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Home Alarm Systems - Buyer's Guide  Security Guides    E-mail    Print
Introduction
Types of Home Alarm Systems
The Basic Components
All About Home Alarm Companies
Trunk Slammers
Home Security Monitoring Stations
Home Alarm System Pricing
Final Judgment
Free Security System Quotes
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Introduction

Protection of our home is an aspect that keeps every home owner alarmed and sometimes on their nerves as well. The nagging question of whether our home will be secured while we are away, keeps on humming in our mind, making us think about all the possible ways that we can employ to keep those burglars away.

Yet, sadly enough, many a time, most of these security measures are known to fail the owner causing great losses and subsequent grievances. Installing home alarm system can alleviate this tension to a great extent, even though you should be aware of the fact that, it does not promise you to stop the intruders to break into the house. Still as it is said that every problem has its solution, you can go for the home alarm system and the monitored one for a better security measure.

But then choosing the right alarm system for your home is another point that you should be very careful of. The kind of intricate alarm system that will be required for a big house or mansion will not be the right and fit choice for a condo or an apartment. While the basic system for the security alarm is almost the same, it is the add-on that you should carefully choose and this is where the alarm systems mainly vary from each other. There are some other points that you should be considerate of before you invest in one home alarm system.

You should always know or at least have some prior ideas about the home alarm companies that you should approach. While there are lots of dealers around, you may find very few home alarm companies suitable instead. That is why, you should know whether the alarm you are buying will be regulated by the same monitoring center which is licensed by the alarm production company or not. There are several other tidbits also that you should know before you approach an alarm company.

Among other considerations that you should make before you are going to buy an alarm system will include your prior knowledge about the monitoring stations, the pricing of the alarm company and also about the trunk slammers who can cheat you big time if your are not aware of how your system works and how you should take care of it. Now, you must be wondering from where and how you can gather all this specific information so as to get your home secured with an alarm system. Well, all you need to do now is just be with us and read on to know all that you need to know about home alarm system.

Types of Home Alarm Systems

Now, this is easily understandable that the type of home alarm system you require to install in a big house or say in a mansion will be much more complex with several add-ons clinging to the entire system. The same is not required when you are living in an apartment or in a condo. While because of the lack of space in smaller houses or apartments you can go for the wireless alarm system, you can use the wired one for big houses. But, irrespective of wire or wireless systems, the basic components for an alarm system remain somewhat same in every case. Let us now learn about these components for a better understanding of what you should actually look for while installing one at your home.

The Basic Components

Security Keypad: This is one of the main components that allow to arm or disarm your security alarm system. Security keypad is generally installed near by the main entrance. But with an extra charge per month, you can add other panel also near the exit or in another location that you consider to be important.

Control Panels: This is the main component in a monitored alarm that can be termed as the brain of this system. It is installed in such a place which is generally hidden from direct view like the garage, storage or at the back-closet. This is done to avoid the mishap of being disarmed by the burglars. A control panel acts as the main power source for all the other components of the system and is also attached to a standard phone line.

Glass-Break Sensors: These sensors have the ability to produce an electrical signal by means of converting the acoustic shock waves that are created when a glass is broken. It sets the alarm ringing by the process of “audio discrimination” and thus is another important component of the entire system.

Motion Detectors: As the name itself suggests, this device helps in detecting unwanted movements inside the house. This is done by the reading of the change in the infrared level and this device is also called the passive infrared detector.

Sirens: We all know about this part among the several other components of an alarm system. Usually, loud horns and bells are used as sirens and you can also add strobe lights along with it for grabbing immediate attention towards your house.

Door & Window Contacts: These are magnetic devices which are used in a home alarm system. These basic components are placed along the door jam and window panes and starts on the alarm once door/window is open when you are not at home.

Now, while these are the basic components that should be there in every monitored home alarm system, depending on the add-ons, home alarm system can vary from house to house. Moreover, there are two other types which include the wired and the wireless security alarm. Which one you should install in your house will depend on your choice, necessity and also availability.

All About Home Alarm Companies

But, gathering information and learning about the types and components of home alarm system is not enough to get the best alarm system for your home. You need to know how to zero in on the perfect home alarm system company and also to catch the best deal available. After all, you need to strike a balance between your budget and the quality of the alarm system as well. Here are some handy tips and guidance that you can use while you are looking out for the alarm system companies.

Here is another interesting point that all prospective buyers of home alarm system may get interested in. Though on your look out for the alarm system companies you will meet hundreds of them, but there a very few home alarm system manufacturers. If you are wondering what this piece of information has to do with you, then have a little patience and let us tell you why. While you are buying a home alarm system from some dealers, you should always take the information about the monitoring center in detail. This is because, may be you have got some branded system, but sometimes it happens that, the company has its own monitoring system and you have to get the services from them only. This is precisely the reason that you should have detailed information about the manufacturing company, the dealer or the selling company and also about the monitoring center in detail when you are going to buy a home alarm system.

Now, let us have a glance at the quickies mentioned below to have some fast ideas about the features you should look for to determine whether an alarm company is good or you should move for the “next” in the list:

  • The first thing that a reliable alarm company does is to send their representative to your home to examine in detail what sort of security alarm system you need. This also determines the limitations that your house may have and helps both the parties get the estimate done properly.

  • A good alarm company will also provide you with written documents for every deal that includes the installation charges, monthly rental fee, charges for extra add-ons, charges for monitoring and also the warranty.

  • Another reliable feature of a good home security alarm system will include the time in which they get the installation done and whether they stick to the time period mentioned by them for the installation.

There are some other tell-tale signs that will help you to understand whether you can zero in on a particular alarm company or not. Try to get as many references as possible about the company and then ask certain questions like whether you will get quick services in case you are facing some problem with the system. You should also try to know whether the monitoring center will take quick action in case some intruders break into your house.

Try to know moreover, whether you will be notified in case the present alarm company sells the contract to some third party or not. If you get positive answers to all these queries, you can surely keep this company in the final list. But, then, don’t be hasty in finalizing your choice. You should at least get and compare three or four alarm companies with their services and quotes to make the final move. This will surely help you to take care of both your budget and the type of alarm that your home requires.

Trunk Slammers

When you are so cautious as not to get cheated on your deals on home security alarm system, would you not prefer to take your awareness a bit further to exclude those scammers and the false security alarm sellers? Well, we know this would be one most valuable point of guidance that you just cannot do without while buying an alarm system for your precious home. So, just read on to learn how to avoid these loopholes and make your home secure with the right home alarm system.

There are a group of people who buy a great many number of home alarm systems on high discount from some large company and try to sell it to prospective buyers. This type of door to door vendors in the alarm industry is known as the Trunk Slammers as it indicates their way of doing business. They will just sell the alarm system out of their trunk and once sold they will just slam the trunk and then leave the scene where the customers will have to suffer in future in case of any dispute or emergency arises with the system.

What makes the customers turn to these sellers is the promise of the cheapest price and sometimes free home alarm equipments and all for a very long time of contract period. This is a sure lure for those willing to buy a home alarm system on budget range. But then, you should be very careful to dodge this trouble.

Here are some points which you should consider about the trunk slammers. Once you are clear about the way they run their business, you can avoid being among one of their victims:

  • The first and surest sign that you are going to be cheated is to have a contract where nothing is mentioned clearly. Trunk slammers generally deal with their customers with a deal where there are many hidden costs and as such in the contract itself nothing is clearly mentioned.

  • When you are prompted to buy the home alarm system from the trunk slammers by the free or the cheapest price offers, you should clearly know another important point. That is, may be for a certain period of time you are getting the system for free of cost or at a very low price, yet this is not a lifetime offer. After the contract period gets over, you have to renew it to get the services and that charge may not be very less. Moreover, the company from where the equipment was taken may claim it back after the contracts gets over.

  • But, apart from these two troubles with the trunk slammers, there is yet another one, of which you need to be much more careful of. While you are making the deal with them, you may have to provide them with your social security number and here you are giving your personal information over to someone you don’t know at all. Now, this can get real scary as many incidents are happening where people have become worst victims of identity theft.

Now that you know all these loopholes about the trunk slammers and the way they run the business of home alarm systems, here are some additional reasons why you should always try to steer clear from dealing with these seemingly harmless businessmen. The trunk slammers generally don’t have any sort of valid registrations and also registered employees. They also don’t have any insurance or permanent offices also. This leads the customers into a baffled state when they face any type of problem with the alarm system as they don’t know to whom they can go for getting help. This is another major point and should act as a deterrent also for you to keep these trunk slammers at a bay.

Home Security Monitoring Stations

When you are learning every aspect associated with the proper way to buy the right home security alarm system for your home, you need to know about the central monitoring centers as well. It can be said that without this central monitoring station, the security alarm system is nothing but a useless gadget. Let us now explain the importance of the monitoring system in the entire process and why and what information you should know beforehand about it.

Well, to begin with, a central monitoring system acts as the brain of the entire process by which a monitored home security alarm works. When someone intrudes into your home, the security alarm with its various components can detect it and rings off the alarm or the siren. But, it cannot save your home entirely. What this alarm system does is to trigger off the alarm and inform the central monitoring center. The central monitoring system on the other hand, tries to verify first the cause of the alarm and if it finds out that something is wrong, they immediately dispatch the message to the concerned authority. Yet for your convenience just have a glace at the below mentioned step by step actions that are undertaken by the central monitoring system.

  • First, the alarm system that you have installed at home detects the presence of the intruders and the control panel through the standard phone line sends this information to the central monitoring station.

  • Once the central monitoring station gets the information, they call back at your home fast and most of the time within 10 seconds.

  • Generally, they use the standard phone line or else in case you have installed the dual communication system in your alarm, they use the security keypad for this purpose. The purpose of the call is to confirm the security pass code that you are provided with. If this pass code entry is found wrong or no body answers the phone, then the monitoring station takes quick action. They immediately send the concerned authority at your home.

  • Another action that they do is to inform the key-holder about the possible intrusion. Now, you must be wondering what this key-holder is. Well, when you are taking the services of a central monitoring system you need to provide them with the contact of one trustworthy member of your family or a neighbor to whom you can turn to for help in these situations. This person is known as the “key-holder” according to the alarm industry terminology.

Apart from these steps by which a central monitoring system tries to protect your home, you should also try to acquire some more information about the way they work. This will involve your enquiry whether the alarm company you are getting your alarm from has their own central monitoring station or they engage a third party for this purpose.

In both cases, try to gather as much information including their working schedule, timings, power back up etc. as you can for your own convenience in future.

Generally, bigger alarm companies have their own central monitoring stations. These companies provide you with high standard of services as most of them are registered with the UL (Underwriter’s Laboratories) which is a non-profit organization. Yet this service will cost the customers some more charges as the companies have to pay for the verification of their services. This is, however, is not the case with the smaller companies operating through third party. Yet whether you will buy the system from a smaller or larger company depends entire on your discretion.

Another important issue that you need to clarify before you are finalizing on any home alarm system company is about their power back up system of their monitoring stations. Every central monitoring station should have an adequate power back up which can either be a power generator which has the capacity to provide power for 10-15 days or another central monitoring station from which they can operate.

Once you have gathered all this required information, you can grow confident about the companies to keep in your finalizing list.

Home Alarm System Pricing

Now, when you have undertaken a total journey encompassing the types of the home alarm system that will fit your requirements, the alarm companies and learning the ways you can zero in on them, the trunk slammers and why and how to keep away from them and also the central monitoring system, there is yet another point that you should know to complete this knowledge odyssey about the home security alarm systems.

This is the price of the alarm system and how and where they go up, that is our focus in this section. We know that this is another valuable point to you as you need to take care of your budget for the system as well. So, here we are with another dose of information for you.

Before we move towards the pricing, let us consider the areas for which you have to bear the cost when you get a home security alarm installed at your home. As you have already anticipated, there will be a charge for the installation service itself. Now, this installation charge depends on some other factors as well. Along with depending on the home size, the installation charge will also include the charge based on the type of the equipment and also the number of add-ons attached to the main device.

Apart from the installation charges, there are two other major areas where you need to bear some monthly charges. For the central monitoring center with their monitoring services, there are certain charges which are added to the other costs that you have to take up. Then there is another part of the whole expenditure and this one depends on the extra devices that you decide to attach to your security alarm system in order to make it all the more fortified.

Each single device will add some extra cost which you may like to pay yearly or may like it to be added to the monthly charge that you have to pay. However, all the pricing like the set up charges, the monitoring service charge and the equipments with their add-ons charge are variable and can change at any point of time. Yet, let us give you an approximate idea regarding all these areas and their respective charges. Generally, the set up charge can vary in between $100 to $2000 based on the above mentioned criteria. Each add on can cost you somewhere in between $5 to 40 and more which you can pay monthly or annually. Though generally your monthly installment charge can be within $50 yet this can also vary regarding the price range of other components and also on the contemporary market pricing.

Apart from the main charges that you have to bear, there are two other charges that you should be aware of. These are for the permits that you have to get from the local police station and also from the electrical department for installing the security alarm system at your home. These permits will cost you a negligible amount which can be approximately $50 per year.

These are in general the areas that you have to bear the cost once you have installed the alarm system at your home. While there is a general cost for the system, it will entirely depend on your choice and budget as to how many add-ons you would like to add to it.

Final Judgment

After going through all these tips and guidance that we have laid here for you to grab, now you can move on in your search for the right home security alarm system company that will suit all the criteria. You should always make a list of the companies that you think have the potentiality of providing satisfactory services and then make the final choice after making sure that they are meeting all the requirements you have laid down for them and also if the company suits your budget. Do not forget also to verify their registration with National Fire & Burglar Alarm Association, BBB and also the Attorney General’s office. This will provide you with another security regarding whether you can expect to get a trustworthy service from the respective company or not.


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