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House Alarms Intro.
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Home Security: DIY?
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Is a "Do it Yourself" Alarm System Worth Doing?

If you own your own home and live anywhere except on an island with visibility in all directions, you have probably received solicitations for alarm systems. Alarm systems can be very comprehensivecomplete with computer monitoring on the job, motion, smoke and fire alarms, water break alarms, automated calls to the police department, and wailing sirens that would wake the dead. They can also come with a price tag to rival your mortgage. You probably want some of the features described in the best systems, but most likely, you don't need everything a representative would try to sell you.
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Alarm systems can be classified into indoor or outdoor systems. An outdoor system has floodlights and sirens which are triggered by motion. The system is able to determine the size of the intruder and thus will not activate with the passage of a bird or the neighborhood dog.

The more popular alarm systems are the indoor systems. These range in complexity from a simple siren that screams out a warning if someone opens a door to a complex unit that either calls the local police or fire department, or sets off an audio alarm, or both. Indoor units can be either hardwired into your home or wireless. With an older home, wireless is usually better as the components can be installed without cutting into your walls. Experts advise new home builders to incorporate a hardwired system into the new construction.

Once you have decided what type of system to buy, you have to choose whether to hire a professional to perform the installation or do it yourself. If you have a very large home or apartment complex with a lot of video surveillance needed, it would probably be best to hire a professional even though a DIY project would cut the cost by about 50%. Furthermore, it is sometimes difficult to maintain a relationship with the alarm company if you do it yourself. In fact, many companies will actually install the unit for free in return for a contract under which you will pay a monitoring fee for the first year or two. Some experts consider this monitoring fee a drawback; however, it works for both the client and the company. You lock in a set fee for the entire period of the contract, and you have a guarantee against failure of the components as well as the protection service you are seeking. Just be sure to compare companies and get a reasonably priced contract.

If you have a smaller property to protect, you may opt for a do-it-yourself installation. It is possible to have a monitored system even if you perform the installation. Most owner-installed systems, however, work by activating sirens or lights if an intruder breaks a contact on a door or window. The idea is to attract attention of people in the neighborhood and thus scare the intruder away before he can cause any damage. If your property is in a well-populated area, this approach may be adequate, but if you live in a more rural area with neighbors at a distance, a monitored system will be more appropriate.

So many alarm systems are on the market that it is easy to find one that will suit both your budget and your security needs. There is nothing wrong with installing the system yourself as long as you don't fool yourself into thinking that a little $30.00 contact unit that will set off a 2 minute siren will be sufficient. In addition, you need to be handy with tools and have an understanding of the way the alarm system works as well as a thorough knowledge of the burglar access points in your own home. In fact, one advantage to installing a good quality system yourself is that when you have finished you will thoroughly understand the system and may learn a thing or two about your home as well. Installing an alarm system takes a professional less than a day. A novice may require several days and the purchase of specific tools. Many homeowners find that the time and the expertise needed are simply worth hiring a professional.

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