The search for the ideal security system can be frustrating at times, as the home alarm industry seems to use its own language. Not to mention that after reading through all these attractive offers people are often left with unanswered questions. Are home security systems available for renters? Can I use the system to protect my business too? Do I really need a monitoring service? Can my pets trigger an alarm? Which one is better: professional installation or DIY installation? Is my old equipment compatible with the new system? These are all practical questions, and the following FAQ aims to answer them all.
Getting a Home Security System
Do I need a landline to have a home security system?
Not necessarily. Nowadays most home security systems use a cellular network to operate and stay in contact with the accessories. It’s like the base console would have its own cellphone. This technology allows the home station to be completely wireless, and only needs to be plugged into a power outlet. In case you still insist on using your landline for the connection with the monitoring center, then seek out a home security company that offers consoles that rely on it. As an example, LifeShield provides a main hub that is compatible with both cellular, VoIP and landline connections.
Should I choose a local alarm company or a national home security provider?
It really depends on your own preference. A national home security provider is definitely more experienced at handling customer requests and the well-established nationwide relationships yielded a complete range of equipment supply for them. Their security plans are more varied and colorful, but the prices might be higher. No to mention, that some companies only provide professional installation at the proximity of their local service stations. This is why most of these security companies offer DIY home security systems only.
Local alarm companies might have less developed offers than big shot national dealers, but they are much closer to you. Receiving your order wouldn’t take long, thus reducing the time your house lays unprotected. Neighborly alarm providers also response faster to complaints and they provide a more personal service. In the end, it boils down to which advantage you put to the front.
Can a home security system also be used in businesses?
Home security systems aren’t designed to satisfyingly protect a larger commercial building. Luckily, most security providers created separate offers to cater to business owners. Companies, like Protection 1 display a notable amount of service aiming to aid the growing enterprises.
The business security equipment is considered to be a step up from residential products. It includes such vital components as fire extinguishers, access cards for employees, elevator access controllers, and advanced video surveillance networks designed to help security staff spot suspicious individuals in a crowd. As a business owner, you can also benefit from employee monitoring options, which use GPS tracking systems to protect your dispatched workers or pinpoint their location. On the other hand, companies like Protection 1 offer guidance and training for your security staff, and lend you software to organize the defense system and repel harmful hacking attempts.
Are home security systems also available for renters?
Absolutely! No matter whether you are a proud homeowner or an avid renter, you can find a suitable offer. In case you are renting an apartment or your job requires you to move a lot, then we highly recommend seeking for a cellular system that is intended for DIY setup. Wireless security consoles are easily movable from one property to another, and all you need to do is plug it into a power outlet. Motion sensors and fire detectors are just as portable, and they don’t require any wiring to properly function. Although self-installation assumes some handicraft skills, you can save a lot of money and time doing the inauguration yourself.
Should I get monitoring cameras?
Cameras not only add an extra layer of protection to your security system, but also make your life more convenient, as you can check the identity of visitors without opening the door. But be aware that they come for a hefty price. Establishing a surveillance network requires more than one camera, not to mention the streaming equipment and video servers that store your footage. This is why video monitoring is typically available in the more advanced and pricier packages with home security companies. Still, all these expenses pay off as nothing keeps away criminals as the menacingly sweeping eye of a video camera. We only advise video monitoring if you have a large home with lots of valuables to protect.
How does a home security system work?
Home security systems rest on two pillars. One is the monitoring service (explained below), and the second is the base console. The latter is which ties together all the different alert equipment. Motion sensors, fire and CO detectors, window contacts, cameras and home automation: all this equipment is linked to the main console. The security system can be armed and disarmed from this device, and you are able to access any other settings from there. When any of the armed sensors detect something suspicious, it sends a signal to the security hub that automatically notifies the residents and the monitoring center. If the situation calls for it, the police department is contacted as well to immediately dispatch the patrols.
Do pets trigger the alarm of a home security system?
No, unless they intend to steal your TV. In the past, when a cat or dog went on a night stroll, they usually triggered the motion sensors, which lead to a false alarm. And false alarms aren’t cheap, as some companies charge you for it. In case you have a mischievous pet, the best option is to only purchase pet-immune motion sensors, as they are programmed to only alert when they detect the heat signature of a target above 40 pounds. This is a surefire way to sort out dogs and cats, so they won’t disturb your nights with false alarms.
What happens when there’s a power outage in the home?
Everything becomes dark. Jokes aside, power outages are serious problems, as the lack of electricity could cripple your home security system, leaving it as an open prey for criminals. Fortunately, the hardware manufacturers are well-aware of this fact, and they came up with a simple solution to counter this flaw. Every security console is fitted with a built-in backup battery that automatically activates when the power goes out. The battery life differs with every hardware provider, but at least 24 hours of backup energy is guaranteed. Also, base stations are often compatible with traditional landlines, allowing emergency calls during a blackout.
How can I be sure the home security system is fully functional and ready at any time?
You should always check the display and the lights. Home security providers always include a manual that clearly explains what to do when you doubt the functionality. Steady green lights are universally mean “everything is fine”, while flashing signals or red lights indicate a problem. Touch-screen consoles inform you with short messages like “armed” or “active”. Some systems are fitted with a test function that allows you to run a quick analysis. In case you are still having scruples, then we recommend to check the company’s FAQ or contact their customer support.
Should I choose a professionally installed home security system or a DIY home security system?
This choice is entirely up to you, as both solutions have their perks. Getting your system installed by professionals means that you must arrange an appointment with the company, who will send authorized technicians to complete the task for an additional price. The security experts are in possession of all the necessary tools to setup your system, and arrange the sensors in the most efficient way possible. The downside of it is that you need to pay an extra fee for this service. Self-installed home securities are much more cost-friendly. It’s true that they cannot be done without some practical skills, but the subjunctive guides and kits ease the difficulty. It only takes an hour or so, but you must take the risks yourself.
Is it difficult to install an alarm system yourself?
Not really. Do It Yourself systems are meant to be easy to install. With a basic understanding of security alerts and a little handy skills you can accomplish it yourself. A helpful guide and a DIY kit are also included in these packages to help you out. Even if something goes wrong, and your system is refusing to work, then you can still contact the customer service for advice.
What is the purpose of a monitoring service?
Security alarms and monitoring services often go hand in hand together, as they complement each other really well. Basically, most home security companies have their own team of highly skilled operators, who learned how to react to an emergency. After your defense system detects signs of a home intrusion, the monitoring personnel will be contacted too. The operators notify the residents, and simultaneously dispatch police forces. The scenario is the same with the fire and CO detectors. The main point of having an active monitoring service is that they act on your behalf. Sometimes homeowners are unavailable or miss the notifications while at the workplace or travelling. But the operators are vigilant 24/7, and escalate the arrival of help givers.
Won’t a home security company invade my privacy?
You can set your mind at ease about this. Even though indoor cameras and smart locks could mean that you are liable to privacy violation, security providers firmly bolt themselves from such a treacherous act. They submit themselves for strict regulations and laws to exclude even the slightest possibility of privacy invasion. First of all, operators are only allowed to access camera streams and private details after the security system has indicated a break-in. Normally, they are unable to peek through your camera or access your data. The same rules apply to the two-way voice console: unless you send an emergency call, the monitoring staff has no means to hear what is going on at your house.
What can I do with the home security app of my system?
The smartphone app is an extremely powerful tool that transforms your mobile device into a portable base station. Once the application is installed, it provides all the functions the console offers. While effortlessly navigating through the different menus, you only need a quick touch command to remotely lock the front door, arm or disarm the security system, instruct the intelligent thermostat to raise the temperature, or schedule the lightings. You can also view the video footage from afar, or receive weather forecasts. It substitutes your keys, and grants constant feedback on your home’s status. Security companies either license an existing app or develop their own, but they are always available for Android and iOS users.
Can I get an insurance discount with a self-installed home security system?
Yes, it allows for a minor discount on your insurance. Do It Yourself systems are entitled to a smaller insurance discount, as they are already cheaper due to the fact that they don’t require an expensive installation service. Insurance companies prefer the most sophisticated and industrial solutions, and they only provide insurance discounts when the risks are as low as possible.
Can existing alarm equipment be used with a home security system with monitoring?
Carrying over your existing security equipment is a very rare feature. The biggest obstacle in achieving this is that each company licenses its equipment from a given manufacturer, and they integrate their units into their system. This means that that their smartphone app and console cannot recognize most other devices. Luckily, there are providers like XFINITY Home that are working in synergy with more than one equipment brand, and their system is designed to recognize numerous products. If your existing security equipment is preferred by them, then they allow you to carry it over.