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Home security system advice

Posted by graceshan (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 7, 12 at 16:48

We live in a really safe neighborhood, but I don't want to miss out on wiring up for a home security system while we are in the electrical wiring phase of construction (in case we decide we do want a system). Since our new house will be much nicer than our old one, it might be more prone to burglars I suppose. At the very least I wanted to have a camera at the front door since our main living space is upstairs and the front door is downstairs.

Any suggestions? We are already over budget and it's straining a bit. I've heard about wireless options for security or having systems linked to your cell phone instead of a company. I'm just not sure what our options are for this type of thing short of having a security company come in and do all the wiring and having to pay them for service. Have others done pre-wiring before or used wireless systems before?

Thanks,
Shannon


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Home security system advice

We had a local company come in a set up a wireless system in our old home, and we did the cellular connection as well. Everything worked fine and I can't imagine it working better if hardwired. We had a false alarm at one point, and the monitoring station called within 60 seconds. The cost, either way, was worth the peace of mind even though we were in a nice neighborhood. We didn't turn it on when gone, just while at home. Burglaries didn't bother us, it was home invasions that we wanted to prevent.


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RE: Home security system advice

Everybody thinks they live in a "really safe neighbourhood" until the burglars come kicking in their front door--the usual entry place. Or bodies show up in cars or a neighbour is shot dead or there's a home invasion. All things that have happened near me at various times living in "good" neighbourhoods.

A camera at the front door is convenient. But it does nothing if you're not home. For security purposes, it's better to mount cameras up high in protected enclosures and which are able to record and/or transmit images.

A local system will just annoy the neighbours. To be of any use, it must be monitored remotely. But not by a telephone line. Every burglar knows that cutting the phone line usually puts an end to that. (The exception is systems that send out a signal every minute or less and respond if there's no reply.)

I've been using a cell phone monitored system. The instant an alarm is sounded--whether by motion detector, contact or glass breakage--a guard service or the police are notified and call the contact number. If there's no response with the correct ID # the police/private guards are dispatched. When our system has been set off, they've arrived in 8-10 minutes. That doesn't keep the bad guys out, but it sure cuts their stay.

Where we moved from, both next-door neighbours and my purchaser were burglarized. Busybody that I am, I had suggested to all of them to install cell monitored systems. But even though they had just paid $1.2 to $2.2 million for their homes, they didn't want to spring for the $600 installation cost and $27 a month monitoring!

The burglars--two kicked in the front doors, one broke a glass patio door--had free rein while the homeowners were away for days. Still, they got off easy compared to another homeowner with an unmonitored system around the corner: the burglars didn't get anything, but they left a backdoor open and raccoons invaded. Talk about party animals!

The security company I have been using for 30 years for my own homes and those I build tells me that wiring a home is more effective than wireless. So I would at least run the wiring. Then, after someone breaks in, you'll be all set to connect it.


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RE: Home security system advice

Oh criminey, I guess we should bite the bullet and get one wired up from a company. Thanks for the responses. Any recommendations on particular companies? We are in the Pacific Northwest if that helps.


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RE: Home security system advice

A bit paranoid? Crime has been gradually trending downward for years and this continues despite a bad economy.

Lots of anecdotal reports but does anyone have data that a monitored system reduces theft? And what do you have to steal that is so worth it? I think the home invasion argument is more sound as your bodily safety is priceless.

That being said, I have a wired system but I don't think monitoring is worth it and I have cell phone notification.

But don't think that $600 would pay the cost of a properly wired system - that is a joke. My builder budgets $3000 or so.


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RE: Home security system advice

Indeed, the reported rate of crime has been decreasing in the US since peaking in the early 1990s. In the latest reported year, 2009, there were a mere 716,000 burglaries.
# However, for us old baby-boomers it's still three times and more the rate of the blessed '50s and early '60s.

Of course, these are national statistics and your neighbourhood may fall shy or exceed that average. Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo lead the nation by a long shot in property crimes. ("Go Buckeyes!")

And the rates don't factor in unreported property crimes, which are by some measures pretty common. See here, for instance.

Monitored alarms alone may not reduce the break-in rate. But depending on the speed of a response, they severely limit the time the burglar has for doing dirty work in your home.

Monitored alarms can also be coupled with fire alarms to ensure firefighter response. Finally, panic buttons worn by the homeowner or at strategic places in the residence can bring help quickly.


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RE: followup

And what do you have to steal that is so worth it?

One of my burglarized neighbours lost $30,000 worth of jewellery and a Rolex from a deceased relative with lots of sentimental value. Contractors have loads of tools. In any case, I don't want some low-life junkie punk stranger tramping through my home and rifling my possessions and those of my family.

I guess I lack your generosity of spirit.

But don't think that $600 would pay the cost of a properly wired system - that is a joke. My builder budgets $3000 or so.

The $600 I mentioned was the cost of adding the cell monitoring to an existing system. Without cell monitoring--snip snip--and your alarm is nothing more than a neighbourhood nuisance.


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RE: Correction

I goofed!

The US Census table I linked to above shows a burglary rate of 716 per 100,000 population. And a reported, partially reported and estimated 2,199,000 burglaries for the year 2009.


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RE: Home security system advice

Your best bet would be frontpoint security.They're not as expensive as other companies like ADT and they use ge wireless devices and mobile apps for the iphone on all their standard packages. They don't charge for installation either and they got some really good reviews. Hope this helps!


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RE: Home security system advice

Don't listen to those. You can get alarm monitoring for as little as $9/month. Buy DSC, Visonic, Caddx, HAI, Napco and get it installed. Install metal conduit on outside cables. No way someone will be digging in full few.


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RE: Home security system advice

We had a wireless system put into our house after we bought it even though our neighborhood was safe. If we would have built this house, I would have DEFINITELY went with a hardwired system. They couldn't do it because of the second floor location. We live in a very humid climate. The backing of these devices kept falling off the side of the window frame and pulling the paint with it. I don't have wood on the sides of the frame so it was attached to the drywall part that had texture to it so it failed to stay secure. After the cops were called 3 times in one day because of issues with the window devices, we decided it was NOT for us and ultimately cancelled. The thing that sold us though was that if the phone got disconnected or someone damaged the phone line, the monitoring service would call us on our cellphone to check it out. The bad thing is that we should have looked for other sources of protection, as my truck was broken into a week before Christmas this past year, 3 weeks after my baby was born, and my purse was stolen. The battery was dead in my truck, so it failed to lock which I didn't know about until the following morning. I sure wish I had cameras at the time so I could have caught them in the act. I live in a GREAT neighborhood and thought this would NEVER happen. It just goes to show that you NEVER truly are safe from thievery.


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RE: Home security system advice

I think that this is one of those things that some people are over-thinking. You can call ADT and they will install a wireless system for you. ADT isn't a lot of people's favorite, but you can contact any service really, and they will all do essentially the same thing.

We live in an old house and had it wired. It was a little difficult, but the person doing it knew what they were doing. Wiring a new house would be much easier for an experienced installer. We didn't have to pay anything to have everything set up, just a monthly service charge. I can't see why you'd pay 3000 just for wiring? We had 3 doors done, one motion sensor downstairs, and two pads. Obviously the cost increases if you get remotes, glass-shatter detectors, etc. In any event, if you don't have pets, a motion sensor should suffice instead of glass shatter detectors.

It's not complicated, it's not expensive, and it's not a big deal. No worries.


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RE: Home security system advice

If you are concerned at all have your house wired for security. It should help with you homeowners insurance cost. If you travel or not home a lot then pre-wire for cameras to be installed at a later date. If all the neccessary wiring is installed now you can add devices later as your budget allows. If utilities are underground then there is little concern for cutting telephone wires. If budget allows integrate the smoke and heat detectors in with your security system. That way your house is always monitored for co and fire. If you have a basement you can wire for a future water alarm and if you live in a cold climate have a low temp. alarm installed in case of heat failure. If all the wires are installed before sheetrock then you can decide what you need now and wait to install the rest in the future.


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RE: Home security system advice

An electronic home security system can be the source of great peace of mind or great financial headache. That's because buying a system, and the alarm monitoring that often goes along with it, can be a thorny purchase, fraught with such perils as wildly differing prices, high-pressure sales tactics and unfriendly contracts.

Basic home security systems, or burglar alarms, are typically wired to a central control panel in the home that will activate when windows or doors are opened while the system is armed. More advanced systems add fire and carbon monoxide alarms, motion sensors, glass-break detectors and, increasingly, home automation options such as controlling home lighting and temperature.


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RE: Home security system advice

We did not want a security system, but our, insurer, Chubb, requires them. I believe ours is wireless.

A number of years ago, I was involved in the financing for a very large well known home security company. What I learned from them is that the biggest deterrent is the stickers on the windows. A would-be burglar will choose a home that does not have security over one that does.

HOWEVER they also admitted that these systems are not terribly effective, because they depend on the response time of the local police (in most situations). The local police know from experience that 95% of these calls are false alarms, so they don't exactly race to your home. Moreover, a professional thief knows that if they will break in they will have some period of time before police arrive. So they are very disciplined and targeted and just get in and out.

So there you have it, from experts as told to their finance team, not from nervous nellies or from salesmen. The stickers are what you really need, LOL. But even those will not deter a professional.


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RE: Home security system advice

$3,000 ??????(yes that is very expensive)! We had our house pre-wired for alarm which consisted of all doors, two motion detectors, siren and a couple of keypads. Our price was $475 to pre-wire so the price was trivial to me to get it done hardwired. I guess that price would have went up drastically if we had all the windows hardwired but our low voltage company the builder uses did not offer this as an option as they stated it voided the warranty if they drilled into the windows (I will add wireless window sensors in the near futrue). We use an Elk M1 Gold for our system and monitoring, with cell svc as well, is around $20 month or so. Alarms aren't going to stop anyone if they really want to get it but I think its another layer of protection you add in addition to well lit areas, motion detectors lights, security signs and stickers and of course my good old 2nd amendment right.

I guess this all depends on personal preference if you feel alarms are needed or not. My thoughts are if someone is in a neighborhood to break in and they have the choice of a house with an alarm or one without, which one would they choose? Of course nothing is every foolproof but I do like to know that I did my part to at least try to make them think twice or at least slow them down. Also at night when we are there and if someone chooses to break in, I would at least like to have a little notice with the alarm going off so I can reach for my nightstand than not having an alarm and awaking to someone standing over me!

Just my .02 cents, you have to do what will make you feel safe!


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RE: Home security system advice

Hi,

We built a house and installed an alarm system. Looking in hind-sight it is actually easier to work backwards. This assumes you want a monitored system.

Step 1: is figure out which company provides monitoring services in your area. ADT is a big one, and it has gone around buying up all the other companies. Why do this first? A monitoring company will typically required it's own installation and electronics.

Step 2:

Contact your local fire code person. Could be the building inspector or local fire chief. Ask of the alarm company alarms are up to code in your area. This may seem a weired question but it turned out the ADT alarms were *NOT* up to code because they were not loud enough for our local codes. So we ended up installing two sets. One set of fire alarms for code and one ADT set which is monitored. Like wise Carbon monoxide alarms.

Step 3:

Before drywall get the alarm guys to come in an wire up your house.

Step 4:

After painting etc. stage. Get the Alarm guys to come back and do the final electronics install and turn on.

Step 5:

Recommend if they offer it a maintenance plan. Wait for a bit until the price offer comes down. If you ask for one they will charge you alot. If they offer "on sale" then it is less. I recommend this for the first two years of your house. Why? During those first two years your house will settle. Wired windows and door sensors will move a bit, and will need adjusting and will cause false alarms. At $US 200+ a visit by an engineer. It it worth getting this for the first two years. After that then it is sort of optional. Once the house has settled the alarm system becomes stable.

Good luck with your build.

Best, Mike.


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RE: Home security system advice

I've had one at my last three houses and while we have never had a breakin, it gives me peace of mind. We have it monitored and pay $15/mo which is reasonable in my opinion (I wouldn't pay for ADT). We are building a new house and will be installing one again - hardwired. Also, I put conduits through garage foundation to run telephone lines into house so they aren't exposed ... although the phone company got really upset that they weren't on the outside.


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RE: Home security system advice

RE cut phone lines... Simply DIY project to unhook your phone terminal box and slide a piece of metal conduit over the plastic one and re-mount. Then, put an alarm switch on the phone box door and screw it back shut. If someone goes to open the box when the system is armed they get a surprise. you might want to put a warning sign on the box.. That will probably discourage most burglars. Unlikely they are going to run a battery-powered Sawzall in a quiet neighborhood to saw through the conduit.


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