Frequently Asked Questions about your Home Security System
Do Home Security Systems prevent burglaries?
A home security system will not prevent a break indirectly. 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 the options that you have chosen for your alarm system, you can detect a thief before they enter the home. 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 over 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 basically two types of systems available. These are wired and wireless. The wired system requires running wire throughout your home, from the control panel to every home security device. The wireless security system operates with the use of transmitters and batteries that communicate to 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, usually in 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 by 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 the elderly.
The basics in 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 that rent apartments do tend to be more transient than people that purchase their homes. This means that you often do not get to know your neighbors, or if you do, they may not be living 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 any of 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 over-inflated value for what you are getting, and the cost is built into the monthly fee that you will be paying for central station monitoring. You have several options in the amount of money you pay, but there will always be a cost.
Option One-Do It Yourself Install with No Monitoring
The cost involved will be the control panel’s cost and the individual devices that you select for your home. This is a one-time cost unless you choose to expand and add more devices.
Option Two-Do It Yourself Install with Monitoring
The cost of the equipment will be the same. If you do your own installation and want to get monitoring by a professional company, then they will charge you a minimum of a service call and a monthly monitoring fee.
Option Three-Professional Install with No Monitoring
This option will be the cost of equipment and labor. Alarm companies are counting on the recurring revenue generated every month. If you have elected not to have your system monitored, there will be no discounts on the installation price. Remember that anywhere you will have a built-in markup on the equipment.
Option Four-Professional Install with Monitoring
This is actually 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 in devices. The typical free offer is 3 door sensors and 1 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 are actually paying for the system every time you pay for 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 most everyone had a phone installed in their home. With cell phones’ addition to 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 use a 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 choose to 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 disable 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. The 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 system goes into alarm and needs to contact the central station, the phone line is automatically disconnected from the house lines and dedicated to the alarm system’s sole use. 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 your normal house power is lost, the control panel will switch over to battery power. Suppose there are no alarms generated while on battery power your system can last at least 24 hours without your power being restored.
Will my pets trigger my alarm system?
Home security systems are still very effective when you have animals in the home. There are specially designed motion sensors that can accommodate up to 55 lbs without false alarms. The installer should be aware that you do have animals before the placement of the detectors. There are some extra precautions to take when pets are an issue, such as never have the motion sensor too close to the back of a couch or other piece of furniture. Potential does exist if a cat or dog were to jump onto the back of the couch.
Can have a security system lower my homeowner’s insurance?
The short answer is yes. Most, if not all, insurance companies will give you a discount if you have a monitored security system installed. If you have a salesperson in your home, they will tell you that you will receive up to 20%. That is true in isolated cases, but you should ALWAYS check with your agent to see whe actual amount.
How does my alarm system work?
Your alarm system has 4 modes of operation. They are armed in Away, Armed in Stay, and disarmed, and there is a 24-hour mode. The armed in away mode means that you have armed your system and you have 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 mode, the only devices that will work are the ones that are 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 also send a signal to the central station if you are monitored. The central 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 they do require more maintenance than door and window contacts. You must take care not to install the detector too close to moveable objects such as balloons, blinds, curtains. Take care not to mount the motion detector too close to a furnace or vent. It would help if you also cleaned 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.