View Full Version : home alarm system?
hi guys, moved into a home recently and i'm looking to get an alarm system.
I've done some research online and found it quite hard to decide since all the major alarm companies have extremely crappy reviews ...
ADT, Bay Alarm (calif), Brink, etc.
I've never had an alarm before so I'm not quite sure how to go about it ... also, what should I expect to pay?
3. monthly fee (for live alert)
thanks in advance!
07-27-2010, 09:29 PM
Disclaimer - I install alarm systems, card access, cctv, and fire alarms.
ADT bought Brinks (Broadview), so that narrows your choices.
As for equipment, it all depends on what you need to protect. Are you going to put a contact on every door (including overhead doors) and a motion (not good if you have pets that can set them off) or glassbreak in every room? Some panels offer wireless devices, but they're more expensive than the normal hardwired ones. Can you get to every point that you need to protect, either through the attic, or basement? Is there a particular brand of panel that you want (Ademco, DMP, DSC, etc.)? A company called Inovonics makes wireless receivers that can be connected to any panel, so you wouldn't have to get new devices if your panel was switched out. Do you have normal phone line, or are you looking at internet for the monitoring? A panel that has internet communications is going to be considerly more expensive that one without it. You can get a cell phone based backup communicator, but they're a little pricy and you still pay a monthly fee for them in addition to the monitoring fee.
Installation time and price depends on how hard (or easy) it is to get wires to everywhere that they need to be. Wireless simplifies everything, but at a higher cost. If you (or a friend) were handy with running low voltage wires and drilling holes and fishing the wires (basic handyman skills), you could do everything yourself. Panels can be purchased from many sites online (even Ebay). Programming a panel can be a little difficult for a beginner, but there's people online that can help you.
Monthly fees vary, fees should be between $20 - $30 for basic monitoring. I don't have experience with life alert, since I work with small and commercial businesses. It's also possible to have a panel notify you in case of an alarm through paging or e-mail in case you didn't want to pay a monthly fee.
As far as reviews go, almost every company is going to have both good and bad review. You said all the companys that you listed have generally crappy reviews, So you'll have to go with a smaller or local company and hope everything works out. Small alarm companys are always being bought up by the bigger ones, so you might still end up with another company in the end. The only way to be truly satisfied is monitor it yourself as mentioned above.
my home is pre-wired for alarm, so hopefully that would lower the cost for me a bit. my neighbor just got ADT, so maybe I should check with them and see ...
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