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Tips on a Home Security System

Updated on February 16, 2019

It is too easy to put a stop to this

Don't let this be an issue. Sound the Alarm!
Don't let this be an issue. Sound the Alarm! | Source

As a low voltage electrician with a background in security systems installing, I believe that I can help improve your home’s security setup with a few simple tidbits of information.

1.Chose a brand with name recognition.

I would strongly advise using a security panel that is a big brand name. Unless you have a special security need, the big brand names will do just fine. It isn’t just the application of the panel that you need to be concerned about, it’s also servicing and finding replacement parts that should be a consideration when making a selection. Should a relay board, power supply or other critical piece of the system get ruined or otherwise become unfit for service, it will be very nice to have the technical data within easy reach for troubleshooting purposes. I am partial to brands like Altronix, Honeywell, and Bosch. There is also a possibility that you will need to do upgrades, and if you were to go with a cut rate brand, there may be compatibility issues.

2. Measure out your rooms, and place devices appropriately.

One major problem I always seemed to run across during my installs was having motion detectors with too much range for a given application. Proper placement will not only save you money, but headache as well. A motion detector that is designed for 100 foot spaces simply will not work correctly in a 30 foot space. This may seem self-evident, but in this case, use the proper measurements for your devices, and it will result in a better end product. In some cases, the devices with more range are more expensive, so that is another consideration. Door contacts are simple switches that read either open or closed, and can be a breeze to install. There are countless applications for these, and will serve you well, as an intruder is most likely not going to break down your wall in order to gain access. The contacts don’t just have to be for doors either. Sliding windows are another common place for an intruder to gain access, and contacts are a great way to monitor these.

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Only let those in that are supposed to be there.
Only let those in that are supposed to be there. | Source

3. Hard wire your system

This may seem counter intuitive, since I just suggested saving money, but in the end, this is simply putting resources where they are most effective. If you use wireless systems, you will have to consider signal strength as well as battery life. In some cases, the signal simply isn’t strong enough to be feasible. In others, hard wiring is impossible without putting up wire mold or some other surface mounted wire path. If I had my choice, I would use the surface mounted wire path over having wireless systems. The reason for this is simply to have fewer false alarms. Wireless technology is getting better, but to keep things simple is generally to make them work better. Wired systems have positive connectivity with your panel at all times, whereas a wireless system may not. Suffice to say the wired system will react faster than a wireless. This is discounting the maintenance you will have to do to accommodate your wireless devices. Just because they are wireless does not mean that they don’t require a power supply. This means batteries, and usually not double a type. That is just an extra cost for a system that doesn’t work as well in my humble opinion.

4. Make sure you know how to use your system

This is probably the most important part of the entire article. The number one reason why a security system doesn’t do its job properly is because of human error. If you cannot arm or disarm your system properly, or don’t understand why it is doing something, refer to the owner’s manual. This is why I recommended the big name brands. If you are having problems, they have tech support, manuals, PDF, and also forums. For example, do you want your system to simply set off an audible and visible alarm, or do you want a silent alarm to trigger a security or police response. This is one of the most critical decisions of a system. What do you want it to do when it detects something that shouldn’t be the case? Most of the time, I suggest a response, but there are certain applications where you may not wish to have this. That is for you to decide as the end user and operator of the system.

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