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Choosing the Right Equipment

Most home security companies have special equipment offers when you sign up for alarm monitoring service. Usually a low cost standard security system includes the control panel, 3 doors contacted, 1 motion sensor, 1 touch pad and 1 interior siren. This is a great burglar alarm system to start with and you can always add more equipment at time of install or at a later date. Of course this will be activated and communicate to a central monitoring center when the system is tripped. A great person (aside from the sales rep) to ensure you have a solid alarm system can sometimes be the alarm installer. They usually have the most hands on experience without the incentive to make extra money and try to over sell you on extra equipment [].

If you can spend a little more upfront, I suggest a few more important pieces of equipment:

Exterior Siren-This is a great way to get rid of crooks as soon as the system is tripped. There are many times a crook will try to proceed and disrupt a weak interior siren. It will be very hard for them to continue while knowing someone heard that loud outside sounder. If you have very close neighbors then you can use an interior siren projecting outside. You can install this less invasive indoor (10 decibel) siren in the attic or crawl space next to an air vent.

Cellular Back up- It is very common for a security system to communicate alarm signals to central stations via traditional phone lines. Crooks are catching on and can easily cut a phone line to disrupt communication and proceed to disarm the system. Any reputable company offers cellular back up. This is a permanent device that is installed to communicate via cellular. If you have a very good cell signal you probably don’t even need a phone line and may just use cellular as primary. Usually cell back up has a nominal additional fee but it is well worth the piece of mind.

Motion Sensors-You usually receive one motion sensor with a basic alarm system but you want to make sure of 2 things. 1- if you have certain type pets they may trip the burglar alarm and cause false alarms. 2- that 1 motion sensor will be sufficient enough to cover the perimeters and stairs (if you have a 2 two story). Speak to the alarm installer to make sure you will be able to use the motion sensor if you have a pet. If it’s going to cause problems you may have to spend more money to add window sensors and glass break sensors. Motion sensors are very cost effective and yet work best to protect areas (as long as you can use it). Even if someone came through a wall they will eventually trip off a motion sensor. Standard motions usually give a 90 degree coverage (that’s why corners are good locations) and range out about 20-30 feet.

Keypad in Master Bedroom- This is always a good idea. The purpose of a 2nd keypad in the master bedroom is to provide important functionality. You will have the 3 panic buttons close by in case of emergency while you are sleeping. If you are ever sure there is a burglar trying to break in while you are home it’s better to push a police panic button (if possible also call 911). This will let the central station responder know that this may be a hold up situation and to advise the police. The police then in turn may respond quicker because it is considered a more critical/confirmed situation. This is another subject you want to discuss with the central monitoring station. Also with a 2nd keypad you will be able to arm the full system including the motion sensors to protect you while you go to sleep.

Monitored Smoke Detectors- I think it very important to have at least one monitored smoke detector in a hall location. If a two story 1 up and 1 down. For bigger homes you may want to add 2 up and 2 down. This can be a life saver in case of a fire. If smoke knocks you unconscious this may be your only hope that the fire dep’t will get to you in time. Another good device is a heat detector in the attic. A lot of fires start at the roof from lightening strikes.

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