Security alarm systems can bring peace of mind to homeowners in a variety of affordable ways. They can be über-high technology affairs, or they can be quite simple affairs. Either way, they help to give you a sense of security and well being, whether you’re at home, at work, or on vacation. Even better, they do this while not hurting your budget in the long run.
Two Installation-type Options
When you’re looking at home alarm systems, always keep in mind that you have two options when it comes to the type of installation: Do-it-yourself installations or systems that are professionally installed. The DIY systems run the gamut from simple systems with wireless sensors that stick to walls, door, and/or windows to protect points of entry and large rooms to those that will require some cutting into walls and drilling into window and door frames and doors.
The professionally installed security alarm systems are somewhat similar, except the installers will normally drill into window frames and doors to mount the switches and securely mount wall-mounted sensors (such as glass breakage and motion detectors) using wall anchors and screws. We don’t like having to come back to remount sensors that have failed because they came loose.
Central Monitoring, Auto Dialers, Siren Only
In the early days of home security systems, the systems had several problems that caused them to “false.” Falsing (also known as false alarms) is when the alarm would sound the horn for no reason, usually in the middle of the night, disturbing everyone in the neighborhood. Many burglars used this fact to break into houses when the owners were away, knowing that the neighbors would get extremely annoyed, but not call the police.
While there are still times when security alarm systems will false, it isn’t as bad anymore. We also have ways to combat falsing. One of these is through a central monitoring station. When the alarm is triggered, the monitoring station will call someone, known as the responsible party, to verify the authenticity of the alarm. If someone answers the phone and doesn’t deliver the proper code word, police, and sometimes their own, in-house security personnel, will be alerted and respond. The price of this service varies, but normally ranges between $50 and $100 a month, depending on the bells and whistles.
Non-monitored alarm systems can still summon help through what is known as an auto-dialer. With this type of system, the main processing unit of the controller is connected to the home phone system (or, in some pricier systems to a cellular network). If the alarm is triggered, an audible alert is sounded from the keypads in the house. If they aren’t silenced in a specific amount of time, or if the emergency code is input instead of the proper code, the dialer will call the police for you and deliver a pre-recorded message, alerting the authorities that there is a problem that requires their attention. Although, these controllers cost a few extra dollars at purchase time, there is no monthly recurring charge, except for the phone line.
The last kind of system has no auto-dialer or connection to a central monitoring station. All that it has is a very loud siren that alerts the neighborhood that there is a problem and the homeowner has to hope that someone will call the police for them, or that the noise will scare the intruder away. This is the lowest priced type of system available.
Fiscal Benefits of Security Alarm Systems
I told you that a security system in your house wouldn’t hurt your budget. There are actually two places where a system can help you save money — homeowner’s insurance and your taxes, if you use your house as a home office.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies will credit you for at least some of the cost of the monthly monitoring fee. This means that your monthly or yearly premium could be significantly reduced. How much you save off your premiums will be determined by the company that carries your policy, but you will save money on those premiums. You may also be able to qualify for a zero-deductible policy conversion with an alarm system, meaning that if there is a loss claimed, you won’t have to pay a deductible when you file your claim.
If your home qualifies as a home office, the IRS will also allow you to deduct a portion of your costs from your taxes every year. You may also be able to claim depreciation due to the monthly monitoring costs, as well as the cost of installation.
Lastly, a home improvement is a home improvement. Every home improvement raises the street value of your house in the event that you decide to sell or refinance. This means that there are three different fiscal benefits to home security alarm systems.
When it comes to the types of sensors used in alarm systems, you’ve got a pretty wide variety of options. We’ve got an article here that discusses what’s available. When you’re ready to get more serious about it, we can help you make best choice for your budget and needs.
Photo Credit: eflon