Home Alarm Systems-info needed

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Tim L, May 6, 2003.

  1. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    Well I am moving into a new home by the end of the summer- and want to get a dependable home alarm system- but sort of confused by all the options. Wondering if anyone has one installed in their home and if so how do they like it or if there are any problems I should be aware of before taking the plunge. I was thinking of going with ADT company- anyone have any experience with them? any info much appreciated
    Tim
     
  2. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Tim, is this a NEW home we're talking about? As in it's in the process of being built? If so, you should get an alarm company to come in a pre-wire before the drywall goes up. Just makes things easier.

    You can go with a hardwired system, or a wireless. Both will serve you well.

    One thing I did with our system (Stealth Alarms, which is a local company I believe) is I paid for the entire four-year contract outright. I think it was around 4K (Cdn). That way, I'm totally paid for the year, and I don't have another monthly bill. It's worth it if you can manage the initial outlay.

    Also, see if any companies in your area offer radio-backup systems, or other types of backups in case the phone connection to your house is cut. My system will send out a radio-based alert if the phone service goes out. Works like a charm. [​IMG]

    Your initial cost (if any) will also depend on how many contacts you need. Doors & windows... do you want the screens in your windows to be wired? (With this option, you can leave your windows open on a hot day, and the alarm will go off if the screens are cut.) Do you have pets? If so, you may want to think twice about motion-sensors.

    My system also has smoke-alarms attached to it, so the monitoring company will be alerted if there is a fire.

    Basically, call ADT and a couple other companies. See what packages would suit your needs and your budget. Don't sign anything until you have had a chance to compare.
     
  3. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    I am an alarm tech. I install alarms, cameras, gate access and HT, cable and phone lines. Mostly alarms. With any of those free alarms or contracts be sure to read the hole thing. most are 3 and 5yr contracts that in it you don't own the system. Not good. pay the $400-$1000 and have one installed. Also check the service clause. Some state they do not have to service for 21days. but won't on charge you parts only labour(being they own the system)

    I also advise hard wired systems. harder for the installer but less matinence. batteries cost about $15 each and need to be replaced every year and a half and are prone to interference. Which brings me to false alarms. Check and see what local bylaws are. here the first 2 false alarms are free them the third is 25 then 50 and 75 bucks. it stays at 75bucks for the year which if after a yr problem free it goes back down to $25.

    For protection I advise ALL exit doors to outside and between the garage to house. Then use motions to cover stairways access and traffic points. Keypad at the entry door and perhaps one in the bedroom. Windows at the back of a house are a greater risk. Crank out types are not at a huge risk, but lift up windows are. specially the one that slide top and bottom. and another consideration is balconies.

    Feel free to email or PM[​IMG]
     
  4. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    [​IMG] Huh? I have a wireless system and I didn't have to change the batteries for five years. I only changed them when the system indicated that a battery had gone low. In the 8-9 years that I have owned the system, I have had maybe four unintentional false alarms. One of those was caused by a misdirected 911 call, which the phone company would never admit responsibility for. One was a fire alarm that was triggered by a dirty smoke detector sensor (my fault). I have never had a false alarm from any kind of "interference". Three of the four unintentional false alarms happened all in one year....2002. The system seems to be very stable at present.
     
  5. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    I have to say I'm impressed. The systems I've ran into all had major problems with interference. Helicopters, low flying planes and such. When I said 1.5yrs That was being a bit on the cautious side. Most systems I'm familar with recommend changing batteries every two yrs. Battery backup is 5yrs. I still prefer wired systems. Lot more workto install but from my experience, less problems.

    A lot of companies are switching to wireless as technology becomes better. Save time and labour costs. It doesn't take much to install so a skilled labourer is cheaper than a technician. wired systems are an art. To have a wired system without wires showing is a hard task. I've spent 3hours running 2 wires just so they would be seen.
     
  6. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Are you sure you want it monitored? You can have an alarm system in your house but not pay for monitoring. You still get a discount on your homeowners insurance without monitoring also (not as much with monitoring, but its not much of a difference).
     
  7. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    Mike you are right,

    My company in particular doesn't offer a contract. you can monitor as you please. Most companies want your monitoring. At least the big outfits thrive on monitoring. If your in a residential area You could put a strobe and a siren outside to alert neighbours(ask first[​IMG] ) Also good with monitoring. Much easier to find in a sub-division.
     
  8. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Don't put the stickers or signs up when you get it installed. There was a catburglar hitting homes during work hours near where I live recently. He would look for the houses with alarms then clip the phone line. If they don't know you have it it's more effective, don't advertize it.
     
  9. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    I disagree Philip,

    Stickers are very effective. they are found to be 65% effective on there own. A cat burglar would just cut the lines before any break in. Alarms are 90% effective. Now that means that alarms are a deterent and not fool proof. If someone wants in your home they can still come in. Not much you can do short of hiring a 24hour guard. But phone line cutting can be kept to a minuim by drilling outside lines(that come underground) into the basement and installing the phone box inside the house(phone companies hate that) cellular backup, and Dvac(sends a signal 24/7)

    Also most alarms are discounted 5% not monitored, 10% monitored and sometimes 15% with fire and home alarmed and monitored.
     
  10. David Preston

    David Preston Supporting Actor

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    About how much is monthly monitoring. I have a alarm and it works good I've set it off myself a few times on accident but how much is it to have adt or local monitor it.
     
  11. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    Thanks for the quick replys, to answer a few of the questions- yes the house is new- but the walls are already up and plastered (found the house too late) and the reason I was thinking of going with a company to monitor the system is because there really are no nieghbors around to monitor the house-(just alot of woods,) if an alarm goes off- so I was thinking if it does happen to go off and I am out of state etc. at least somebody would know about it and call the police.
    I see I have much to learn about alarms- Philip brought up a good point- if someone cuts my phone line- this means the whole alarm system will not work?- this seems too easy in my book. Any other information you guys have will be appreciated- I could use it, thanks.
    Tim
     
  12. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    If the phone line is cut the system will go off but not send to the alarm station. There are now backup systems in place. Cellular backup is among the cheapest form. If the phone line is cut the cell automatically calls to the central station. If you lines come from underground the other thing is to take the phone box from the side of the house and drill the wires in the basement and cover the spot up with a little dirt. they can't cut what they can't see.
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    That recommendation to not use signs and stickers came directly from the local police department when the catburglar was active.
     
  14. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    My parents house had a backup. If the phone line went dead for any reason it set off a silent alarm that was connected to the monitoring service and the cops would come right out.
     
  15. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    I also disagree with the "no signs" thing. But that's because I have a radio backup system on my house... so if the phone lines get snipped... it isn't a problem.

    Tim, as Shawn indicated, if the lines ARE snipped, the local alarm will still sound, but the monitoring station won't know what's going on. As your house sounds like it's isolated, you should consider looking for a system that offers a backup like radio or cellular. (Or as Shawn says, move the phone box... which I personally wouldn't want to do.. but that's me.)

    Cellular can be expensive. You might want to see if anyone in your area offers radio backup, or some other technology. (I bought from "Stealth Alarms" but I *think* they are just a canadian firm...)

    I also would suggest hard-wired over wireless... BUT... wireless tech has gotten much better of late. [​IMG]

    This is directly from my alarm companies website:

     
  16. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    An alarm system serves two purposes: Deterrance and Detection. However, an alarm system does not keep your house from being broken into.

    With the yard signs out, you are going to deter a number of thiefs who are looking for a quick score. They will simply go to the house next door, without the alarm.

    The "Cat Burglar", who is intent on breaking into your home, will succeed. The alarm may even sound, but the thief will have planned for that. There have been incidents where the thief trips the alarm, watchs the police come, lets them think it's a false, and they leave. Then, he trips it again, watches them come again and leave. When he trips it a 3rd time, the police are less likely to respond again, and he has plenty of time.

    So, don't expect your alarm to prevent you from being burglarized. It is a deterrent, but not 100%.

    Also, before you buy the alarm, make sure what your local law enforcement policy is toward responding to alarm calls. Some larger jurisdictions no longer respond to the calls, due to the large volume of non-emergency trips (rarely do alarms "false alarm". There is something there that caused it to trip, and it acted correctly.) Make sure that your local law enforcement still responds.
     
  17. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    What Randy says is very true. Alarms are deterrants and detectors. A *professional* thief is still going to get it.

    I'm not worried about the pros. It's the kids that like to break into houses and trash the places that are my concern.

    The pros are gonna hit the 4,000 sq. ft. mansions that are on the other end of my community. [​IMG]


    *side note: Check with your insurance agent about any large DVD collections you may have. [​IMG]
     
  18. Tim L

    Tim L Second Unit

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    you guys bing up some very valid points and suggestions- I will look into them- your responses have been great- I just want to go into this knowing as much as possible. Yes my house is in the boondocks- the reason is because of the other thread posted in this forum about troublesome nieghbhors- the trade off is that I am somewhat isolated- but at least no nieghbor will be harrassing me ( sory to get off subject).
    I was also thinking of getting some kind of camera system in the house also- to video tape any activity outside and around the house-so if I am not home at least I wil have some evidence as to what happened- has anyone tried this or is using this now in their homes? If so what type and how did you install it (wireless or to a VCR) Any other options or information I should look into please post- thanks
    Tim
     
  19. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    Ther are also two types of robberies that can be split up into two more groups. pro and novice. Pro's leave little evidemce of break in and know what they want. a novice usaully trashes the place and looks for everything they can grab. And the two major types are home furnishing in which they steal only certain items from certain homes only to bring it home(couch from one house, tv from the other) or steal for a living.

    The fewer types are breakin's where they don't take nothing but drink all your liquer and trash the house. And which I've seen a number of times an inside job(yes a lot more common)

    Also 80% of the time it is someone you know that has been in your house before. Or knows a friend of a friend. Like a good friend of yours talking to a friend of his about how HE has a friend(you) that has just a kick'n Home theater.

    And Randy is right about alarms only being a deterent. Another point is an alarm cannot stop snatch and grab. If you go on vacation leave $50 in small bills in an easy to see location. Why? cause as soon as thiefs get something of value a lot will leave and not take chances of being caught.

    Speaking from an insurance point of view log serial numbers and reciepts in a folder(not on the computer) and take a picture of everything, especially DVD's or a videocam through the home. put bars(just a piece of wood or something) between the back of the patio door and frame. Basement windows are a big vantage point and can also be secured with a small peice of wood on at least one side. Bolt locks with keys on both sides for outside doors with windows and you can even run a metal insert on the door or frame covering 6" above and below the lock hole insert.
     
  20. Bry_DD

    Bry_DD Second Unit

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    I have ADT for over 2 yrs and never had any problem with them. They are pretty reliable too. They call right away when your alarm goes off.
     

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