Home Security Systems – Wireless Or Wired?

Chances are your house is not as safe and secure as you would like it to be. Home security systems can help, but there is a great variety of systems to consider, and many work better than others. Will all the different options and factors to consider, choosing a security system can be daunting. To help organize your research, start by investigating the various basic types.

When homeowners are looking for home security systems, one of the main decisions to make is should it be wireless or hard wired. The answer for each homeowner depends on their needs. They need to consider the construction of their home, their knowledge of security systems and their budget.

Wired home security systems may prove the better option for those in the process of building a home. Less expensive than wireless systems, wired systems are also relatively easy to install. For homes already built, the installation of a wired system requires extra time and expense associated with running the wires through the walls, and other physical work necessary to accommodate the various components. Thus, wireless systems may be the better option for pre-existing homes.

Alternately, the wireless home security alarm system does not require either a pre-planned installation, or the drilling of holes. Additionally, adding wireless security cameras to a wireless system already in place is much easier than adding wired cameras. Once installed, the wireless system will likely require less maintenance than the wired system. Based on more recent technology, wireless security systems are generally more advanced.

Wireless home security systems have their drawbacks too. Wireless systems may have issues with reception in some situations, which of course wired systems will not. In some instances, wireless systems can be more difficult to install than wired systems. Finally, wireless systems in general cost more than wired systems.

Picking a security system is obviously helpful to the safety of you and your family, but many factors can affect the decision of which system. Building a new house or adding a security system to your existing house is a large factor, as well as how much money you have to spend and how much you trust you experience with security systems.

Protect Your Home With a Home Security System

So, finally you have bought your dream home and also decorated it with all the contemporary accessories. Now comes the question of implementing home security measures. Often, we tend to overlook the importance of a home security system until it’s too late. It’s better to consider applying the safety measures before hand and save ourselves from any situation. Let us take a look at the best home security practices.

Add a whole house security alarm system. You can add separate alarm for the doors and windows of your home, deciding which doors or windows to have alarm enabled. Keep in mind that it will be more expensive if you want to install the alarms to a lot doors or windows, depending on how many you have. Ask your alarm system installer if they have any special offer that will help you in saving some money.

Add a live monitoring system service. It is definitely a good idea to invest into a home monitoring service. Home monitoring services can automatically contact police or fire when the alarms you have in your home are triggered. Conduct thorough research to find out the best service provider as quality of services may differ from company to company.

Home Security Systems and Home Security Measures

A security alarm system is not at all a complicated set up. First, you have to decide upon where you want to install the alarm control box. It can be your front door, back door, main window, anywhere. Once you have chosen the place, then you have to program a code in to the alarm. You are required to do this in order to successfully set the alarm and also to turn it off while you are at home. There may be a motion sensor included with the home alarm system. With a motion detector, your alarm will go off when it detects movement inside the house. This motion sensor acts as a back up in case someone gets into your house without tripping your alarm.

Outdoor alarm system. Outdoor home security alarm systems are programmed in such a way that they switch on the floodlights as soon as they detect some motion just outside your home. In the early years, an outdoor alarm used to go off even if there was just a cat or a stray dog strolling near your house but the modern ones are configured in such a way that they determine the weight and size of the intruder. So the chances of false alarms are almost zilch!

Use proper locks. If you have bought a second hand home, then make sure to change all the locks. You never know, the previous owner might keep a duplicate key with him. It’s better to take no chances at all and replace all the old locks with new ones. Not only should you put locks in the front doors but also install locks in the windows, if there isn’t any at the moment. This way you can ensure that nobody can enter your home through an open window.

Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Once you move into your new neighborhood, with no delay, introduce yourself and your family members to your immediate neighbors. If your neighbors know you well enough, then they can report to you or take necessary actions if they see any stranger trying to make an entry into your house.

Participate in community watch programs. If there is any thing such as community watch program in your locality, do take active part in it. This way your neighbors can keep a watch on your property in your absence and vice versa. This would definitely cut down a lot of crime.

Add video surveillance. Adding CCTV or video surveillance is a very effective home security measure. Even though it is a little expensive, but it is definitely worth it. In video supervision, there are several transmitters and only one receiver that is linked to your TV.

Install a smoke detector. By installing smoke detectors in your home, you can have an advance warning if your house should happen to catch on fire.

Besides these aforementioned home security measures, you also have to be careful that your doors and windows are sturdy enough. Put grills in the windows if you have to. Also, see to it that there are lots of lights outside your house and that easy to get to ground floor windows have thorny bushes planted beneath them.

Thus, you see that there are a lots of home security options to take into consideration. In order to choose the security options that would suit you the best, you can go in for a risk assessment of your home. Several home security service providers offer risk assessment modules that will help in determining your individual needs, thereby letting you decide the correct type of security measure for your house.

Whichever home security system you have installed, make sure you understand how it works, so that you can enjoy your getaway without having to worry about the safety and security of your home.

Home Security Systems 101 – An Overview

When I was in grade school, I wanted to grow up and live in the future. Today, when it comes to home security systems, those futuristic days are here. There are many, many different features you can get in a home security system that are sophisticated while being cost-effective.

Here is a brief rundown of some of those technologies — and some features that are just plain simple common sense.

Master Control Panel

The master control panel is the brains of any home alarm system.

All the components — sensors, keypads, motion detectors, etc. — will be tied into this controller and feed it information about the security status of your home at all times. In the event of an emergency, the master control panel will send relevant information to the monitoring company.

The master control panel is usually going to be in a locked box. It consists of a motherboard much like your computer. Your alarm technician will need to get to the unit to program it on day one, and to connect it to all the other devices. But beyond that, once it is installed you don’t think about it much.

You’ll want to mount it on a wall in a locked box. It should go in a secure location that is easily accessible to you. Suitable locations might include a closet, a basement, or even master bedroom.

Master control panels come in three types that we’ll call Good, Better, and Best.

The most basic control system contains a control, keypad, siren or alarm bell, and backup power supply — all in one box. The upside is that it is really easy to install. The downside is that if a burglar breaks into your home and finds the unit, they will smash it with the single blow of a hammer, disabling the system rather quickly and easily.

A better system will cost you a little bit more money. One of the benefits of these sorts of systems is that, while a single component (like a sensor or a camera) can be knocked out of commission, the rest of the entire system continues to function.

The type of mid-range master control panel comes with multiple zones of control. This gives you the flexibility on controlling the security throughout your home.

For example, if you are staying at home you can shut off the inside motion detectors while keeping the door and window sensors armed. Or, say you’re relaxing in your backyard. With a better master control panel, you can program the system to allow you to go in and out of the back door, bypassing the door and motion detectors on just that portion of the house.

The best master control panels have even more flexibility. For example, you can preset lots of different security configurations and then activate them with the touch of a single button. Another feature is that they can be serviced remotely when changes are required, which saves everybody a lot of money and time.

Professional Monitoring

Ever hear a car alarm go off in the distance? Did you ever give it a second thought? Of course not. Unfortunately, the same thing applies to your home security system. If you are relying on a siren or alarm bell to scare off a home intruder, you might be disappointed. Just like a simple yard sign might stop some (but not all) potential home invaders, a simple siren or alarm bell may deter a burglar — but not for very long. And don’t rely on your neighbors to react. Get professional support around the clock.

And while you’re at it, in addition to notifying you of an intrusion, your monitoring company can notify the local police department (and/or fire, emergency medical services) as well.

Backup Power Supply

Even the best home security system is worthless if your power goes out. For example, I live in south Louisiana. During hurricane season it’s not unusual for us to lose our power. Before that, I lived in Michigan where power outages were not uncommon during the winter months. Your home security system should be able to shift over and use an alternate power supply automatically. The best option is to use re-chargeable batteries. This has the added benefit of lowering your maintenance costs while giving you 24/7 protection during any kind of weather.

Multiple Door- and Window-Sensors

Not all burglars come through the front door. some might enter through a rarely used side door or even a random window. So, multiple door and window sensors should be a part of your home security system.

A simple windows sensor will be able to detect if a window is opening. More sophisticated sensors can sense when glass has been broken. These kinds of detectors are also known as “audio discriminators.” The way they work is that they detect a burglar trying to get into your house by sensing the sound of breaking glass. The sensor mounts somewhere high up on a wall or ceiling in a central location. When it hears the sound of breaking glass it sets off the alarm.

The technology of these devices has come a long way. Once, these sensors could only detect the sound of glass — any glass. If you clinked two glasses together doing the dishes, you’d set off the alarm Now false alarms are rare. These glass break detectors have to hear a specific sequence of sounds such as a bump and then the sound of glass breaking (in that order) before sounding the alarm.

Smoke And Fire Detection

Once you have installed the infrastructure for a home security system, it is relatively inexpensive to add a couple of smoke detectors to the master control panel. Besides notifying you of a potential fire, the system can also notify your monitoring company and/or the the local fire department — even when you are not home.

Multiple Keypads

Of all the devices in your home security system, the keypad is the one that you and your family will use on a daily basis. You need at least one to communicate with the control panel.

If your home has multiple entry doors (or even multiple floors) you should seriously consider multiple keypads. For example, with extra keypads you can disarm your home security system after arriving home, from either the front door and/or the garage entry door. In addition, you can (for example) arm your home security system — the last thing at night — by using a keypad in the master bedroom. You can also get secure, keyless entry into your home for all members of your family by using an externally mounted keypad.

There are many different levels of sophistication (and price) in keypads. The simplest units show a series of light emitting diodes (LEDs). For example:

  • Green light: system disarmed
  • Yellow light: a door or window is open
  • Red light: system is fully armed and ready to detect an intrusion.

Another type of keypad uses a liquid crystal display (LCD). This will actually have a display window that’ll tell you what’s happening. In this display (the better ones can be back-lit to read in the dark) can show the words “system armed” or “zone 2 open.”

Similar to this is the unit that uses an alphanumeric readout. You can program these units to talk to you and tell you what’s happening with your system. For example, it might say, “master bedroom window is open” or “motion in basement.”

Some other handy features of keypads:

  • Keys or buttons that are lit to make it easy to read it in the dark
  • Single button arming and disarming
  • An exit button that will allow you to open the door for a few seconds (if the alarm is on) to let your pets in and out without having to disarm the system.

Many keypads also have buttons for calling medical services with the fire department or the police department.

Keypad should be programmable, with a separate code for each person who lives in the home. Or you can have one code for the entire family and another one for professionals who come in and out of the home such as maintenance companies, friends of the family or even the babysitter. You can remove the code anytime you want — or even expire it automatically after a set number of entries.

Your keypad should also be able to allow you to program an emergency distress code. For example, when the system is turned on and off with this code, it simulates the normal functioning of the system — but also sends a signal to your monitoring company that you’re in a dangerous situation. Many people don’t know they have this feature in their keypad. Ask your home alarm installer about it.

Portable Activation Devices

Your car alarm comes with a panic button on a keychain — so why not have a similar device for your home security system? These remotes are also known as four button keychains or key fobs. One button might arm the system, another button might disarm it. Another button might arm the system and allow you to be in the house and bypass any motion detectors. And yet another button might be a panic button that summons the police or sounds the siren.

Yard Sign/Window Decals

OK, this one is pretty low-tech, but studies have shown that it is proven effective at deterring a certain percentage of home invaders. However, on the downside, it is important to realize that a yard sign will do nothing to protect you once a burglar actually breaks into your home.

Here are a few more features to consider. They’re not required, but you might consider them, depending on your individual situation.

Wireless Capability

Many homeowners like the idea of a wireless home security system. In systems of this sort, signals are sent via low power radio frequencies not unlike your garage door opener.

The upside to this kind of system is flexibility and ease of installation, as well as appearance — no unsightly wires or moldings to install. Many do-it-yourselfers enjoy this convenience.

The downside is that if you ever have to upgrade or add new devices, (or even swap out components like a main control panel), it can be quite costly as not all systems use the same technologies.

Spoken Feedback

Many home security systems now come with the ability to give you feedback on your system’s security using a synthesized voice. For example, you’ll hear the words “system is armed” or “system is disarmed” or “back door is ajar” or whatever you choose to program into the control panel. Isn’t that a lot better than looking at a bank of blinking red and green lights?

Conclusion

Whether you spend a lot or a little, there are lots of choices now for a home security system that will protect you and your family. I hope this article helped. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.