type of cables should be used. The following is probably the most widely accepted and most practical method based on the SmartHome team’s experience and industry knowledge. If you need a professional electrician to come to your home and walk you through it all so you feel secure, you can check out websites such as fixmatic.com/electrical/electrical-wiring/ and see how they can help you, or alternatively, you can check out your local businesses to see if they can assist you.

Plano Texas Handyman is the Dallas and North Texas area expert in Smart Home Wiring Design and we can help you design the perfect home system. Call us today at 214-507-3415 for more information. Smart Home Wiring Design

Neutral Wire at Each Wall Switch

Ask your builder/electrician to run the neutral wire to each wall switch location (the neutral cable is optional in many light switch wiring schemes and unless you specify it explicitly, it may get omitted). Insteon switches, dimmers, and keypads and most enhanced X10 wall switches require a 3-wire (hot, neutral and load) connection.

Use Deep Junction Boxes

Smart switches and keypads feature a slim design, making installation easy even in small junction boxes, but if you’re not yet decided on an automation protocol, it’s a good idea to specify the installation of deep junction boxes to accommodate any switch size. Plus the deep boxes allow for all the wire needed in conjunction with the deeper smart switch. The deep models have extra working space and make the installation a little easier. Deep boxes only cost a few cents more than normal depth models. Look for single-gang boxes that are 22cu (cubic inches) or higher and double-gang boxes that are 36cu or higher. Smart Home Wiring Design

Whole-House Surge Protection

Install a Whole-House Surge Suppressor to protect your electrical appliances and home entertainment products. If you are going to be using a significant number of powerline automation components in your home, adding just one whole-house surge protector will give you a good insurance policy against costly damage to SmartHome Product system as well as other delicate electrical equipment in your house.

Home Surge protection consists of 1 surge protector installed at the electrical panel and commercial grade surge suppressors installed at critical equipment. Well, a good whole-house surge protection device does essentially the same thing. It allows in only the electricity your home needs and not the unruly over-voltages from the utility-then it protects your devices from any trouble that can occur from surges inside the house.

Isolate Non-Automation Loads

Work with your electrician to isolate non-automation loads. Having the kitchen and laundry appliances plus the heating systems on one phase of your electrical system will help keep potential noise off the SmartHome products. Smart Home Wiring Design

Wiring for Data

Data cabling will include more than the cat. 5 or cat. 5e you’ll use to use for your Ethernet network. This section provides the information you’ll need to install your A/V, telephone, and security systems. The first stage in planning is to select the location of a central wiring hub location or structured media panel. Structured Media enclosure provide a convenient termination location for wiring home runs from wall outlets, creating a distribution point for voice, data, audio, and video applications. Available in compact, 14?, 21?, 28?, 30?, and 42? sizes to address a broad range of capacities for single family homes, and light commercial applications,

Structured Media enclosures support new and retrofit installations. Structured Media Enclosure This is where all the cables from all the different rooms come in and where all the external cabling (cable TV, phone, antenna, satellite, etc.) feeds into the house. Ideally this should be located next to your audio/video equipment since the speaker cable and video cable will feed to the other rooms from here.

Home Theatre and Audio

When adding a home theater system, creating dedicated home theater space, the possibilities are endless. Seating will have a huge influence on the overall comfort and Appeal of your home theater system.

The Equipment Rack will usually house not only your home theater equipment but all the amplifiers, DVD players and DSS receivers for the entire house. Before you could just stack all equipment on top of each other. That was fine, unit the equipments started having more energy processors and other components generate lots of heat. If the equipments are stack nowadays, it may burn out components. You will need space for the equipment and cooling strategy for the your gears. Smart Home Wiring Design

Picking the right configuration for the home theater system:

Cooling Fan

Don’t buy an equipment rack without a cooling system. Some offer the ability to daisy-chain fans in one system so it can be automatically turned on and off based on temperature.

Power

Your racking system should have a way to connect to multiple output power bars so that all your power cables can be managed nicely. The best power bars have slide-on stabilizing clips that make sure your power plugs don’t come out of the power bar. Smart Home Wiring Design

Plano Texas Handyman is the Dallas and North Texas area expert in Smart Home Wiring Design and we can help you design the perfect home system. Call us today at 214-507-3415 for more information. Smart Home Wiring Design

Security Camera Features You Want

Lorex HD

Security Camera Features You Want


Security Camera Features You Want – Afraid of what might be lurking in or outside your home when you’re away? Fear for your family’s safety when you’re all home for the night? Installing the absolute best home security cameras around your property can do wonders to ease your mind, giving you the added protection you deserve and serving as a crucial deterrent to potential intruders. But with so many features and price points available, picking the right camera for your home security needs can be overwhelming. Our goal is to provide you with the best security camera options and point out the key features that differentiate them from one another to help you pick the right security camera for your home. Note that many home security systems can have cameras as part of the system, but this review is strictly the best stand-alone security cameras.

Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415 to discuss the installation of your home or business security automation and surveillance system. Visit our website at www.planotexashandyman.com for more information.  Security Camera Benefits for a Business, Security Camera Reviews, Security Camera Features You Want

In a nutshell, beware of what is advertised as a good system. 

The best for the money: Wireless is the most efficient, effective and user friendly system.  The are easy and inexpensive to install, $150 installation plus about $650 for cameras and DVR, total investment of about $800.  However, with a system like this you are giving up functionality.  Resolution is a 5, 720 to 1080p at best.  Night vision is 3, you really cannot make out images 25′ away in low light. They only record on movement so you do not have a timeline of everything around your property.   Ease if use is a 10, you have to mount your cameras in a strategic location, hook up a ‘brain box’ next to your router, download an app and away you go!

Do you really want security?  If so, purchase a wired system, These are expensive to install, but the benefits are amazingly better.  Resolution is 2 to 3 MP, this is double your HD TV resolution.  They record constantly, so you never miss a movement or moment on your property.  Resolution can detect license plates, night vision is greatly improved, and control is at the highest level.  These systems can cost $250 for the equipment to as much as $1500 depending on the number of cameras and DVR storage.  Installation can cost $500 to $1500 depending ion multiple factors.  Security Camera Features You Want

Beware of bad systems!  Wireless systems are useless if you have to run a power supply to the camera or cameras.  Look at your home and visualize on how the data cables need to be run.

Video Security Camera Ratings Endorsed by Plan Texas Handyman
Brand Model(1) Channels(2) Cameras(3) Price Range(4) FOV(5) Drive(6) Connection(7) Resolution(8) Cable App Night Vision Docs
Arlo Pro - 3 499.00 300' 130° Cloud WL 720P - Y 25' Specs
Lorex LHV 16 8 499.00 60' 90° 2TB BNC Video 1080p 60' Y 130' Specs
Lorex LKB 8 4 699.00 300' 101° 2TB Cat5e 4MP 100' Y 130' Spec1 Spec2
Swan Platinum 16 8 799.00 300' 101° 3TB Cat5e 3MP 100' Y 115' No Specs
Q-See QC888 8 6 799.00 200' 84° 2TB Cat3e 4MP 100' Y 100' Spec1 Spec2 Spec3
Lorex LNR400 16 9 899.00 300' 75° 3TB Cat5e 3MP 100' Y 110' Spec
Lorex LKB343 8 8 999.00 300' 101° 2TB Cat5e 4MP 100' Y 180' Spec
Lorex LKB343 16 9 1299.00 300' 101° 3TB Cat5e 4MP 100' Y 130' Spec
AvertX ProConnect 8 6 1499.00 200' 90° 4TB Cat5e 4MP 100' Y 100' Spec1 Spec2 Spec3
Q-See QC8816 16 12 1599.00 200' 70° 3TB PoE 4MP 100' Y 80' Spec Spec

Notes:
(1) Model: Typically the model number of the related camera
(2) Channels: The number of cameras the DVD recorder will support or number of input ports.
(3) Cameras: The number of camers shipped in the package for the price listed.
(4) Range:  Maximum footage of wire run.
(5) FOV: Field of vision.
(6) Drive: Size of storage on hard drive, TB – Terabytes, cloud
(7) Connection: Type of wire.
(8) Resolution:
720p – 1280 x 720 Mega Pixels
1080p – 1920 x 1080 Mega Pixels
3 MP – 2048 x 1536 Mega Pixels
4 MP – 2688 x 1530 Mega Pixels

Arlo Pro Security System with Siren – 3 Rechargeable Wire-Free HD Cameras with Audio, Indoor/Outdoor, Night Vision  – Security Camera Reviews, Security Camera Features You Want

Arlo Pro

100% Wire-free – Free of power cords and wiring hassles, allowing you to easily place Arlo Pro cameras wherever you want and monitor your home from every angle.

Weatherproof – Arlo Pro cameras are weatherproof so you can place them anywhere-indoors and out.

Rechargeable Batteries – Arlo Pro cameras include rechargeable batteries that support fast charging. Easily swap out batteries and power up in seconds without having your cameras offline. Security Camera Reviews, Security Camera Features You Want

2-Way Audio – Built-in mic and speaker enable push-to-talk capability, so you can listen in and talk back.

7 Days of Free Cloud Recordings – Arlo Pro comes with recurring 7-day free cloud recordings. Live stream or view recorded video and audio for up to 7 days, free of charge

100% Wire-Free – Place it anywhere. No cords or wiring hassles.
Weatherproof – Rain or shine, hot or cold, the IP65-certified Arlo Pro camera will brave it all.
HD Quality – Live stream and watch recordings in more brilliant detail than ever before.
130° Viewing Angle – See more of every moment with a 130° wide-angle lens.
Rechargeable – Long lasting rechargeable batteries take the expense out of uninterrupted security.
2-Way Audio – Listen in and talk back through the built-in speaker and mic, straight from your smartphone.
Advanced Motion Detection – Wide-angle PIR motion sensor makes sure no movement will slip through without your notice.
Night Vision – Integrated night vision automatically switches on at night to shed light on the smallest wonders.
Free Cloud Storage – Don’t pay for cloud storage that you don’t need. Keep 7 days of motion- and audio-triggered recordings for free.
Local Backup Storage – Connect a USB drive to the Arlo Pro base station for optional local backup storage.
Smart Siren – Stop crime before it happens with a 100+ decibel siren that can be controlled remotely, or triggered by motion or audio.
Flexible Powering Options – Use it wire-free or plugged in. The choice is yours.


Lorex 16-Channel HD Analog DVR with 2TB HDD, 8 1080p Cameras with 130′ Night Vision – View your world like never before with the powerful and affordable Lorex 16-channel HD DVR. See in crystal clear 1080p day or night with the premium high definition bullet cameras. Advanced picture correction technologies ensure that your recordings remain rich and vibrant. The built-in anti-glare feature ensures clear images under strong lighting conditions, and close-up recognition at night with SmartIR auto light compensation prevents wash-out effects. Rest assured that your home or business is secure in any lighting conditions, with high quality recorded images in high definition. Security Camera Reviews

Accessing your security system on-the-go has never been easier with FLIR Secure™ connectivity, remote viewing in just 3 simple steps – watch your cameras online from anywhere on a PC or Mac, or with the free apps for your smartphone or tablet (iPhone® / iPad® / Android™). With the free FLIR Secure™ app, you have access to our exclusive RapidRecap™ feature that lets you see the day in a minute. Save time reviewing recorded events – RapidRecap™ compiles hours of events into a short video summary designed to get you quickly caught up on the day’s events. Keeping an eye on what matters most has never been so easy, and at such an affordable price!


Lorex 8-Channel HD IP NVR with 2TB HDD, 4 4MP Cameras with 130′ Night Vision – Stay connected to what matters most with this easy-to-install yet powerful security camera system from Lorex by FLIR. Featuring a 8-channel HD NVR with 4K capability on all channels and 4 security cameras with Super HD 4MP video resolution that boasts double the detail of 1080p HD. Everything you need to set up this advanced security system is included in the package, including a 2TB HDD and advanced H.265 video compression to store up to 2× the video footage compared to H.264, giving you more than 60 days of storage. Each camera comes with a 100ft (30m) Ethernet cable, and easy installation with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) provides power to the camera and carries HD video to the recorder over a single cable, giving you professional-grade security without the need for professional installation. Stunning high definition video ensures you never miss out on important details, with advanced picture correction technologies delivering rich and vibrant colors in any conditions.

Accessing your security system on-the-go has never been easier with FLIR Secure™ connectivity, remote viewing in just 3 simple steps – watch your cameras online from anywhere on a PC or Mac, or with the free apps for your smartphone or tablet (iPhone® / iPad® / Android™). With the free FLIR Secure™ app, keeping an eye on what matters most has never been so easy, and at such an affordable price!


Swann 16-Channel HD IP NVR with 3TB HDD, 8 3MP Cameras with 115′ Night Vision – Be protected and see every detail with this expandable 16 Channel, 8 Camera Surveillance System from Swann. Have the peace of mind from being able to see every detail with the state-of-the-art super high definition 3 Megapixel (1536p) recording and real-time full screen 1080p viewing on all 16 channels. Each channel is also independently configurable, so that you can capture exactly the right frame rate, image resolution and video length to know what’s happening. With a massive 3TB hard drive you can record for up to 45 days (based on 15% motion events at lowest settings) and the H.264 video compression allows for fast, efficient recording and playback. This system comes with 8 weatherproof cameras that can be mounted indoors or outdoors and that can generate amazing 3 Megapixels video resolution. That’s equivalent to 1536p or 1.5 times better than 1080p. The bullet style cameras can see up to 115 feet in the dark with infrared night vision. Enjoy easy set up with Power over Ethernet (PoE) for the 8 included cameras, meaning each camera draws its power via Cat 5 network cable connected to the NVR. The system is full 16 Channel PoE and is expandable with the ability to add another 8 cameras (also available on Costco.com). Know what’s happening at all times on your Smartphone or tablet using the free SwannView Plus app. This system is ideal for larg, Security Camera Features You Wante premises including businesses, retail stores, community centers, shopping malls, 2 story homes and more. Security Camera Reviews, Security Camera Features You Want


Q-See 8-channel HD IP NVR with 2TB HDD, 6 4MP Cameras with 100′ Night Vision – Your Home, Office or Retail Property deserves the absolute best in security system technology. Let Q-See take you there with this 8-Channel IP HD NVR (2TB HDD Pre-Installed) and (6) included 4MP IP Bullet Cameras. Take advantage of the plug-and-play simplicity by connecting up to 8 of the cameras directly to the NVR’s built-in Power Over Ethernet (POE) ports. The flexibility of IP cameras also allows you to locate them across the building, across the city or across the country from the NVR – anywhere where there’s an Internet connection.  Security Camera Reviews, Security Camera Features You Want

Your smartphone or tablet is the key to worry-free set up. Simply follow the Startup Wizard, scan the QR code on the NVR and your system is ready for you to access anywhere you have signal. Stay in the know, even on the go with our QC View free remote monitoring app for Android and Apple mobile devices.

The included (6) 4MP IP Bullet Cameras lets you keep an eye on your home or home as you can comfortably monitor your space with ease wherever you are. While this system comes with a total of 6 cameras, the system can support a total of 8, giving you the opportunity to expand your security with your security requirements.


Lorex 8-Channel HD IP NVR with 3TB HDD, 5 4MP Bullet Cameras and 1080p PTZ Camera – View your world and all that matters most within it with this easy-to-install yet powerful security camera system from Lorex by FLIR. This complete security bundle features a 8-channel HD NVR with 4K capability, a high-performance Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) camera, 5 bullet security cameras with Super HD 4 MegaPixel (4MP) video recording for double the detail of 1080p HD. Everything you need to set up this advanced security system is included in the package, giving you professional-grade security without the need for professional installation. Each camera comes with a 100ft (30m) UL compliant Ethernet cable that is rated for safe in-wall use and fire resistance. Easy installation with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) provides power to the camera and carries HD video to the recorder over a single cable. Stunning high definition video ensures you never miss out on important details, with advanced picture correction technologies delivering rich and vibrant colors in any conditions.

Accessing your security system on-the-go has never been easier with FLIR Secure™ connectivity, remote viewing in just 3 simple steps – watch your cameras online from anywhere on a PC or Mac, or with the free apps for your smartphone or tablet (iPhone® / iPad® / Android™). With the free FLIR Secure™ app, you have access to our exclusive RapidRecap™ feature that lets you see the day in a minute. Save time reviewing recorded events – RapidRecap™ compiles hours of events into a short video summary designed to get you quickly caught up on the day’s events. Keeping an eye on what matters most has never been so easy, and at such an affordable price!


Lorex 16-Channel HD IP NVR with 3TB HDD, 9 3MP Cameras with 130′ Night Vision – View your world like never before with the powerful and affordable Lorex 16-channel HD NVR with 9 HD security cameras. See in crystal clear 3MP resolution with the 9 premium high definition IP cameras – 6 bullets and 3 dome cameras. Staying connected wherever you go is easy thanks to the exclusive FLIR Cloud™ connectivity solution. Simply install the free app for your iOS or Android device and scan the QR code, enabling on-the-go monitoring from your smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac with no recurring fees.  Security Camera Reviews, Security Camera Features You Want

Advanced picture correction technologies ensure that your recordings remain rich and vibrant. The cameras’ anti-glare feature ensures clear images under strong lighting conditions, and noise reduction helps to create clear, accurate images in all lighting conditions. Be confident that your home or business is secure in any lighting conditions, with high quality recorded images in high definition. Video surveillance has never looked this good, at such an affordable price!


 – Stay connected to what matters most with this easy-to-install yet powerful security camera system from Lorex by FLIR. Featuring a 8-channel HD NVR with 4K capability on all channels and 8 security cameras with Super HD 4MP video resolution that boasts double the detail of 1080p HD. Everything you need to set up this advanced security system is included in the package, including a 2TB HDD and advanced H.265 video compression to store up to 2× the video footage compared to H.264, giving you more than 60 days of storage. Each camera comes with a 100ft (30m) Ethernet cable, and easy installation with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) provides power to the camera and carries HD video to the recorder over a single cable, giving you professional-grade security without the need for professional installation. Stunning high definition video ensures you never miss out on important details, with advanced picture correction technologies delivering rich and vibrant colors in any conditions.

Accessing your security system on-the-go has never been easier with FLIR Secure™ connectivity, remote viewing in just 3 simple steps – watch your cameras online from anywhere on a PC or Mac, or with the free apps for your smartphone or tablet (iPhone® / iPad® / Android™). Wi  th the free FLIR Secure™ app, keeping an eye on what matters most has never been so easy, and at such an affordable price!  Security Camera Features You Want


Lorex 16-Channel HD IP NVR with 3TB HDD, 9 4MP  Cameras with 130′ Night Vision -Stay connected to what matters most with this easy-to-install yet powerful security camera system from Lorex by FLIR. Featuring a 16-channel Ultra HD NVR with 4K capability on all channels and 9 security cameras with Super HD 4MP video resolution that boasts double the detail of 1080p HD. Everything you need to set up this advanced security system is included. This system also features advanced H.265 high efficiency video compression. H.265 is the latest and most efficient video codec, allowing users to store up to 2× the video footage when compared with traditional H.264 video encoding. With the preinstalled 8TB HDD users can record and store more than 60 days of footage. Each camera comes with a 100ft (30m) Ethernet cable, and easy installation with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) provides power to the camera and carries HD video to the recorder over a single cable. Stunning high definition video ensures you never miss out on important details, with advanced picture correction technologies delivering rich and vibrant colors in any conditions.

Accessing your security system on-the-go has never been easier with FLIR Secure™ connectivity, remote viewing in just 3 simple steps – watch your cameras online from anywhere on a PC or Mac, or with the free apps for your smartphone or tablet (iPhone® / iPad® / Android™). With the free FLIR Secure™ app, keeping an eye on what matters most has never been so easy, and at such an affordable price!


AvertX 8-Channel HD IP NVR with 4TB HDD, 6 4MP Cameras with 100′ Night Vision – Experience the Professional difference with the AvertX Cloud and the ProConnect Video Security Platform. Designed to provide unprecedented secure, mobile access to your video, AvertX software is developed in the USA for hassle-free operation and absolute reliability. Take advantage of exciting new features like video archive to the cloud, email video sharing, and a dedicated Apple TV app. AvertX is constantly developing our ProConnect software, so you can enjoy new features and improvements for years to come. AvertX products are supported by our US-based PRO Team and backed by a standard two-year warranty.  Security Camera Reviews, Security Camera Features You Want

 


Q-SEE 16-Channel HD NVR, 3TB HDD, 12-4MP Bullet & 4-4MP Dome Cameras Security System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Amcrest960H Video Security System Four 800+TVL Weatherproof Cameras, 65ft Night Vision, 984ft Transmit Range, 500GB HDD- Security Camera Reviews

Amcrest 960H

 

4 High Resolution 800+ TVL IP66 Heavy-Duty Metal Weatherproof Cameras for Excellent Video Quality and Clarity.

24 IR LEDs that automatically activate when they detect low lighting conditions.They can see up to 20 meters (about 65 feet) away, make sure to take advantage of Motion Detection and Scheduled recordings in conjunction with Night Vision to have complete control over the protection of all that you care about.

View and Record in Widescreen with Remote Viewing on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices (with included Amcrest Link app).

Pre-Installed 500GB Hard Drive (expandable up to 3 TB) for 6 Days of Continuous Recording at Highest Resolution., Longer Recording Times Up to 30+ Days Available with Use of Motion Detection and/or Lower Resolution Settings.

USB backup feature for peace of mind, IP66 heavy-duty metal indoor/outdoor heavy duty metal weatherproof cameras, and powerful IR-LED night vision.

Includes:

1x 960H Channel DVR
1x 500GB Hard Drive
1x 4CH Power Supply
4x 800 TVL Bullet Cameras
4x 60 Foot Cables
1x DVR Power Supply
User Manual and Quick Start Guide
1 Year Warranty When Purchased from Amcrest

HANDYMAN – Retired Corporate Executive: Technology, Remodel, Maintenance

HANDYMAN – Retired Corporate Guy: Engineering background, experienced professional.  Security Camera..Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415 to discuss the installation of your home or business security automation and surveillance system. Visit our website at www.planotexashandyman.com for more information.  Security Camera Benefits for a Business, Security Camera Reviews, Security Camera Features You Want

Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Amazon Echo

Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa – The Amazon Echo has quietly become the hottest smart home product on the market. Suddenly, every tech company wants to integrate its products with Amazon’s customizable virtual assistant, Alexa.

The integrations keep coming, at such a pace that it can be hard to know exactly which products work with Alexa. Amazon’s website tries to keep on top of things, but its interface can be tough to navigate. It also (understandably) underplays the fact that you don’t need an Echo to take advantage of Alexa and all the devices she can control.

Not only has Amazon built Alexa into other products, like the Fire TV and new Echo Show, but the company has also allowed third-party hardware makers to build Alexa into their own devices, even letting Ford build the assistant into its new cars. Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman to incorporate this technology into your home. Visit our Home Page for more information

To help you understand Alexa’s reach, we’ve created this comprehensive guide. We’ll be continuously updating it as new integrations are announced, in order to help you build the smart home that’s right for you.

Below you’ll find a list of all the product categories Alexa covers. Click on any category to see what’s available.

While the Echo has been Amazon’s flagship Alexa device, it’s no longer alone. It’s joined by Amazon’s other Echo and Fire hardware, as well as a growing number of third-party devices. Here’s a quick rundown:

Alexa Devices

Amazon Alexa Product Family

While the Echo has been Amazon’s flagship Alexa device, it’s no longer alone. It’s joined by Amazon’s other Echo and Fire hardware, as well as a growing number of third-party devices. Here’s a quick rundown: Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman to incorporate this technology into your home. Visit our Home Page for more information

Amazon Echo

The Echo is the black cylinder that started it all—a Bluetooth speaker equipped with far-field, always-on microphones and internet-connected smarts. The $179.99 device can control smart home products, play music from your phone, Amazon Prime, and Spotify, and even order products off Amazon just by listening to your voice. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Amazon Echo Show

The newest addition to the Echo family, the Show adds a touchscreen and camera to the smart speaker, allowing you to make video calls, view security camera feeds, watch videos on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video, watch new video flash briefings, buy things off Amazon (of course), and more. The Echo Show is now available for pre-order for $229.99 and will ship at the end of June.

Alexa Devices

Amazon Alexa Product Family

While the Echo has been Amazon’s flagship Alexa device, it’s no longer alone. It’s joined by Amazon’s other Echo and Fire hardware, as well as a growing number of third-party devices. Here’s a quick rundown: Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman to incorporate this technology into your home. Visit our Home Page for more information

Amazon Echo

The Echo is the black cylinder that started it all—a Bluetooth speaker equipped with far-field, always-on microphones and internet-connected smarts. The $179.99 device can control smart home products, play music from your phone, Amazon Prime, and Spotify, and even order products off Amazon just by listening to your voice.

Amazon Echo Show

The newest addition to the Echo family, the Show adds a touchscreen and camera to the smart speaker, allowing you to make video calls, view security camera feeds, watch videos on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video, watch new video flash briefings, buy things off Amazon (of course), and more. The Echo Show is now available for pre-order for $229.99 and will ship at the end of June. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Amazon Echo Look

Another recent addition to the Echo family, the Echo Look is a camera with Alexa built-in that allows Alexa to act as your own personal fashion consultant. You can have Alexa take photos and videos of your outfits to build out a personal lookbook, have it use machine learning to tell you which outfit looks better on you, and (unsurprisingly) have it recommend new clothes to buy. The Echo Look isn’t widely available yet, but you can request an invitation to purchase one from Amazon for $199.99. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Amazon Echo Dot

Take the Echo, slice off the top, and you’ve got the Echo Dot. The Dot ditches the high-quality built-in speaker to cut down on cost, while still giving you all of Alexa’s smarts. A smaller built-in speaker does let you talk to Alexa, but it’s not good enough for streaming music. Instead, you can connect the Dot to speakers you already own via Bluetooth or an audio-out jack.

The Dot sells for $49, and Amazon offers a variety of bundles that package it with Bose speakers or other smart home products.

Amazon Tap

The Amazon Tap takes the Echo’s core features and packs them into a portable Bluetooth speaker. Since it’s battery-powered, the Tap isn’t always listening like the Echo or Echo Dot. Instead, you have to press a mic button to speak to Alexa. However, a recent update does allow you to enable hands-free listening at the expense of an hour of battery life.

Even though it’s portable, the Tap requires a WiFi connection to use Alexa (there’s no LTE option), so if you’re out and about, you’ll need to use your smartphone as a mobile hotspot.

Amazon Fire TV

The Fire TV version of Alexa doesn’t have all the same features as Alexa on the Echo, but it can still control smart home products and take advantage of Alexa Skills. The main difference is the way you interact with Alexa. You need to have your TV on and speak to Alexa through the Fire TV Remote. There’s no always-on listening mode, but that might be a positive if you have privacy concerns. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Amazon Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote

The Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote also offers Alexa, using the same remote interface. Alexa on Fire TV Stick offers the same features as Alexa on the Fire TV box, and is the cheapest way to get the virtual assistant at just $50.

Amazon App

Want Alexa with you everywhere you go? Thanks to a recent update to the Amazon app for iPhone, the virtual assistant is now baked into Amazon’s highly popular shopping app. It doesn’t offer all the same features of Alexa on the Amazon Echo, but does allow you to search the store for things to buy. Unfortunately, there’s no word on when Alexa will come to the Android version of the app.

Huawei Mate 9

Huawei made headlines when it announced that its new Mate 9 smartphone would be the first phone with Alexa built-in. The phone runs Android and offers Google’s suite of apps, but instead of offering Google Assistant, the company defected to Amazon for its virtual assistant. We haven’t reviewed the phone yet, but it does offer two days of battery life and a Leica camera, all for around $580. Just be warned, it’s only compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile.

Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat

If you want to make Alexa available throughout your home, the Ecobee4 smart thermostat is a compelling way to do it. If you replace all your thermostats with the Ecobee4, not only will you have smart thermostats, but you’ll also have access to Alexa thanks to a built-in mic, speaker, and blue light bar. The Ecobee4 is available for pre-order now and costs $249. It ships May 15th.

Ecobee Smart Light Switch

Coming later this year, this switch is the first with Alexa built-in, allowing you to really put Alexa in every room of your home. The switch will also have sensors for occupancy and daylight, but that’s all we know right now. More information, including pricing, will become available as it approaches release.

Invoxia Triby

If you want to make your fridge smarter without shelling out thousands of dollars, then you should check out the Invoxia Triby. It’s already out on the market and is now the first third-party device to offer Alexa integration. The Triby has a built-in speaker for playing music, a screen that can display doodles made in the companion app, and the ability to make calls to phones running the app.

Ford Sync

Ford vehicles with the latest version of the Ford Sync infotainment system will get Alexa integration, putting the Echo’s core features (plus some driving-related ones) right in the car. It’s such a clever integration that it won one of our CES Editors’ Choice Awards last year.

Smart Home Hubs

While Alexa can control lots of smart home devices, many of the integrations require a smart home hub to act as a middle man. Annoying? Yes. But since current Alexa devices lack the radios needed to communicate directly with these devices, it’s a relationship that we’ll have to deal with for the foreseeable future.

Samsung SmartThings Hub

SmartThings offers one of the most robust smart home ecosystems on the market. With Alexa integration, you can control just about any SmartThings-compatible device that has an on/off state. Other compatible products include smart lightbulbs, air vents, switches and outlets, locks, and thermostats. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Wink Hubs

Wink Hub 2

Wink is probably SmartThings’ chief rival, though it hasn’t been able to keep up in terms of the number of compatible products. Regardless, through one of Wink’s hubs, Alexa can still access and control smart bulbs, switches and outlets, and thermostats. The company offers the $99 Wink Hub 2 and the $69 original Wink Hub, with the major differences being that the second generation hub adds Bluetooth and a more powerful processor.

Insteon Hub

Insteon may not be as flashy as SmartThings and Wink, but the older ecosystem remains a compelling option (if frustratingly closed). Alexa can control products specifically through the Insteon Hub (2245-222). Amazon’s assistant won’t work with any of Insteon’s other hubs, including the HomeKit-compatible Insteon Hub Pro. With the 2245-222 and Alexa, you can control plugs, switches, lights, and wired thermostats.

Alarm.com Hub

Alarm.com is a dealer-installed smart home and security system—an unusual arrangement that takes the headache out of having to set up a smart home system yourself. At CES 2016, the company announced integration with the Amazon Echo, which will allow Alexa to control Alarm.com lighting products and thermostats. You can also use your voice to arm the security system. Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman to incorporate this technology into your home. Visit our Home Page for more information

Vivint Hub

Vivint is a professionally installed smart home and security solution that also announced Amazon Echo integration at CES 2016. With Vivint, Alexa can arm your security system and control lights, thermostats, garage doors, and even smart locks.Even though it’s a professionally installed system, Vivint provides arguably the best voice control of any smart home system, though rivals are catching up quick.

Nexia Home Intelligence Bridge

Nexia is far from a name brand, but the smart home ecosystem works with a variety of Z-Wave smart home devices. Like Alarm.com and Vivint, Nexia also recently announced Amazon Echo integration for its system, but hasn’t offered many details on which products will work with Alexa.

Universal Devices ISY Hubs

You’ve probably never heard of Universal Devices, but home automation geeks know the company for its Insteon-compatible ISY (“izzy”) hubs. The company offers two hubs: the ISY-994i Series and ISY-994iZw Series. Both offer Insteon compatibility, but the latter adds a Z-Wave radio for those devices. Set up Alexa integration and you’ll be able to control lights, door locks, thermostats, and device programs, which make changes to multiple devices at once.

HomeSeer Home Controllers

HomeSeer offers six different smart home controllers (or hubs) that are geared much more towards home automation geeks than average consumers. With the HomeSeer Amazon Echo integration, users can ask Alexa to control lights, locks, thermostats, garage doors, and security systems.

Simple Control Simple Hub

Simple Control is primarily focused on A/V and home theater control, but the company’s powerful hub and app allow you to control many other devices including entire SmartThings and Insteon systems. The system isn’t simple (or cheap), but it allows for a lot of customization. Due to Simple Control’s A/V focus, Alexa can control TVs, and even change channels for you. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Almond Smart Home WiFi Routers

Instead of purchasing a separate smart home hub, Securifi’s Almond routers double as smart home hubs and WiFi routers. Two of the Almond routers, Almond+ and Almond 2015, also work with Alexa and the Echo. With their integration, you’ll be able to activate scenes and modes through Alexa that you’ve created with your Almond router.

Lighting

Smart Lightbulbs

Lighting was the first type of smart home gadget made compatible with the Amazon Echo, and the sheer number of smart bulbs (and switches, dimmers, and outlets) that work with Alexa show just how far Amazon has come. Most of these products are smart lightbulbs, which aren’t the simplest solution, but they offer an easy entry point into smart home tech.

Philips Hue White Starter Kit

Philips makes some of the best smart bulbs money can buy, and its affordable Hue White bulbs are some of our favorites. While this kit already works with Siri, it can be integrated with Alexa for additional voice control. The company also sells extension bulbs if you want to add more to your ecosystem.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit

This kit is our favorite smart bulb option, and for good reason. Philips Hue White and Color not only offers the best performance, but a great third-party ecosystem. Like the White Starter Kit, this kit also works with Siri and now includes Alexa integration as well. Philips also sells extension bulbs for this kit.

Philips Hue Go (via Hue Bridge)

The Philips Hue Go puts the color control of Hue bulbs into a rechargeable, portable light that puts out 300 lumens and lasts up to three hours on a charge. The only downside is that it requires a Philips Hue Bridge (included with the starter kits above) to connect it to the Hue app, and subsequently, Alexa.

Philips Friends of Hue Lighting Bloom (via Hue Bridge)

Part of the Friends of Hue lighting line, this color-changing bloom is another unusual fixture you can place in your home, but it lacks a built-in battery. You’ll still need a Hue Bridge to take advantage of all this light has to offer, including the ability to control it with Alexa.

Philips Friends of Hue Lightstrip (via Hue Bridge)

Another member of the Friends of Hue line, the Lightstrip offers color-changing technology and the flexibility to line certain spaces and even be cut to the perfect length. Once more, you’ll need a Hue Bridge to control the Lightstrip with Alexa.

LIFX Smart Bulbs and Light Strip

LIFX has simplified its lineup, focusing on three products: the LIFX A19 multicolor smart bulb, the LIFX+ A19 multicolor smart bulb with infrared for night vision cameras, and the LIFX Z light strip. The company offers a great alternative to Philips Hue since its bulbs work over WiFi and don’t need a hub. And since they connect via WiFi, they can easily be connected to Alexa.

TP-Link WiFi Smart Bulbs

You probably associate TP-Link with WiFi routers, but the company offers some very affordable and compelling smart home products, which include four different Alexa-compatible smart bulbs—a 50W white bulb, a 60W white bulb, a 60W tunable white bulb, and a 60W multicolor bulb. They also don’t require a hub, which makes them a much easier sell. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Get the TP-Link Alexa skill Cree Connected LED (via SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub)

The Cree Connected LED bulb is one of the most affordable and flexible bulbs on the market. They’re priced competitively with Philips Hue White bulbs, but work with just about any smart home hub. That makes them a better deal in the long run, since it sets you up to start building a comprehensive smart home ecosystem. Through a SmartThings or Wink hub, you’ll be able to control these affordable bulbs with Alexa. Cree also offers a 5000K variant of the bulb.

GE Link Bulb (via Wink Hub)

The GE Link bulb tries to compete with the Cree Connected LED in terms of price, functionality, and color temperature variants, but its performance just can’t match up. Regardless, the GE Link bulb works with Alexa via a Wink hub. Note: There are also BR30 and PAR38 variants of the GE Link bulb.

Osram Lightify Smart Bulb (via SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub)

Osram Lightify bulbs don’t change color, but they do offer adjustable color temperature for less than the LIFX White 800 bulbs. There many other products in the Lightify lineup, including a recessed LED light, a color-changing lightstrip, and an outdoor lighting kit, but it’s unclear if they all work with Alexa. Regardless, all of these products will need to connect to Alexa through a SmartThings or Wink hub.

TCP Connected Smart Bulbs (via SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub)

TCP Connected bulbs are far from the best solution on the market. They require their own additional hub and offer lackluster performance. But they do also work with Alexa if you connect them to a SmartThings or Wink hub.

Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets

Belkin Wemo Switch

In some respects this an extension of lighting, but there’s much more that you can control with smart switches, plugs, and outlets. From ceiling fans to garbage disposals, there are plenty of things you can make “smart” with a switch or outlet. And if you use the products below, you’ll be able to control those devices with Alexa, too.

Belkin WeMo Light Switch

If you want a simple on/off switch that will work with Alexa, the WeMo

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

The Insight Switch includes all of the same features as the regular WeMo Switch, but adds in the ability to monitor the energy usage of whatever device is plugged into it. It’s a nifty feature for just $10 more than the Wemo Switch, but it’s doubtful you can ask Alexa how much energy your coffee maker is using.

iHome Smart Plug (via Wink Hub)

Similar to Belkin’s Wemo switches, the iHome Smart Plug allows you to remotely turn devices and lights on and off. It also works with Apple HomeKit (giving it Siri support), Nest, and Wink. Even though it uses WiFi, it will only work with Alexa when connected through a Wink hub.

Samsung SmartThings Outlet (via SmartThings Hub)

SmartThings was making its own outlet long before Samsung acquired the startup, and still makes it to this very day. It works over ZigBee instead of WiFi, meaning it will require a SmartThings hub if you want to control it with Alexa.

TP-Link HS100 Smart Plug

TP-Link’s HS100 is another WiFi smart plug that connects directly to Alexa, bypassing the need for a hub.

TP-Link HS110 Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring

TP-Link’s HS110 is very similar to Belkin’s Wemo Insight Switch, packaging energy monitoring into a smart plug that connects to your phone and Alexa over WiFi.

D-Link WiFi Smart Plugs

Similar to TP-Link, D-Link also offers two smart plugs that work with Alexa—the regular DSP-W110 smart plug and the energy monitoring DSP-W215 smart plug.

Insteon Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets (via Insteon Hub)

Unlike other DIY smart home systems, Insteon itself makes the majority of its compatible devices, including dimmers, switches, outlets, and plugs. Thanks to Insteon’s Echo integration, all of these switch-based devices can be controlled with Alexa. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

GE Z-Wave Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets (via SmartThings Hub)

GE might be getting out of the appliance business, but the company sells plenty of smart switches, dimmers, and outlets/plugs. Amazon doesn’t specifically note that these products work with Alexa, but they are compatible with the SmartThings hub, meaning they should work with Alexa just fine.

Leviton Switches, Dimmers, and Outlets (via SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub)

Just like GE, Leviton makes smart switches, dimmers, and outlets that can be controlled with Alexa via a SmartThings or Wink hub.

Lutron Caséta Wireless Switches, Dimmers, and Remotes

Lutron Caséta Wireless In-Wall Dimmer Kit (with Smart Bridge)

Lutron is arguably the biggest name when it comes to switches and dimmers. The company uses its own proprietary wireless system called Lutron ClearConnect, which means these devices will only connect to the Caséta Wireless Smart Bridge or the Wink hub. If you decide to purchase these Lutron products, the only advantage the smart bridge gives you over the Wink hub is HomeKit support, so it really depends on whether you want to be part of Apple’s ecosystem or Wink’s. Regardless, you shouldn’t have a problem connecting them to Alexa via Wink or the Lutron bridge.

Enerwave Switches, Dimmers and Outlets (via SmartThings Hub)

Enerwave is not nearly as well-known as Lutron, GE, or Leviton, but the company’s Z-Wave products do work with the SmartThings hub. While not explicitly stated as compatible, Enerwave switches, dimmers, and outlets should work with Alexa.

Evolve Switches, Dimmers and Outlets (via SmartThings Hub)

Like Enerwave, Evolve is not well-known, but the company’s switches, dimmers, and outlets are compatible with SmartThings, which means they should also work with Alexa.

Locks, Cameras, and Home Security

August Smart Locks

While the security of your front door is not something everyone wants to mess with right off the bat, you better believe that locks are getting smarter too. Nearly all major lock companies—plus some startups—are getting into the game. Smart locks not only sense your presence (via your smartphone) and unlock automatically. They also allow you to issue temporary digital keys to anyone you’d like to grant temporary entrance into your home.

August Smart Lock (2nd Gen)

The second-gen August Smart Lock integrates with Alexa in a surprisingly unique way. It’s actually the only smart lock that you can lock with Alexa (unlocking is available to all Alexa-compatible smart locks), thanks to a safety feature that requires you to tell Alexa a special PIN code. You can also ask Alexa if the door is locked or unlocked—offering some valuable peace of mind when you’re away from home.

Scout Alarm

While not the only security-related system on this list, Scout Alarm is the only pure security system that connects to Alexa. The company offers a wealth of Alexa commands, including the ability to arm/disarm your system and call for help.

Netgear Arlo Security Cameras

Arlo Pro Security System

Thanks to the Echo Show, you can view live feeds from compatible security cameras on its touchscreen. Netgear is one of the first manufacturers to offer this integration, and our tests found that the Netgear Arlo Pro is the best value outdoor security camera you can buy.

Ring Video Doorbells and Security Cameras

Ring Video Doorbell

Like the Netgear Arlo cameras, live feeds from Ring doorbells and cameras can also be viewed on the Echo Show. We’ve tested the Ring Stick Up Cam, which you can read about in our roundup of the best outdoor security cameras.

Heating and Cooling

Nest Learning Thermostat

Amazon recently expanded Alexa’s capabilities, adding support for thermostats. Thanks to the Alexa Skills Kit, you can now control the temperature of your home, as well as a few heating and cooling extras.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Until very recently, this was undoubtedly one of the most sought-after Alexa integrations, spawning numerous IFTTT integrations. For the past few months, you could only control the Next Thermostat through IFTTT or the Wink hub, but now it has been integrated directly with Alexa.

Honeywell Lyric Thermostat (via SmartThings Hub)

Not one to let startups steal its thunder, long-time thermostat maker Honeywell created its own take on the Nest concept called the Honeywell Lyric Thermostat. The latest version works with Apple HomeKit and now Alexa, thanks to the company’s integration with SmartThings. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

 

Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 Thermostat

Honeywell Total Connect Comfort Thermostats (via SmartThings Hub)

While not as pretty as their cousin, the Lyric thermostat, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort thermostats are just as feature rich, but with a bigger focus on scheduling. And thanks to an official integration with SmartThings, they can now be controlled by Alexa as well.

Ecobee3 Smarter WiFi Thermostat

The Ecobee3 was the first smart thermostat to integrate directly with Alexa, without the need for a hub. It was also one of the first thermostats to support Apple HomeKit.

Sensi WiFi Programmable Thermostat

The Sensi is a less well-known smart thermostat from Emerson, which makes it somewhat suprising that it’s the second thermostat to integrate directly with Alexa. The Sensi doesn’t have a fancy color screen or an unusual design, but it packs scheduling smarts and internet connectivity into a relatively affordable package.

Haiku Home Ceiling Fans

This April, Alexa will be able to control Haiku Home ceiling fans, with the ability to adjust the lights and fan speed. All Haiku fans with the company’s SenseMe technology, including its H, I, and L Series fans, will work with this new integration.

Keen Home Smart Vents (via SmartThings Hub)

Keen Home Smart Vent

If you have trouble regulating heating and cooling to different rooms in your home, Keen Home Smart Vents offer a great solution. They can integrate with your thermostat via Nest, SmartThings, and Lowes’ Iris to adjust air flow into individual rooms, preventing them from getting too hot or cold. And when connected to a SmartThings hub, you can also open and close these vents through Alexa. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Automotive

Automatic Car In Driveway

The Echo and Alexa are quickly conquering the home, and with new integrations like Ford Sync they’re also popping up in our cars and portable garages. There aren’t many compatible devices on the market just yet, but it’s only a matter of time until more are released.

Automatic

The Automatic is a small device that connects to your car’s diagnostic port and beams driving data like fuel level, check engine light codes, and more to your smartphone via BluetoothWith the company’s Alexa integration, you can ask Alexa how much fuel you have, where you last parked, and even how much you drove over a given time period.

Garageio

Garageio is a small, WiFi-enabled device that you can connect to up to three garage doors (depending on the model you buy) to remotely open and close them from your phone. With the Amazon Echo and similar devices, you can open and close your garage doors simply by asking asking Alexa. Technology compatible with Amazon Echo, Alexa

Smoke Alarms in Single Family Homes

Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

Smoke Alarms in Single Family Homes – One of the most important things you can do for your family is to install smoke alarms and make sure they have new batteries. Unfortunately, people all around the country die every day simply because they were caught in a fire that could have been avoided if a smoke alarm had been installed. There is never a reason not to have one and if you cannot afford the $10, most fire stations will offer them free.  Contact Ted with Plano Texas Handyman to assess your fire protection plan 214-507-3415.

-Both commercial buildings and homes are required to build and maintain under- certain codes. These codes cover a number of things designed to keep occupants healthy and safe, with the number one being a smoke alarm. The thing to remember is that these codes can and do change. Therefore, if you plan to remodel your home or build a new one, it is crucial that you learn the current codes.

Interestingly, many families are still not sure where the smoke alarms should be placed. Just remember that even for a small home or apartment you need more than one alarm. One area would be inside each of the bedrooms. This way, every family member is protected and not caught by surprise. You can place these on the wall behind the door or in a corner where they will not even be noticed.

Another place is in the hallway, both up and downstairs. Although you will have the protection in each bedroom, you also need to protect the pathway leading into and out of the bedrooms. Make sure you have a smoke alarm in the garage, in stairwells, in rooms with a fireplace, and in the kitchen. In fact, many people will install smoke alarms in each room. Again, they are inexpensive and they do save lives! The only places you would not install a smoke alarm is in an attic or crawlspace. However, if those spaces are ever converted to living space, then you should add one.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), recommends one Smoke Alarm on every floor, in every sleeping area, and in every bedroom. In new construction, the Smoke Alarms must be AC powered and interconnected. See “Agency Placement Recommendations” for details. For additional coverage, it is recommended that you install a Smoke Alarm in all rooms, halls, storage areas, finished attics, and basements, where temperatures normally remain between 40° F (4° C) and 100° F (38° C). Make sure no door or other obstruction could keep smoke from reaching the Smoke Alarms. More specifically, install Smoke Alarms:

On every level of your home, including finished attics and basements.
Inside every bedroom, especially if people sleep with the door partly or completely closed.
In the hall near every sleeping area. If your home has multiple sleeping areas, install a unit in each. If a hall is more than 40 feet long (12 meters), install a unit at each end.
At the top of the first-to-second floor stairway, and at the bottom of the basement stairway.
IMPORTANT! Specific requirements for Smoke Alarm installation vary from state to state and from region to region. Check with your local Fire Department for current requirements in your area. It is recommended AC or AC/DC units be interconnected for added protection.

In addition to the battery-operated smoke alarms, there are also models that are connected and operated from the home�s electrical system. Even so, these units have battery backup should you lose power. For this reason, it is important that you remember to keep these batteries current. In most cases, people will set a schedule by which they replace all the batteries at once. This way, they know for sure the batteries are new.

If you have an older home, you can expect that any remodeling will require that you bring things up to code. To do this, permits will be needed. The only time things would be different is if the remodeling project does not include a lot of work opening plaster or drywall on the walls and/or ceiling. This means you would not be opening up the walls where the electrical system could be accessed. In this situation, you would simply use the battery-operated smoke alarm. This investment is one of the best you can make!

Top Reasons Why You Need A Home Surveillance System

Security Camera Reviews

Top Reasons Why You Need A Home Surveillance System – With the advancement of the technology and the reducing prices of the cameras and other electronic devices, home surveillance systems have become a common household option. It was just a decade back that such a system was a high tech luxury to a multimillionaire’s mansion.

On the other hand, crime is always on the rise, no one wishes to be left out of any possible protection.People may choose home surveillance systems for many reasons. Here are five of the top reasons for you to have one for your own house.  Technology is a double-edged sword. While innovation and upgrades can have several benefits for us, they can also be used to cause trouble.

The majority of us reap its advantages, but a few with vested interests continue to abuse it and make the lives for the rest of us miserable.  The security camera is one of the wonders of modern technology, which is used at homes as well as in offices. It has few drawbacks as well.

The advantages, however, outnumber the disadvantages, and this revolutionary equipment continues to be popular with those serious about keeping their loved ones and assets safe and secure. If you’re thinking of installing security cameras at your home or office, but are still in two minds, this post should help clear your confusion.  Top Reasons Why You Need A Home Surveillance System

Feel safe and sleep tight

Most people are afraid of being robbed. It may not be a phobia (such as Harpaxophobia- Fear of being robbed or Scelerophibia- Fear of bad men, burglars) but once in awhile you may also wake up in the middle of the night from a sudden noise. Then you will find it hard to go to sleep without making sure that no one has entered the house. A home surveillance system will be the perfect answer to such worries. With such a system installed, you may visualize the front door, back door and any other possible entry points from the comfort of your bedroom. You can even pay a fee to a security firm and have them monitor the house using your surveillance system all day long. It may cost a bit, but the secure feeling you get from such a system is priceless.

Discourage potential burglars

You may not want to catch criminals and produce them before courts as a service to the community. All you want is to discourage potential criminals from attempting a burglary. If you can install a surveillance system with visible cameras, burglars may very well look for other targets. Some people use dummy cameras for this purpose. These are non-functioning cameras with beeping red lights that give a very close resemblance to real cameras. Only an expert on the close inspection can tell the difference. So, if there are original cameras things get much better.  Top Reasons Why You Need A Home Surveillance System

As court evidence

Most of the time, people get robbed but the burglars leave no trace behind. With a remote home surveillance system you will have hard evidence against the burglars which can be produced before courts. The law enforcement agencies will trace the culprits using your videos. A remote system will record the videos at a distant location so that the burglars will not a stand a chance of destroying any recorded data, even if they turn your house upside down.

Nanny cameras

Some parents can never be fully assured unless they have a direct view of their children; nanny camera is the answer to such anxious parents. You can install a nanny camera at your child’s room and monitor the activities from your mobile, tablet or laptop even if you are many miles away. You will catch an unattended child, a nanny abusing your child or any other emergency at home and have options to act on accordingly.   Top Reasons Why You Need A Home Surveillance System

Stay informed

Other than the advantages given above, some people just want to stay informed. They prefer to know who’s by the front door before they walk out from their bedroom. If you feel the same then you may appreciate a surveillance system which shows you who are walking through the gate and who are standing by the door long before you stand up from your chair. Advantages of a home surveillance system are many. In the modern world you will never be fully secured without one. And with the current prices one has little argument for not having one either. So buy a home surveillance system today, if you are one of the few people not to have one already gained immense popularity as an effective security measure, thanks to the plethora of benefits it offers.

Advantages

1. Deter Crime
This is the biggest and the most obvious benefit of installing security cameras. Once they are placed, you will be able to see their effect on people almost immediately. Even if they are placed discreetly, you will start feeling a sense of security, which is priceless. Whether you install the cameras in your home or at the workplace, you can prevent crime from occurring. The mere sight of the camera staring back at them, and the sheer thought of getting caught red-handed are intimidating enough for mischief-makers to be on their best behavior as they would know that their identity and illegal activity have been captured. Whether you’re experiencing problems related to theft, punctuality, or productivity, your security camera can provide you with the solutions. It empowers you and prevents your home and office from becoming easy targets.

2. Monitor Scenarios and Activities
It is extremely easy to work with security camera systems as they can be placed anywhere as long as there is a power source close by. They come in all shapes and sizes; some are tiny enough to be hidden in plants, pictures, photo frames, etc. Depending on your needs you can buy either hidden cameras or mountable ones. Never let anyone or anything suspicious out of your sight with security cameras. And while it is recommended that you avoid buying dummy cameras, one cannot stress enough on the importance of fixing real cameras as a solid security measure. Criminals are smart and dummy cameras give themselves away, so there’s really no point in having them. Real cameras, on the other hand, are extremely helpful as they enable you to monitor the activities of people visiting your home and office as well as the goings-on at these places. This is a great way to detect suspicious people and keep tabs on their activities.

 

4. Arrive at the Right Decisions
Footage from security cameras can help you make correct and fair decisions when settling disputes, both in domestic as well as professional scenarios. Whether it is dealing with a situation involving disagreements within your family, among your employees, or between a customer and your service staff, your doubts can be laid to rest with the help of your camera. Incorrect, inappropriate or fabricated claims made by customers or other authorities can be sorted out when you make your security camera your ally.

5. Maintain Records
So you got to know of something that happened outside your home or office about a fortnight ago and curiosity is getting the better of you? You can douse it by simply looking up your security records. Cameras record and document everything they see systematically, i.e. as per the date and the time of the event. Whether it is a crime or a minor tiff, your camera chronicles it, thereby making it easy for you to investigate the actual happenings.  Top Reasons Why You Need A Home Surveillance System

Disadvantages
1. Privacy Is an Issue
There have been a few instances in the past where security cameras have stirred up controversies, especially in professional setups. There have been cases where employees have objected to being under constant surveillance without their permission and citing the ‘invasion of privacy’ as the reason. A few have also resorted to taking legal action against their employers in relation to this. Critics of security camera systems have taken offense to them being placed in offices and argued that doing so implies that the employer has either already assumed or is convinced that his employees are up to no good and will do something wrong which is why their activities need to be recorded.

2. It Can be a Costly Affair|
While dummy cameras may not be expensive, the real ones costs hundreds, even thousands of dollars depending on the features and the number of cameras and monitoring systems you buy. Getting them installed and their maintenance means added costs. If you’re thinking of installing them yourself, lay that idea to rest unless you have good knowledge of wiring systems or you may end up damaging the cameras.  Top Reasons Why You Need A Home Surveillance System

3. They Can be Vulnerable
When we, as users of security cameras, try to keep ourselves updated on the latest in security systems, we should not forget that intruders and criminals are doing the same too. A clever trespasser will probably know all about them and may have figured out a way to go undetected. Further, tech-savvy criminals might have understood the technology and worked out ways to disable/disconnect them from their power source. Plus, if he detects your cameras as fake/dummies, they can be utterly useless in any crime prevention. In worst cases, hackers can play havoc with your security camera system by using the Internet and use them to spy on you instead. This makes security cameras vulnerable to damage and/or misuse.

4. Can’t Stop Theft
Cameras enable users to record footage for later viewing, and to help nab criminals, and receive justice from the law. They cannot, however, stop a crime when it is in progress. They do not alert neighbors or the police like an alarm system would. This means that you will incur losses even as you run to the court, make insurance claims and reorder stolen inventory, which may no longer make you feel absolutely safe and even cause you to lose faith in them.

Conclusion
Before making the important decision of installing security camera systems, it is better to be equipped with complete knowledge about them, as that will enable you to make an informed decision and help you choose a camera that fulfills your needs and expectations. Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons of setting up this technological marvel, you will feel better about your choice.  Top Reasons Why You Need A Home Surveillance System.

 

About Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415, Contact Ted

HANDYMAN – Retired Corporate Executive: Technology, Remodel, Maintenance
HANDYMAN – Retired Corporate Guy: Engineering background, experienced professional.

Handyman – I am a retired corporate executive who loves to help others, and I like to stay busy. Honest, dependable and thorough. Do you have projects around your home that you want or need done? Do you need something assembled or installed? Or, have you started something that needs to be completed? Do you have an appliance needing repair? If so, I’ve been doing it for years. Please look over my capabilities www.planotesaxhandyman.com and give me a call or text if there is something you need done…. please include detailed information about what you need and where you are located. I’m competent, honest and reasonable.  We take over where Home Depot and Lowe’s leave you wondering…  The best handyman in the area, can do all your projects.

All types of home repair, remodeling projects including:
Small appliance repair
Home Inspection Services – presale home inspections
Attic remodels and Storage Renovations
Bathroom remodels, tile installation
Electrical work, breakers, lights, plugs and any modifications
Kitchen renovations, garbage disposers, dishwashers installed, microwaves
Painting of rooms, front door staining and painting
Home Inspection Make ready to sell – Real Estate
Christmas toys assembled
Christmas decorations assembled and installed
Kwikset and Schlage locks re-keyed
Fence staining
Garage remodels, garage shelving, garage epoxy floors
Overhead garage shelving
Deck repair and deck staining
Technology and security systems
Wireless cameras, monitors, surveillance systems
Security & Surveillance Systems
Smart Home Systems
Power washing, decks, fences, driveways, siding, etc.
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Small carpentry projects
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Small electrical repairs and installations (new light fixtures, outlets, ceiling fans, etc)
TV and Home Entertainment systems installed
Small plumbing repairs (including replacing faucets, sinks, repairing leaks, running toilets, garbage disposers, etc.)
Drywall repair—holes and cracks repaired, holes in doors repaired
Window and Door installation, screens repaired
Install cabinets and shelving
Appliances installed, washer and dryer repairs.
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Security Camera System Reviews

Security Camera Reviews

Security Camera System Reviews – Looking for the best security camera system? You’ve come to the right place. At Plano Texas Handyman, we’ve spent hundreds of hours testing and researching just to find out the answer for you. Providing security to your property, whether it is home or office is an important portfolio and, as a result, people always put their best effort to fit the best security system to solve their surveillance issues.

Security cameras are powerful deterrents to check unlawful activities and are widely using for indoor and outdoor surveillance. Security cameras can provide vital clues to the police to identify and trace the people involved in unlawful activities let it be a criminal tress passing, burglary or mob attack or arson. To track all the movements inside and outside of a premise, you need to use the suitable security camera system. There are now security camera systems that use ai security software that came help to protect your home or business. Of course, there are a lot of camera systems out there for you to choose from. You will be pretty much spoilt for choice and you might just find a Large range of security cameras out there might be helpful when protecting your business or your home.

Presently there are 12 security camera systems commonly using for surveillance activities. They are Bullet, Dome, Covert, Outdoor, Discreet, Infrared (Night Vision), Day and Night, Varifocal, Network/IP, Wireless, PTZ/Speed Domes and High Definition Cameras. Each of these cameras having its specialties and are designed to meet their special objectives. Security Camera System Reviews

On a general category, the surveillance includes watching your beloved ones in your absence, taking care of your home and premises while you are away, keep on sending security alerts and video clips to your PC or Mobile phones, etc. This kind of security surveillance let you have a full control of your valuable and beloved ones when you are physically away from the location and let you stay connected.

Some of the important features of security camera system:
It is virtually impossible to stop a crime happening, but it is possible to track crime and give valuable leads to the investigating agencies. To accomplish these objectives, best home security camera system has a very pivotal role to play. Every surveillance camera has different paramount features, and customers can select a best security camera system matching to their requirements. Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 for more information. Security Camera System Reviews

Some of the essential for a security camera system are High Definition Resolution, DVR Hard Drive for Recording, Remote Viewing Capability, Infrared Detection for Night Vision and Motion Activation. At least these minimum five features are important and you should make sure that the security camera system is offering all these features.

High Definition Resolution – Cameras with high definition resolution can capture minute details of incidents that a low-resolution camera cannot record. It is important to have maximum details of criminal incidents that can help to nab the culprits. So look for a camera that has a high resolution and higher pixel. If the pixel rates are high, then camera resolution will be more. The resolutions are given in horizontal and vertical numbers for example 1280 x 800. Therefore, look for cameras with higher resolution rates.

DVR Hard Drive for Recording: It is practically not possible to man somebody to monitor and record the activities beamed by the security camera system. In most of the cases, you need to have your premise on surveillance 24 hours throughout the year. In such a scenario, you should have a digital video recording device that can take care of the complete movements by recording. The latest DVR is featuring with intelligent searching options that will ease up to locate and pinpoint the exact clip of the event with date and time stamp. Therefore, it is a must to have a DVR Hard Drive for recording along with the surveillance system. Security Camera System Reviews

Remote viewing – The modern security systems have changed the way close circuit monitoring was done earlier. They have created apps and interfaces that can help to view images recorded easily on your Personal computer or Android devices.
Infrared Vision/Good night vision – It is useless to have a surveillance system that cannot show clear pictures even in total darkness. Thus, it is important that one keeps this in mind while choosing the best security surveillance system with best Infra-Red night vision to provide great pictures in total darkness to great distances.
Motion Activation: This is a wonderful feature where the mechanism starts recording in the event any motion is detected. This feature is excellent when there are no much activities, and you want to record the movement when there is actually some movement happen or some untoward incident occurs. This feature will allow save the recording disc space and also save the cost of operation. This system is good where you required 24 hours surveillance and need the recording only if there is some suspicious movements happen.

The 2 Best Security Camera System Reviews 2017
When looking for a security camera system, it’s easier if you begin with a listing of the best ones that provide you all of the specifics to help you make the best choice for your needs. Below are the top 10 best security camera systems, and what makes me are recommend buying them. Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 for more information. Security Camera System Reviews

#1. Arlo Smart Home Security Camera System – 2 HD, 100% Wire Free Indoor/Outdoor Cameras with Night Vision

This camera system is 100 Percent Wire-Free and provides HD quality pictures that are really good and clear. The Arlo Smart Home Security Camera System can detect any motion easily and also can capture excellent night vision images too. The camera is also able to capture clips and can send you alerts whether you’re at home or travelling enhancing a better peace of mind. It has the look, style and is one of the best-looking cameras.

It’s free apps enable remote monitoring from anywhere. Their smart looking cameras provide clarity and sharper details and make it easier to watch any videos recorded from your personal computer or any Android device using their smart app.

Key Features:
Wire free: As it is a 100% wire-free design and has magnetic mounts, one easily places them anywhere without having to worry about wires and discreetly monitor their home from all possible angles. Security Camera System Reviews

Great night vision: Their night vision cameras have HD clarity even in darkness and can capture pictures till large distances.

Easy motion detection: Arlo cameras use a sensor that detects changes in heat to detect motion. Arlo records and alerts only when some movement is detected, so no battery power is wasted. Thus along with its own app it uses these sensors to detect motion and notify the owner on any motion so that quick action can be taken.

Weatherproof: These weatherproof cameras are strong and sturdy and can be installed indoors/outdoors easily for security so one can even monitor the exterior of their homes.

The Pros and Cons of buying this camera are:
Pros
Provides HD picture quality
Very smart looking
100% wire free and can be set up anywhere.
Great night vision and give HD picture clarity in darkness too.
Receive quick notification for any motion alert.
Provides up to 7 days of cloud DVR storage
Can withstand all sorts of weather conditions
Cons
There is no system to stop video when motion ends and one has to provide an arbitrary time and low battery life
Since cameras are in sleep mode until motion triggered, sometimes it takes a bit too long to start recording.
Not 24/7 monitoring like our #2 wired system is
Having a rating of 4/5 stars by Amazon reviewers is a cool endorsement to consider the security camera a pretty decent surveillance system. Being all wireless is its main advantage and can be mounted easily anywhere, indoors or outdoors. Arlo Smart provide HD picture quality with maximum clarity and motion alert too. Being weatherproof and having seven days of cloud coverage are huge benefits of this camera and is considered as the best home security camera system.
Amcrest 960H
#2 – Amcrest 960H Video Security System – Four 800 + TVL Weatherproof Cameras 65ft IR LED Night Vision, 960H DVR, Long Distance Transmit Range (984ft), 500GB HD

Amcrest 960H Video Security System is a strong and sturdy weatherproof camera with good night vision and records till quite a distance. It can record up to six days of activities in high definition, has a backup feature and acclaimed positive feedbacks in surveillance camera reviews. Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 for more information. Security Camera System Reviews

Some of the highlighted features are as follows:
Day and night surveillance: This security camera is a combination of four high-resolution 800+TVL cameras fitted with 3.6 mm lens for better resolution and clarity. The CCTV resolutions are measured in TV lines, and the more the TV lines, the better the resolution will be. The lens has 75 wide angle view and is supported by two dozen Infrared LED lights to offer visual clarity. They provide crystal clear pictures till about 65 feet.

Huge memory: It has a huge Pre-Installed Hard Drive and can be expandable up to 3 TB for 6 Days of Continuous Recording at high definition. It can record for a longer period of up to 30+ Days on low resolutions.

Best Motion detection and alerts: Using this system, you can program the motion setting requirements of the camera and make a plan for the security alert system 24×7. Its motion sensor can be tuned to meet the individual requirements to prevent false alarm alerts. The system activates DVR buzzer when it detects suspicious movements as per the setting, send warning email and starts recording.

Remote viewing: The modern surveillance camera systems changed the closed-circuit security monitoring by utilizing all the possibilities for remote access. The system used advanced internal UI, and created unique and wonderful interfaces for managing the device remotely or watching images by using personal computer browsers or your Android smartphone.

The pros and cons of buying this camera are:
Pros
It is easy to install
Produces very clear picture
It is affordable
Its night vision is great
Can record for long hours
These are heavy duty metal weatherproof cameras
Cons
Useless to have such a huge hard drive
Such high-resolution pictures are also not required
What gives Amcrest 960H Video Security System a 4.5 star in Amazon product review is that it is the best. It delivers high quality and clear pictures at a really affordable rate. You can expect them to deliver best pictures even in the poorest of lights. Being easy to install and totally weatherproof makes them popular among customers. Their remote viewing is another feature that makes them suitable for home and office protection. Security Camera System Reviews

Home Automation, Remote, Wireless

Home Automation, Remote, Wireless

Home Automation, Remote, Wireless – You know the feeling. You’re on your way to work or the airport, and you can’t remember whether you turned off the lights and turned on the security system or locked the door. Do you go back home? Continue on your way and hope for the best? Or do you simply pull out your smart phone, open an app or two, and make sure everything is OK? Convenience, control, and peace of mind are the powerful combination that the newest smart products are selling.

With mainstream corporations such as Amazon, AT&T, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Staples, and Verizon introducing smart products and services that let you run your home from your phone (and other devices), this might actually be the year that home automation catches on in a big way-or at least becomes difficult to ignore, given those companies’ fat advertising budgets. Home Automation, Remote, Wireless

Product selection is growing, with 37 billion smart products expected on the market by the year 2020, says network- ­hardware maker Cisco. Already there: Ranges and ovens from Dacor and GE can be set to preheat during your drive home, so you can get dinner on the table faster. A side-by-side refrigerator from Whirlpool texts you if a door is ajar, helping you save energy and prevent food from spoiling. Certain dryers can tell you if your dryer exhaust duct is clogged, which prolongs drying time, wastes energy, and is a fire hazard. ­Appliances from Kenmore and LG can self-diagnose problems via your smart phone, potentially saving on repair costs or time waiting for the service technician.

The public is definitely intrigued. Almost 20 percent of Consumer Reports subscribers already use their phone or tablet to remotely control some of their home, and almost 70 percent of those who don’t voiced interest in doing so in the future, according to our latest survey. Thermostats, security systems, blinds, lighting, and door locks are the home items readers most want to manage remotely. Another growing area is remote speakers. Already, there are companies out there who have begun to see the direction wireless technology is going in and specialize in installing home automation audio devices. You can search online for home audio installation near me and find a company who can install wireless and automatic speakers that you can activate from your smart phone.

Picks and pans from consumer report tests
According to Consumer Reports, they put their experts in the labs and their investigative reporters to work to see which products can make your life easier, which fail at their basic function, and which may leave you vulnerable. Our picks and pans are based on months of testing, and analysis of benefits, payback time, up-front and ongoing costs, and other concerns. Here are our findings:

Your Wi-Fi network is vulnerable. Even if the security settings on your home’s router limit access to devices you’ve authorized, you need to be just as careful about the security settings of each device you add to the network, whether it’s a whole-house suite of products controlling lighting, ­security, and smoke/CO alarms, or just an Internet-enabled fork. Otherwise the ­device could allow hackers-and whomever they sell your data to-access to other connected products in your home, such as the computers on your home network. In one cyber ­attack, about 100,000 products, such as routers, TVs, and at least one connected refrigerator, sent out more than 750,000 phishing e-mails over two weeks, according to security consulting firm Proofpoint. The blame: weaknesses in their basic protections or setup. Proofpoint would not disclose the model of refrigerator, suspecting the user hadn’t changed the default password, but not every smart device is ­even designed for high security.
Privacy can be a problem. An unconnected “dumb” gadget shares no information that you might prefer to keep to yourself, such as when your home is empty. But a smart thermostat might be less discreet, alerting hackers when it’s in vacation mode. Or the history log of a smart-lock app might let thieves learn when you usually get home from work without having to stake out your house. Home Automation, Remote, Wireless

You could bet on the wrong horse. Connectivity is still in its infancy, with no clear winner among competing technologies. So you can control a product via its app on your phone, but you’ll need multiple apps to control your household, which isn’t all that convenient. The alternative, a suite of products from a single brand or that run on the same wireless standard, such as ZigBee or Z-Wave, leaves you vulnerable to ­potentially buying into the ­Betamax of smart products. And based on our testing, some product designs need refinement, unless you like being an ­unpaid beta tester.
Though certain connected products ­deliver, so far the promise of an easy, centrally controlled smart home has yet to catch up with reality. Home Automation, Remote, Wireless

What’s available now
The possibilities seem endless, judging from what’s available and the increased bundling by top-name companies of multiple products with one controller-and, of course, monthly fees. Home size and construction, plus the distance between devices, make a difference. Drywall and plywood should do fine, but nonporous materials such as plaster, brick, and stone could slow down or block signals.

1. Burglar alarm. Major providers offer multidevice systems that you can monitor from afar.

2. Generator. Lets you know whether the generator is working and can e-mail or text you and a service technician if there’s a problem.

3. Thermostat. Senses patterns in human presence and controls equipment accordingly.

4. Lighting. Lets you control lights from an app and set vacation schedules.

5. Smoke/CO detector. Can notify you and prompt the same-brand thermostat to shut off fuel-burning appliances.

6. Refrigerator. Alerts you if power is out and even if a door is left ajar.

7. Range. Lets you preheat the oven, set the timer, and check cooking status without being in the room.

8. Electronic door locks. Let you remotely lock or unlock and change who’s authorized to enter.

9. Water alarm or shutoff. Can text you when water is spilling from a pipe or an appliance; shutoffs can cut off your water main to minimize flooding.

10. Washer and dryer. Lets you start cycles and monitor progress, and alerts youif your dryer duct is clogged.

Smart product or dumb choice?
Internet-enabled products often cost more than their low-tech siblings. To tell whether they’re worth it, we test their “life improving” claims and their primary function. We also determine how easy these smart features are to set up and use. Here are several products, most of which we’ve tested, and whether we’d pay for them.

Home Automation System

Home Automation System

IRIS Home Automation System
With Iris you can simplify everyday events right from your smartphone. Walk in a room and your lights come on. Glass breaks and your siren sounds. Kids come home early and you get a notification. By connecting devices around your home with your mobile device, you can personalize Iris to the way you live.  Iris streamlines home management and puts power at your fingertips by connecting your Iris compatible smart devices through a single app. There, you can control and monitor each of them. As your family grows, so can your smart home. It’s as easy as adding an Iris compatible device to your network and connecting it to Iris.

What’s the Installation Process Like?
Plano Texas Handyman offers professional installation.  They have the peel and stick sensors as well. But if you get the thermostat or some GE switches or outlets you’ll need to incorporate the  professional to install them since they need wired into your home.

What are Your Monitoring Options?
Iris has two monitoring plans as well: Basic and Premium. Basic is free and Premium is $9.99/month. These aren’t professional monitoring plans though. The Basic plan lets one person view the previous 24 hours of activity and the Premium lets up to 6 people view the previous 14 days of activity. With Premium you can also record video and get more notifications. Both the Basic and Premium plans are monitored via b

 IRIS HOME AUTOMATION COMPARISON
Package Name
Equipment Cost
Iris HuB
Keypad
Motion Sensor
Door/Window Sensor
Keychain Remote
Smart Thermostat
Smart Plug
Panic Button
Smoke Detector
Water Sensor
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Wireless Indoor Camera
Wireless Outdoor Camera
Security Pack
$99.99
$59.99
(must have one)
1
1
2
$35.00 each
Starting at $110.00 each
$55.00 each
$50.00 each
$40.00 each or $55.00
(with CO detector) each
$50.00 each
$55.00 (with smoke detector) each
$175.00 each
$195.00 each
Automation Pack
$129.99
$59.99
(must have one)
$55.00 each
1
2
35.00 each
Starting at $110.00 each
1
1
$40.00 each or $55.00
(with CO detector) each
$50.00 each
$55.00 (with smoke detector) each
$175.00 each
$195.00 each
Monthly Monitoring
  • Free – Self Monitoring (Email, Text or Voice Alert) (Broadband)
  • $9.99 – Self-Monitored + Cell Phone Control of Iris + Remote Video Viewing (Broadband)

Home Automation Trends

Smart Home System

Home Automation Trends – When’s the last time you had a good heart-to-heart talk with your house? I mean a real soul-searching, tell-it-like-it-is discussion about your needs and desires? Too many homeowners neglect these meaningful tete-a-tetes, and as a result, they and their homes both fall into what can best be described as 20th-century ennui or, the not-so-smart home syndrome. Chill out, help’s on the way. Today’s latest home automation trends and systems enable your house to do everything it can to please you, from announcing that your carpets need cleaning to letting you know if your wine cellar temperature is a tad too high.

Welcome to home automation Home automation has been around since Joseph Henry pioneered the electric doorbell in 1831. Ever since, we’ve loved the idea of having our houses do things for us, making our home environment safer, cheaper to maintain, and hopefully saving us time that could be put to good use just goofing off. Call Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 and ask for Ted to discuss a system that fits into your needs.
Today’s smart homes do that — and more. Technology is moving rapidly past the programmable thermostat into an era that’s best described as Jetsonian. Home Automation Trends 

Here’s a taste:
Morning brings a graduated alarm that plays some of your favorite music. The volume builds slowly and the bedroom curtains gently part until you react and tell the alarm, “I’m snoozing!” In which case, the alarm quiets down for another 10 minutes of shut-eye. Meanwhile, the bathroom floors are already warming in anticipation of your arrival, and the coffee-maker starts brewing up some Italian roast. When you finally get down to breakfast, the voice of the automated home controller comes on the house speaker system to remind you to put bottles and newspapers at the end of the driveway because today is recycling pick-up.
Later, as you leave work for the day, you press a single “coming home” keypad button on your iPhone. In response, your house turns on the outdoor lights, brings up the indoor temperature from an energy-saving 65 degrees to a welcome-home 72, powers up the spa in similar energy-wise fashion, closes the living room and bedroom drapes, feeds the Susan Tedeschi channel from your Pandora account to the outdoor speakers, and tunes the bedroom TV to the Colbert Report so you can have some laughs as you ready for the hot tub.  Home Automation Trends 

Other functionality? Only limited by the imagination:
Your home emails you when your daughter gets home from school.
While on vacation, you check your home’s security cameras via iPhone.
Your sprinklers shut off when they sense rain.

Your home announces — in a commanding voice — that someone has left the automatic gate open to the pool.

Your home knows which rooms are empty and powers off lights, music and turns down the HVAC to that area to save energy. If you want find out more about HVAC services, check out https://stuartproair.com for information. There are some HVAC – based companies that provide services to customers who require HVAC maintenance. Many HVAC services find that using hvac software could help them manage their customers and services, giving them the support they need.

You are the controls; the controls are you.
Certainly there’s no shortage of excellent gadgets and gizmos designed to keep you safe, happy, and entertained at home. But the current evolution in home automation is about integrating all of a home’s systems into a centralized control that can be accessed from multiple entry points — home-based touch pads, computer screens, land-line telephones, cell phones, and mobile devices, such as iPads.

“Homes have their various systems,” says Mark Colegrove, Director of Sales and Marketing for Homeseer Technologies. “Lighting, entertainment, security. However, most of these systems don’t talk to each other. We’ve focused on integrating these systems, building a personalized experience based on your preferences, then automating everything so it works seamlessly, without any intervention.”  Home Automation Trends 

Leading the integration revolution are two components — switches that respond to automated signals, and easy-to-use software that allows a computer or dedicated controller to broadcast signals to its family of controls via wireless, infrared, radio waves, and hardwired connections. If you want to learn more about signal conditioning and controllers, check out www.vega.com/en/home_us/company/blog/2019/electronic-signal-conditioners.

Many types of switches are of the plug-and-play variety, making them off-the-shelf ready for the tech-savvy DIYer. For $30 to $100, you can plug a smart switch into a wall outlet or change an existing wall toggle switch to a smart switch that has a variety of capabilities, such as turning on and off devices and appliances:

At certain times of the day. at sunset, sunrise, or any programmable time.
when motion is sensed or when a signal is detected, such as the sound of a doorbell. In response to voice recognition.  In response to temperature variations. Settling into the software interface, a homeowner can set up and direct the switches to accomplish any number of tasks. Your individualized program is then available via the internet from anywhere in the world, and can be adjusted with the click of a mouse or the tap of a smart phone screen. The result is a highly personalized environment — a house that reacts to individual needs and wants, and even anticipates changes.
Controlling your home with app-titude  Home Automation Trends 

Most manufacturers of whole-house automation systems have jumped on the app bandwagon with programs that allow you to adjust appliances, review surveillance footage, tweak temperature and humidity settings, lock (or unlock) your front door, and a host of other controls — all from any remote location.
Unfortunately, most apps are proprietary for that manufacturer’s controls and devices. Fortunately, that’s changing, and the home automation industry is moving toward system controls that are brand agnostic. In the mobile department, apps for Windows®, Windows CE, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad are leading the way, and the open-sourced Android market is starting to heat up.
An app sampling:
Control4 My House: Whole house audio, video, lighting & HVAC control from your iPhone or iPod Touch (I found out on this important site on how I could control large appliances such as HVAC Systems through an app). The app requires a Control4 home automation system. The app is free, but Control4 requires you to buy a Mobile Navigator’s license for $300.
http://itunes.apple.com/app/control4-my-house/id293668646?mt=8
iPhone for Homeseer: A free app that offers full control over systems installed by Homeseer.

CF iViewer: A free app with full control and feedback from your home automation system onyour iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, including live status information about your home’s temp, lights and energy consumption.
over automated devices from HAI. Price: $49.99 (HAI also has apps for Windows Smartphones).

Green, automatically
Energy management is another hot home automation topic. With a full array of energy consumption data available via touchscreen, energy-aware homeowners can keep tabs on hot water usage, solar gain, HVAC output, and temperatures throughout the house. Control functions let the owner adjust temps and other variables to lower energy use.
“It’s the Toyota Prius dashboard effect,” says Greg Rhoades, Assistant Director of Marketing for home automation giant HAI. “If you can see how much energy you’re using you’re probably more likely to reduce that energy consumption.”
Manufacturers like HAI are already moving toward the next step, which is to work with utility companies so that residential energy-management software and hardware can work with real-time cost data to automate home systems for maximum efficiency. For example, if your local utility signals that energy costs for certain off-peak hours are the lowest available, the home system can respond by adjusting heating appliances, such as a high-capacity hot water heater, to power up at that specific time. Similarly, air conditioning might power down during peak pricing, if only for a few minutes, to trim costs.
Bells and whistles? Sure—imagine your console screen can run graphs comparing your energy usage this month to last month’s, or last year’s. Or that you can chart your energy consumption versus national averages, or use the data to display your personal carbon footprint. The engagement possibilities alone are a gateway toward better energy management.

Security meets health care

On the home front, a system can offer a friendly, easy-to-use touchscreen interface for email, photos and music that also provides both email and voice reminders for doctor’s appointments and medicines. Video chats allow family members, doctors and other caregivers to check in on a regular basis.
While web cam monitoring has been around since way before Robert DeNiro snuck a video cam into Ben Stiller’s bedroom in Meet the Parents, current home systems can employ multiple tactics to keep your home safe. For example, motion detector technology allows you to keep tabs on everyone’s movements inside and outside your home, and radio frequency I.D. tags can even let your system know who belongs there — and who might not.
On the practical side, imagine your housekeeper is due to come over every other Tuesday between 2:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. You can program the system to allow entry at that time, and for your video cam to flash footage of your housekeeper via iPhone for positive I.D. Your system can confirm that the housekeeper has vacated the premises on schedule, and that the house is again locked and secure. Parents can apply a version of this scenario to confirm that young kids are home from school safely, on-time, and without any boyfriends tagging along.
Variants of security systems — easily monitored from remote locations — are a boon to the care of the elderly and infirm. On the home front, a system can offer a friendly, easy-to-use touchscreen interface for email, photos and music that also provides both email and voice reminders for doctor’s appointments and medicines. Video chats allow family members, doctors and other caregivers to check in on a regular basis.
More sophisticated tools are making their way to market, too. Motion-sensors imbedded in flooring can be programmed to “remember” the footfalls of the inhabitants, and to send out a warning signal to caregivers if an abnormality occurs, such as might happen if someone suffers a stroke. The sensors also send alarms for falls, and at the absence of normal everyday movement and activity.
“The grand idea of automation,” says Greg Rhoades, “is that while the individual control is great, what you’re really after is an eased lifestyle with less worry.”
Geeks not required
Thankfully, understanding modern home automation doesn’t require a degree in geekology. Nevertheless, before you plunge into the wild world of home automation, here’s a few techno-terms for the types of home automation systems you’re likely to encounter:
Zig bee and Z-wave are wireless home networking standards that let compatible devices share data, such as on/off commands for light switches, security sensors, smoke detectors and thermostats. They have extremely low power requirements and an effective range of up to 300 feet, making them ideal for household management.
X-10 is a protocol that carries control signals across standard electrical wire that already exists in the walls of your house. X-10-enabled devices are used for simple controls, such as turning lights and appliances off or on. The wired connections make the signals extremely reliable. Most X-10 products are reasonably priced, and the fact that they communicate using existing wiring means costly rewiring is unnecessary.
Insteon uses existing wires (power line) and radio-frequency communications to control automated devices. Insteon helped pioneer reliability for automation—a command sent through an Insteon controller is instantly confirmed; if something interrupts the transmission, the system immediately sends a back-up command.

Security & Surveillance

Home Security systems

Security & Surveillance – Looking for the best security camera system? You’ve come to the right place. Plano Texas Handyman has spent hundreds of hours researching just to find out the answer for you at an affordable price. Providing security to your property, whether it is home or office is an important portfolio and, as a result, people always put their best effort to fit the best security system to solve their surveillance issues. Call Ted at 214-507-3415 to talk about the options available for your home.

Alongside hiring the best security guards from companies like Iron Horse Security (read up on their CEO here), implementing the use of security cameras are powerful deterrents to check unlawful activities and are widely used for indoor and outdoor surveillance, especially in the absence of physical patrols. Security cameras can provide vital clues to the police to identify and trace the people involved in unlawful activities let it be a criminal tress passing, burglary or mob attack or arson. To track all the movements inside and outside of a premise, you need to use a suitable security camera system.


Some of the important features of security camera system:
It is virtually impossible to stop a crime happening, but it is possible to track crime and give valuable leads to the investigating agencies. To accomplish these objectives, the best home security camera system has a very pivotal role to play. Every surveillance camera has different paramount features, and customers can select a best security camera system matching to their requirements. Perhaps some home or business owners could consider contacting this CCTV camera Installation company to see which CCTV cameras they recommend for your property. From there, they could install them, increasing the security around your property. Hopefully, this will deter criminals.

Some of the essential for a security camera system are High Definition Resolution, DVR Hard Drive for Recording, Remote Viewing Capability, Infrared Detection for Night Vision and Motion Activation. At least these minimum five features are important and you should make sure that the security camera system is offering all these features. You should also consider the software that the camera uses. Making sure it has undergone proper pentesting will help keep any pesky hackers from peering through those cameras designed to keep you safe.

High Definition Resolution – Cameras with high definition resolution can capture minute details of incidents that a low-resolution camera cannot record. It is important to have maximum details of criminal incidents that Video Forensic Experts provide police with quality evidence of a crime being committed. So look for a camera that has a high resolution and higher pixel. If the pixel rates are high, then camera resolution will be more. The resolutions are given in horizontal and vertical numbers for example 1280 x 800. Therefore, look for cameras with higher resolution rates.

DVR Hard Drive for Recording: It is practically not possible to man somebody to monitor and record the activities beamed by the security camera system. In most of the cases, you need to have your premise on surveillance 24 hours throughout the year. In such a scenario, you should have a digital video recording device that can take care of the complete movements by recording. The latest DVR is featuring with intelligent searching options that will ease up to locate and pinpoint the exact clip of the event with date and time stamp. Therefore, it is a must to have a DVR Hard Drive for recording along with the surveillance system.

Remote viewing – The modern security systems have changed the way close circuit monitoring was done earlier. They have created apps and interfaces that can help to view images recorded easily on your Personal computer or Android devices.
Infrared Vision/Good night vision – It is useless to have a surveillance system that cannot show clear pictures even in total darkness. Thus, it is important that one keeps this in mind while choosing the best security surveillance system with best Infra-Red night vision to provide great pictures in total darkness to great distances.

Motion Activation: This is a wonderful feature where the mechanism starts recording in the event any motion is detected. This feature is excellent when there are no much activities, and you want to record the movement when there is actually some movement happen or some untoward incident occurs. This feature will allow save the recording disc space and also save the cost of operation. This system is good where you required 24 hours surveillance and need the recording only if there is some suspicious movements happen.

Plano Texas Handyman recommends the following systems:

Amcrest 960HAmcrest 960H Video Security System – Four 800 + TVL Weatherproof Cameras 65ft IR LED Night Vision, 960H DVR, Long Distance Transmit Range (984ft), 500GB HD

Looking for the best security camera system? You’ve come to the right place. At SecurityCameraSystemPro.com, we’ve spent hundreds of hours testing and researching just to find out the answer for you. Providing security to your property, whether it is home or office is an important portfolio and, as a result, people always put their best effort to fit the best security system to solve their surveillance issues.

Security cameras are powerful deterrents to check unlawful activities and are widely using for indoor and outdoor surveillance. Security cameras can provide vital clues to the police to identify and trace the people involved in unlawful activities let it be a criminal tress passing, burglary or mob attack or arson. To track all the movements inside and outside of a premise, you need to use the suitable security camera system.

Presently there are 12 security camera systems commonly using for surveillance activities. They are Bullet, Dome, Covert, Outdoor, Discreet, Infrared (Night Vision), Day and Night, Varifocal, Network/IP, Wireless, PTZ/Speed Domes and High Definition Cameras. Each of these cameras having its specialties and are designed to meet their special objectives.

On a general category, the surveillance includes watching your beloved ones in your absence, taking care of your home and premises while you are away, keep on sending security alerts and video clips to your PC or Mobile phones, etc. This kind of security surveillance let you have a full control of your valuable and beloved ones when you are physically away from the location and let you stay connected.

Check the Best-Selling Security Camera Systems

Some of the important features of security camera system:
It is virtually impossible to stop a crime happening, but it is possible to track crime and give valuable leads to the investigating agencies. To accomplish these objectives, best home security camera system has a very pivotal role to play. Every surveillance camera has different paramount features, and customers can select a best security camera system matching to their requirements.

Some of the essential for a security camera system are High Definition Resolution, DVR Hard Drive for Recording, Remote Viewing Capability, Infrared Detection for Night Vision and Motion Activation. At least these minimum five features are important and you should make sure that the security camera system is offering all these features.

High Definition Resolution – Cameras with high definition resolution can capture minute details of incidents that a low-resolution camera cannot record. It is important to have maximum details of criminal incidents that can help to nab the culprits. So look for a camera that has a high resolution and higher pixel. If the pixel rates are high, then camera resolution will be more. The resolutions are given in horizontal and vertical numbers for example 1280 x 800. Therefore, look for cameras with higher resolution rates.

DVR Hard Drive for Recording: It is practically not possible to man somebody to monitor and record the activities beamed by the security camera system. In most of the cases, you need to have your premise on surveillance 24 hours throughout the year. In such a scenario, you should have a digital video recording device that can take care of the complete movements by recording. The latest DVR is featuring with intelligent searching options that will ease up to locate and pinpoint the exact clip of the event with date and time stamp. Therefore, it is a must to have a DVR Hard Drive for recording along with the surveillance system.

Remote viewing – The modern security systems have changed the way close circuit monitoring was done earlier. They have created apps and interfaces that can help to view images recorded easily on your Personal computer or Android devices.
Infrared Vision/Good night vision – It is useless to have a surveillance system that cannot show clear pictures even in total darkness. Thus, it is important that one keeps this in mind while choosing the best security surveillance system with best Infra-Red night vision to provide great pictures in total darkness to great distances.

Motion Activation: This is a wonderful feature where the mechanism starts recording in the event any motion is detected. This feature is excellent when there are no much activities, and you want to record the movement when there is actually some movement happen or some untoward incident occurs. This feature will allow save the recording disc space and also save the cost of operation. This system is good where you required 24 hours surveillance and need the recording only if there is some suspicious movements happen.

When looking for a security camera system, it’s easier if you begin with a listing of the best ones that provide you all of the specifics to help you make the best choice for your needs. Below are the top 10 best security camera systems, and what makes me are recommend buying them. We suggest and support the following products:

Amcrest 960H Video Security System – Four 800 + TVL Weatherproof Cameras 65ft IR LED Night Vision, 960H DVR, Long Distance Transmit Range (984ft), 500GB HD

Amcrest 720Amcrest 960H Video Security System is a strong and sturdy weatherproof camera with good night vision and records till quite a distance. It can record up to six days of activities in high definition, has a backup feature and acclaimed positive feedbacks in surveillance camera reviews.

Some of the highlighted features are as follows:
Day and night surveillance: This security camera is a combination of four high-resolution 800+TVL cameras fitted with 3.6 mm lens for better resolution and clarity. The CCTV resolutions are measured in TV lines, and the more the TV lines, the better the resolution will be. The lens has 75 wide angle view and is supported by two dozen Infrared LED lights to offer visual clarity. They provide crystal clear pictures till about 65 feet.

Huge memory: It has a huge Pre-Installed Hard Drive and can be expandable up to 3 TB for 6 Days of Continuous Recording at high definition. It can record for a longer period of up to 30+ Days on low resolutions.

Best Motion detection and alerts: Using this system, you can program the motion setting requirements of the camera and make a plan for the security alert system 24×7. Its motion sensor can be tuned to meet the individual requirements to prevent false alarm alerts. The system activates DVR buzzer when it detects suspicious movements as per the setting, send warning email and starts recording.

Remote viewing: The modern surveillance camera systems changed the closed-circuit security monitoring by utilizing all the possibilities for remote access. The system used advanced internal UI, and created unique and wonderful interfaces for managing the device remotely or watching images by using personal computer browsers or your Android smartphone.

Amcrest 720P HD Over Analog (HDCVI) 8CH Video Security Systems –Eight 1.0 MP Weatherproof IP66 Bullet & Dome Cameras, 65ft IR LED Night Vision

This is a nice looking weatherproof camera again from Amcrest. It produces some really good HD quality pictures and has a great night vision. It is simple to install and can be monitored through PC or any Android phone. Its Lagging-free analog transmission shows activity in real-time and has a huge memory too.

Important features at a glance:
Provides crisp picture: Amcrest’s HD Over Analog (HDCVI) produces crisp and good resolutions to the surveillance industry, and there’s no struggle to identify crucial details in your footage and no gaps from lag in the feed. It provides high-resolution HD quality image.

Remote viewing: The new generation of security systems changed the closed-circuit surveillance by making remote access a reality. By going beyond an internal UI, they have created unique and wonderful interfaces for remotely managing or seeing your 960H system using common PC browsers or your Android smartphones.

Day and night surveillance: It provides great picture quality during the day with 3.6-millimeter lenses and a wide 75 ° viewing angles, along with high-intensity IR-LEDs for clear night vision even when lights are poor.

iOS/ Android Amcrest view app: This app by Amcrest is very easy to install by scanning the provided QR code on the surface of the DVR box, feed a name and press “start live preview.” The system is supported by active interface options for zoom, pan or tilt manoeuvrings. Also, it has switching features between streams and capturing screenshots. The app also has a playback option that helps to view recorded files with unlimited access by using your phone.