We all know home alarm systems are a no-brainer when it comes to helping keep your family and belongings safe. After all, about 74 percent of attempted intrusions are cut short by the sound of an alarm, according to the Electronic Security Association.

But what you might not know is that many of today’s systems can do a whole lot more. Let’s take a look at five of these features you might not automatically associate with a home security system.

1. Run Your System Remotely

With the ADT Pulse® Voice App on your smartphone, you can simply tell your phone what you’d like your security system to do. If you’re at work and you realize you forgot to arm the system, just grab your phone and make the command. If you want to make sure you aren’t coming home to a dark house, you can turn your lights on as you’re leaving the office. You can even adjust the thermostat (where available) so your house is the perfect temperature when you walk in the door, all right from your connected smartphone or tablet.

2. Capture Motion on Video

Many alarm systems have motion detectors, but the ADT Pulse® Video Camera can start rolling when any motion is detected so you can see whether someone you don’t know is approaching your doorway or if it’s the neighbor girl selling Girl Scout cookies. You’ll also receive a text or email letting you know the video camera was activated.

As part of the ADT Pulse® system, you can customize your alerts. If you want to know when your kids get home from school, or the house cleaner arrives, you can program your system to send you a text. If you want to make sure the kids are staying inside once they’re home from school, this notification can really come in handy.

3. Unlock Doors with Your Smartphone

Have you ever sent your child to school with a house key tucked in their backpack only to later receive a frantic call saying he or she can’t find the key? Or, we’ve all been faced with having to meet a repair person at the house within that infamous four-hour window, only to get called into an important meeting. Now there’s a way to lock and unlock your doors with your smartphone.

With the Vivint electronic door lock, all it takes is a swipe of your finger or click of the mouse to let your kids in the house or lock the door after the housekeeper leaves. For today’s busy family, safety and convenience are in the palm of your hand.

4. Get Alerts About a Potential Flood

Protecting your home and family from intruders is important, but would-be thieves aren’t the only potential threats you might have in your home.

Residential water damage is one of the most common and costly types of home damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Water damage accounts for billions of dollars’ worth of losses every year, the III says.

Water damage within the house is typically the result of a washing machine flood or burst pipe. A busted washing machine hose can leave your laundry room and surrounding areas flooded within a matter of minutes. With FrontPoint’s wireless Water and Flood Sensor, you’ll be alerted at the first sign of moisture appearing somewhere it shouldn’t be.

5. Shut Off Water Main Remotely

Another product that will alert you to water mishaps is AT&T Digital Life®. You’ll be instantly notified at the first sign of a leaking faucet, broken pipe, or hose problem.

The water sensor can detect any water that creeps into the vicinity of your dishwasher, washing machine or refrigerator/freezer. But perhaps the most important feature of this product is that you can shut off your water main from your smartphone, tablet, computer, or any other connected device.

Hold off on the status updates and texts and start using your smartphone to take advantage of your security system’s mobile features.

Written by Sage Singleton

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