What to Look for in a Home Alarm System

Home Alarm System

A home alarm system is supposed to bring homeowners peace of mind, not headaches and trouble. If you’re in the market for a home security system, there are a few things you need to look for. Things I call, “Grading points.”

You want a system that’s easy to use, one that you can arm and disarm and enter the house if you have an armload of packages, or a sleeping toddler you’re carrying. You want one that’s going to give you all-around security and safety that’s reliable, with minimal false alarms. And you want that makes you feel safe knowing that when it’s triggered, help will arrive soon.

Ease of Use Is Item No. 1 in a Home Alarm System

Years ago home alarm systems were armed and disarmed by turning a barrel key when you entered and exited the house through the front door. This meant that if you parked in the garage, you had to go between the garage and the front door every time you came and went. At night, this could be an invitation to an intruder to catch you as you go in the door.

These days, you can arm and disarm your alarm from a keypad that gives you a 30-45 second entry/exit delay. This delay gives you plenty of time to get from the keypad and out the door. The alarm is armed and disarmed by entering a series of digits on the keypad and sometimes hitting the “Arm” or “Disarm” button before or after entering your code.

Pretty soon even the ubiquitous alarm panel may become a thing of the past, though. There’s a new technology hitting the market that looks very promising for home automation and for making your home alarm system even more user friendly.

This new technology is called Z-Wave. With a single remote you can open your garage door, turn on the lights, disarm your alarm system, and unlock the door from the garage to the house after closing the big garage door. All from the safety and comfort of your car. No fumbling with keys, dropping packages, or running back to get the sleeping toddler out of her car seat after unlocking the door and turning the alarm off.

Delivering Peace of Mind

Peace of mind is worth its weight in gold, especially if you have a family. It lets you sleep easy at night knowing your family is safe and protected. It allows you to go on vacation or business trips knowing your house and family will be safe while you’re away. Like I said, it’s worth its weight in gold. But how does an alarm system give you this peace of mind?

A home security system gives peace of mind in a number of ways. First, it provides reliable protection to all points of entry, not just likely ones, like doors. That big picture window in the front room that you’re proud of is a possible point of entry for a burglar with a brick or glass cutter. But put a vibration sensor on the window and/or a glass breakage detector within eight feet of it, and maybe a motion detector covering the room, and it’s now a protected point of entry with an immediate notification.

However, intrusion isn’t the only thing that can cause you to lose peace of mind. The buildup of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide can kill everyone in their sleep. Fire is another peace of mind thief that can strike without warning. However, a good home alarm system will monitor your house and protect you from these sometimes silent killers and summon help when required.

Peace of mind also comes from knowing that your security system doesn’t go into alarm, or triggered, mode without actually being triggered. If you decide to go with a keypad to arm and disarm the system, it should allow you to make a mistake entering your code without alarming. Motion detectors should also be able to discriminate between pets and intruders. Also, you want vibration sensors and glass breakage detectors that can tell the difference between a strong gust of wind and unwanted entry attempt.

Summon Help When Needed Automatically

SOC Security Monitor - Home Alarm System
A good home alarm system will help give you good peace of mind. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Images

During a home alarm system alarming incident, you may not have time to get to the phone to summon help, so you’re going to want your security system to do so for you. This means you want a monitored security system. This is especially important since people are still of the mindset that an audible alarm going off is either not their concern or it’s a false alarm.

You don’t have to worry about this if you have a monitored system. The monitored system also adds to your peace of mind by calling you in the event the system is triggered for any reason.

It’s 1 a.m. and everyone’s asleep. The system notices that carbon monoxide levels in the house are reaching dangerous levels. The monitoring station calls you to wake you and your family up to get you out of the house, while also summoning the fire department. And everyone gets to live another day.

That’s peace of mind. And that’s a home alarm system you can trust.