If you’re looking at home security alarm systems, you’ve got a number of different options available. You can choose to purchase and install a stand-alone system yourself. Some of you might choose to have a system professionally installed. Once your system is installed, there’s the choice of whether to have if monitored or not. A new option that has started to gain popularity is to integrate your home security system into a home automation system.
Homeowner Installed Home Security Alarm Systems
In these times, when money is tight, you might choose to buy and install the components of your home alarm system by yourself. You can go with a wireless system for ease of installation, but you have to make sure that the batteries in your sensors are checked on a monthly basis, otherwise you lose the protection that sensor provides. Wireless home security alarm systems give the homeowner almost as many options for sensors and sensor placement as a wired system, but without the requirement of running wires, or at least as many wires as with a wired system.
Wired home security alarm systems are more reliable than wireless systems because there are no batteries that can go dead and radio frequency interference is less likely to cause false alarms. As far as homeowner installed systems go, the wired home alarm system gives you the most options when it comes to sensors and sensor placement and the type and complexity of alarm control panels.
To Monitor or Not to Monitor
If you choose to have a home alarm system professionally installed, you’ve got two basic choices to make first. Should you have your system monitored once it’s installed? If you do choose monitoring, you also have to choose whether you want to be part of the monitoring company’s roving patrol network or not, as well.
A monitored home alarm system takes the onus of making sure everything is working properly off the homeowner and puts it on the shoulders of the monitoring company. The monitoring company will also call the appropriate authorities when an alarm condition is detected. Normally, the company will call the homeowner or other responsible party to make sure all is well, and if not, they will then call the authorities. When a fault condition is detected, they notify the service department to schedule a service call to correct the fault in the system.
You can also have a home alarm system professionally installed but decide against having it monitored. In this case, you will most likely wish to have an auto-dialer added to the system in order to facilitate calls to emergency services in case you have been incapacitated or aren’t home when the problem occurs.
Integrated with Home Automation Systems
One of the newest trends in alarm systems is to integrate them with a home automation system. This adds a little extra expense for the communication equipment that allows the two systems to talk with each other, but it allows the homeowner to perform their own system monitoring, receive system update messages sent either by text or email, and gives them the ability to arm and disarm the system over the Internet using the home automation system.
There are a number of companies, such as Schlage, that are supplying combination home alarm and home automation systems. They have complete systems that integrate control over some basic household functions such as lighting control, with control over door locks and the monitoring of doors, windows, and other access points. These systems can be programmed to send you alerts when system faults are detected so that they can be corrected as quickly as possible to bring full system functionality back.
Integrated systems usually work using one of the major wireless home automation protocols, either Zigbee or Z-Wave. These protocols allow system components to communicate with each other and give the system expandability. The ability to expand the system is provided by the fact that you can add sensors and controllers to the system quite easily, simply by buying devices that are compliant with the standard that your system utilizes. There are even systems that make this even easier by supporting both Z-Wave and ZigBee, as well as others that also add standard Wi-Fi support.
Home security alarm systems can do more than give you peace of mind knowing that your home and family are as safe as technology can make them. They can also increase your house’s resale value. As such, they also make a good investment.
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