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What to Look for in a Home Security System

Friday, October 22nd

What to Look for in a Home Security System

If yours is among the 18 million homes in the United States that uses a home security system, then you already know the value of having such a system. However, if you are among those still considering whether to take the leap and have a security system installed, there are a few things to consider before selecting a provider.

First and foremost, what is the reputation of the home security company? Ask for references from existing clients and be sure to check your state's Better Business Bureau for any complaints about the provider. You also may want to take a drive through your neighborhood and other surrounding communities to see which security companies are being most-used in your area. Many companies provide lawn signs and window stickers for their customers, which is an added deterrent for burglars. Take note of which signs you see the most, as this can often indicate a reliable and trusted home security agency.

Second, does the home security company offer a warranty for its product? A quality warranty will cover the system, service and installation for at least a year. Selecting a company that stands behind its product and service is a good indicator of the kind of service you will receive from that company.

Another important feature when selecting a home security system is the provision of 24-hour monitoring capabilities. Simply having an alarm that beeps - but doesn't notify the local authorities - isn't much of a deterrent for burglars. Be sure to choose a system and company which includes the notification of local authorities if the alarm is tripped.

In today's technological world, another great feature to look for in a home security system is wireless or remote access. Many companies now offer wireless devices which not only eliminate a messy and extensive installation process, but also allow the customer to install the equipment himself. Applications for mobile devices such as Smartphones and tablets can then be used to monitor your home via a video feed, or enable/disable the alarm system remotely. Many consumers like the option of being able to see their home when they are at work, on vacation or just down the street at the grocery store. As the old saying goes, "seeing is believing" when it comes to knowing that your home is truly safe and secure.

Wireless options also are great for homeowners who know that relocation is in their future due to their portability. Unlike with wired systems, wireless home security systems are simple to relocate to a new home by simply picking them up and taking them with you. Most reputable alarm companies will permit customers to relocate their devices and service without added cost.

Another important factor to consider when choosing an alarm system is whether the company providing the service is a member of your state's Burglar and Fire Alarm Association. As a requirement of being a member of the association, a specific level of conduct and standards under state and national ethics codes must be met. Lastly, be sure to inquire as to whether the company you are considering is a licensed provider through your state's Registry of Contractors.

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Canadian Home Security FAQ

There are more than 2 million break-ins every year in the United States alone. Home security systems are the most logical way to give yourself the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you, your loved ones and your property are being watched over.
The most important feature is 24/7 monitoring, which most services offer as part of your monthly fees. At a minimum, you'll want to have sensors for all of the exterior doors in your residence.
There are many add-ons that can offer additional security and protection. Your home security system could have smoke and CO2 detectors, flooding sensors, motion detectors, night vision cameras, and much more.
You'll find plans both with and without required service contracts. The tradeoff is usually in the price of the equipment vs. the monthly service fees. (See the next question for more on that.)
That depends. You should expect two costs: equipment and monthly service charges. Some providers of home security systems give you the equipment "for free", as long as you sign a contract (usually 2-5 years). Others have you pay for the equipment upfront as a one-time charge, but their monthly fees tend to be lower. And, with most services, you'll pay more for monthly monitoring if your system has all of the bells and whistles.
One of the most customer-friendly aspects of today's home security systems is DIY installation. While there are still a handful of companies that require you to sit down with a sales rep and then wait for a professional to come and set up your system, the vast majority are designed to be easy and fast for you to install yourself. You'll have ample support via phone or online chat if you need extra guidance during the process.
Yes, most of the time. You'll typically have a 30-day window to use your home security system and decide if it provides the protection and service you need. Terms vary, however: you may get a full refund for all fees paid, or you may only be allowed to break your contract without getting any money back. Be sure to understand the details of any plan you select, before you sign up.
Usually, yes. Because of the do-it-yourself nature of most of today's systems, you can uninstall and move your equipment just as easily as you set it up the first time. You'll just need to update the company with your current address, so that emergency responders have the right location in the event of an alarm.

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