Best Home Alarm Systems
Are Home Security Alarms – A More Affordable Security Option?
Do you want a home alarm system but want to avoid paying for the 24-hour monitoring service? Maybe you just don’t want to commit to a contract. If so, there’s a home security option where a monitoring service is not required. You can install a home security alarm system that doesn’t require a monitoring contract. This way you’ll still know that you’ll be warned in case of an intrusion or fire.
Before the days of central alarm monitoring services, homeowners would usually install systems that simply alerted the family if there was an intrusion. The original systems did not have automatic dialing of police, fire stations, or security firms. There was just a warning alarm that went off.
All About Home Alarm System Choices
Despite the popularity of 24-hour monitoring services like ADT, GE and Brinks, millions of people are still choosing to install alarms that are not connected to these services. Having an alarm system of some kind is better than having no alarm service.
In fact, you have four choices when it comes to home alarm systems.
- You can buy the system components and then install them yourself.
- Your second choice is to buy components from an alarm system supplier who can then give installation guidance.
- The third choice is to install a system yourself that also has the capability of auto dialing a monitoring service or the appropriate emergency personnel.
- The fourth choice is to have a professional install your alarm system without a monitoring contract.
Though 24-hour monitoring service gives you extra assurance should something go wrong, it’s certainly is not an absolute requirement when you want to protect your home.
The downside is however that if you don’t use a monitoring service, your alarm will sound but it’s up to you to dial the police or fire department. And this can be hard to do in an adrenaline-charged situation.
Monitoring services also take an extra step by calling the home after an alarm goes off to determine if there is a real emergency before dispatching emergency personnel.
If the homeowner indicates there’s a problem or does not answer the phone call, the monitoring service will call the police or fire station for you.
If you don’t have a monitoring service but your alarm does call the fire or police, you can run the risk of being charged fees should there be a false alarm.
When installing home security alarms, you have several choices regardless of whether buying the components yourself or having them installed.
- Type of control panel
- Number of security keypads
- Placement of motion detectors
- Door and window contacts
- Addition of fire monitoring option
- Installation of surveillance equipment
Of course, you can install the most sophisticated options also including carbon monoxide monitoring or moisture detection devices.
The reason so many people choose to let a professional install their alarm system is because there are a lot of important decisions that need to be made in terms of placement of the components:
- Where to place window contacts
- Choosing motion sensors that don’t sound an alarm when pets roam the house
- Back-up battery units
- Smoke detector placement
- Placement of video cameras
Professional alarm system installers have experience at placing components where they will give the best coverage. You can certainly install your own system and get the same results, but the most difficult step will be deciding where to place the components to get the most efficient results.
Without the knowledge of efficient component placement it’s easy to spend more than you have to on alarm components while trying to get proper area coverage.
The bottom line is that it’s important to install a home alarm system of some kind. Even if you can only afford the most basic do-it-yourself-version – additional components can be added in the future.
Home Alarm Systems Components
Home Alarm Systems – The Basics
In the area of home security systems a home alarm differs from a monitored home security service in that there is no 3rd party service monitoring your house for burglary, fire, etc. (However this is an add-on options to many alarm systems should you choose to use it.)
So a home alarm can make be a more cost-effective way to protect your home.
A home alarm basically is designed to alert people inside the home of an intruder break in or a hazard like fire or carbon monoxide. It monitors the perimeter of your home (doors, windows, etc.) for unauthorized access.
There are a lot of home alarm systems on the market today. The sheer number of choices can make it hard to choose the best one for you.
You can have a home alarm system installed professionally or you can try doing it yourself. One thing you must do however is make sure your home is fully protected – especially if you choose to install the alarm system yourself.
When you compare home alarm systems consider the major devices and components included:
Master Control Panel
The master control panel is the central element in any home alarm system. The heart of the system, the master control panel should be installed in an easily accessible area. Many homeowners install the master panel near the front door, basement or the master bedroom.
The master control panel serves several functions. It is a hub for all other components of the security system and receives data from digital cameras, smoke detectors, and other equipment.
The master control panel also transmits information to companies who monitor the security of homes if you decide to choose this option.
Keypads are where you enter your unique password number code to arm or disarm the system. The homeowner can give the password to anyone he or she wants to have access to the home.
In the typical situation the homeowner opens a door, setting off the home alarm. The homeowner then has a certain amount of time to enter the password before the full alarm sounds. Keypads can also be installed outside for remote access.
Cameras allow you to record action in and around your home. Security cameras are available in two different styles – hard wired and wireless. Wireless are the most popular with DIY homeowners since they require the least amount of work.
Hard wired security cameras operate via an extensive network of electrical cords and wires. In most cases, a home that is already constructed will require drilling to place the cameras in the right position.
On the other hand, wireless cameras can be placed anywhere easily and usually don’t involve drilling. Many of the new model wireless cameras come with an adhesive backing that the homeowner can peel off before attaching the camera to a hard surface.
Security cameras transmit data to a central monitor or control panel. This information can be recorded for later viewing or viewed live – as it happens.
One of the latest products, the DVR, lets homeowners watch recorded action while it continues to record live action.
Smoke detectors are one of the most important alarm components in the home. They can often be easily integrated into the home alarm system. These devices sound an alarm when smoke is detected and give people in the home a chance to escape to safety.
Smoke detectors can be hard wired or wireless. Wireless smoke detectors run on battery power while hard wired equipment is powered through the home’s electrical system.
Both have advantages and disadvantages, such as during a power failure the wireless models continue to operate. However, batteries must be replaced on wireless smoke detectors.
Smoke detectors, like security cameras, send information to a central control panel or monitor.
More Home Alarm System Options
Talking devices, backup power supplies, monitoring and repair services, and other components can also be included when you compare home alarm systems.
Whatever you decide to do, remember to choose a system that gives you peace of mind and gives you enough home coverage to be safe.