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Tips On Buying An Effective Alarm System

Aug 17, 2007
Burglary is one of the most commonly committed crimes in the United States. Most homeowners fear that their homes are at risk of being broken into that they purchase insurance to protect them from losses due to burglary and fires.

But more than the insurance to protect them from the losses, a more important thing to consider is to install alarms to monitor and alert authorities on unauthorized entry and in cases of fire.

No insurance company can recover the losses due to damaged or stolen files, pictures, and items of sentimental value. Insurance companies also cannot restore you the delay and the time lost due to the hassles in filing for a claim. It is because of this that alarm systems are as important, if not more valuable, than insurance to one's home.

In buying alarm system, don't just purchase whatever is popular in the market. Consider your needs, the house structure, its wiring system and other aspects of your household before deciding on what to install for your house. Remember that what could have been effective for another house or establishment may not be effective for yours.

Here are a few things to think about before going about buying one.

* How many entrances are going to be integrated into the alarm system?

Consider the number of windows and doors in the house. It is advisable that all windows and doors, even the smaller attic windows, should be connected to the alarm system. The number of entrances determines the complexity of the wirings and it also determines where you should put control centers to turn the alarm on or off.

* Decide on the alarm system company to install the security devices.

Consult a security system specialist, an insurance agency, the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) or the police department for recommendations.

Make sure that the company does a free survey and inspection. Ask for the installer's recommendation, explanation for his assessment and the price quote. Have it properly documented so you can compare it with the contract, once you decided to avail of the services of the company.

You also have an option to buy a do-it-yourself alarm system, although this may not be as reliable as a system install by professionals. This is usually the "bells only" system where the homeowner is alerted by a sound if unauthorized entry sets the alarm off.

* Should you subscribe to monitoring station?
An advanced alarm system can connect to 24-hour monitoring company and alerts them if the system has recorded a breaking-in. The monitoring company then alarms the local police. This is the best option, though an agreement with a monitoring company requires a monthly fee.

Another option, which is less expensive, is to install dialer accessories that will b linked to your phone line. In case a break-in was detected, the dialer can call several pre-programmed numbers such as your cell phone number to inform you of the intruder. A problem that can occur with this, however, is that if the burglar had cut-off the phone lines before the entry, the dialer accessories will be of no good.

* Decide on the sensors' location and sensitivity.

This is very important if the people who live in the house gets up at night and roams around the house. Also, consider the presence of pets that can set the alarm system off.

If you have a motion sensor, make sure that this is install in places high enough not be disturbed by pets. You can also ask about motion sensors that will not be triggered by pets. These sensors can identify the size and the weight of the target.

If you have an infrared sensor, make sure it is properly located so it wouldn't detect areas that have heat sources.

* Assess the proper location for the control panel and keypads.

Ideally, a keypad is near the front door for ease in turning the alarm on/off when leaving the house or upon getting home. Another keypad may be mounted near the bedrooms, to be a manual trigger, in case an entry was not detected by the alarm system.

* Check the possibility of home automation.

There are burglar alarm systems that can also be connected to carbon monoxide and smoke sensors, flood detectors and the lighting system. This may be helpful in turning on all the lights during emergencies.

* Type of controls

The controls should be easy to use that the household members can remember how to use it during emergency situations. The switches should also be properly protected to prevent damages of freezing when the climate changes.

* Should you go wired or wireless?

The difference here depends on the complexity of the installation. A wired system is complex and requires drilling holes on the walls. A wireless system costs a little more than the wired system but its installation is not inconvenient.

With this information, you can be prepared when selecting what type of alarm system will be needed for your home.
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