Contact sensors are mostly used for security purposes—they can let you (and the police) know if a window was opened, for instance. This year our Home of the Year winners seem to make more use of sensors than we’ve noticed before (or maybe we’re just now noticing), but it seems clear that sensors, especially used in creative ways, can be key features in making a control or automation system an important part of your lifestyle. Typical uses might be to detect when the garage door was left open or to remotely confirm that a service person has left the house and closed the gate (so the family dog doesn’t wander away).
Pennsylvania integrator Ryan Quinby of HouseLogix shared a couple of interesting, and practical, sensor applications his company has done.
Protect the Wine
Do you have a wine room, liquor cabinet or a beer fridge and maybe also some teenagers in the house? Sure, you trust your kids, but do you trust their friends? I thought so. A sensor on the door could alert you when the cabinet/fridge, etc. is opened during an unauthorized time, then send you a text alert so you can call home to find out what’s happening. You can take that a step further if your system permits NFC communication. To get into the liquor cabinet just a pass your cell phone by the door to release the lock or disable the sensor.
Axxess Wireless Sensor
Do you have a family member who’s always cracking open windows and never closing them? Maybe one of your children likes to have a little fresh air at night, but in the winter that one-inch window opening is letting money pour outside. You can use a contact sensor that will let you know what windows are open, or a temperature sensor to alert you to unusual temperature fluctuations.
Axxis Multifunction sensor
Contact sensors are made by several companies, including Card Access, NYCE Control and Axxess. Some basic sensor products can be installed and set up by the homeowner, but systems that require more programming and integration need to be done by a pro.
In addition to contact sensors, motion sensors can be a good energy saving feature, especially for turning lights off when no one is in the room. Read more ideas about motion sensors here.
You might also like:
Surprising Things a Home Automation System Can Do
Budget-friendly Home Control System with Security and Theater
House Fire Convinces Family to Install Home Automation
Automated Door Locks are the Key
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.