Great safety gadgets you didn't know existed
They're less common than smoke detectors, but these devices are worth a look.
Everyone knows about basic household protection gadgets like the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector, but here are five less familiar home safety devices that make it easier to get some peace of mind.
Digital peephole viewers
Traditional peepholes are difficult to see through, making it easier for unannounced — and potentially unsavory — visitors to get you to open your door. LCD peephole viewers attach over existing peepholes and let residents view their visitors on screens that are about the size of a digital camera's. Features can include wide angle and zoom modes, low-light visibility and image recording capability.
Timed lights that come on at the same time each night may not fool burglars, but the flickering light of a television might. Rather than leaving your TV on when you're away from home, look into LED TV simulator units. These small devices use less energy than a TV but emit lights that flicker and change color and intensity, giving the appearance from outside the house that a TV is on — and that someone is home.
Water leak alarm
When a sump pump overflows or a washing machine hose fails, you could be out thousands of dollars in repair bills. Instead, a wireless water leak alarm can alert you to a leak before it becomes a whole-house disaster. When they detect a leak, these devices send out a loud alarm. For added protection, install a whole house water leak detection system that will automatically shut off the entire water supply if a leak is detected.
Talking smoke detector
You may think no one could sleep through the shrill alarm of a smoke detector, but your children might not wake up. An American Academy of Pediatrics study found that just 58% of children awoke to the sound of a smoke alarm within five minutes — but half woke within 20 seconds of hearing their parents' voice. "Talking"smoke and carbon monoxide detectors let parents record a message telling the child to wake up and what to do next.
Dryer vent pressure system sensor
Over time, lint from the clothes dryer accumulates in the exhaust vent, creating clogged conditions that can lead to a fire. Though annual cleanings of your exhaust vent are always recommended, a pressure system sensor can let you know when a lint clog is inhibiting air movement. These systems send out an alarm when air movement is seriously restricted in the vent, potentially giving you time to prevent a fire before it's too late.