Frequently Asked Questions about Your Home Security System
Do Home Security Systems prevent burglaries?
A home security system will not prevent a break-in directly. The system is designed to detect if someone is trying to break into your home or if they have already entered your residence. Depending on your chosen options for your alarm system, you can detect a thief before entering the house. The system will trigger a loud alarm that can drive the burglar away. If your alarm system is connected to a central station with 24-hour monitoring, the authorities can automatically be dispatched to your home. The presence of an alarm system does statistically reduce break-ins in homes without one.
How do I choose the best home security system?
A good quality alarm system is more than a brand name. There are two types of plans available. These are wired and wireless. The wired system requires running wires throughout your home, from the control panel to every home security device. The wireless security system operates with transmitters and batteries communicating with the control panel. The wireless system is a favorite with DIY Installers and professional installers alike. There are cases when the wired system is a clear choice, but that is usually for more complex installations.
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What features should I select when purchasing a home alarm system?
Security Systems have evolved drastically over recent years and are much more than a basic intruder alert system. They can be controlled remotely from a cell phone or laptop computer. Your lights can be turned off and on by a programmed schedule or remote access. You can even open your doors with the tap of a button from anywhere in the world. The more important question is what types of protection that you want. Today’s security systems can also double as an emergency alert system for older people.
The basics of any home security system should be:
- Perimeter protection of all doors and windows
- At least one motion sensor inside your home
- Fire protection with a minimum of one smoke detector
- A Carbon Monoxide Sensor
- Can I have an Alarm System in an Apartment?
People who rent apartments tend to be more transient than people who have their homes. This means that you often do not get to know your neighbors; if you do, they may not live next to you for long. Considering this as the norm, a security system can be even more important in an apartment because you do not have the built-in protection of neighbors looking out for each other. A wireless alarm system is the best choice since many control panels can be installed without penetrating your walls. They are easily removed and taken to the next location that you move to.
Do I have to pay for Home Security?
There is always a cost to just about everything. Do not be fooled by the ads that say you can get a free security system. The free security systems use an overinflated value for what you are getting, and the cost is built into the monthly fee you will be paying for central station monitoring. You have several options in how much you pay, but there will always be a cost.
Option One: It Yourself Install with No Monitoring
The cost will be the control panel and the individual devices you select for your home. This is a one-time cost unless you expand and add more widgets.
Option Two: It Yourself Install with Monitoring
The cost of the equipment will be the same. If you do your installation and want to have it monitored by a professional company, they will charge you at least a service call and a monthly monitoring fee.
Option Three-Professional Install with No Monitoring
This option will cost equipment and labor. Alarm companies count on the recurring revenue generated every month, so if you have elected not to monitor your system, the installation price will not be discounted. Remember that anywhere you will have a built-in markup on the equipment.
Option Four-Professional Install with Monitoring
This is the most inexpensive way to get a security system for the short term. I say short-term because the alarm installation company will give you a free security system. However, the system will be limited to devices. The typical free offer is 3 door sensors and one motion detector. This is a minimal system and only offers partial protection. The alarm company will install additional devices at an additional cost. The problem with this type of system is that besides the minimal protection, you pay for the system every time you spend on your monthly monitoring.
Am I required to have a phone line or cellular phone for my security system?
If you wanted your home security system to be monitored in the old days, you must have a phone line. This was never an issue because almost everyone had a phone installed in their home. With cell phones in everyone’s life, many people no longer have a home phone line. If you want to have your home monitored, you must select to get a phone line or use cellular technology. This does not mean that you need a cell phone. The control panel has a GSM device that uses cell phone towers to communicate to the central station instead of the traditional phone line. The cost of this service is built into your monthly monitoring fee. You do not have access to the cellular device. It is dedicated to the alarm system. If you do not currently have a phone line, you must consider the additional cost of adding one and paying for the monthly service. Your monitoring service will range from $24.99 to $65.00 per month, depending on the alarm company and the features that you are using. If you use a phone line, you are adding $20.00 per month.
Is Cellular better than Landline monitoring?
In my opinion, cell phone monitoring is the best type of monitoring. A savvy burglar can easily turn off a landline. The cell phone chip is located inside the control panel, so for it to be disabled, the intruder would need to be inside the home. By then, the alarm would have already been triggered. Cell phone technology also allows complete remote control of your system, while landline access is limited.
Will my call waiting affect my home security system?
When a security system is properly installed, the system will take over your phone line. If the plan goes into alarm and needs to contact the central station, the phone line is automatically disconnected from the house lines and, at that point, is dedicated to the sole use of the alarm system. Once the transmission is complete, the line is returned for normal operation.
When I have a power loss, will my alarm system still work?
All home security systems are designed with a battery backup. When normal house power is lost, the control panel switches to battery power. Suppose there are no alarms generated while on battery power; your system can last at least 24 hours without power being restored.
Will my pets trigger my alarm system?
Home security systems are still very effective when you have animals. There are specially designed motion sensors that can accommodate up to 55 lbs without false alarms. The installer should be aware that you have animals before the placement of the detectors. There are extra precautions to take when pets are an issue, such as never having the motion sensor too close to the back of a couch or other piece of furniture. Potential does exist if a cat or dog jumps onto the back of the sofa.
Can I have a security system to lower my homeowner’s insurance?
The short answer is yes. Most, if not all, insurance companies will give you a discount if you install a monitored security system. If you have a salesperson in your home, they will tell you you will receive up to 20%. That is true in isolated cases, but you should ALWAYS check with your agent to see the actual amount.
How does my alarm system work?
Your alarm system has four modes of operation. They are armed in Away, Armed in Stay, and disarmed, and there is a 24-hour mode. The armed-in-away method means you have armed your system and left your home. The armed in stay mode, your system is armed, and you have stayed home. In this mode, the interior devices are disabled, so you do not set the system off. In the disarmed way, the only devices that will work are those designated as 24-hour devices. This normally applies to smoke detectors. Glass break sensors, and medical pendants. Regardless of the mode of operation, if an alarm is triggered, the system will sound the audible device and send a signal to the central station if you are monitored. The main station personnel will call you to confirm the alarm. If you are not at home, they will dispatch the appropriate authorities.
Why do my emotions get triggered when there is no burglar?
Motion sensors can be touchy and are responsible for more false alarms than other devices. They are a necessary part of your home security system, but they must be installed properly and require more maintenance than door and window contacts. You must not install the detector too close to moveable objects such as balloons, blinds, and curtains. Don’t mount the motion detector too close to a furnace or vent. It would be best to clean the lens’s exterior to keep cobwebs and dust from forming. If you are experiencing false alarms, the device may need to be replaced, adjusted, or relocated.
How long does my security system take to contact the monitoring company?
When your alarm system has triggered the system, there is a built-in short delay before the signal is sent to the central station. This is only a few seconds at default. Once the password is sent, there will be a phone call to the listed phone number to try and confirm the alarm. This helps to keep false alarms and unneeded police dispatch to your home.