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Home Monitoring for Extended Absence
Old 11-15-2011, 04:27 AM   #1
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Home Monitoring for Extended Absence

Are any of you using an internet based web cams around your home to check in on it remotely?


Here is one device... I have not used it so it is not a recommendation. There seems to be several manufacturers of these devices. You can look on Amazon, they are pretty inexpensive.

Loftek | IP Cameras ? CXS 2200 IP Camera


Break ins are usually a concern of most people (me too). But another concern is some sort of damage caused any number of situations. Example: broken window letting the elements in or critters.

It would be a little expensive to place these everywhere. But I think I could monitor 100% of the doors and windows and about 90% of the home with about 7 or 8 of these devices.

The peace of mind of being able to take a quick look is worth the cost (IMO). For example: Spending the winter in a warm locale and being able to take a look at the home after a big storm.

Any thoughts?
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:41 AM   #2
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I agree with you. I have a number of cameras set up, both inside and outside the house. I can use the LogMeIn software to monitor them from anywhere. The nice thing about that particular software is that it runs on my iPad and iPhone as well as the laptop.

It's only a partial solution, of course, but it does give me some peace of mind.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:01 AM   #3
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I just installed a wi-fi enabled thermostat for my HVAC system. So when we are gone I can monitor and control the heat and air conditioning in my home.
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:45 AM   #4
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I've been thinking of one of these as a low cost solution. It monitors for power outage, water (flooding) and low temperatures and calls you. Pretty simple, but it gives some reassurance.

Amazon.com: Reliance Controls THP201 Automatic Phone Out Alarm with 3 Functions: Electronics
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:52 AM   #5
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Travelover, I would have installed one of those systems also, but we don't have land line phones in our house. We use only cell phones, so this sytem won't work for me. I would like to have a water level monitoring system in my basement for those times when we are gone.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:07 AM   #6
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I don't know how much it would help, but these things would sure take away any nagging questions haunting your thoughts while away. And they're pretty inexpensive. I may have to look into this.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by chinaco View Post

The peace of mind of being able to take a quick look is worth the cost (IMO). For example: Spending the winter in a warm locale and being able to take a look at the home after a big storm.

Any thoughts?
There may be a lower cost system that can be set up to monitor a home while one is away. It is something we look into every few years.

We now have 15 years of living with regular, extended absences from home, and I don't think peace of mind can be bought. An unattended home is a burden, plain and simple.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:02 AM   #8
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There may be a lower cost system that can be set up to monitor a home while one is away. It is something we look into every few years.

We now have 15 years of living with regular, extended absences from home, and I don't think peace of mind can be bought. An unattended home is a burden, plain and simple.

I agree. No matter what one does there is still going to be some concern.

The cost of those cameras is pretty low... It looks like each one is a dedicated computer (embedded OS) and controllable as a separate device and make a wireless connection to the router.

This would not be a measure that would prevent anything. But it would provide the ability to actually see if something looked like a problem so someone (a family member) could be asked to look into it or to know that a trip home is needed.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by PatSea View Post
Travelover, I would have installed one of those systems also, but we don't have land line phones in our house. We use only cell phones, so this sytem won't work for me. I would like to have a water level monitoring system in my basement for those times when we are gone.
I have not used this product, but it seems to be able to use other means of communications (i.e., cell or internet). There are probably others.

PowerMax+ | Wireless Property Protections | Visonic Wireless Security

But the weakness could be a power outage if relying on an internet connection. A battery backup system is important (just like a battery backup for the sump pump). Some of these products use cell connections as a backup for communication.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:47 AM   #10
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I agree. No matter what one does there is still going to be some concern.

The cost of those cameras is pretty low... It looks like each one is a dedicated computer (embedded OS) and controllable as a separate device and make a wireless connection to the router.

This would not be a measure that would prevent anything. But it would provide the ability to actually see if something looked like a problem so someone (a family member) could be asked to look into it or to know that a trip home is needed.
This is a good point, and might make it worth the cost. Bad weather is always a concern and often creates the need for unscheduled visits which could be avoided by these type of devices.

This brings up another question, though. All of the wireless routers (linksys) I have used need occasional reboots. This makes them unreliable for remote use like that being discussed here. Does anyone have any experience with reliable wireless networks?
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:36 AM   #11
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:56 AM   #12
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Wilife

We have WiLife (Logitech) cameras that seem to work well but they require a computer be operating. They communicate to the computer via a power line network (just needs to be plugged in). We have it set up to send us email with a picture if there is motion within the field of view. We can access the cameras live over the internet if needed.

Although it doesn't really apply to our setup since the cameras use a power line network, I don't remember that our Linksys router has ever needed to be re-booted.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:57 AM   #13
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This is a good point, and might make it worth the cost. Bad weather is always a concern and often creates the need for unscheduled visits which could be avoided by these type of devices.

This brings up another question, though. All of the wireless routers (linksys) I have used need occasional reboots. This makes them unreliable for remote use like that being discussed here. Does anyone have any experience with reliable wireless networks?

Our connection has been fairly reliable. My problems have usually been wiring issues outside (damaged wire or moisture). I have experienced something like that every couple of years. I have also had equipment fail.

But problems can happen. It is something to think about. Especially if those cameras were considered to be a primary part of the approach to monitoring and security.

I was not considering it as a primary security mechanism... But I did think it would provide some additional "peace of mind"... the ability to visually inspect myself. But if it failed... it is worth considering how much one is depending on it.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:08 AM   #14
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Our neighbor, who is a gadget geek, set up cameras throughout his house that he could monitor from the internet while he and his wife were on vacations. That was two weeks before Katrina hit. He did get a spectacular view of when the tree came crashing into his house, the roof headed south and a deluge of water came in from above and from the water pipes that got broken from the tree. Until the electrical service went out, of course.

I'm of a mixed mind on this - he couldn't get home any faster than the rest of us, but he had a week of incredible stress knowing that his house was totally "Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition" (to slightly adjust the military euphanism). Not sure that he was better off knowing, but unable to do anything.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:41 PM   #15
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I'm of a mixed mind on this - he couldn't get home any faster than the rest of us, but he had a week of incredible stress knowing that his house was totally "Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition" (to slightly adjust the military euphanism). Not sure that he was better off knowing, but unable to do anything.
Agree completely.

Most of our trips are usually 6-8 hours away (by air) and usually outside the U.S. for 2-3 weeks at a time (a month for Australia).

There is not much we could do, even if we had a real-time video feed of the "action", and we are not readily willing to leave a tour (or get off a ship) to try to get back, quickly.

We have somebody stop by the house every day or so just for a "look-see", and if something critical is observed, they contact us wherever we are, for direction.

If you're that worried about your "possessions", don't travel; if you travel, try to understand that you can't control everything while away.

We've opted for the second ...
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:20 PM   #16
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Agree completely.

Most of our trips are usually 6-8 hours away (by air) and usually outside the U.S. for 2-3 weeks at a time (a month for Australia).

There is not much we could do, even if we had a real-time video feed of the "action", and we are not readily willing to leave a tour (or get off a ship) to try to get back, quickly.

We have somebody stop by the house every day or so just for a "look-see", and if something critical is observed, they contact us wherever we are, for direction.

If you're that worried about your "possessions", don't travel; if you travel, try to understand that you can't control everything while away.

We've opted for the second ...
It's not about control or worrying about possessions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EllisWyatt View Post
I'm of a mixed mind on this - he couldn't get home any faster than the rest of us, but he had a week of incredible stress knowing that his house was totally "Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition" (to slightly adjust the military euphanism). Not sure that he was better off knowing, but unable to do anything.
Without doubt, I would rather know than not know.
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Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
Our connection has been fairly reliable. My problems have usually been wiring issues outside (damaged wire or moisture). I have experienced something like that every couple of years. I have also had equipment fail.

But problems can happen. It is something to think about. Especially if those cameras were considered to be a primary part of the approach to monitoring and security.

I was not considering it as a primary security mechanism... But I did think it would provide some additional "peace of mind"... the ability to visually inspect myself. But if it failed... it is worth considering how much one is depending on it.
The distinction between security vs monitoring is important. It has been a while since I looked into this but most equipment seemed heavily oriented toward security, which I think is of little benefit. Casual monitoring, on the other hand, can be helpful if it is reliable and doesn't cost much. It seems there are a number of products on the market I have not seen before - time to look again.

The security we invest most in is insurance. It's just stuff. Easy to say, but material possessions can be replaced easily, and stuff that can't be replaced should not be exposed.
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:27 PM   #17
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Without doubt, I would rather know than not know.
That's for sure. We didn't get back for 4-5 days after Katrina and I was just frantic that whole time.

I'd be concerned about internet outages, as other have discussed. Sure, one could have a cat-sitter or other person visit every day, but then the camera system seems a bit redundant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB
An unattended home is a burden, plain and simple.
If that was not the case, then a lot more of us would have two homes. I might, anyway. To me it is just too much hassle, expense, and worry to care for an unattended home.
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Old 11-16-2011, 04:56 AM   #18
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We have a Panasonic IP camera (indoor) at our vacation condo. It has tilt/pan/zoom that I can control and watch from any internet abled device. I think it cost around $300. I've had it for a few years. It's wireless, but I hard wired it since it was close to router/modem, etc. Gives me a sense of security when I'm not there. Used to have a house watch service drop in twice a month, but I quit the service when I got the camera. Now I need to get a camera setup at home to watch while I'm away.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:02 AM   #19
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Are any of you using an internet based web cams around your home to check in on it remotely?
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:59 AM   #20
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It's not about control or worrying about possessions.
Then what is it (seriously)?
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