I’m a ST user, originally coming from the Almond+ kickstarter project, and love the endless possibilities of home automation.
My parents have a rental condo, and a new insurance contract requires active home monitoring. I’ve started to evaluate different options, and wanted to see what experience other have had. I’d say we’re primarily interested in life support monitoring (Fire/CO, flood) and keeping the monthly cost low.
I’m evaluating Iris, ADT, and SimpiSafe, but open to other ideas. I’d prefer a system that allows the use of other sensors, but also would prefer to invest in a solution that will continue to see system updates.
(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy)
If you want comprehensive monitoring, the new ADT+SmartThings package is the only reliable option.
There is some confusion as to whether or not they provide insurance contract certificates; though I think they want to, but have some internal red tape.
This is one that @JDRoberts will be able to give you some great advice on with different options to pursue and whether ADT + SmartThings would cover all 3 items you mention for monitoring and that be warranted under your insurance contract or ADT by itself. Flood would be the one I’m not sure how it’s covered based on what you are able to monitor with any of these systems.
the main thing to be aware of is that many of the low-cost monitoring systems can only do “intrusion” monitoring. That is they can call police. But they can’t call the fire department. That’s because most towns have much less fire fighting equipment and they really want to avoid false alarms. Having a police team do a drive-by isn’t all that big a deal. Calling out the fire engine is. ( I myself am quadriparetic, use a wheelchair, and would need help evacuating the building, which is why fire monitoring is a big deal for me and people in the forums know that I always look for that detail.)
For example, the scout system which has an official integration with SmartThings can only monitor intrusion, not fire.
Once you need fire, flood, and intrusion alerts you’re pretty much limited to simplisafe, ADT, Frontpoint, Vivint (in most areas) or some other local systems. You will be required to use that specific company’s devices to trigger the alerts to the monitoring center.
For example, if you have nest protect fire alarms you will not be able to hook those to your monitoring system ( any professionally monitored system) because their communication method is not UL listed. They are UL listed as a standalone local smoke detector. But not for calling a monitoring center.
You can use the new ADT/SmartThings offering as long as you buy the new sensors that go with it, but as was already mentioned, it’s not clear whether they will issue the insurance certificate or not. People have gotten different answers. It may depend on where you live.
So whatever you look at, don’t just stop where it says “24/7 monitoring.” Especially if it just has a picture of a police badge. Read the details to see if they also offer fire monitoring, because not everybody does. And some companies only offer it in some areas.