Saving money and other tips and tricks to get the most out of your home security system.
If you want a good home security system that covers your needs, it is not necessary to spend lots of money at the number one home security company in the country. There are ways to spend less and get the same end results. There are also other ways to completely fool the average burglar or robber into thinking you have more of a security system than you really do. Things includes safety components such as smoke, heat, carbon monoxide and radon detectors, motion detectors, buying security system items from sellers on eBay, using a “fake” security system to fool robbers, having a car alarm double as a house alarm, and how to deal with sales representatives from authorized home security dealers.
Monitored smoke detectors, heat detectors, carbon monoxide and radon gas detectors
Many companies charge you a flat rate to have one or all of your heat, fire, carbon monoxide and radon detectors monitored in your home. For example, they may charge you an additional $2 per month for each type of detector and not for each of the expensive detectors period. This price doesn’t change whether you have one or more than thirty detectors (of each type) in your home.
To save money, have a company installed monitored smoke detector on each floor (and near any critical areas such as a computer room or near a furnace), and monitored radon and carbon monoxide detectors on each floor that has a bedroom. After the system is installed and operational, go to a home improvement store and purchase and install as many more of the cheaper smoke detectors that you will need to cover other parts of your home. The extra smoke detectors won’t be attached to the alarm system, but they will alert you sooner if there is a problem in one of the more remote areas of the house. The smoke will still spread out and activate the monitored detectors which will then alert the fire department. The extra detectors will give you more warning if you are home when the incident happens.
80% of all intruders enter through a door. It’s quick, easy and fools many neighbors into thinking that they are there on official business (plumbers, electricians, movers, etc.) during daylight robberies.
The cheapest and most cost efficient way to protect your home is with a combination of door contacts on the doors and motion detectors covering the ground floor windows. Unless your home is pre-wired for security, putting contacts on all of the windows and installing glass break detectors (mandatory if you have glass windows and doors) will very quickly increase the total price. For the rest of the interior of you home, a few well placed motion detectors will effectively monitor your home and for a much cheaper price. Most companies and stores offer special pet motion detectors that allow normal size house pets (including dogs that weigh in excess of 75 pounds) to freely roam the house while the system is armed without setting off false alarms.
The trade-off with using motion detectors is that they are not active while you are still at home (unless you go to bed and are secluded in the master bedroom with a separate keypad to control the security system). So during the daytime and in the evening when you’re walking around the house, that part of the security system will not be active. The other problem with relying on motion detectors to monitor your home is that the actual burglar or robber has to be inside the home before the motion detector will catch them, whereas door and window contacts will be activated when the criminal is still outside the house.
NOTE – If you have small children you may want the extra security of the additional window contacts and glass break detectors. Also, some pet detectors don’t handle cats that well (cats jumping up on furniture is usually noticed by motion detectors). Consult your local representative for more information about handling cats and security systems.
The cheapest way of preventing a burglary is by shopping on eBay (or other store or auction websites) and purchasing home security company yard signs and window stickers. The newer and better known the security company, then in theory safer it will be for you. Some burglars will still try to look in through the windows to try to spot real security components, but A) they still might think that there’s something there, and/or B) they’ll just move on to the next house or neighborhood. If you’re into building custom security systems, it’s common to find specific sensors and control panels for considerably lower prices on the auction websites.
“Fake” Security Systems
You can also find fake security system parts designed to intentionally fool burglars and robbers into thinking you have a real security system. I’ve seen fake motion detectors that you place high in the corners in rooms and they even have a small blinking light to look like it’s turned on and active. How many robbers looking in through a window are going to challenge a motion detector with a blinking light? Is he still going to try to break in to that house or more likely to move on to an easier target?
NOTE – Be very careful if you choose to build a “fake” security system. Keep the motion detectors visible but still looking like they were professionally installed. Check out how-to books and see how a real contractor would install a home security system and model the “fake” system after that one. Also take note that it is in fact a fake security system and will not make a sound or alert the police if a real break-in were to still occur.
Car Alarm as a House Alarm
Another way to have a “fake” home security system is to use the alarm in your car to double as the alarm for your house.
All you need to do is park your car on the driveway instead of putting it in the garage. Take the wireless remote and keep it on your nightstand or in your pocket if you’re still awake and doing things in the house. Should you hear anybody trying to break into your house, hit the alarm button on the remote to sound the car alarm. Most burglars hate loud noises, especially when it can be easily heard outside like a car alarm, and they should flee once the alarm sounds. They know that people are curious and will look out their windows if they hear a neighbor’s car alarm go off during the night.
NOTE – This is only a noisemaker and certainly will not alert the police unless you have a really, really fancy alarm in your car. There is also no guarantee that this will make burglars turn away and flee. You should still call 911 and alert the police if you suspect somebody is trying to break into your home.
Authorized Dealers For Home Security Companies
The phrase here is simple: You get what you paid for.
Depending on the authorized dealer and the parent security company, you might be able to purchase a high quality system for a fraction of the original price, or on the other hand you may receive home security components that are ten-years-old and have been sitting in a warehouse collecting dust. Just remember that the dealer is trying to make a quick sale with leftover equipment that the major companies have discontinued.
Make sure you read the fine print on the contract and are well aware of everything concerning the system, maintenance costs, monitoring the security system and the warranty. Chances are good that the sales representative will be long gone by the time that there are problems, and your contract may have been assumed by the parent company which may be less likely to help you since you didn’t do the original sale and contract signing with them.
Source: Intruder Prevention