Home AutomationResidential Security

Home Alarm Systems: Where do I Start?

By January 31, 2017 One Comment
home alarm system

When deciding on a home alarm system, it might be confusing to know where to start.  Take a look at this guide for some quick tips on what to consider first.


What Type Of Dwelling Are You Securing?

When choosing a home alarm system, your first point of consideration should be what type of building you are trying to secure.  A home with multiple points of entry will most likely need many door contacts, at least two motion detectors and many window contacts.

When securing a condo, some people may think that an alarm isn’t necessary since there are few entry points, or because they aren’t on the ground level.  Although this may make it harder for an intruder, a condo without a security system is still at risk.  Making sure that windows, especially if there is access to a fire escape, outdoor patios and ground floor windows are alarmed will up your home security.

When renting, you might be wary about how many holes you put into the wall or where you are trying to run wires.  Thanks to advances in technology, there are many options for alarm systems which have wireless setups that leave minimal marks on your walls.  Make sure you check with your security provider that they accept renters or work with your landlord.


How Many Entry Points Does Your Home Have?

The first thing you want to do is count the number of doors that have outside access, such as your front and back door as well as doors that provide access to a garage or patio.  Second, count all your windows – even if they are on the second story of your home.  Lastly, don’t forget to count any gates.  Burglars can be incredibly “creative” on how they enter a home.


What Is Important To You?

Security systems now come with many features for you to choose from and decide which are most important to you and will fit your security and lifestyle needs.

Cameras: There are many different types of cameras that can protect your home.  CCTV records every minute of video and saves it on a DVR.  This allows you to go back at a later time and review the footage.  Videofied cameras record 30 seconds of video when tripped and will immediately send that clip to your central station for them to review it.

Home Automation: Do you want the ability to control your lights, air conditioning, door locks, garage door and many other features remotely?  Then you might want to consider home automation in your security search.

Mobile Access:  Many security companies now offer mobile access for your smartphone.  You can arm/disarm your system, view live camera footage, turn down your air conditioner or lock that door you forgot to lock on your way out.

What is Your Budget?

While you can’t put a price on you or your family’s safety, how much you can and are willing to spend on installation and per month will play a factor in the decision making process.  When looking at different alarm providers, don’t look at price alone.  Instead, look at what that price includes.  Some alarm providers may seem like a cheaper option up front, but hidden fees, high service call charges and unresponsive customer service may have you wishing you went with a company that provided much better customer care.


Do You Need Fire and Life Safety Alarms?

Make sure you have fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.  Most houses come with these already installed, but make sure your central station monitors them and they are sending and receiving signals.


Do You Want Online Account Viewing?

While we have already mentioned mobile access for your alarm system, some alarm companies offer online account viewing where you can view/pay invoices and look at alarm history.

Do you want all of your bills set to auto pay?  Do you want to be able to look over and change account information like your alarm contact list and their phone numbers?  Most alarm companies make all of this possible with online account viewing!

Get your login info and play around online to familiarize yourself with what is available.  If you have questions, call your security company.  You don’t want to miss out on any of the cool features that newer technology is providing alarm and home automation users!


Do Your Monthly Testing!

Once you have chosen which alarm and features are a good fit for you and have had it installed, test your alarm!  Test alarms monthly to make sure that they’re connected, running smoothly and everything is working properly.  Severe storms, power outages and disconnection of phone and/or internet services can all potentially affect the functioning of your alarm.  Once a month, call your central station and let them know you would like to test your system.  They will put your account on test and walk you through the steps to ensure that everything is working properly.


Now that you have an idea of what you need in a home alarm system, check out these other helpful posts:

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