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Buying Guide for Home Security Systems
Introduction to Home Security Systems
There is no greater priority at home than your own safety and the safety of your family. Regardless of the size of your home, you and your family should be able to retire for the night knowing you will be safe when morning comes.
Having a home security alarm system is like having a guard on duty whose sole job is to protect you and your loved ones - and to keep your home safe and secure when you are all away from home.
As well, today's research shows that most thieves look for the easy, quick score, opting for homes with no alarm systems whenever possible. And in 65% of cases where thieves do burgle a protected home, the alarm system prevents them from carrying out the robbery.
Best of all, home security systems today are more feature-rich than at any other time in history. Present systems often include motion sensors, temperature change sensors and the ability to send auto-alerts to friends and neighbors if the system is tripped or tampered with.
This website will give you the information you need to make informed choices about the best home security system to keep your family and belongings safe.
Features & Add-Ons
You are likely familiar with the basic function of a home security system. But as mentioned previously, present systems are more integrated and feature-rich than ever before to ensure your safety and protection.
New standard features include these:
With this feature, you can communicate back and forth with the central site that is monitoring your system. Your home system has a built-in intercom feature in the security keypad for verifying identity and real-time communication.
A failsafe backup system.
This feature ensures that no matter what, your system will be able to continue doing its job of monitoring your home. Today's systems often have multi-tiered backup features, including a battery backup and radio/cell backup so even if you have no phone service your system still runs.
You can use a small device to turn your system on or off from several feet away without needing your passcode.
Add-on features include these:
A monitored smoke alarm.
By tying your smoke alarm into your security system your home is monitored for fire as well as theft.
A panic button.
This remote-operated button can be carried with you and used to set off your alarm from a distance of up to 75 feet.
This feature exempts pets (up to 65 lbs.) from tripping your alarm system via a pet door or in other ways.
Video Surveillance.With this feature, you can incorporate television and video feeds for enhanced monitoring.
Comparing Alarm Companies
There are only about 10 alarm system manufacturers in the United States. However, there are many more independent resellers who are eager for your business.
Here, what you don't want is as important as what you do want. You do want to select a reseller that offers fast, reliable monitoring and response times. You do want a system that is easy to install and operate. You do want options for extra features. What you don't want is a proprietary system that would not work if you ever decide to leave the home security company because you are dissatisfied with their service!
How to choose a reseller:
- Look for positive customer testimonials online.
- Get at least 3-4 quotes so you have a very good idea of what your options are and a price range to use for negotiating.
- Only consider companies that want to meet you at your home to do a risk assessment before generating your quote.
- Get all quotes in writing and be sure your quote includes everything.
- Talk to current customers to see how happy they are (a reputable reseller should be happy to provide you with references).
- Be sure you read all the fine print before signing anything.
In most cases, you will pay once to purchase the equipment and installation, and then you will pay monthly for maintenance and monitoring. There may be additional fees and charges as well depending on what add-on features you choose.
In general, here is what you can expect to spend:
- Equipment and installation: $100 to $1,500.
- Basic monitoring: $25 to $50 per month.
- Adding fire protection: $60 more for setup and $5 more per month.
- Adding dual tech sensors: $50 to $200 more per year.
- Adding backup: $5 to $10 more per month.
- Adding remote control(s): $25 to $200 more per year (wired systems only).
- Police permit (where needed): $5 to $40 more per year.
Your family will also have an adjustment after you have the new home security system installed.
These tips will help:
Never program your system to call 911.
This is illegal and also renders the monitoring service pointless.
Be sure to get your insurance discount.
You may save up to 20 percent just for having your system installed.
Always set the system before you leave.
If you don't always set the system, the money you spend nets you nothing.
Consider a duress code.
Just in case you are ever forced to disable your system, you will have that option.
Keep contact with your vendor and neighbors.
Be sure you notify your vendor and neighbors about any changes you make to your system.