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Easy Home Automation - How To Set Up A Water Alert For A Crawl Space
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If your house has a crawl space, have you taken a look at it lately? With all the rain in recent months, now is the time to go down below and see if your have a damp crawl space. Take a flashlight with you. If you have a dirt floor in your crawl space, check the floor -- does it look damp?

Pick up some dirt and crush it in between your fingers -- does it feel damp or wet? Shine your light on the crawl space walls -- can you see signs of moisture? Check the joists, insulation (if any) and subflooring above you for moisture.

Damp crawl spaces and basements provide a feeding ground for fungi and mildew which can cause any number of problems. It can affect the health of residents as well cause damage to the house and its contents. If you you sense moisture in your crawl space now is the time to take action.

Damp crawl space action plan

I suggest a 4 part plan: Determine the cause of the problems; remedy any problems; get a moisture monitor to track the temperature, relative humidity and dew point in your crawl space; and set up one or more water sensors to alert you when water is detected in your crawl space.

Be sure your moisture monitor can track the dew point -- that temperature at which the air in your crawl space is saturated with water and condenses condenses on colder surfaces.

The causes and remedies of damp crawl spaces can be quite complex. Consult a reputable building engineer or crawl space contractor to advise you on what is needed. You may want to fix any problems yourself -- but be sure your remedies are sound and effective.

Once you have remedied any problems, continue to monitor the temperature, relative humidity and and dew point in your basement with your moisture monitor.

I suggest you place one or more water alert sensors in your crawl space and connect them to your home automation network. It you don't have a home automation network, this is the perfect time to set one up. Insteon easy home automation has become the network of choice for home DIY.

Why? because Insteon devices are modular and affordable -- you purchase only the devices you need for the application you want to automate. And because Insteon home automation is reliable and flexible -- Insteon sends and receives commands over both your existing house wiring and over a designated radio frequency.

An easy way to get started is with remote lamp control via your web-enabled phone.

How to set up an Insteon water alert

First, determine how you want to be alerted. Would you like a red light to switch on in the kitchen or some other convenient place in your home? Would you like to be alerted by a telephone call when moisture is sensed in your crawl space? Suppose you are on vacation and would like to check your water sensor to make sure it hasn't sensed water.

All the above are possible using Insteon home automation networking. For each of the above alert modes you will need one or more Insteon water sensors that are wired to an Insteon input-output (I/O) Linc.

Red lamp alert

For the red light alert, you will need a smart switch for your lamp -- an Insteon plug-in switch module that plugs into the wall outlet near your red lamp. Plug the red lamp cord into the module. The plug-in switch module receives the alert from the input-output link and turns the lamp on. When or someone in your familty notices the red lamp on, you know you have a problem.

Telephone dialer alert

You will need an automatic telephone dialer wired to another input-output (I/O) linc. The I/O linc picks up the alert and directs to the telephone dialer which rings up the telephone number you programmed it to call, and then leaves your pre-recorded message that the sensor has detected water in your crawl space.

Web-enabled phone alert status check

If you have a web-enabled phone (mobile phone) and a telephone dialer alert set up, you can receive your water alert message on that phone. And using your web-enabled phone, you can check in to see if the water sensor has sensed water in your crawl space. For this application you will need a central controller that is connected to the router you use for your Internet service.

Let's say you are away from home on business or leisure and you are uneasy about whether you have a damp crawl space. With a few touchstrokes on your web-enabled phone you check the status of the red lamp -- is it turned on?

You check the status of your water sensor -- has it sensed water or not? If it has sensed water, you ring up a family member or friend and ask them to look in on it.

A wet or damp crawl space is a serious issue. If you fix it and monitor it on a continual basis to make sure there are no problems, you'll (literally) breathe easier and have a lot more peace of mind.

Street Talk

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