In our current home, we have 'networked' all of the doors so that our Home Control System (HCS) can tell if they are open or closed. Knowing if a door this is important from both a climate control and a security pespective.
Most of the doors in our home have wired contacts sensors but, it has not been possible to retro-fit wiring in all cases and we have used wireless, Z-Wave technology in these cases. These are covered in the following projects:
The main reasons for adding door contact sensors to every door in our house are:
- They are most accurate, most reliable and cheapest sensors to use as the basis of any home security system (especially in wired form). They are both timely and zone/room/location specific.
- They can be used to provide very accurate presence and occupancy information for both the whole house and also on a per room basis. This is essential data for intelligent and learning smart homes and enables optimum heating and cooling control and thus maximises efficiency.
- These sensors provide triggers for convenience lighting in our current home, improving both safety and convenience.
- The data collected by our Home Control System (HCS) enables us to better understand how our home is used and enables our Home Control System (HCS) to learn from that usage.
In an ideal situation (e.g. our next home), we would have wired sensors on every door. The cost of the wiring, reed relay and magnet works out at less than £2 per door. The 'payback time' in terms of energy efficiency improvements alone is less than two months.
Some external doors may have (small) double-glazed glass panels. Security can be improved adding glass break sensors.
Composite Front Doors
Having recently (April 2013) purchased a new composite front door for our current house, this is the advice we would have to anyone considering a similar purchase:
- Make sure you see the exact door your are planning to purchase and don't just see it in a brochure.
- Check the locking mechanism is multi-point and it has a quality lock. Most are certified to a security scheme.
- Check the quality and number of seals.
- Make sure you understand how the locking mechanism works and the implications of it. Most modern front doors must be locked from the inside and outside with a key. This means anyone can open them from the outside until they are locked.
- If you are planning glass panel within the door, make sure you see a real example and not just a catalogue or brochure image. Brochures rarely show colours and glass patterns and etching accurately.
- Ideally, take photos of the door you have ordered whilst in the showroom, to refer back to later if need be.
- Make sure the glass lets enough light through but also has the required privacy. A stippled glass pane is often used to do this, so make sure you test the privacy glass you have chosen.
- Glass panes should ideally be triple glazed for security (some are double glazed). Do not install single-paned glass.
- Make sure you see the internal and external handles in the finish you require.
- Also check that the frame colour and design are as you expect. Pay particular attention to how the door frome will sit with any front step. Ask if you will be left with a piece of frame between the door and the step that is a different colour.
- Make sure that any step ordered is the required colour, e.g. it matches the door.
- Door seals compress over time and your fitter should offer to come back and check the seal and alignment after about 1 month.
External Sliding Doors
IDSystems is a good example of a supplier and installer of aluminium and wooden sliding doors. There provide a great way to connect the inside and outside of your home.
With external doors, you would also want any smart home automation system to know if they were locked/unlocked.