What to Look for in a Home Security Alarm System

What to Look for in a Home Security Alarm System
  • Opening Intro -

    Do you have a home security alarm system?

    That makes for a very personal question, but it is something that telemarketers routinely ask.

    Personally, I wonder if it isn't a crook on the other end of the line, trying to gauge my home's alarm system, information I never share publicly.


Telemarketer pitches can be handled by asking marketers to put you on their “do not call” list. Once that has been done, you may want to review your security needs to find a home alarm system that meets your needs.

Please read on for information on shopping for a security alarm system for your home:

1. Assess your needs — Your personal needs for an alarm system can vary from that of your neighbor. If someone is always at home during the day, then you may not need a system. However, if crime has been reported in your neighborhood you may want to install a system as a deterrent. Even if someone is home all day, you may be vulnerable to a break in if you spend time in your backyard.

2. Type of alarm system — What type of alarm system do you need? Essentially, there are two types according to State Farm: monitored and unmonitored. Monitored alarm systems are those where a private company watches your property around the clock. Such companies will contact your local police department if they detect that something is wrong and you cannot be reached. Unmonitored systems rely on lights flashing and sirens wailing to draw the attention of your neighbors when you are not home. That means you’re relying on others to call the police when there is a break-in. You’ll pay more for a monitored system because of the expanded services you’ll receive.

3. Alarm system components –Alarm systems vary from the basic to the complex, but all systems come with a central control unit or pad to control the alarm. Most systems include extensive wiring with windows, doors and other points of entry wired to trip an alarm. Touchpads, key fobs, sirens, sensors, detectors, video screens and panic buttons may also be part of a system.

4. Choose an electronic security alarm company — Once you identify the type of system you want, you’re ready to choose a provider. Check with your neighbors, family members and friends, or your insurance agent for referrals. Determine if the company is a member of the Electronic Security Association and confirm if its employees are ESA trained and certified. Verify business licensing, get referrals and check same. Review contracts and only sign with a company once you are satisfied with its quote and package.

Final Thoughts

You’ll want to avoid high pressure sales tactics and plans that offer you more than what you need. Many companies offer free installation, but it can come at a price — a long-term contract that may be difficult or costly to break if you aren’t satisfied with the provider’s service. Finally, be aware that your car may come equipped with HomeLink, type of universal home remote control unit that can operate your garage door and other radio-controlled systems such as your security system. With this arrangement you can manage your system from your car. Ask about remote access from your PC or handheld device too, enabling you to alarm your home from most anywhere in the world.

Home Improvement reference:

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Categories: Home Structure

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".