Questions to ask when designing your security system.
OK….you’ve selected the company you feel offers the best value for your situation. Now it’s time to design your system. There are a number of variables to take into consideration when designing your security system.
- Will you be arming the system when you are home, away or both?
- Do you have pets? How many and how big are they? Are they relegated to specific areas or do they have free rein of the property?
- Who will be using the system?
- What life safety and environment protection would you like included in your system?
- Are there any possessions or sensitive items or papers which might require additional protection?
- Are you interested in home automation features and creating a “smart home”?
- Do you want to include cameras in your system?
- Would you like the ability to view the cameras and control your system remotely?
- What is your budget for your system?
Home Security Systems 101-Components of a Home Security System
There are a wide array of components that can interface and be monitored wit today’s sophisticated alarm system. A comprehensive protection package might contain any or all of the following components.
Door and Window Sensors
Glass Break Sensors
Glass Break Sensors detect either the sounds of breaking glass, or sense the impact-or both. These are enrolled in the system as perimeter protection and are active in either the “stay” or away” mode.
Outdoor Perimeter Protection
These are used in areas where excessive smoke might be an issue – garages, basements, kitchens and around wood stoves. They detect a rapid rise in temperature.
CO sensors detect the presence of Carbon Monoxide. Often used in bedrooms above garages and where propane is burned.
Sensors that can detect flooding and low temperature can protect your home from freezing pipes and flooding. These are typically placed in the coldest area of the home and areas most effected by potential flooding.
Recent advances in technology enables the alarm system to control lights, thermostats, door locks and a host of other devices. The entire system can be controlled remotely on your phone, tablet or computer with apps, anywhere in the world where there is internet access.
Cellular Back Up
In areas where there is reliable cellular service, a system can be equipped with cellular communication as either a primary or back up means of communication. This eliminates the potential of a system being defeated by cutting the phone or cable lines.
Is the “Basic Package” enough?
When designing your home security system you will ultimately need to establish priorities and a budget to be able to formulate a security strategy which will meet your needs. It is helpful to think in terms of layers of protection when constructing your security system. A comprehensive security system may incorporate a combination of perimeter protection, interior protection, life safety and home automation components. Each of these topics are addressed in greater detail individually in my posts.
But, one thing to keep in mind is that some protection is better than no protection. Most systems are fully expandable up to 40+ zones of protection. For some it may make sense to have along term strategy which includes upgrades. Frankly, it is rare that a basic system package will provide complete protection.
Consider the following scenario.
The sound of breaking glass being shattered by the blow of a Stanley ballpein hammer pierces the night- awakening you from the deep slumber of a midsummer’s night. You sit bolt upright, cradling your pillow to your chest in fear.
Silence…for a moment….and the sounds of crickets chirping on a balmy August night. Then…the faint crunching of broken glass against tile -made by size 10.5 Timberlands as the intruder climbs through the sliding glass door, making his way stealthily across the kitchen floor.
Your heart is pounding as you hold your breath, struggling to hear the faintest of sounds as the footsteps have gone silent. Then….a barely discernible creak on the loose floorboard beneath the tattered carpet runners on your newly refinished hardwood hallway floor….that leads to your new 1st floor master suite.
Your mind is racing…and you curse yourself for not having updated your Security Master 2000 when you renovated your home. Why didn’t you listen to the security specialist when he pointed out that your motion detectors would not be active in the “stay mode”?
Shaking yourself back into reality, you slowly reach under the bed, with trembling hands, for the 32” Louisville Slugger you kept since your sandlot baseball days in elementary school. Fumbling past the dust bunnies, old books and unworn shoes…you finally grasp the reassuring piece of ash wood with your now sweaty palms.
And then….the faint creak of unlubricated brass hinges…as a shadowy figure slowly enters the room…
No shrill 105 db sirens to scare off the intruder….no automatic calls to a trained professional dispatcher at the monitoring center…no reassuring police sirens approaching.
Just you…your Louisville Slugger and an unknown assailant.
If only you had upgraded your alarm system…
OK….a bit melodramatic…but, it does illustrate the importance of carefully considering all your options when planning and designing your home security system. For true “peace of mind” it may make sense to look beyond the pre-packaged 3 doors and a motion detector basic, entry-level system and carefully consider some of the additional components necessary to create a more comprehensive protection package.
Some companies, such as Protect America, make it more affordable to obtain a more comprehensive system be eliminating up front equipment charges and providing more comprehensive security packages with $0 up front costs.
Whichever company you feel is best, I would encourage you NOT to procrastinate, put away that Louisville Slugger and to take whatever steps you feel are appropriate to protect your home and family…and get the peace of mind you deserve!
Please feel free to offer your comments,feedback or experiences on designing your security system below.