Filed under: Home Safety, Security and Surveillance
So, you just got a dome-style security camera. How were you thinking of mounting that thing? As far as I know, there are two choices: get out your hole saw and install a brand new camera mount from scratch, or you can use Arlington’s Cam-Kit™ to adapt an existing fixture box into a custom hanging bracket. No offense to the hole saws out there, but if I already have a perfectly good fixture box installed into a wall, ceiling, or eave, I’m not going to haul out a tool that requires me to wear safety glasses and a mask to avoid Death by Drywall Particulate. Nooooooooooo thank you.
If you haven’t already figured it out, that means that I’m extremely pro Cam-Kit™. Made by Arlington Industries, otherwise known as the Retrofit Geniuses, this adapter set has everything you need to transform an old, unused fixture box into a mount that’s perfect for any dome security camera up to 5 inches in size. Available in round or octagonal versions to suit either shape fixture box, the Cam-Kit™ consists of a crossbar that mounts onto the box itself, as well as a camera base that attaches to your security camera.
Installation is incredibly easy: once you attach each part of the kit to its respective component (as I just mentioned), you just twist the camera base onto the crossbar, tighten the set screw so that nothing budges, and you’re good to go. If you’re wondering how this can possibly work for such a wide range of cameras, it’s easy: you drill your own mounting holes, exactly where you need them.
In letting you take this step of the operation into your own hands, Arlington isn’t being lazy on their end – they’re actually doing you a favor. Ever tried to to force a “universal fit” accessory to conform to the item you purchased it for? No fun. You’re way better off zipping your power drill through the mount yourself. All of the holes will line up, and remember, you already avoided hole saw work, so what’s the big deal about a few seconds with a power drill? Nada.
I know I always write about specific products, but today I’m going to put the spotlight on an issue, instead: Carbon Monoxide Safety. As the weather gets chillier and we start to think about lighting cozy fires and nudging up the temps on our thermostats, it’s time to take the yearly measures to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
This starts with having one or more carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Lots of people have them these days, but there are still surprisingly many gamblers out there who still haven’t made the investment. No sure if you have one? Check your smoke alarms – many of them are now combo units, with carbon monoxide detection built in. But if you discover you’ve been going without, carbon monoxide detectors aren’t expensive, and they’re versatile and easy to come by. You can get fancy with a CO detector that networks with the other alarms in your home, or you can get a simple plug-in unit that plugs right into any power outlet, no hardwiring required. Whichever way you go, just make sure that you have at least one, and the detectors are located near potential CO sources (gas stoves, fireplaces, furnaces, gas-powered dryers, water heaters and attached garages) and your home’s bedrooms/sleeping areas.
Next comes the big test: does your carbon monoxide detector actually work? We recommend testing the alarm monthly, but that isn’t always an indicator of how well the actual detection equipment is working. Manufacturers generally specify how long a unit is good for – don’t hang onto a CO detector that has passed its prime, and if in doubt, stay on the safe side and buy a replacement. And even if you know that your carbon monoxide detectors are still within their recommended life spans, be sure to replace the batteries yearly, or more often if you hear the telltale chirp. We suggest changing the batteries on the same day that you set your clocks back – that way, you’ll be well-powered throughout Fall and Winter, which are crucial times for CO detection.
And last but definitely not least, have your fireplace cleaned and the flue/chimney checked for any signs of cracks, which can allow carbon monoxide that would otherwise be vented safely outside to seep back into your home on its way up the chimney. In addition, have a pro check your furnace and duct work for signs of soot, corrosion, and cracks or holes, any of which can signal a potential CO problem. And when you let your car warm up before leaving for work, make sure that it’s in open air, and not closed in the garage – carbon monoxide from the car’s exhaust can quickly build to dangerous levels, and possibly travel into attached living spaces.
Wow, so many warnings, so little blog space! For the full rundown, check out these Carbon Monoxide FAQs, and have a warm, cozy, and safe season!
Child Safety Kit: Keeping Curious Little Hands Away from Outlets, Drawers, and Other Accidents Waiting to Happen
Every once in a while, I have an “I-Can’t-Believe-I-Haven’t-Blogged-About-That-One-Yet” epiphany, and the one that hit me today has to do with our Child Safety Kit. My husband and I recently moved into a new house, and are planning to have a little shindig with the friends and fam to officially break in the new digs. I’ve been making a mental checklist of things I have to do between now and the party: get rid of the ugly kitchen wallpaper and finish the backsplash so that everyone will be impressed, Scotchgard the new sofa so I don’t have a conniption if anyone spills something on it during the festivities, and make sure that I move my kitchen knives and cleaning products to higher ground before my 2-year-old little buddy (our friend’s son) gets curious (which he will) and hurts himself.
And then the light bulb switched on – the Child Safety Kit! It’s a little invention we came up to protect curious babies and kids from pretty much any potential dangers they can encounter from everyday household objects. We combined a few obvious childproofing products like drawer latches, furniture corner shields and outlet blockers and combined them with out-of-the-ordinary things like safety receptacles, tamper-proof extension cords and cable winders for whole-house protection.
With this childproofing arsenal, you can limit kid access to (and thereby increase the safety factor of) all kinds of dangerous household objects, like cutlery, cleaning chemicals, electrical outlets, and even cord slack, which can be a tripping hazard, and give babies a quick and easy way to pull lamps and other devices off of tables or desks and onto themselves. The world can be such a dangerous place for curious little kids – it’s a wonder that they manage to stay so happy and cute. It’s our job to keep them that way.
Check out a video demonstration of our child safety kits, which, coincidentally, stars yours truly. I’m thinner now.