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(ARA) – Forget the days when home security systems were intended only to keep the bad guys out.

“Today’s security systems don’t just respond to an emergency by calling out the police or fire departments,” says Jonathan Klinger of Honeywell Security. “They help homeowners control access to their home remotely, check in on their loved ones, be informed when important events occur and reduce energy costs.”

Remote control

Long gone are the days when the only way to control your home security system was through a keypad installed inside the home. With the use of handheld devices booming, home security systems have had to keep pace. Systems like Total Connect allow you to use a handheld device – whether it’s your smartphone, iPad or laptop – to remotely connect to and control your home security system. Apps make it easy to access real-time video and information from your home’s security system, and completely control the system from anywhere.

Modern systems employ wireless technology to make installation faster, and damage free. Homeowners can have a system installed in their existing homes or new home construction with the confidence that the installation will not require opening walls or ceilings.

Video insight

Adding video cameras into a security system can help you see who is inside and outside your home. Remote access services can allow you to view real-time images of key areas in and around your home or see a video clip of an event such asa child arriving home from school, if an elderly parent is safe at home, or even if a package has arrived at your front door.

Energy management

Wireless systems like Honeywell’s LYNX Touch facilitate communications among multiple energy-control and home-environment devices. For example, while programmable thermostats can reduce energy costs when used properly, remembering to set them, or figuring out how to program them, can be challenging. LYNX Touch can actually be used to automatically adjust thermostat settings, reducing heat or air conditioning when you arm the system as you leave the house, and increasing settings when you return home and disarm the system.

Disaster prevention

Of course, some sensors in a home security system will monitor access points into your home. The systems can let you know when a door or window is opened and, depending on the system, who is actually in your house. With environmental sensors, however, a home security system can do more than just protect your home from damage related to fire or a break-in.

When positioned in key areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens or utility rooms, environmental sensors can alert you to flooding, leaks and extreme temperatures – all situations that could cause damage to your home. When used in conjunction with a remote services product, like Total Connect, environmental sensors can help you catch and repair potentially high-cost problems before they turn into total disasters.

“Given the costs associated with burglary, flooding and other potential problems that home security systems can help catch, these systems are a cost-effective way to protect your home and stay connected,” Klinger says.