Deciding on Wired Versus Wireless in Your Home Alarm Security System
You can relax in the knowledge that either your hardwired or wireless system will protect your home or business and will generate the appropriate alarm if your property is invaded. Some experts way that a wireless alarm system is more likely to set off a false alarm; however, the problem is minor and virtually eliminated when a professional installs your system.
Choosing the Wireless System
Wireless systems are usually a bit more expensive than a hardwired system, but if you are installing the system in an existing structure, the wireless will certainly be the least “invasive” in terms of cutting into walls and installing various components. A wireless system is also easier for the private homeowner who wants to install the system himself.
There are a couple of issues you need to be aware of when choosing the wireless system. The first is that almost no “real” system is 100% wireless; that is, a simple magnetically activated siren that screeches for 45 seconds or so if someone opens the front door, and that you can purchase at your local hardware store, is hardly worthy of the name “alarm system.” It might be better than nothing, but a professional burglar will know how to turn it off, and unless you are in a heavily populated area, the device will shut off before anyone has time to realize where the noise is coming from. A true wireless system, on the other hand, is a system with a control panel, keypad, and some mechanism for either calling the authorities or for sounding continuously unless a person with the correct code is able to shut if off. These systems will usually require the drilling of a hole to connect the keypad to the control panel and will most likely need an active telephone line.
Another issue with the wireless system is that you need to monitor the lithium batteries and keep them at full operating strength.
Finally, even with a wireless system, you will have better results if you get professional help with the installation. A professional will know how to place the sensors and contacts to eliminate false alarms caused by movement of the homeowner’s pets, for example, while still assuring that an intruder will be unable to avoid detection by the sensors.
Hard Wired Systems: The Better Choice When Possible
If your home or business is still in the construction or remodeling phase, it’s a good idea to choose the less expensive—and more maintenance free—hard wired alarm system. The design for the components will need to be included in the initial blueprints and installed by a professional. However, once in place, you will rarely need to replace them. If something should go wrong with a hard wired component, it will be easier to replace parts. The wireless systems are updated continuously with add-ons and new features; consequently, if a wireless system stops working, it can mean installing a whole new system as compatible parts for your original system may be unavailable.
Save Money by Knowing What Your Structure Really Needs
Like every other business, sales people in the alarm system business want to make money. An individual sales person who tries to sell you a system is going to make every effort to convince you that you need the most complex system on the market. It’s worth your time to hire a contractor or third party professional who will walk through your home and make suggestions about the type of system you really need. The right individual will know how to ask questions about your family’s activities, about your ability to “watch” your home from your place of work (if that’s something you want to do), and about your need for added features such as smoke alarms, flood alarms, carbon-monoxide alerts and so forth. You will be amazed at the features that can be included in an alarm system, most of which you probably won’t need. Further more, you may not even need a contact at every window in the house; a professional will be able to point out the most important entry points.
Establish the Support Procedures Before You Sign the Contract
Before inviting a sales person for a demonstration, check out the companies and ask your neighbors which one they use. Where is the company located? If an alarm is triggered, how will the authorities be contacted and how quickly? What proof can the company give you that they actually perform as well as they claim? Alarm systems come in many variations, and it is easy to find a lesser known company that is eager to make sales and will thus undersell the “big guys.” However, it will be much more costly to replace an unsatisfactory system than to get an effective one in the first place.
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