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 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, then the authorities can be dispatched to your home automatically. 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, but usually in more complex installations.
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.
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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 overinflated 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 1-Do It Yourself Install with No Monitoring.
The cost involved will be for the cost of the control panel 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 2-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, they will charge you a minimum of a service call and a monthly monitoring fee.
Option 3-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, so 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 4-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 were required to have a phone line. This was never an issue because almost everyone had a phone installed in their home. With the addition of cell phones 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 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 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, 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 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.