Many times I’m asked why we don’t install a certain device on security systems in the south. Many newcomers to the Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head area are relocating from the north, retiring from cold weather or urban life. As one should expect, there are major differences between “back home” and the low country. It is important to ask these questions so that you may choose what security devices are important to have on your new home. The major two differences that affect these decisions are 1. the lack of need for heating in warmer climate and 2. less educated crime in the low-country compared to a metropolis or higher crime areas.
Window contacts are highly recommended for protection when you are home. Many owners in our area are second homeowners and are more concerned about security when they are away. For this reason, many opt out of the expense to install window contacts on every window. Motion detectors are strategically placed to protect a home when you are away.
Overhead door contacts are a must for commercial applications, but rarely used in the low-country as they infringe on our laid back way of life. Overhead or Garage door contacts make it a little less convenient to operate the system. As soon as you press the garage door opener to drive into your garage, the time starts ticking down, making owners feel rushed to disarm their security system. There are ways to overcome this inconvenience such as extending the delay time, using keyfobs, and so on. However, many owners do not find the risk worth the inconvenience as garage door are difficult to break into.
Carbon Monoxide is an odorless and deadly gas. Owners should consider this protection for any home. In colder climates, where gas heat is highly used to heat homes, carbon monoxide detectors are required by code to be installed. And for a good reason: gas appliances, especially when used as much as they are up north, make a home high risk for carbon monoxide. Our warmer climate does not create as high a risk and therefore some homeowners opt out of installing CO detectors as they are not required.
Temperature monitors are installed for exactly opposite reasons from north to south. Northern homes run the risk of pipes freezing in the cold when heating units fail, and southern homes run the risk of mold and mildew when cooling fails.
Water sensors in the north are most commonly installed in areas with concentrated plumbing to help detect a flood from pipes bursting. HVAC handlers and hot water tanks are normally located in the basement, out of harm’s way. In the low-country we do not have basements because we are so close to the water line, so we install these units in the attic where we risk water damage from pipes clogging and overflowing. Therefore, we install water sensors on drip pans of HVAC and hot water tank drip pans.