Consumer Guide for Choosing a Home Alarm System

author date January 8th, 2012 commenet No Comments

The Basics

The basic elements of a standard home security system are:

  • Control Panel:
    The location where your system wiring terminates and your backup battery is located.
  • Keypad:
    To arm and disarm your system.
  • Siren:
    A loud siren will alert you when there’s been a break-in and it also lets an intruder know he’s been detected.
  • Inside Motion Detector:
    Passive infrared, microwave or photoelectric detectors sense changes in a room caused by human presence. Special Motion Detectors are available for people who have pets.
  • Door and Window Contacts:
    Magnetic contacts form a circuit between a door and door frame or a window and a sill; when the door or window is opened (and the alarm is on) the circuit is broken, and this sounds the alarm.
  • Central Monitoring Station:
    Emergency signals from your home are electronically transmitted to the 24-hour monitoring station, which summons help from police, fire or medics.

The best home security system will be customized to your lifestyle – it will take your schedule into account and will specifically protect the things you value the most. It has been proven that user education is the best defense against false alarms. It is very important that the installer teach you and your family how to properly use your security system, including false alarm prevention measures.

Additional Devices

In addition to the basics, there are some additional devices you should consider incorporating in your home security system. These include:

  • Smoke Detectors:
    These provide an early warning of fire and should be installed throughout your home.
  • Glass Break Detectors:
    These devices recognize the sound of glass breaking and will sound the alarm.
  • Panic Buttons:
    These buttons can be hand-held or may be be located in strategic places such as next to beds and doors; just pushing the button will sound the alarm.
  • Pressure Mats:
    These mats can be placed under rugs and they react to pressure from footsteps to activate the alarm.
  • Closed-circuit TV:
    This is a private TV system which allows you to monitor and/or record inside or outside your home.
  • Alarm Screens:
    These are special screens for your windows which have a wire woven in their mesh which will activate your alarm when cut or removed.

Insurance Savings

Check with your homeowners insurance company! Typically they offer a discount between 2% and 20% on your insurance when you install a security system. Ask your agent which type of system will qualify you for the greatest savings.

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