There are many different companies out there to choose from. So how do you find the best? Let us help you get prepared for buying an alarm system.
Think about how you buy a car. You do not simply buy the cheapest thing out there. If that were true, you would probably be driving a go-cart! You look at the features that are important to you. When buying a security system, the price is only part of your evaluation. You should know the following:
Whats the difference between a wireless alarm system and a radio monitored alarm system?
This is a big point of confusion for many people. Wireless alarm systems use special sensors that transmit their signal to the alarm control panel without wires. These wireless sensors are limited to sending signals within a few hundred feet. The alarm panel that detects which sensors are secure and which ones are faulted may then be hooked into an central station dispatch center. Most alarm panels are hooked into the phone line to transmit signals to the central station dispatch center to alert them to dispatch emergency personnel. A radio monitored system uses a special cell radio to transmit signals to the central station dispatch center. Radio monitored systems are not subject to failure from phone line cutting or phone line failure.
Don't be fooled into thinking a wireless alarm system is as good as a wired system.
Wireless sensors are not as reliable as wired sensors. Wireless sensors are battery powered and will stop operating if the batteries are not changed. Also, wireless sensors are subject to interference and may be "lost" from the system. Most systems have a window of time (some as long as 24 hours) where the system will not complain about the sensor being lost to allow it time to reestablish communications. This poses a real security risk. Wired sensors are constantly being monitored by the alarm panel and they are free from this risk.
Watch out for hidden costs from companies advertising low monitoring prices.
Something IS sacrificed in order for companies to advertise low prices. Just like there is a differences between a Lexus and a Hyundai, there is a difference between Advance Warning Security and rest. Some companies that advertise low prices do not tell you about the fact that they charge for each type of signal being monitored or sent. The many types of signals are burglar, fire, medical, etc. Not us. For one simple and easy fee, we provide access to all alarm signals from you alarm system to the central station, and we do not charge per signal fees unless there is some unusual situation.
Local is better.
"Discount" alarm monitoring companies send the alarm signals to a non-local central station hundreds to thousands of miles away. This is a definite disadvantage because the central station personnel do not know what is going on locally, such as power outages due to ice storms, thunderstorms, etc. This means that they may not be able to tell the difference between a nuisance signal and a meaningful signal from your alarm system. Also, local central station personnel are better acquainted with local oddities such as numerous "Peachtree Streets" or "Roswell Roads" and can often help response personnel find a location faster.
Nothing is free — do not be a victim of ignorance — do not get locked in.
Some companies advertise a "free" or $99 security system. That is actually a deceptive sales ploy! All homes and buildings are different. The "one size fits all" system they are advertising is not secure enough for most people! It is like a car dealer advertising a great price on a car, but upon inspecting the car, it is missing air conditioning, a radio, and all the other things you would normally expect to be there. When the salesman gets there, he tries to up-sell all the other parts that they know are vital to a secure system. Plus, they require a 3 year contract with big monthly payments that will never go down. In addition, some companies ONLY RENT you their proprietary hardware that can only be monitored by them. If you ever do not like the service, or do not want to keep paying their high fees, THEY SHUT OFF THE SYSTEM. Even the door chime stops working! They can even take the equipment back, leaving holes in your walls no matter how long you have been with them. PLEASE READ THEIR CONTRACTS CAREFULLY! It does not matter what the salesman says! If you are considering Brinks or Monitronics, read their contracts VERY carefully before you sign anything! When you compare their costs versus our costs over the same three year time period, WE ALWAYS BEAT THEM for the equivalent system and services! When you compare over a five year time period, we save you hundreds of dollars!