There is a great variety of choices for residential security alarm services. You can have a fully monitored system with dozens of state of the art components, or you can go down to your local home improvement store and buy a motion sensor back door light and be done. It’s totally up to you, your wants, needs, and budget.

Before you start going out to get estimates or finding the equipment yourself, it’s best to do a security audit of your home (later in the process get help from the security company so you don’t miss anything but for now, this will be enough). Take into consideration the variety of devices you can use to create a total package.

For example, there are motion activated cameras, night vision cameras, motion sensors, glass break sensors, fire alarms, etc. By combining several of these components you can have full home protection.

When I installed my system I put a motion sensor in the corner of my living room that could catch any movement from the window areas of the living room, and dining room. Since my layout was open I didn’t have to install individual glass break detectors, I could just install a motion sensor and if anyone opened or came in one of those windows the alarm would sound.

When it comes to motion sensors, keep in mind that a curtain blowing in the breeze or a pet can set them off. Be careful of your place so you don’t have a lot of false alarms. Depending on your home’s layout and the number and types of pets ou has, a motion sensor may not be a good fit for you. Just take all of these factors into consideration when you’re doing your security audit. Try to think like a burglar.

If you decide that you want to have a system that is professionally monitored 24/7 than making sure you find out all you can about the company, and the employees, who will be doing the monitoring. Ask about background checks that they perform on their employees as well as the level of training they receive.

Ask about the policy for responding to an alarm. Some companies will call for help immediately. This is a good method if there is a real emergency, but if the system was tripped accidentally you may get a bill from the police department for a false call.

Other companies will set up a code phrase with the homeowners. When an alarm is sounded instead of calling for help right away, they will try to contact the homeowner to make sure it’s a real emergency. When they call they will ask the homeowner for their secret code phrase and if the homeowner can’t provide it or gives the wrong one (or doesn’t answer the phone) help will be called.

Obviously, both methods have their good and bad points. The first option assures you that help will arrive a few minutes sooner, but if you accidentally trip the alarm you may have to pay your local fire or police departments a small fee. The second method may delay help for a minute or two, but the chances of getting a bunch of emergency vehicles showing up at your house for a mistake are slim. You have to decide which method you prefer.

Before you write out the check for a residential security alarm take a little time to familiarize yourself with the options available as well as the needs of your home and family.

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