Tuesday, January 23

Protect Your Home: 7 Questions About Your New Home Alarm System

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Home security alarm systems come in all shapes and sizes. So to get you started with your search, here are 7 things to consider before you make your final decision:

1. Do you want a wireless or hard-wired system?

Hard wired systems may require that holes be drilled in walls to accommodate the wiring. If you’re a renter instead of a home owner, this might not be an option. Hard wired systems have to be installed by an electrician and can take longer to get up and running. Make sure any wires on the outside of the house are tucked away and well-hidden so they can’t be cut.

Wireless home security alarm systems generally use battery powered sensors so you can take it with you when you move. With land line phones becoming less popular, more people are choosing systems that use wireless communication and have cellular back up, which keeps working even during a power outage.

2. Do you want to self-monitor or use central monitoring by an alarm company?

Self-monitoring your home security system gives you control. You can decide whether to call the authorities, or determine if it’s a false alarm.

Some do-it-yourself kits include central monitoring, so even if you install the system yourself, you can still have it professionally monitored for a monthly fee. If you elect to use central monitoring, don’t sign a contract that’s longer than a year, because you don’t want to be committed to system that you may leave behind if you move.

3. How much do you want to spend?

Do-it-yourself (DIY) systems are more affordable because you install and monitor it yourself. But you can save on your home owners insurance if you have a monitored home security alarm system, so some of the monitoring costs are offset by reduced insurance costs. With the wide range of home security systems available, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that suits your budget and meets your specific needs.

4. Do you want a burglar alarm which only notifies you of intruders?

Or do you want a home security system that can alert you to other dangers such as fire, carbon monoxide or even flooding in some instances? Decide how complex you want your system to be and then complete your research for the best available systems on that basis.

5. How many windows and doors need to be secured?

If you have areas of the home with a number of windows, using motion detection sensors instead of having sensors on each window can lower some of the costs.

6. Do you want a basic system or something higher end?

Basic systems usually provide yard signs, motion detection lights, alarms and Wi-Fi connected cameras. Higher end systems can provide body heat sensors, additional entry points, infrared sensors, panic buttons, glass break sensors and even pressure sensors under your doormats.

7. Which company is best?

Speak to a number of companies in your local area before making a final decision about which system is best for you and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and check them. Find out what the level of customer service support is and how much experience they have.

Whatever type of system you choose, do your research before making any commitments. Understanding the features of the system so you know you’re getting what you need is important to your satisfaction once the system is installed. Take your time and don’t get talked into buying a system from the first company you talk to.

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Fiona Thompson

Staff writer / Avid internet junkie / Devoted music aficionado

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