What You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide

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Known as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that claims the lives of hundreds of people in the United States each year — and many more experience severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. Although sublethal amounts of CO exist in just about every home, there’s always a risk that it could rise to dangerous levels. Because humans are unable to detect carbon monoxide with their senses, we are often unaware of CO poisoning until it’s too late.

What Causes Excessive CO Levels in a Home?

Carbon monoxide gas is a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of the carbon-containing fuels found in many home heating and HVAC units. When these systems are functioning correctly, the CO gas will be drawn away and pose no danger to people. However, a poorly maintained or malfunctioning heating/cooling system can produce lethal amounts of CO. A home or room lacking sufficient ventilation can also prevent CO from escaping to the outside.

Automobile exhaust systems are another common source of carbon monoxide gas. Consequently, CO poisoning can occur when someone sits inside a running automobile parked inside a garage with the door closed.

How Does Carbon Monoxide Get Released in a Home?

There are several ways CO can get released inside a home. For example, improperly installed or malfunctioning heating/cooling units can result in carbon monoxide leaks. Using barbecue grills, space heaters or generators in poorly ventilated areas can lead to a dangerous build-up of CO. Automobile exhaust systems also emit carbon monoxide, so allowing a vehicle to run in an enclosed garage can enable CO to seep into an attached home.

What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

CO poisoning exhibits symptoms that may resemble those produced by sea sickness. Initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, fatigue and shortness of breath. Prolonged CO exposure may cause confusion, vomiting and a loss of coordination. As the poisoning progresses, the victim may lose consciousness and die. Many victims die in their sleep without ever being aware of the present dangers of carbon monoxide.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Taking appropriate safety precautions can prevent carbon monoxide from occurring in a home. Many of these are common-sense solutions entailing the use of household appliances. For instance, you should never operate fuel-burning devices in enclosed areas or portable generators indoors. Also, keep the flue open when using the fireplace and always open the garage door when allowing your car to warm up during the winter.

Timely equipment maintenance can ensure appliances are working properly and are free of leaks that could emit carbon monoxide inside your home. Have a professional come to your home to inspect your HVAC system, water heater, oven and washer/dryer at least once a year. The inspection should also verify the proper ventilation of these units. If you have a fireplace, have the chimney cleaned on an annual basis.

The Importance of Installing Carbon Monoxide Detectors

While virtually every jurisdiction in the U.S. mandates the installation of smoke detectors, only 27 states (not including Arizona) have laws that require CO detectors in private dwellings. Like smoke detectors, CO detectors can provide an early warning when the presence of gas reaches an unsafe level. The occupants will hear an alarm that alerts them to the danger — which could mean the difference between life and death.

Where to Place CO Detectors

You should consider installing carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home to ensure maximum coverage. Specific areas to target include outside sleeping areas, in or near attached garages and in confined spaces that do not have sufficient ventilation. Avoid placing them near fuel-burning heating units or appliances, in high-humidity areas such as the bathroom or near any source of blowing air (open windows, ceiling fans, etc.). Also, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s installation instructions and recommendations to maximize the detector’s capabilities and prevent mistakes that could cause it to function improperly.

Contact Titan Alarm for More Information About CO Detector Installation and Use

Titan Alarm, Inc. can integrate carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, fire alarms and other life-saving safety devices as part of a comprehensive security solution for your Phoenix- or Tucson, AZ-area home. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation in-home consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Page Updated November 1, 2018

5 Things You Might Not Know About Your Friendly Neighborhood Burglar

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We often think of burglars as dark, shady characters who prowl around neighborhoods at night and stay out of sight during the daytime hours. But the truth is that many burglars are cunning, opportunistic criminals who carefully plan their illicit activities well in advance — which is likely why police are only able to solve about 10 percent of all burglary cases.

At Titan Alarm, we believe that the more you know about your “enemies,” the easier it is to defend yourself against them. Here are a few insights into the mind of a burglar that every homeowner should know:

  1. Burglars often live in the neighborhood. The typical burglar doesn’t swoop in from out of town, rob a few houses and hit the road. He or she is more likely to be your neighbor, as this makes it easier to blend into the surroundings and become familiar with the area. It might even be someone you see or speak to every day.


  1. They’ve already been inside your home. Many thieves enter a home under legitimate circumstances, then come back later to rob you. In many cases, they’re employed as repairmen or members of remodeling or cleaning crews. While they’re inside your house, they’ll discreetly unlock a door or window, giving them easy entry when they return.


  1. They’ll “case” your home before they break in. Many burglars will target a residence and then watch it for several days, or even weeks. They observe the patterns of when you and your family members come and go, determining their best window of availability. That’s why so many burglaries occur during the day, while the occupants are at work or school.


  1. They know the outside gives clues to what’s inside. Crooks can tell a lot about what “goodies” might be inside a home by what they see on the exterior of the property. For example, if they spot expensive toys on the lawn or boxes that contained pricy products in the trash, they’ll figure that the house is a treasure trove of valuable items that are worth stealing.


  1. Burglars are often social media-savvy. These days, you need to think twice when sending or accepting a friend request on Facebook. Burglars scour social media sites to see who has just purchased a brand-new flat screen TV or is planning a two-week vacation. The prudent move is to avoid mentioning these things on social media — it’s like extending an invitation to a burglar to come and break into your home.

A Home Security System Is Your Best Defense Against Burglars

With all the threats that homeowners face nowadays, a state-of-the art-security system is essential for staying one step ahead of the crooks in the neighborhood. If you live in or around Phoenix or Tucson, AZ, Titan Alarm, Inc. can provide a “smart” security solution that meets your needs and budget. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation in-home security consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on October 31, 2018.

5 Ways a Smart Home Can Keep Your Family Safe

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The term “smart home” refers to a house equipped with lighting, an HVAC system, alarms and appliances that the owner can control remotely via smartphone, tablet or laptop computer. Smart homes also enable the automation of these systems and devices.

Many modern homeowners are making the transition to smartphones for reasons such as convenience and energy efficiency. But a house equipped with this advanced technology can also provide numerous security benefits:

  1. Monitoring remotely: If you frequently travel for business, smart technology enables you to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Use your mobile device to monitor your surveillance feeds from your property, check in on your kids or receive an instant alert whenever someone or something triggers an alarm.


  1. Eliminating spare keys: Many homeowners like to hide extra keys around their property in case they lock themselves out. Of course, most burglars are aware of this tendency and are adept at finding even the most “imaginative” hiding places. A home equipped with smart locks, which you can control with your mobile device, eliminates concerns about intruders locating your spare house keys and gaining easy entry to your home.


  1. Seeing who’s at the door: Have you ever had the unsettling experience of someone knocking on the door or ringing the bell in the middle of the night? A smart doorbell allows you to see who’s on the other side of the door without opening it. It can also send a video of the doorway to your phone, so you don’t even have to get out of bed to answer the door. Some models even enable you to send a picture of the individual to the police if you have reason to be suspicious.


  1. Detecting intruders: Too often, home invasions occur because the occupants are unaware of the presence of the intruder until he or she is already inside. A smart home equipped with exterior motion sensors can provide immediate alert whenever someone breaches the perimeter of your property. You’ll have plenty of time to act before the individual gets to the house.


  1. Keeping watch over kids, pets or seniors: If you have teenage children or pets who are home alone, smart technology gives you the peace of mind of knowing that they’re safe while you’re away. And if you have aging parents who are unable to fend for themselves, you’ll be able to intervene or request help quickly during an emergency.


Contact Titan Alarm to Learn More About the Safety Benefits of Smart Home Technology

As one of the foremost home security experts in Phoenix and Tucson, AZ, Titan Alarm, Inc. can help you understand the advantages of making your house a “smart” home. We can design and install a state-of-the-art security system that will give you access to this advanced technology. Contact us for more information and to schedule a free security consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Steps You Can Take to Secure Your Home Right Now

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If you’re not concerned about a burglar targeting your home, you could be living with a false sense of security. According to FBI statistics, a burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the U.S. — that’s approximately 5,800 per day!

The good news is there are some basic home security steps you can implement to significantly lower your risk of becoming another victim of a break-in:

  1. Stage a fake burglary: Allow a trusted friend or relative who doesn’t live in your home to roam through it for 3-5 minutes and “steal” as many valuables as they can find. You might discover that the precious items you thought were well hidden would be easy prey for your friendly neighborhood burglar.
  2. Remove those hidden spare keys: You may think you’ve found the perfect hiding spot for that spare house key, but veteran burglars know all the tricks. By upgrading to “smart” locks, which you can control via your smartphone or tablet, you won’t need to worry about hiding keys or leaving them with your neighbor again.
  3. Install warning signs: A “Beware of Dog” sign will deter some intruders — even if you don’t own a canine. A “No Trespassing” sign can also work well. You can purchase these signs today at your local home improvement store.
  4. Get rid of hiding spots: When burglars see a home surrounded by shrubbery, they view it as an opportunity to have some cover for breaking in. Keeping your plantings trimmed will make your house less inviting to prospective thieves.
  5. Inspect window locks: Many homeowners go to great lengths to ensure they have the most reliable locks on their exterior doors, but they overlook another favorite burglar entry point — the windows. Check all window locks to make sure they’re functioning properly, and don’t forget to lock your windows when they’re closed.
  6. Don’t leave ladders outside: It might be more convenient to keep ladders outside your home, but it also makes it easier for burglars to gain access to second-floor windows. Store your ladders in the basement or garage when not in use.
  7. Secure the garage: Speaking of the garage, don’t forget to close and lock the garage door, even if you’re only leaving for a short time to run a few errands. An open garage door is an invitation to burglars to help themselves to your garage’s contents. They can also enter your home through the adjoining door.
  8. Request a police inspection: Depending on where you live, your local police department may be willing to send an officer to do a walk-through of your home to help you identify areas of vulnerability.

Contact Titan Alarm for a No-Obligation Consultation

If you reside in or around Phoenix or Tucson, AZ, Titan Alarm, Inc. will be happy to schedule a free in-home security consultation. We can also make an informed recommendation regarding your home security system options. Contact us to arrange a convenient time for your security check-up today!

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Staying Connected to Your Home While on Vacation

For many of us, summer is the time for getting away from the everyday stress and enjoying some downtime — and that often means going away on vacation. But worrying about what’s going on around your home can prevent you from relaxing and enjoying yourself.

An excellent way to put your mind at ease is to install a home security system equipped with smart technology. This will allow you to use your smartphone or tablet to monitor your home, even if you’re thousands of miles away. What’s more, you won’t have to take much time away from those fun-filled activities you’ve been looking forward to for so long.

Here’s what you can do with smart technology:

  • View camera feeds: If you’ve installed video surveillance cameras to watch over your property, smart technology enables you to use your mobile device as a remote monitor. You can watch live and recorded video feeds whenever you wish, giving you a little extra peace of mind.
  • Receive instant alerts: If you don’t want to be bothered to check on your camera feeds while you’re relaxing, smart technology can provide instant alerts whenever there’s an issue. Your monitoring service will also receive a notification, enabling them to investigate the situation and inform you if there’s a problem that requires your attention.
  • Lock and unlock your doors: If you’re like many vacationing homeowners, you might have a friend, relative or neighbor stop by your house once or twice a day to care for your pets, take in the mail or make sure that everything is okay. Smart technology allows you to unlock the door remotely to let the person inside and lock the door when they leave. You don’t have to worry about hiding keys under the mat or having them copied or lost.
  • Control lighting: You’ll be able to use your phone or tablet to turn lights on and off to make it look as though someone is occupying your home. You can even automate the process by pre-programming the activation of the lighting at specific times during the day and night.
  • Engage in virtual communication: If you have teenagers who aren’t going with you on vacation, smart technology allows you to stay connected with them while you’re away. By connecting a video app to your indoor security cameras, you’ll be able to observe your kids’ comings and goings and even converse with them whenever you wish.
  • Adjust HVAC units and appliances: With smart technology, you can control the operation of your thermostat and household appliances with a quick press of a button. You’ll be able to keep your home at the ideal temperature and minimize your energy consumption.

Contact Titan Alarm to Learn More

Titan Alarm, Inc. is at the forefront of smart home technology in the Phoenix and Tucson, AZ. Contact us for more information and to schedule a free in-home security consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

How to Stop Thieves From Tampering With Your Security Cameras

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Most security experts agree that video surveillance cameras should serve as the backbone of any reliable home security system. Cameras enable homeowners and monitoring service providers to detect suspicious activity in and around your property on a 24/7 basis.

Cameras also act as a visible deterrent that can prevent intruders from attempting to break into a home. And recorded video feeds from the cameras can help law enforcement officials apprehend burglars and serve as evidence if a case goes to trial.

Tips for Protecting Your Security Cameras

It’s also true that some home intruders will attempt to disable security cameras by cutting cables, throwing rocks at them or even coating the lens with black spray paint. The following tips can help you “tamper-proof” your cameras:

  • Mount them high: Placing your cameras approximately nine feet off the ground will make it more difficult for intruders to reach them or strike them with a thrown object. Just make sure that there are no ladders or other items outside that could allow a burglar to climb up and disable the camera.
  • Keep them hidden: There are many ways you can conceal your cameras so that intruders won’t be able to see them — place them in birdhouses, trees, fake rocks or garden gnomes. If you choose to hide your cameras, consider installing a non-functioning “dummy” camera in a highly visible location such as above the front door to act as a deterrent.
  • Go wireless: A wireless camera system does not have cables that burglars can cut. Going wireless also gives you more flexibility to place your cameras exactly where you need them.
  • Install protective housing: Cage-like housing constructed with a durable plastic material is available to protect your security cameras from damage. Make sure you select a cage with a gap that is wide enough to prevent obscuring the camera’s field of vision.
  • Add tamper detection: A tamper detection service will send an instant alert to your smartphone whenever someone tries to fiddle with your cameras. You can then use your phone to activate an alarm that will cause the intruder to flee.
  • Consider purchasing vandal-proof cameras: You can buy high-quality IP cameras that will continue to function even if they incur damage by vandals or thieves. When combined with a reliable monitoring service, you may be able to notify law enforcement in time to catch the burglars in the act.
  • Protect against hacking: In addition to physical damage, your surveillance cameras may also be susceptible to hacking if they’re part of a wireless network. Taking the same precautions as you do with your online bank accounts and credit cards — such as changing your password frequently – will minimize your risk.

Contact Titan Alarm for More Helpful Advice

As a leading home security solutions provider in Phoenix and Tucson, AZ, Titan Alarm Inc. can help you get the best results from your video surveillance system — including protecting your cameras against damage. Contact us to schedule a free in-home security consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Home Security for the Elderly

While having a reliable, easy-to-use security system is essential for homeowners at every stage of life, there can be a heightened need for seniors, especially those who live alone. Criminals often prey on vulnerable elderly folks who may not be able to protect themselves. What’s more, many standard system features are not always “senior-friendly,” which can render them ineffective in some situations.

The following tips can help to ensure that seniors have access to the best security solution that will keep them safe, without being a hassle to use:

  • Install video surveillance: While every home should have security cameras, they’re even more important for the elderly. A video surveillance system allows a senior to investigate a strange noise or see who is ringing the bell without having to go outside or even open the door.
  • Use remote operation: A traditional home security system features a wall-mounted keypad or control panel, but this might not be a viable option for mobility-challenged seniors. On the other hand, a remote control-based system allows the elderly to operate and monitor it from anywhere in or around the home.
  • Consider oversized buttons: Visually impaired seniors may have trouble seeing the buttons and small numbers on a keypad, making it difficult, if not impossible to operate. A simple solution is to install an oversized keypad with larger numbers and symbols.
  • Augment sound with lighting: Most security systems have audible alarms that alert the occupants of a fire, burglary attempt or other safety issues. However, these features offer little benefit to seniors who may be suffering from hearing loss. It may be necessary to incorporate flashing or strobing lights to provide an elderly resident with a visual warning sign.
  • Stay up-to-date with smoke and carbon dioxide detector maintenance: Seniors with limited physical capacities may not be able to check or change the batteries on ceiling-mounted smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A friend or loved one may need to handle this potentially lifesaving task.
  • Activate home automation: A system that automates the operation of alarms, heating and cooling units, appliances, door and window locks and lighting can make life much easier — and safer — for seniors. A professional installer or a tech-savvy friend or relative can assist with any programming needs.
  • Utilize central monitoring: A professionally monitored home security system is paramount for the elderly. The central monitoring station includes trained personnel who can respond to alarms triggered at the house and dispatch help immediately if needed.
  • Look into medical alert systems: Seniors with health issues can benefit from wearing a push-button pendant or bracelet where they can request help if they fall or experience a medical problem. As with home alarm systems, these products come with central monitoring to ensure a timely response during an emergency.

Titan Alarm Can Provide the Best Security Solutions for Seniors

Here at Titan Alarm, Inc., we recognize the challenges that many older adults face when attempting to stay safe. We can design and install a customized security system that addresses the senior’s specific safety challenges. Contact us for more information and a free in-home consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.

Make Garage Door Security a Top Priority

While many homeowners understand the importance of securing doors and windows, they often overlook another favorite burglar entry point — the garage door. Intruders who find their way into the garage can help themselves to whatever you’ve stored there — lawn furniture, sports equipment, tools, etc. Even worse, attached garages may have an interior door (that is frequently left unlocked) that provides easy access to the rest of the home.

Tips for Safeguarding Your Garage Door

 Don’t let thieves use your garage door as the portal to all your valuables. Use the following steps to help you create a “burglar-proof” garage:

  • Remove temptation: There are lots of residential property owners who think nothing of leaving their garage doors unlocked or even open during the day, which serves as an invitation to thieves. Remember, most burglars prefer to operate during the daytime hours. Keep the door locked whenever the garage is not in use. If your garage door has windows, consider installing frosted glass to prevent crooks from seeing inside.
  • Take the opener with you: Those garage door openers that clip to a car’s sun visor can allow thieves to gain easy access to your garage — and they might even steal your vehicle, too! Take the opener inside the house whenever you exit your car. Better still, purchase a keychain remote opener.
  • Secure the emergency release: Clever criminals know how to reach the door’s emergency release lever by slipping a coat hanger through the top of the opening. You can defeat this tactic without preventing the release’s function simply by attaching zip-ties to the handle.
  • Keep your door properly maintained: A door that isn’t functioning correctly or is showing signs of deterioration makes it easier for burglars to break into the garage. Have a professional residential garage door company in your area perform a preventive maintenance checkup about once a year. A reputable installer can also tell you when the time has come for a door replacement.
  • Beef up interior door security: You should install the same high-quality locks on the entrance door between the garage and your home as you have on all other exterior doors. That way, even if a burglar makes it into the garage, he or she won’t be able to enter your house.
  • Make sure your home’s security system encompasses your garage: If you’re planning a new security system installation or upgrade, consult with the installer about incorporating surveillance cameras, motion sensors, access control devices and lighting that provide coverage for the garage. You’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ve taken measures to protect this vulnerable area of your home.

Contact Titan Alarm for More Garage Door Security Advice

Titan Alarm, Inc. offers more than a decade of experience in keeping Phoenix- and Tucson-area homeowners safe by providing the most advanced security solutions. Contact us to learn more about your garage door protection options and to schedule a no-obligation in-home consultation today.

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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.