Seven things you should know before getting a security system

How do you know you’re getting the best value when purchasing an security system? How do you know your new alarm is actually secure? Here is a list of eight things you should know before purchasing an alarm.

1.) Cover the stairs with the motion detector. When the motion detector is covering the stairwell the crook cannot get upstairs without setting off the alarm—and crooks always head for the master bedroom upstairs for money or jewelry.

2.) Never ignore second floor windows. Anywhere a crook can stand waist high with a second floor window while standing on the roof is a likely place for entry. Too often these widows are left unlocked or even open.

3.) There is always a need for a monitored smoke detector. Not only will it get you an additional discount on your homeowners insurance but it will direct the alarm to call the monitoring company if there is a fire—pretty handy when no one is home and you don’t have to wait for smoke and flames to be shooting out of your house for your neighbors to call 911.

4.) Carbon monoxide detectors belong where you sleep—preferably near forced-air vents. The worst place for a carbon monoxide detector is downstairs if no one sleeps there. Worse still is in the basement which is great for detecting the deadly gas in the basement, but it is more likely to go through the forced air vents into your room or your children’s rooms.

5.) The garage door needs a contact, too. Even though it is less likely for a crook to come through the overhead door and then into the house from the garage, it should be contacted. Often, the motion sensor needs an exit/entry door to be opened first for it to be delayed as well. With no contact on the garage door the motion is instant and that may keep you from getting to your keypad without setting off the alarm.

6.) If there is no second floor keypad get a keychain that can arm and disarm. Remember that motion needing a delay door to open for it to be delayed, too? Well, that theory counts when coming downstairs in the morning. Having a keychain enables you to have the extra protection of the motion detector at night while you sleep.

7.) The most important aspect of the alarm is preserving communication with the monitoring company. Secure the phone line. If your alarm is monitored by standard phone service or, perhaps, cable phone service, you must prevent the crook from simply cutting the wires outside and making all that fancy new alarm equipment useless.

If the phone wires or cable line come to the residence from underground, simply dig a hole alongside the basement or garage where the wires approach the house and drill into that hole from the basement of garage. Now, the wires can come into the basement or garage without ever seeing the light of day when you pull them through the hole you drilled. Remount the Network interface from the phone company inside, and there is no access for any crook.

If the wires come from a pole to the house put them in conduit and feed the conduit into the house with the wire in it. Of course, the easy way to avoid all this is to use a cellular unit to do the communicating with the alarm system.

Some systems nowadays are self-contained. That means the keypad is also the brain—unlike a traditional system with a brain, or panel, located away from the keypad. If your system is self-contained make sure the keypad is protected by a motion sensor or contacted openings. If a crook rips the keypad/brain off the wall he has ripped the communicator (phone line) off the wall as well.

It is surprising how often the phone line is not protected, leaving it exposed to anyone who wants to make your alarm useless.