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Home Security System

Posted by pebbles396 (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 27, 06 at 22:35

Hi -
Hopefully someone can assist me with this. Recently my husband and I have had a few weird incidents and feel like it's time that we invest in a home security system so we feel more comfortable. I'd appreciate any advice in this process. It seems like we can use ADT (the most expensive), Brinks (moderately expensive but only a hardwire installation), and GE which is all wireless and we install and set up but the most inexpensive. If anyone has any information whether negative or positive it is greatly appreciated.

Additionally we're interested in potentially having some sort of a camera on the front and rear doors. Somewhat to track our dog walker, and housekeeper, but also for security because our house is rather large and it would be nice to know when a pizza delivery person is coming rather than hear the doorbell and then scramble to get to the front of the house.

I'm hoping to sort of have a all in one system that tracks fire, security, etc. I have heard that ADT takes up to 2 minutes to respond to an alarm, but I have also heard that that wireless systems are junk. I'd like to hear anyone's real world experiences. It seems like the camera system will need to be a separately run system, and that's ok.

Thanks again!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Home Security System

We have Brinks, had it installed a few years ago shortly after the Danielle Van Dam kidnapping. Best thing we ever did - it gives us SO much peace of mind. At the time we had it installed they were only doing hardwire systems, and now they are doing both hardwire and wireless systems - found this out after we had a few additional components installed a couple of months ago.

We have all hardwire components, obviously. It's nothing to be scared of - they don't rip your house apart and do a super clean job. When they are done you won't even know where they had been. They go through attics, garages, basements, crawl spaces, up and down walls, they'll feed wires under carpet (without pulling it up), behind baseboards, into the hidden void inside the windowsill...they know where to go. They have special tools that help them do all this and I swear, you'll be amazed.
One of the components we had added recently was 24/7 fire monitoring - well worth it and definitely something to get. If my house catches on fire while we are not home they will call the fire department. We also had two glass break sensors installed.

At the time we had ours installed it cost $75 per component. I'm not sure what it is now. We had a sensor put on every downstairs window and door, a sensor put on every window upstairs that had roof access plus one on each child's room. We also have a centralized motion detector, the fire/smoke detection system, line break sensor (if a burglar cuts the phone line, Brinks will detect the loss of signal), the two glass break sensors, and two upgraded keypads, one downstairs by the door and one in our master bedroom. We wanted to have the panic buttons in our bedroom as well. In all we spent $775 5 years ago and then I think we spent about $250 to have the additional components added recently, and we pay $25.99 a month for monitoring. There are always coupons out for free installation, two sensors and a keypad for $99 - be sure to get that coupon before calling (check their website), as it will save you a lot - it's how we got it installed so cheaply.

Brinks will respond if the alarm isn't cancelled within 20 seconds. They usually call within a minute, and the police response time depends on your city. My city is quick - a few times we've set off the alarm I've been on the phone with Brinks explaining why I've accidentally set the alarm off and didn't cancel it (because I'm a dolt) and the police are at the door. So I know they notify emergency services instantly if they can't verify the alarm.

If you go to their website you can see all of the components they have available. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Brinks Home Security


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RE: Home Security System

I have Brinks also and I have had the same experience as snookums. We pay $35/month (I wonder why we pay more?). I agree about the peace of mind. The only drawback with Brinks for us is that we were considering getting rid of our land line totally (and using cell phone) but we need the land line for the security system. I didn't know that they are offering wireless now.


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RE: Home Security System

You might want to post on the home building forum or do a search - lots of current information. We have a system and service similar to snookums'. Our service is with a local company here in MA.


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RE: Home Security System

We pay 218. per yr for monitoring. We pay per yr, perhaps that is why ours is so cheap.

The savings that you will get from your insurance company on your insurance pretty much pays for the monitoring per yr (in most cases).

We have fire, security, CO. There is also a button on the keypads for medical emergency.

DH could care less if we have the system (put in during construction), but it gives me a lot of piece of mind--especially when he is gone.

In our last house we had Ademco. This one is DSC.

No cameras on the doors, but that sounds like a great idea.


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RE: Home Security System

I think that Brinks varies by market. We had nightmares with them in Atlanta, and Id never use them again here. They were absolutely incompetent, from the installers to the billing department. Check with other people in your area. If you know anyone in the police or fire departments, see who they use. Also, some companies use proprietary equipment, so that if you do decide to change service providers, you have to pay to get everything installed all over again. It really pays to asks questions and get more than one estimate.


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RE: Home Security System

I've had Brinks twic & DCS once in Virginia, and ADT in Illinois. I need to hook up a system here we had hard wired when we built last year. I will probably go with Brinks, depending on what kind of a deal I get with them. I believe once you go with Brinks, they'll hook you up free in your next home. ADT told us that too, but mysteriously can't find evidence of our contract that we carried when we lived in Illinois.

I've had my phone lines cut before years ago and no one called me with Brinks. Technology has changed so I'm sure it would be different today. I've not seen Brinks advertising in our neck of the woods, so I'm still going to have to do research soon.

I was pleased with all companies. I will say this, I really liked the gizmo that DCS has that causes the doors and windows to chime to let you know someone entered or exited. Certainly took away a lot of the jumping around from being spooked and startled.

As for security camera. I'm going to install a monitor in my office and BR so I can see who comes up my drive and at the front door. Our architect worked out of her basement and installed one from Radio Shack. It worked great! She had installed small cameras in two upstairs windows and one near the front door. She got sick and tired of running up and down stairs for the UPS guy.

I, too, am sick of being half way across the house or working in my office and don't know who's up front. Our property is about 1.5 acres and our house is on the large side, too.


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RE: Home Security System

We had Brinks in our present house but we just could not adapt to the security alarms and were always setting them off or forgetting to set it. So we just don't use it any more.

We did have driveway gates installed and I just love them. We have 6 acres and I wanted my dogs to have access to all our property so we installed the gates. But I never thought of the convenience of not having strangers at my door! Another thing I did not know was how much turn-around traffic we would have in our driveway. Someone is turning around at least 5-6 times a day. It happens so much that the dogs don't even bark at the cars any more.

We had a terrible incident happen 2 years ago and I was so glad I owned Rottweilers. I don't like people to know about my dogs because Rottweilers are a high theft dog. But at this moment I sure was glad my male was by my side.


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RE: Home Security System

Posted by Sherilynn: "I've had my phone lines cut before years ago and no one called me with Brinks. Technology has changed so I'm sure it would be different today."

It was an extra component we paid for. And it works, because when I accidentally knicked a phone wire when I was installing a little caller ID gizmo, the alarm went off.

"I will say this, I really liked the gizmo that DCS has that causes the doors and windows to chime to let you know someone entered or exited."

The Brinks keypads do this as well. It's a feature you can turn on or off. I especially like it with the kids.


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RE: Home Security System

Yes, Brinks will not charge you installation fees if you move your service to your next home. You only pay for the equipment. When my husband moved in with me, he rented his old place and moved the security system to my house. It took three installers to get a working system in my house (nothing fancy). Then, things went downhill fast. For some reason, Brinks wouldnt turn off the monitoring in the old house. Instead, they just changed the address in their system but not the phone number. Whenever one of the kids at the old house pressed a button on the "disconnected" Brinks keypad, Id have police or firemen at my door because Brinks would call my husbands old, inoperable phone number to report the alarm. Emergency services was charging me for false alarms, and I had no monitoring at my own house. It took six to eight months to straighten this out even after Brinks clearly understood the problem. Whoever you decide to go with, be sure to get local references.


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RE: Home Security System

I love the chime feature. I have it set on all of my doors. If one of my twins "escapes", I know it immediately.

I also have a teenager who can't come in or out without me knowing it. She is trustworthy, but it still a nice feature.


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RE: Home Security System

Thanks everyone! We decided against Brinks. Let's just say I got the 'hey little lady' treatment from the sales guy.

We decided to go with a GE system, even though our weimaraners probably are as good as anything. (My female has an incredibly viscous bark)

Thanks so much for everyone's feedback.


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