Designing an alarm system
Since most consumers have never experienced buying an alarm system, here are some tips you may find useful.
The Alarm Company
The most important decision is selecting the alarm company with which you want to do business. You are entering into a long term relationship which includes service well after the original system was installed. In today's world, alarm companies and their contracts are bought and sold like mortgages. Even the biggest, most familiar names have changed owners repeatedly. Ruefully, the new owners have little interest in you.
The control panel should be capable of having at least 6-8 zones with a memory buffer to record the time and date of alarm activity and be remotely programmable. It should also be listed with U.L. (Underwriters Laboratory) and have a standby power supply for operating the system for at least eight hours.
Detectors should be added depending on the extent of protection you want and can afford:
Basic systems should include magnetic contacts on all perimeter doors, a motion detector, and a smoke detector.
Better systems should expand perimeter devices to include glass-breakage sensors for high risk glazed areas (patio doors, hidden lower level windows), and contacts on high risk accessible movable windows. Additional smoke detectors and a heat detector in the garage should also be included. Carbon monoxide, low temperature, and wireless panic buttons are excellent additions.
The best systems insure alarm transmission by adding cellular backup and enhance the personal safety factor with two-way voice.
Wired Vs Wireless Systems
Wired systems are require less maintenance than wireless systems. Wireless devices are commonly used to supplement wired systems. The cost for wireless systems and devices is generally greater than for comparable wired systems.
Monitored Vs Non-Monitored (Local)
An alarm with only a siren may give you some peace of mind, but in the event of an actual emergency where your property and life safety are at risk, only a monitored system can assure you that the proper authorities come to your assistance.
How alarms work Common alarm problems
Monitored systems Service/additions/upgrades Pricing