Step by Step Guide for Choosing a Home Alarm System
- Step 1: Survey your home to determine how many windows and doors you need protected from possible intrusion. It is recommended to write them down.
- Step 2: Determine possible locations for the control panel and keypads. Close to the front door is generally a convenient location for a keypad. In your bedroom or close to your bed is also a recommended location.
- Step 3: Measure how far away the windows and doors are from the control panel. This will let you know how far the wires must be routed for a wired alarm system or the distance a wireless system needs to communicate with sensors. Keep in mind: it is difficult to install a hard-wired security system in houses that have already been built. Learn more about the differences between a wireless and a hard-wired home security system
- Step 4: Decide if you want a monitored security system. Monitored security systems are connected to a central monitoring station that 'watches' your home for a monthly fee. A less expensive alternative is to install a self-monitoring system that will dial your private phone and/or other preselected phone numbers if the alarm system triggers an alarm.
- Step 5: Consider your family's daily habits. Do you often get up in the middle of the night for a snack or to go to the bathroom? Do you have a pet that roams the house? Do you have valuable possessions that might need more sophisticated security equipment, such as surveillance cameras, photo detectors, art protection, etc. These circumstances influence the type of motion sensors and other security devices you need and how they will be installed.
- Step 6: Whether you choose a wireless or a hardwired system, it should be able to monitor your entire home. Each window, door and device integrated into the system is considered a zone. The number of zones a system can control varies from one manufacturer to another. For example, Visonic's control panels watch up to 28 wireless zones; this is more than enough to cover an average dwelling.
- Step 7: Be aware that if you choose a wired system, the installer will have to drill holes in the walls. If you choose a wireless system, the transmission range must be large enough to cover your entire premises and the system must be able to cover the zone farthest from the control panel.
- Step 8: It is important to choose a system that works with home safety sensors, such as carbon monoxide (CO) sensors, gas detectors, flood detectors, etc. Likewise, choose a system that can include panic and personal emergency buttons.
- Step 9: The home security system you choose must be user-friendly. Verify that adding new codes or users is a simple process and one that everyone in the family can quickly learn.