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  • Prepare for Winter: Quick Monitoring Tips for Property Managers

    Despite the low temperatures and resulting struggles of late (particuraily in the Northeast) , 2012 data remarks this year as the hottest on record (for many states). Still, even with reports of record "highs" throughout the country despite no new "lows", the daunting winter months lie ahead. For homeowners and property managers, this can be a stressful time of year; failed water heaters and/or burst pipes. We've put together this short list to help you prepare for 2013's arctic assault:

    1. Know the heat thresholds!

    Most states have different guidelines for heat and hot water within homes and apartments, from specfic temperatures to seasonal adjustments. Temperature Monitoring devices are perfect for detecting faults in room temperature. This chart from the NYC  Department of houseing preservation and development illustrates a nice rule of thumb. During the winter months, homes should be kept above 68 degrees at a minimum. For hot water, a year-round minimum of 120 degrees farenheit is the baseline for New York dwellings. Propety managers need to make sure that they fall within state guidelines on both room temperature and hot water. For specific information on your state and law requirements, please check with the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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    2. Monitor and insulate those pipes!

    As winter brings the coldest temperatures to your basement, water pipes are of particular concern as the temperature drops. Air temperature in zones with delicate heating and/or water pipes must be adequately monitored to prevent bursting. Still, the question remains, when exactly does this become a concern? For southern states (and as a general rule of thumb, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, 20 degrees farenheit* is the calculated threshold for pipe bursting. Be sure to monitor rooms with pipes closely when the temperature drops below 20 to prevent bursting

    Quick Tip! If you suspect freezing in your pipes, run a faucet or drip from the sink to help relieve some of the pressure that may be building up within. Be aware that a 1/8'' crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day! 

    Quick Tip! Double up on insulation. An exposed pipe is a hazardous pipe, and any further exposure to the elements can lead to bursting. Also, be sure to check for leaks or gaps between sealants. Cover all of the nooks and crannies! See our blog article on pipe bursting for more information and applicable solutions.


    3. Listen and Respond: Your Occupants

    Aside from our suggestions, we can't stress enough the importance of communication. For the property managers that may not always be on premises, your tenants will have the best feedback as to the real-time concerns of your building. Make sure to alert (and educate!) them to the potential hazards that cold weather can bring to their homes, and encourage tenants to address concerns or problems quickly. 

    Quick Tip!

    Devise a two-fold strategy that relies on both technology and the human element for your property. Temperature sensors can alert you to major changes or potential problems for your property, a must for a remote owner. The human monitors ensure that no small problem goes unnoticed, and the incremental insight can help prevent an impending disaster. Check out our FREE E-Book for more tips.

    *This threshold is based upon research conducted by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois. Field tests of residential water systems subjected to winter temperatures demonstrated that, for un-insulated pipes installed in an unconditioned attic, the onset of freezing occurred when the outside temperature fell to 20°F or below. This finding was supported by a survey of 71 plumbers practicing in southern states, in which the consensus was that burst-pipe problems began to appear when temperatures fell into the teens. However, freezing incidents can occur when the temperature remains above 20° F. Pipes exposed to cold air (especially flowing air, as on a windy day) because of cracks in an outside wall or lack of insulation are vulnerable to freezing at temperatures above the threshold. However, the 20°F temperature alert threshold should address the majority of potential burst-pipe incidents in southern states.

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  • Don't Let Your Pipes Freeze This Winter!

    Winter weather is well on its way and so aren't those dropping temperatures. When you own a vacation property, it is very important to monitor your property while you are a way. There are many concerns for today's vacation home owners such as damage from frozen pipes including mold growth to flooding. Temperature@lert provides low cost options to monitor your home away from home so that you can feel at ease while you are away.

    For example, Tom W. owns a vacation home and had monitoring concerns, contacted us for a solution:

    When Tom started looking at ways to ensure that the pipes in his Michigan vacation home didn’t freeze over the long, dormant winter; he noticed a major problem with existing products.  Whether it was internet access or a phone line, they all required a wire into the home to be able to send out an alarm. 
    When a winter storm rolls through and knocks out power and phone lines, the out-of-the-way, rural vacation home spots are usually the last to have services restored.  Not knowing how long it would take to restore power, it became clear that the existing temperature monitoring options weren’t going to suffice.
    Tom chose the Temperature@lert Cellular device because it sends temperature readings over the AT&T/T-Mobile wireless phone networks back to the 24/7 Sensor Cloud system.  Tom can log onto the Sensor Cloud website from anywhere in the world and see realtime temperature readings of what’s going on inside his second home.  In addition, when the power does get knocked out, the built-in battery back-up in the Cellular device can last for weeks on a single charge.  As if that weren’t enough for peace of mind; when the temperature falls below 50°F, Tom receives a text message while his neighbor receives a phone call indicating that something has happened to the heat in the house.
    I am very pleased with my purchase of the cellular temperature monitor.  I looked at a number of other remote temperature monitoring systems but in my view, Temperature@lert is by far the most reliable and cost effective solution for people that require temperature monitoring of a vacation property or second residence.  It’s less than half the cost of the landline I had in there (which is now disconnected!).  So, I actually save money each month with Temperature@lert.  The device has consistently performed well since the day it was activated.  Thanks for designing such a unique monitoring device - I will remain a very loyal and happy customer.

    For more information on how to properly monitor your vacation home, please drop us an email to info@temperaturealert.com or submit a quote request.

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  • Protecting properties from frozen water pipe damage with WiFi and cellular technology

    The sun is rising later, setting earlier, and soon the shortest day of the year will be here.  Happy winter season!

    Vacation home owners and property managers in both warmer and colder climates take heed of this time of the year as their buildings can be exposed to freezing temperatures and potential damage to water pipes.

    Temperature@lert's latest White Paper explores the cost of this problem and some possible solutions, from simple, time proven low-cost methods up to the latest wireless communication monitoring systems.  Exploring both WiFi and Cellular based temperature sensor technology, the paper outlines the operation of each, and describes how a browser interface cloud based system can add additional levels of fault tolerant behavior and peace of mind.

    Read this latest Temperature@lert White Paper addition at Link to White Paper

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  • Time to think about protecting that winter vacation home

    Cellular Edition helps vacation home owners and property managers protect homes in the winter.

    It’s that time of year again. The leaves have turned and are mostly gone in many parts of the country.  And early snow has already surprised some states.  For some, thoughts turn to winterizing vacation homes.

    One way we at Temperature@lert know winter is coming is we see an increase in Cellular Edition temperature monitor orders.  Hundreds of cost-conscious folks find us each year to join the leagues of customers who turn on their Temperature@lert Cloud Server cellular service this time each year.

    The Cellular Edition provides the final line of notification defense when heating systems fail and water pipes are in jeopardy of freezing.  Combining reliable cellular networks with battery back-up operation and fault tolerant Sensor Cloud alerting tools, the Cellular Edition lets vacation home and property managers know when temperatures are getting dangerously low.  Even if the power goes out, the Cellular Edition keeps sending out temperature readings and alerts and will even let you know the electrical power goes out before temperatures drop.  And if for some reason the signal cannot get through, the Sensor Cloud can send an alert letting you know the device has not checked in for a few reporting cycles.

    The newly released Water Leak Sensor can also be ordered to be used with the Cellular Edition; it lets you know when there’s a plumbing problem.  And Temperature@lert’s iPhone and Android Apps help bring the information to your smartphone wherever you are.

    To learn more about the Cellular Edition and other Temperature@lert products, check out the Cellular Edition page on our website at Link to Temperature@lert website .

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