Why You Should & Should Not Buy Dome AlertBy - 04/27/2017
As if there aren’t enough home alarm systems on the market, another startup has decided to join the party. Casey Hermansen, a motivational speaker, has founded a startup that sells a home disaster and security alarm system called Dome Alert.
Dome Alert is a system made up of several different devices and an app. It detects common home hazards including fire, carbon monoxide, leaks, freezing pipes, and intrusion. I’m sure you already know how vital it is to detect these hazards early. So what do you say we jump right to the important question: Should you buy Dome Alert?
Why You Should Buy It
1. It lets you use your existing smoke and CO detectors.
Dome Alert is made up of multiple devices, and one of them is the Fire/CO Sensor. The sensor is connected to the Dome Alert Hub and will notify you if an event is detected. Technically, it doesn’t detect fire or carbon monoxide. What it does is listen for audible alerts coming from your existing smoke and carbon monoxide sensors. This works similarly to the SPOT camera, as well as devices such as Point and RemoteLync. If there’s fire, your existing smoke alarm is triggered, the Fire/CO Sensor hears the alarm, sends a signal to the Hub, and notifies the monitoring center. The same process is in place for carbon monoxide detection. The campaign claims that the sensor can distinguish the sound of a smoke alarm from a CO alarm, which helps you and the monitoring center decide which action to take. While we haven’t tested Dome, we have tested SPOT, which makes a similar claim. Unfortunately, this type of technology isn’t an exact science. Rose, a contributor to Home Alarm Reports, found that false alarms were caused by unusual sounds, including flying an indoor drone.
2. Easy to install Flood/Freeze Sensor
Dome’s Flood/Freeze sensor can be set up in seconds, unlike some traditional home alarm companies that require you to pay for installation. The Flood/Freeze sensor has four copper nodes at the bottom of the device and an internal thermometer. It triggers when water touches the nodes or if the temperature drops below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The Flood/Freeze sensor is also hooked up to the Hub so that it can notify you and the monitoring center of an event.
3. Security devices are available
During their crowdfunding campaign, Dome had only three devices. They’ve since added more. This list includes door/window sensors and motion detectors linked to their monitoring centers. Their security system is also expandable, allowing you to add security cameras from compatible brands.
4. Energy savings
Dome also offers energy-saving devices. They offer a service called BrightDome, where they retrofit smart lights and a Nest Thermostat to your home to save energy.
Second, UtilityDome is a system that measures your electric, gas, water, and solar energy use using a device called utility reader.
5. Easy to set up system
- Step 1: Place the Dome Hub near a router. Make sure there is an extra wall outlet, as it needs to be plugged in.
- Step 2: Connect the Hub to your router via Ethernet cable.
- Step 3: Stick Fire/CO Sensors onto your ceiling. (The campaign says that you can have just one sensor, but the FAQ section mentions that you should place one sensor 6 inches from all of your smoke sensors.)
- Step 4: Place Flood/Freeze Sensors near flood-prone and freeze-prone areas. (e.g. under the sink, in the basement, near pipes) You can connect up to 20 sensors to one system.
- Step 5: Follow the in-app instructions and connect your remaining sensors and devices to the Hub.
6. Set and forget about it.
Once it’s set up, you don’t need to do anything else. Dome stays on, the hub stays connected, and you will be notified if an alert is triggered. In fact, you don’t even need to arm or disarm the system. The only time you should pay attention to it is when the batteries need replacing, which happens approximately every five years.
7. It lets you take the driver’s seat
If an emergency occurs, you will be notified by text, email, a call from the monitoring center, and push notification via the Dome App. From there, Dome lets you decide which action to take. From the app, you can choose to call for an emergency response, call a trusted contact, or dismiss the alert as a false alarm.
8. Professional monitoring for as low as $9/month – No Contracts
Dome Alert believes that professional monitoring is the best form of protection, which is why they’ve partnered with UCC for professional monitoring. UCC is a well-regarded monitoring center, the same center used by Lowes’ Iris.
With professional monitoring, any event will be handled even if you’re too busy to respond to an incident or incapacitated because of the incident. The monitoring center can even call the fire department in case of fire or CO detection.
Monitoring starts at $9 per month and is offered through four separate monitoring plans.
|Purpose||Professional monitoring of smoke, CO, flood, and freezing pipes||Self-monitor your utility use||Professional monitoring of intrusion and burglary||All-in-one professional monitoring solution (Combines AlertDome, UtilityDome, SecurityDome)|
|Device inclusions||1x Dome
1x Flood/Freeze Sensor
1x Smoke/CO Listening Device
|1x Utility reader||3x Door/Window Sensor
1x Motion Sensor
1x Echo Dot
1x Smart Hub
1x Utility Reader
1x Nest Thermostat
1x Echo Dot
1x Smart Door Lock
3x Door Sensors
1x Motion Detector
1x Water Sensor
Smart LED lights retrofitted to cover up to 6500 sq.ft. home.
Why You Should NOT Buy Dome Alert
There may be many good reasons to buy Dome Alert, but do the pros outweigh the cons?
1. Dome is a startup company that offers features already offered by tested companies.
Why risk your money on a startup if you can get what they’re offering from tested companies? There are handfuls of other options. For instance, you can make any traditional smoke alarm smart by using one of the options mentioned above, like Kidde’s RemoteLync. Better yet, you can get home alarm companies, like Frontpoint, to monitor not just home hazards, but also burglary and medical alerts. Their installation is also easy and DIY.
But if you really like the concept, check out home alarm and automation systems like Samsung’s SmartThings. With the right sensors, SmartThings can detect fire, carbon monoxide, leaks, flood, low temperatures, and instrusions while saving energy. SmartThings also offers professional monitoring through Scout Alarms and the coming soon ADT Canopy. Both monitoring options are contract-free. On top of that, SmartThings is compatible with SmartThings-branded sensors and a wide range of home automation brands, so it isn’t limited as limited as Dome. Also, it’s moved beyond the startup phase. They’ve built a dedicated community, and when it comes to longevity, my bet is that SmartThings will outlast Dome.
2. It requires a subscription where others do not.
There’s another reason why I think you should pass on Dome Alert—it won’t work without professional monitoring. At first, I thought it might be a hybrid system like SmartThings, where you can add monitoring or self-monitor at will. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The FAQ section clearly states:
“Yes you can deactivate and reactivate your professional monitoring service whenever you want. However, the Dome system, including the app, will not work while it is deactivated.”
Also, their monitoring plans are expensive. For the same price as the SmartDome plan, you can subscribe to the Ultimate Plan from Frontpoint, which offers more features and reliability.
Will You Buy It?
The ultimate decision is yours. In my opinion, it’s a pass for now. It’s too new, it isn’t solving a problem that hasn’t already been solved, and it requires a monthly fee that is tied limited services.
If you think Dome is for you, you can head over to their website to check things out.
Updated: 4/27/2017 updated as Dome has launched.