How to Shop for a Security Alarm System

posted in: Home Security | 0

Do I Really Need an Alarm System?

Having a security alarm system installed in your home can be a peace of mind for you and/or your family; yet, it can also turn into a financial headache too. Why you ask? Well, if not careful, buying a security alarm system with monthly monitoring can be a stressful purchase. Unfortunately, I have heard of some really bad experiences with high-pressure sales tactics and cryptic contracts; so, take your time and do not get bound to anything that you do not feel comfortable with.

I think one of the biggest questions that get asked; “In your professional experience, do you think we need an alarm system?” I am a salesman, what do you think? I have heard that one too!  In my opinion, as a business, it cannot make that decision for the customer. However, with that being said, you as the customer have to ask a few questions: what is important to you and/or your family? Are your valuables and/or the safety of your family important? Most do not think twice before even bothering with a system when it comes to valuables; there are a lot of things you can do that would more powerful than any home security system.

You might be asking why would a company that offers alarm systems and services offer advice on other cheap and effective alternatives to an alarm system. The primary reason is that we know security, and security does NOT start with an alarm system. In our professional experience, it starts with the perimeter of your house first. You want to start with quality deadbolts on doors, solid and strong window locks, and exterior motion-sensor lighting. You could also get a dog too, however, in most circumstances, the outcome is a pricey option. As a deterrent, you could get fake security cameras or even purchase stickers from a respectable alarm company in your area.

When it comes to protecting your family, having an alarm system makes sense. There are too many stories of successful home burglaries where the criminal was in and out without the home owner even noticing until the morning. Not to mention, home invasions when families are sleeping; if the siren on the alarm system does not scare the criminals off, at least you should have enough time to call the authorities; if your monitoring station hasn’t already. There is nothing better than being prepared; you have the right to protect your family by ANY means necessary. Unfortunately, you cannot do this if the intruder is undetected.

Night time burglar


Should I get a Wireless or Wired Alarm System?

Wireless alarm systems has gained popularity in today’s security market. When you start to see near-to-market inventions like WiTricity (Wireless Electricity) , you can’t get any more wireless than that! Everything that has wires are slowly being replaced with wireless technology. With alarm systems this is not an exception; furthermore,  maintenance costs of a wired alarm system can add to your monthly monitoring costs and depending on the installation and exposed wiring is just a sight for sore eyes.

So, you were being diligent and wanted to do some Googling around; you have been shopping for home security alarm systems and have found that some companies rent and/or lease you with the equipment while other companies allow you to purchase the equipment and charge a monthly monitoring fee. There are pros and cons of owning your own security alarm system equipment? Unfortunately, in most cases, there is not a one solution that fits all; you should really consider any solution that is offered based your budget and requirements.

Some requirements might be:

  • The equipment should be esthetically pleasing (Some wireless transmitters are bulky in design).
  • Standard motion sensors typically do not offer any pet immunity, so take this into consideration.
  • Do your systems use WiFi or GSM/4G LTE?
  • You might ask how much are the accessories and add-on requests; do your homework, ensure that the options are affordable with a specific vendor.

Sure, if you are living in a apartment with 1 door and 2 windows, a 3-1-1 Wireless system is the best fit for you; this is one case for a one solution that fits all. You require something simple, yet something that meets your budget. A 3-1-1 wireless alarm system from most alarm companies typically consists of  3 Door/Window sensors, 1 Motion detector, and 1 Keyfob (Arm/Disarm remote).

Benefits of Owning Your Home Security System

Brand of Choice: As with any consumer electronic device, there are a few top brands to choose when it comes in choosing a brand. When considering a brand of alarm systems to purchase; there are tons of options, features, and accessories. The majority of most customers want an alarm system that once installed, it does it’s jobs when the need arises. The first reason in owning your own alarm system is that you have the freedom to choose the brand of alarm system you want. For example, the Honeywell Lynx 5100/5200 control panel is undoubtedly the premier control panel in the security industry. Choosing the brand of alarm system is very much like choosing a car; you need a new car, some of your requirements might be: it should contain an MP3 player, navigation system, built-in Internet, be fantastic on gas, and financially affordable; one of the hardest things is, is knowing what model to buy. This is where the sales person comes in handy and maybe even a sales engineer.  Between these two, one is going to be the SME (Subject Matter Expert) and your assumptions are that he or they take your requirements and find the best fit for you and/or your family.

The majority of consumers are no security alarm experts, the security vendor in my opinion should be the SME. The vendor’s commitment and responsibility should be to build your security requirements based gleaned information. This will allow the vendor to find the best solution that fits you and your family. Many companies strictly use Honeywell, GE and/or 2GIG, but others use generic or proprietary brands that is of variable quality and in most cases, less features. Just know that for a standard family home, you can choose Honeywell, GE, or 2GIG alarm systems; the system design, concept, and features are relatively the same with some subtle differences that you should not be too concerned with.

Choosing the Best System: Feature, Features, Features! So many to choose from; to be honest, you do not have to worry much if a specific feature exists in one system over the other. The end goal of the security company is to gather enough information so that you do not have to make the tough decisions. Security companies offer security packages with a specific component list and disabled all other features; so keep this in mind too. A basic security system will include a control panel with an integrated keypad, 2-3 door/window sensors and a motion sensor. Take note, that some companies provide additional packages that might be a bit more expensive which include additional door/window sensors, keyfobs (Remote arm/disarm), smoke detectors, CO Detectors, motion detectors, etc. The security company should give the freedom to the customer to make the choices that are in the best interest in his/her family.

Honeywell makes outstanding security equipment, they have been around for years and their support is hands-down the best in the security industry. The pricing on all their products are reasonable and they have just about any device you can match for a solution. This allows the Security integrator to provide innovative solutions and designs on security alarm systems they install and configure.

Lower Monthly Costs: You should have the freedom to choose your central monitoring company. Just because you purchase an alarm system does mean that you should be bound to that security companies monitoring rates unless that is the stipulation in the contract for purchasing the alarm system. You should have the right to to choose your own budget for alarm system monitoring; your home security prices will be cheaper on a monthly basis if you purchase your own alarm system. So, keep in mind that If you don’t own the security alarm system, the cost of leasing or renting it will be factored into the monthly fee and will increase the cost significantly.Watch Sugarbabies (2015) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

No Long-term Contracts: Security companies offer many different security monitoring and maintenance contracts. There are companies that offer month to month monitoring; however, some turn around and say something along the lines of “If there is a bound contract and you discover that the company doesn’t live up to your expectations, you’re stuck unless you pay a high fee to buy out your contract. We have no long term contracts”. This is how they reel you in; there is typically a catch, and it involves high monthly monitoring. Assuming you were getting a 3-1-1 wireless alarm system on a month to month monitoring package, you will NOT see the high monthly fees in the beginning of your monitoring. When you decide to start adding additional sensors to the alarm system is where the fee is typically increased. So keep an eye on that as well; be sure that your monthly monitoring does not change based on how many sensors you have installed or add later on.

Some of the top name alarm companies offer alarm systems for $49.00, $79.00, $99.00 and in some cases, free alarm systems; there is a catch here too! Consider a 3-1-1 alarm system package where direct costs to the alarm company is $299 and installation costs of $225 dollars with a gross profit margin of 40%; the markup would be roughly 67% which equates to about $875.00, if the alarm system equipment and installation cost was considered free, they have to recoup those costs. NOTHING is free, remember that. They typically recoup the costs in the monitoring; this is why the cost of monitoring for a basic 3-1-1 alarm system is over $40 a month with some companies. If you do the math on a 36 month monitoring contract, you end up paying over $1,440 dollars. Once you starting adding features like 4G cell monitoring, interactive services, and remote camera viewing, your monitoring can easily extend over $60.00 dollars a month.

Deter Criminals: In the event that you decide not to monitor your alarm system and have it act as a stand alone device can act as a deterrent to burglars; however, this is not recommended for any length of time. As already explained, if an intruder does enter you home when the family is sleeping, the sensors will trigger the alarm system to enable the siren; the loud alarm will more than likely scare the intruder off….Again, this doesn’t give you the level of security you’d like to have, but in the short-run, it can cause an intruder to turn around and leave.