Intro to home security
You can’t turn on a television without seeing an advertisement for a home security company. There are offers for everything from simply a video doorbell to home security systems with lasers, motion detectors, and cameras.
This article will introduce you to some of the items that a home security system can include, how to choose and how to find the right contractor to do your installation.
Ingredients in a Great Security System
- Door and Window Locks – The most obvious and simplest home security tool is a lock on your door. This seems silly, but in the age of wi-fi everything, you can get locks that you can open and closed remotely, track who enters your home, and even ones that call the police for you.
- Video cameras – This is another area where massive improvement can be seen. Today’s cameras can record 24 hours a day and send footage directly to an off-site storage area for review in case of a problem. This also allows the homeowner to view their home from anywhere in the world via wi-fi. Many homeowners use this technology to keep track of what children are doing at home, if someone enters their home, or simply to keep track of whether lights were turned off or not.
- Automatic lighting – Bad guys don’t like lights. It makes cameras work better and can let people see them better. You can very easily install motion sensitive lighting that will turn on any time someone approaches the house. This is great for family getting home late or for preventing burglars from coming near the house. You can even guarantee that they work even during a power outage by getting solar powered lights.
- Motion detectors – The devices use light or heat to sense movement in a specific area of the house. These can be great for entry ways, back rooms and garage. As long as everyone in the house knows that they need to turn the alarm off before entering those areas, this can be a great way to get your alarm to go off before the bad guys even get into the home.
- Strobe lights – Strobe lights flash at a high rate with bright lights. This is every disorienting for anyone not expecting them. This can allow the homeowner to keep burglars spinning in circles and give the plice time to show up.
- Sirens – Extremely loud alarms are also very disorienting. One of the best ways to protect your home is to install alarms that deafening. The bad guys are too busy covering their ears to grab your stuff.
- Remote access – Either through a website or through an app, you can control your entire security system from anywhere in the world. You can turn your alarm on, off, and see what’s going on from anywhere. Many of them even allow you to push a button and call the police. This lets you stay in control all the time.
- Carbon Monoxide detector – Carbon monoxide is a colorless odorless gas that can kill your family without any symptoms. By attaching a sensor to your alarm system, the alarm company can see that you have a carbon monoxide problem and they can send the fire department to help you.
- Smoke detector – More than just a loud noise when there’s smoke, this detectors can alert the fire department and get help to you without you needing to call anyone. You can be focused on getting out of the house.
- Cellular backup unit – If a burglar is determined to enter your home, they might cut your phone’s hard line. By including a cellular backup, your alarm system can stay in contact with an alarm company’s center without that hard line. This increases the safety of your home.
- Panic button – This is most often associated with older folks, but it can be just as important for pregnant women, children, and the handicapped. Usually these are designed to be necklaces that one can where. If you can’t get to a phone, either because you’re stuck or hurt, you can push a button and help will arrive soon. This can be connected through the alarm system so that you can control it and receive notices from anywhere.
- Control panel – Every alarm has a panel built into the wall that has a key pad for entering a passcode. This code turns the alarm on and off. The control panel also has a direct link to an alarm company, so there is a code for notifying them that you in trouble.
- Key fob – Many alarms systems today have a key fob that can be used to turn the alarm on and off. This way, if your hands are full as you enter the home, you can push a single button to disable the alarm.
- Signs and stickers – These might seem like a silly deterrent, but in reality, most thieves will simply avoid a house that has an alarm system. An alarm increases the likelihood of meeting the police, so it’s just easier to go to a home that doesn’t have an alarm.
Cost of Different Types of Alarms
You will see all kinds of alarm systems and pieces of equipment that can range from an alarm that hangs on a door knob to an elaborate system that rivals the White House. The price range is just as vast.
In general, there is an installation charge that ranges into several thousands of dollars depending on what you have done. Some firms provide you with alarms that are very cheap to install in preference for a contract on monitoring services.
The monitoring service is typically a call center where there are trained representatives that see your alarm go off on their computer. They will then call you to confirm that the emergency is real. If you say yes or you don’t answer, they will dispatch the police.
You can expect to pay as little as $29.95 to $150 per month depending on the number of alarm points, cameras, etc.
How to Choose the Right Security Company
The first question to ask yourself is, “How much alarm do you need?” In an apartment, you might only need a single door sensor. On the first floor, you can put window sensors on as well.
If you need more elaborate items, like cameras, motion detectors, etc., you should consider having it installed for you. Then the next question is do you choose a company and use their installers or do you hire an outside contractor.
One important note: An alarm system, like TV and sound, is a specialty project. You will want to have a contractor that understands how to setup the alarm system most effectively. Putting in an alarm system, with cameras and motion detectors, involves understanding the capabilities of the equipment and making the most of the layout of the home. There are some electricians that specialize in alarm systems. If you decide to hire an independent contractor, make sure that they specialize in low voltage installations.
Considerations for Hiring a Home Security Contractor
Start by searching for someone qualified here on Quality Smith . There are thousands of excellent and qualified contractors here.
After finding a contractor that seems qualified, contact them and ask for a few items:
- Their contractor’s license
- Their liability insurance number and agent’s info
- Their worker’s compensation info and agent’s info
Take the time to call the state and the insurance agents to make sure that these items are up-to-date and that any premiums are paid for. Any contractor that isn’t fully insured can cost you in liabilities. You don’t want to pay for one of their employee’s injuries.
Note: One of the most frequent ways for thieves to defeat your alarm system is with your help. They will call you and ask for your alarm code to ‘fix a problem on your system.’ This is called phishing and it’s the easiest way to get into trouble with your alarm system. It’s also important to change the passcode frequently. If any family member gives out a number to a friend or family, change the passcodes. Others, like maids, servants, and contractors, can all have their own number so that you can track their comings and goings
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