Your Home Improvements

Typing security code on alarm keybord, to turn it off.

Question #1

Robert, I live in Canyon Country and had a home burglary recently.

I’m looking in to having an alarm system put in and have had a few people out for advice/estimates.

I don’t recall you writing about alarm systems so I’m not sure if you’re well-versed in them, but I’d really like your guidance on this.

I’m told that if I put a wi-fi system in, it could be hacked for passcodes and then access could be granted without warning.

While researching this I also see that there are unlimited options, and each piece that you add to your package increases the cost.

Do you have experience with alarm systems, and what is your take on them, wi-fi systems in particular? -Nick P.

Answer #1

Nick, I would do a wireless system. Batteries are lithium and last about five years. As a matter of fact I just replaced all of my batteries about a year ago and they had been in for approximately six years.

The installers will drill into necessary areas for sensors (I will not disclose these areas, for safety), and this can be different for each home depending on the layout and your wishes.

I’d invest in motion detectors which are strategically placed, and I highly recommend a glass breaker sensor.

In case any glass is broken, the system will alert, because they are so sensitive.

The one in my office is set to such a sensitivity that if we slap the desk with a hand, it will alert.

I recommend that you include all of your perimeter doors including garage door(s), however, I’d leave out the pedestrian door that goes from the house into the garage.

This is for ease, so in case you set your alarm and need to go into the garage forsomething, you can still do this without having to reset the alarm. The perimeter is what is necessary in the garage.

Back to your question about the wi-fi, this wouldn’t be an issue.

These systems are designed so that if you want to change your passcode, you need to be within the dwelling and plug into the system, in order to change the passcode. This is a safety feature, for that very reason.

The wi-fi system also allows you to grant access remotely, which is a feature that I love.

I can grant access with my front door as well as my garage door, and I use this in conjunction with the ring doorbell system.

If I have a delivery or something specific scheduled, I am notified right on my phone that someone is at my door and can speak to the person in real time, and grant access to my home. I am then able to re-arm the system once they leave.

I love this feature and use it quite often.

Please let me know if you need a recommendation to a company, I can give this to you privately.

-Best of luck to you, Nick.

Question #2

Robert,I live in Santa Clarita and am avid reader, plus – don’t laugh – an avid watcher of “This Old House.”

I sent you the attached photo for reference, hope this helps. I was watching the show and there was a water heater topic and I wrote down what I think they were saying. I even rewound the show and tried to get the gist, but was not 100 percent clear.

The hosts mentioned a “T and P,” or a “TNP” – not sure if I’m close.

They said that it keeps the water heater from exploding and with that, I checked mine all the way around and am unable to find this item. All I see is a little silver cap where this may go.

Is it possible that I don’t need one of these on my type of water heater or did they not put one in? Am I in danger? -Linda M.

Answer #2

No Linda, they did not put one in and yes, you need one of these.

It’s called a “TNP” (Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve).

These valves to regulate both the temperature and the pressure of the heater.

If the water heater gets too hot, this valve will release the heat; or if the pressure gets too high, then the valve will automatically open up under pressure and relieve the pressure, keeping the tank from exploding.

Definitely the TNP is needed, and I highly recommend that you hire a licensed plumber to install this correctly for you.

There are several important steps to this, including exhausting the valve to the outside with half-inch copper tubing (I recommend copper over galvanized), so hiring someone with experience and insurance is my vote for you.

Good luck with this Linda, and please do this as soon as possible.

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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