Header Image

Header Image

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Your alarm protects you, now protect your alarm!

After we discovered this vulnerability, saying that we had a total freak out is an understatement. So tripping over this solution was a dream come true. So many people are overly concerned about the style of blinds or couch they get trying to keep up with the Jones', but things like this get totally overlooked.

©2013 LineSafe

The box installed by your phone/internet utility service (left side of pic) on the exterior of your home is as vulnerable as a sleeping baby. All it takes is one snip of the cable and your phone/internet are done and with that go the communication vehicle for your monitored alarm that most likely communicates through your phone/internet. Cellular alarm home monitoring service is available but few of us actually get it.

A product from the people over at LineSafe completely protects the box and the wire from below  ground level as it enters the house and even has features that will set off your alarm if the box is tampered with...score!

©2013 LineSafe

From the LineSafe web site:
"If you think you are safe with a monitored home security system, then think again. Any  criminal can beat your system with a $2 pair of wire cutters. LineSafe is a powerful and affordable watchman. It becomes an armored guard for your phone line and for your alarm system."
That says it all as far as Im concerned...on to the install...

For those without FIOS, you should simply be able to follow the instructions on the LineSafe site, but for those of us with the new huge Verizon FIOS (Optical Network Terminal) box which looks something like this,  you will need to make some adjusting.

The first step will be to run a wire from an open zone on your alarm to the LS box. Your alarm company will gladly do this for you if you're not sure what it means. After thats done follow the instructions on the LS web site to connect it to your box.

To the Verizon box (not voiding anything):
1 - Remove the outer door. It is just held on with two plastic curved arms and one screw, just gently pry them off with a flat head screwdriver

To the LS box itself:
1 - The hinges of the FIOS box are a tiny bit too wide so we will need to shave off about 3/16"  next to the LS mounting holes as well as a small portion on the bottom to give some clearance to the coaxial cables going into the house.

This can easily be done with a Dremel tool with a carbide bit, or even just contacting a local sheet metal/steel place and they can do all of this for you in about 30 min. with a plasma laser which will give you a smooth factory looking cut.

2 - One of the unfortunate compromises because of the depth of the FIOS box (5.5") is that we will lose the functionality of the second barrier door (which is only at 4.25") that if the criminals get the first door open, they will be faced with having to do it all over again while your alarm has already called the police from the first door being opened.

Simply unlock, remove and set aside.

Now we need to disable the pressure switch for the inner door. The switch has two clips on the back holding it in, that if simply squeezed will come free. Remove the two wire connectors from the switch, snip the connectors from the wire, expose about 1/4" of wire and attach those two wires together closing the circuit, wrap with electrical tape and tuck

Even if the criminals see this connection and cut it, that will set off the alarm as well :)

3 - Reposition white component, this is held on with double sided tape and just needs to be moved over to the side of the black wire terminal block to gain some clearance.


4 - Cover the raw edges of the cutout on the bottom side. We found some foam, and this will serve to protect the wires from chafing against the cut box. Not that it should ever move.

OK now, you can test mount onto the wall. You will need to place the right side first and then maneuver your FIOS hinges inside your side cutouts. There may be wires that are rigid and difficult to move but you have to make sure that they are all protected  by the box.

Warning: The FI-O in FIOS means Fiber Optic which is light transmission and light beams in a straight line, that means that your black fiber optic cable cannot be bent in any hard angles. It can be coaxed to go where you want but dont bend it!

In addition, we assume no liability with any of the instructions provided, these are basic tips for you to help secure your box. Each installation is different and will require some strategic planning. Be careful.

Test fit successful. Now refer to your LineSafe documentation to formally install...good luck!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Water Leak Sensor

This is a great addition for your piece of mind anywhere that you have a water source, and it runs about $10. It is basically a battery powered water alarm that sounds whenever its sensor touches water.We had already purchased the Basement Watchdog backup sump pump so that even when the power goes out, we would have a plan b to keep our basement from being flooded, and it comes with its own alarm--and just as we were about to install it, we found out that doing it before the 2-year mark will void our plumbing  warranty from Ryan on the original sump, so it sits in the corner waiting for 2-years/1-day.

Quick lesson on sumps: You have a french drain installed around the outside of your house, so that as water seeps through the ground and reaches a certain level, it enters into the drain and fills up your sump crock (black round thing) in the basement. When the level of water in the crock makes the lever on the pump (which is inside the crock) activate, the pump turns on and  ejects water out of the crock. If your pump fails, the crock will fill up and overflow into your basement.

So, just to keep us sane we picked this up from amazon and tested it in a sink and it does its job. It has a 6ft extension cable for the sensor and can be placed in the basement sump crock, next to your hvac, water heater, under your clothes and dishwasher, sink cabinets...anywhere.

This is what we have now, not the prettiest but handles it's business.

Were going to drop the sensor inside of that black rubber stopper. It already has a cable going through it so this makes the most sense.

Installation is pretty self explanatory.

The box will go here

Run your fingers down the length of wire a few times to get it as straight as possible since it ships all wound up and wrinkly.

Drop into hole, and thread through rubber stopper

Our sensor ended up sitting about 6" above the incoming french drain pipe so if the pump doesnt activate for whatever reason, the alarm will sound. Its 85 decibels which is pretty loud.