We know: All About Home Security Alarms

What's a home security alarm system?

Home security alarm systems are designed to prevent break-ins. Generally, radio wave sensors are installed throughout the house to indicate when doors or windows have been opened, and/or to act as motion detectors.

When something suspicious is detected an alarms sounds and, with some systems, a call center owned by a security company is alerted.

What kinds of security alarms are there?

Basically, there are two kinds, wired and wireless:

  • Wired systems are connected to a central control box via hard wires running throughout the house.
  • Wireless systems are battery powered and connect wirelessly to the central control box.

What are the price range and levels of service these alarms provide?

These systems run the gamut. You can buy a simple system that will cover most of the entry points on a small house and install it yourself for about $50. Some of these systems include a call monitoring center service and monthly fee. (See below.) Others are household alert systems that you buy and install and monitor yourself.

Higher end security alarm systems cost upwards of $500, and are professionally installed. Beyond that, you can get systems that cost $2000-3000 dollars and include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and other features.

Some less expensive systems alert you directly to problems by sounding an alarm in the house. However, other systems are connected to a monitoring center where someone is on duty 24/7 overseeing the system. If there's a problem, they contact police for you, so you have coverage, even when you're not home. These systems require a contract and monthly fee paid to a security company that is about $25 per month.

What should I keep in mind when shopping for an home alarm system?

Installation is important and you want to be sure it's done right. Be sure the installer is licensed and certified by the state, and ask for references.

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