The first question on everyone’s mind these days in home security is why one should have an alarm system in the first place. Are they really that helpful? The short answer is a resounding yes; the longer one concerns how having a security alarm system decreases the chances of a break in simply due to its existence in monitoring your property, and limits the amount of time an intruder can be present should a break in still occur.
So you’ve answered that question – having a security alarm system is simply prudent. Next comes the more involved question – what should an alarm system include, if one is purchased.
First of all, be aware that most security systems use a number of contacts or sensors positions at doors and windows. Indoor motion sensors primarily detect an intruder once they’ve entered your property, so they should be supplemented by sensors outside your home. Other basic elements of a successful home security system include the control panel, which connects your security system to a monitoring service and to its source of power; and a keypad where you’ll set and disarm your security system. Additional security features you may wish to include are smoke and fire detectors, panic buttons which can be activated in the event of an emergency, sensors or detectors that indicate any glass breakage, and closed circuit cameras that allow both monitoring and recording in your home or outside it.
Assuming you are utilizing a security system that contacts a monitoring service and/or local law enforcement authorities, you will obviously need a way to contact the central monitoring station, through your phone line or computer. You’ll also need to form an on-going contract with a monitoring company, whether it is the company that installs your security system, or a separate contracting entity. A monitored system works by alerting the monitoring station should an intrusion occur, allowing home owners a short window of time to deactivate their security system or notify the company of a false alarm. If they’re not notified, the monitoring company will then attempt to contact the homeowner, and if the home owner is not reached, law enforcement is alerted. An unmonitored security system relies solely on sirens or flashing lights which alert neighbors or passerbys that an intrusion has occurred and authorities should be notified. If you chose this type of system rather than a monitored security alarm, be sure to have placement visible to both your neighbors and the street.
The cost of such monitoring depends upon the security system you’ve installed, and the terms of the contract you’ve entered into upon installation. Some security companies will offer monitoring service for free or the system itself at no charge, should they also install the security system for you.
Remember, installing a security system for your home is a smart move; and being certain that it includes the components necessary to adequately protect your property is smarter still. Your security system should also include sturdy window and door locks; and be sure to set your security system when you’re home or away.