Contractor Tips Blog


Structured Wiring Explained

Posted in Home Security

Structured wiring is a system of wiring used in internal construction whereby all the wiring components in a home or commercial building are set up using a home run configuration. This means all the telephone, video, satellite, cable, internet, security alarm system and other communications wiring are pulled from a central distribution panel, as opposed to a daisy chain wiring scheme whereby wires are looped from outlet to outlet, and jack to jack, throughout the house.

With structured wiring, the central panel is located in a closet, utility room, or any other unobtrusive place.  It is strongly recommended that the central panel be installed in a location with low humidity and controlled room temperature so that the panel doesn’t get too cold or overheat. Because all the wires run back to a central panel, it is easy to maintain or make changes to the system; the individual cables can be easily isolated to test for shorts or to change connections if desired.

With daisy chain wiring schemes, the wires are looped and spliced, which degrades signal quality.  As signals travel through the looped system they are split and grow weaker so that devices connected further along in the loop tend to have weaker signals and connectivity issues. Also, with daisy chained wiring, if one connection fails, all of the devices further along the chain go out. With structured wiring on the other hand, all of the signals are travelling the same distance and there is no need to split signals. This results in stronger communications signals and more consistent device performance throughout the building.

Structured wiring is considered a superior wiring scheme for homes or commercial buildings. It is a flexible, more layman’s-friendly approach to building wiring that results in a fully and smoothly functioning home or business place.


Fingerprint Scanners

Posted in Home Security

Advances in biometric technology have made biometric based security systems available to the homeowner seeking enhanced levels of security for their homes.  Biometric security systems include fingerprint scanners, facial recognition technology, iris scanners, and palm readers.  Fingerprint scanners and other biometric security devices are now widely used on laptop computers, vehicle entry, ignition, and alarms, and in home security systems.

When used in your home, can operate garage doors or gates, exterior access doors, or access to certain areas of your home.  They can also be incorporated into your home automation system and your home security system.  Fingerprint scanners can be used to activate almost any device such as a television, computer, lighting, and so on.

One of the primary benefits of a fingerprint scanner is that you don’t have to remember any pass code or carry a key or access card.  Pass codes can be forgotten or compromised and keys and access cards can be lost or stolen.  Not so with a fingerprint scanner.  You will always have what you need right at your fingertip!

Fingerprint scanners can store multiple user prints so you can carefully control who has access to your home or areas within your home.  In addition, a fingerprint scanner provides a record of who accessed an area and when.

The two common types of scanners are optical scanners that use photo imaging and capacitive scanners that rely on electrical impulses.  Optical scanners are less secure than capacitive scanners because they are more easily fooled by an image of your fingerprint.  Like any other type of security device, fingerprint scanners are not 100% foolproof.  However, they can be a valuable enhancement to your security system.


Nanny Cam Pros and Cons

Advances in video surveillance technology and on-line monitoring capability have made using video surveillance cameras easily within the reach of most parents.  These “nanny cams” offer many advantages for concerned parents, but before you decide to use a nanny cam you should consider the downside potential as well.

A nanny cam can offer additional protection for your child.  The existence of numerous cases of child abuse by nannies caught on video surveillance cameras proves that they work.  Parents have been able to catch and stop abusive behavior toward their children using a nanny cam.

Less dramatic but just as useful is that a nanny cam helps insure that your nanny is doing the job as expected.  You can be sure that your nanny is properly caring for your child and following your instructions such as feeding, bathing, and bedtime instead of spending her time on the phone or watching television and feeding your child a dinner of potato chips and ice cream.

Nanny cams are also great for protecting your property.  They can be used to monitor workers in your home such as a maid service or any other work you are having done in your home.  The flip side is that the nanny cam even protects these workers as well as your nanny from false accusations.  If you suddenly can’t find your best earrings or other property, you can use the nanny cam to quickly eliminate the possibility of theft and focus instead on where you may have misplaced them.

One potential downside of video surveillance is running afoul of the law.  These systems are legal when used properly, but take care to make sure you are not exposing yourself to legal action.  The main concern is usually audio recording which is illegal in many states so be sure to check the laws in your state.  Another downside is that your nanny may become resentful if she finds out that you have the system installed.  One way to avoid this problem is to let the nanny know up front that you have the system and point out that the system is not installed due to a specific distrust of her, but to provide better protection and security for your home, your child, and everyone else in the home including the nanny.

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