Home security is always a concern and tiny home living brings about additional concerns. Because tiny houses are on wheels there’s the potential for someone (hear: a real jerk or group of jerks) to actually steal the entire home, which has been done before. Therefore it’s usually a good idea to take precautions in that area such as installing hitch and/or wheel locks and including GPS tracking options. Usually it’s the smaller tiny homes in more rural/isolated areas that are easier targets, but one shouldn’t be too comfortable as a larger tiny home in build process would also be an easier take. My tiny house being stolen generally is not a concern of mine because my home is on the larger side, because my screened in porch also requires uninstalling before you can actually move my house and because I’m down in the cut… (the urban dictionary can explain “cut” if necessary 🙂 ) However, I still have employed the proper theft deterrent systems for my tiny house because the solutions are fairly inexpensive options and just in case there is some brazen jerk or group of jerks who want to try – I don’t want to necessarily make it any easier for them.
People always ask me whether or not I get scared living in my tiny home and if having all of the windows creates concerns and my answer is no for several reasons: 1) I’m generally not a scaredy cat 2) I have methods of personal protection so I’m not just a sitting duck and 3) I spent a good deal of money (hear: lots) to purchase high quality doors and windows so personal safety as well as traveling safety, due to quality issues would be less of a concern. However, as I said earlier, there are some inexpensive theft deterrent options available so you might as well take advantage of adding additional security.
Up until recently though, I didn’t have an additional security system in place and wanted to have one so I began looking into the available options. High on my list of requirements was a quality system that was inexpensive. I’m also big on industry ratings and customer reviews and one company that stood out as being able to satisfy all of my requirements was iSmartAlarm. I decided I’d give them a try and I reached out to their customer service to ask some questions. They were prompt, professional (always a good sign) and very helpful in working to understand my setup and in identifying which products would work best in my situation. Shipping was prompt too and I soon received my package which included a CubeOne, which is the brains of the outfit, a Contact Sensor, a Motion Sensor, a Remote Tag, Window Decals and Spot, which is a wifi camera that includes sound (CO and smoke alarms) and motion detection, night vision and two way audio. I’d already read that installation was easy (you use a phone app that you’ll install for setup) and I agree though I did have my buddy Tavares (a gadget geek like me) as my assistant. The thing that took me a day or two was figuring out where to place the contact and motion sensors and Spot to best utilize the system and even that wasn’t really a big deal, I’m just a stickler for the details (hear: perfectionist 🙂 ). I also liked that the components of the system aren’t large and obtrusive.
CubeOne as the hub of the system has to be connected to power and to your router which was easy enough to do since my router is tucked away in my second loft. It’s not a large piece of equipment at all and is fairly non-descript so I have it in a little corner in the loft and it’s not really noticeable. It’s also the item that emits the alarm should it be triggered so you can’t place it too far out of the way. After thinking it through it made the most sense to place the Contact Sensor on my back door off the kitchen as it actually now is an outside entry point since I just recently figured out how to turn one of my screens on the porch into an opening door and now have two entrances to my tiny house. The Contact Sensor alerts whenever the back door is opened and it triggers the alarm when the system is in alarm mode – cool! I installed the Motion Sensor at the front door area since I not only needed coverage for my French doors, but also coverage for all of the windows there and Spot (I like saying Spot’s name 🙂 ) is installed in that same area. The cooler thing about both the Motion Sensor and Spot 🙂 is their range of coverage. Obviously my tiny house isn’t large, but a bonus for me is that when the the system is engaged the motion sensor isn’t triggered by me being in my loft, however it does engage once I start moving and get to about the second step from the top. With my placement of Spot, I can see my entire tiny house from the bathroom door onward on both the lower and upper level. In not having the bathroom covered under the system I decided that if someone was willing to squeeze themselves into my bathroom window to steal my perfumes, cosmetics, bath products and toilet tissue I was ok with that – they’ll just have to stay in the bathroom otherwise my new handy dandy alarm goes off…
Additional cools about the system:
- I have a remote tag that I put on my key ring so I can easily arm and disarm the system when entering and exiting and I could order additional tags if I wanted others to have access.
- There’s also the cool iPhone app (available for Android phones too) that is set-up like the remote tag and I can use it to control and monitor the system; I can easily arm and disarm it when entering or exiting, I can monitor it via the notifications and know when the back door has been opened and closed and I can change the alarm settings. I can also easily set the alarm to panic from either the remote tag or phone app. I’m pretty sure I can give access to others to modify and monitor my system via the app on their phone too, though I haven’t gotten that far.
- Via Spot and the phone app I can also see and listen to what’s going on in my tiny house at any time and with the two way audio should Nasir ever mature enough to not do destructive and self harming stuff when left alone, I’ll be able to talk to him as he roams the house when I’m gone.
- Video from Spot can be stored on a SD card and is stored to the cloud somewhere (haven’t explored those details yet), though I know I can refer back to some of the video on my iPhone.
- The system is easily expandable to add additional components down the line, so later I could potentially upgrade to their newest camera, Keep, which while it doesn’t have as cool a name as Spot, it does have better features. 🙂
I only had two cons of the system. The first being that I had a slight challenge connecting my buddy Spot to the system, nothing major but it didn’t happen as easily as the other components right out of the box. The second being that I wish the alarm, when triggered, was louder and I hope at some point that is something that will be addressed by the company as I looked at their online feedback forum and saw that as a comment from other users too so I’m hoping they are listening to feedback. Of course I added my two cents. 🙂
The system doesn’t offer live monitoring which might be a deal breaker for some, it wasn’t for me because I didn’t want the added expense. So the way that it works is if an alarm is triggered I receive an immediate phone call and text message to notify me and the message is specific enough to tell me exactly where the issue occurred, i.e. via the motion sensor or back door in my case. I think I can also set the alarm to notify other people, but I haven’t expanded my system that far yet. This type of notification allows me to either check on what’s happening personally or alert the police without the added expense of monthly monitoring, which I think is just fine for what I need. In my current parking set-up you have to come past my great property owner to get to me and he’s always on the lookout for me. Toward early spring I’m planning to move closer into the city and will feel a lot more confident about doing so with the iSmartAlarm system in place, I’ve also got my stickers in my windows indicating that I have an alarm system installed and I sprung for a yard sign that I’ll use then too.
All in all, I think the iSmartAlarm system is a great system and it provides what I was looking for. Their pricing is in line with their competitors and allows the “average” person alarm system affordability. The system is overall easy to set-up, they offer a comprehensive self monitoring system and their set-up provides the opportunity to easily expand your system, without a service call to do so, should you want to add more components or as they add new and improved technology which I expect they will continue to do.
Good job, iSmartAlarm! If you’re interested I did notice they currently are offering a sale for the Holidays…