Home monitoring device aims to prevent property damage

Apr 1, 2013

An upstate New York company has created a small plug-in device that could help home-owners avoid costly problems. The MarCELL monitoring device works on a cellular connection and can alert homeowners to problems like a power failure or a broken pipe.

About the size of a bar of soap, the MarCELL monitoring device plugs straight into an outlet to monitor things like temperature, humidity, and electrical power inside a home.

Penn Yan company, Sensored-Life, created the device and co-founder Jim Odorczyk says it can be very useful for people who own multiple properties or spend several months of the year traveling.

“You can set up safe ranges for temperature and humidity, and if temperature and humidity go outside that range, or power is lost on the property that is being monitored, it will alert you immediately via your choice of a text message, a phone call or an email," Odorczyk said.

“It has a cell phone chip in there so in the property you’re monitoring you do not need to have an active phone line or internet connection," he continued.

Odorczyk says alerts that make owners aware when homes fall below a certain temperature in cold climates can help prevent frozen and burst water pipes.

Similarly, he says alerts for humidity and heat spikes can prevent toxic mold developing in properties located in warmer climates.

“In addition, we have little wireless sensors that talk to the MarCELL unit, and these are about the size of a Gatorade bottle cap. And these sensors have specific applications, we have one for water protection. So you can just put this thing next to your hot water heater, behind your toilets, underneath your sinks, and if there is a leak this little unit will wirelessly talk to the MarCELL unit which would, through the cell phone connection, get out to the server and give you a message,” Odorczyk said.

The MarCELL unit will cost about $179. On top of that, Odorczyk says there is a monthly fee for cellular connectivity ranging between $9.95 and $14.95 per month. But, as he points out, you don’t have to pay for the connection all year round.

“There’s no long term contract, so if you only want to use it for three months you can go online, turn it on, and then at the end of three months turn it off.”

Sensored-Life hopes to have the MarCELL monitoring device on the market by fall of this year.

For more from the Innovation Trail, visit their website www.innovationtrail.org.

The Innovation Trail is a collaboration between six upstate New York public media outlets. The initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), helps the public gain a better understanding of the connection between technological breakthroughs and the revitalization of the upstate New York economy.