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The FAQs are provided to help you understand the basics of Alarm System installation. Please see our Technical Support section for further information.

Why Should I put in a burglar alarm system?
-The primary reason is that an alarm system protects your home and family and gives you added peace of mind.
-An alarm system also adds value to your home at time of resale. More and more people today are concerned about break-ins and are looking for a home with an alarm.
-An alarm system also entitles you to a 5% to 15% reduction in homeowner's insurance, depending on your insurance company.

How hard is it to install?
If you can wire a train set, you can probably wire your own home. Installation is not the mysterious process you may think it is. Like a train set, a wired perimeter alarm system operates on low voltage and comes with easy-to-follow instructions. For those who are familiar with basic electrical procedures and are mechanically inclined, installing a perimeter system is relatively easy. In addition, many alarm systems today have excellent wireless capability which makes installation even easier.

How much will I save by installing it myself? $1,500 or more, depending on the size of your home. The larger your home (i.e., the more windows and doors to be protected), the more money you will save. Professional alarm companies charge between $65 and $85 for each window or door they wire.

How much will it cost? Remember, you will be paying only for equipment. Although the cost will depend on the actual items you select for your system, a basic wired perimeter system costs under $340. This estimate is based on wiring 15 windows and doors.

What are the pros and cons of the $198 installed systems from major companies like ADT and Brinks?(Companies differ as to their plans but the following is basic to most of these companies.)

-Low initial cost

-Inadequate protection - the basic initial cost usually covers four doors or windows and a motion sensor. Proper protection calls for all easily accessed windows and doors to be protected. The key to a good security system is one that de tects an intruder before they are able to get into your home.

-Additional protection costly - although the basic cost might be low, any add-ons are expensive. For instance, each additional protected door or window may be $70, an additional motion detector may be $165, while another keypad may be $160.

-The equipment is leased not owned - if you drop the service, the company will remove the equipment. However, some companies will allow you to buy the equipment.

-High monthly monitoring rates - the rates are usually in excessive of $24 a month.

-Long monitoring contracts - the contracts are usually for 3 years. There is also an early termination fee.

What are the main components of a security system?
-Control Panels are the "brains" of the security system. The control panel is in a metal box to protect the electronics and is often hidden from sight (e.g., in a closet). Home and office security systems normally have three basic protection areas - the perimeter, interior protection and entry/exit doors. These areas are usually subdivided into "zones." For example, perimeter protection, your first line of defense for a home, might consist of three zones - the basement, the first floor and the garage. There is normally one entry/exit zone - this zone has a delay feature that allows you to enter and exit the premise without setting off the system. And finally, space protection, usually consisting of motion detectors, might consist of two zones - the first floor and the basement. Perimeter, entry/exit and interior sensors are connected to the control panel from their locations around the home/office.

-Security Keypads are usually placed near a door to let you operate your system. The keypads inform your family as to the status of the system (i.e., armed, disarmed, etc.).

-Magnetic Contacts and glassbreak sensors protect doors and windows. A magnetic contact consists of two separate units: a magnetically actuated switch and a magnet. Typically, the magnetic is attached to the door and the switch to the door frame. When the door opens, separating the two, the system is triggered. Glassbreak sensors hear the acoustic shock wave of breaking glass, it then triggers the system.

-Sirens (Interior and Exterior) alert your family to emergency conditions by sounding an alarm. Exterior sirens are normally mounted in a steel box and located under the eaves. A strobe light is frequently attached to the steel box. During an alarm the pulsating light attracts attention to the alarm.

-Motion Detectors - Passive Infrared (PIR) motion sensor technology provides one of the most reliable and cost effective methods for protecting spaces in the home or office. PIR detectors trip an alarm by sensing changes in infrared energy levels caused when an intruder moves about the protected area. They emit no energy of their own. They merely "see" infrared images.

Is it really necessary to have the system monitored The answer is, it depends. There are situations where monitoring is needed, because of house location, lack of community awareness and other factors. We offer monitoring service, but it is an option.

For more information, see our Technical Support section.


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