With all of the options out there today for home security, it is important to ask the right questions to make sure you are getting the best home security system for your property. Here are 5 questions with explanations to get you started:
1. Where is your central station located?
It is a little known fact that many security system installation companies do not actually monitor the systems they install. Many alarm companies and electricians licensed to install low voltage wiring devices can purchase and install alarm systems. They will then sell off the monitoring contract to another large company that can monitor your system from halfway across the country. This can effect police response rates. It is also of course no fun to call into a large company with no real idea of who you are and what troubles you might be facing. In order to ensure your call will always be answered by a real person with adequate answers, shoot for a company with a UL Certified central station within 250 miles of your home.
2. How long have you been in business?
A lot of “alarm companies” tend to come and go pretty quickly. This can be troublesome when you want to upgrade or change your system, get it properly serviced or need advice on best practices. Finding a reputable company that has been around for 10 + years can give you peace of mind that when you need help you will get it.
3. What type of warranty or service plan do you offer?
Perhaps you are starting to see a theme here. When you buy technology it is important to know you will have support should it falter. Many security companies offer very affordable monthly service plans that can cover you from more costly time and material options. Consider how complex your system is when making this decision. This question is a great test for how reputable and reliable a firm is.
4. Do you do on site security evaluations?
This is a big one. How could someone accurately put together a complete protection plan without ever seeing your home? It is a red flag if someone tries to sell a system over the phone without taking into account every entry point to your home, the backup interior protection necessary and any additional unique factors. Is your home better suited to a wireless or hard wired system? Does a slanted roof offer easy access to second floor windows? Does your basement have ground level entry points? These are all things that need to be seen to be understood so make sure your vendor comes on site and maps out a custom design. This layout will also be helpful to have on hand for future service and upgrades.
5. What other technologies should I be considering besides a basic alarm system?
Recent advances have made sophisticated security systems that include environmental detection devices (water, temperature, smoke, CO), video surveillance and even home automation very affordable. If you are interested in looking in on your property while away, managing your energy cost more effectively, or even locking your doors from your iPhone be sure to ask. The best companies will take the time to assess your lifestyle, property and make informed recommendations.