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How to Prepare for a Home Security System

Sunday, January 24th

How to Prepare for a Home Security System

There are several decisions you need to make to prepare for a home security system.

Before you make a decision to buy a home security system, you can visit with a professional security consultant. This can be done either over the phone or at your home. They can make suggestions and provide information - although some companies, especially those that provide in-home consultations, can apply a high-pressure sales pitch and try to get you to commit on the spot. Beware of those sales tactics.

During a consultation, a professional security consultant can evaluate your family life and the layout and design of your home. Once they have this information, they can give you advice on such things as whether to install a hard-wired system or a wireless system, the best place to install the keypad, how to ensure all entry points are monitored, and whether to install other options such as cameras and motion detectors. Also, a security consultant can give you prices on what it would cost to install and monitor your system. Many security system companies also offer a self-monitoring option which can cut out your monthly monitoring fees.

Armed with all this information, you can make several decisions about your home security system.

Now that you know the costs, you might want to consider whether you want to hire a security system to install and monitor the system or whether you want to do it yourself. If you're building a new home or doing a large renovation project, a hard wired system is not hard to install. However, if you're replacing an existing system or don't want to drill holes and run wire through conduits in the walls, you might consider a wireless system. These can be purchased and installed easily by you. You might also consider whether you want to install motion detectors and video cameras as well.

The next consideration is what monitoring options you want. Home security systems now come with a variety of monitoring options. Home security systems can monitor carbon monoxide levels, smoke and fire, interior temperatures and humidity, and flooding from a broken pipe or frozen water pipe.

Many of today's systems also have a self-monitoring option. With self-monitoring, you monitor and receive alerts from your home security system through your personal mobile device such as a Smartphone or laptop. The more options your security system has, the more you can do from your mobile device. For instance, you can control your HVAC system, access home security cameras and receive alerts when the alarm system is triggered. With self-monitoring you are then responsible for deciding how to respond and whether to alert authorities.

Planning ahead will help you prepare for a home security system and ensure you get the security and protection you want and need.

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Home Security System 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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