Home Alarm Systems

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
exoilman
Posts: 685
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:38 pm
Location: New Jersey

Home Alarm Systems

Post by exoilman » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:29 pm

Hello All,

I want to put a complete system in our home. I would appreciate some recommendations as to providers and needs, e.g. windows, doors, cameras, 911, fire etc. We live in a three floor townhome. Also wireless is my preference.

I am not interested in DIY so anyone with systems like ADT etc. would be appreciated. I imagine a sales pitch is inevitable so please help!

Regards
Sam

MrMojoRisin
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:25 pm

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by MrMojoRisin » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:10 pm

We have a monitored alarm system. It uses a cell phone to dial out in event of an alarm.
We have several zones.
Front door and garage door into the house are a zone that has time delay built in to give us time to get out.
Overhead garage door is on a wireless, it was not part of the original alarm system and wireless was cheaper. Also the circuit to our rear sliding doors failed and to replace wiring was gonna be tough. Since we were putting wireless in for the OH garage door we had them put wireless in the rear sliding door.
One motion detector that won't trip unless object moving is >35 pounds, keeps pets from calling the cops.
Windows are on a circuit with no delay.
One circuit for a smoke detector in the hallway of our house.
One circuit for a heat sensor fire alarm in the garage.
We are monitored 24/7. If a burglary alarm goes of we are called. When called we must give a password to cancel the alarm. We will not be prompted for it. If we give a password that is different than what is on record the cops are dispatched and told occupants being threatened.

Our system is a Honeywell brand. Pretty common and reliable. Our problem has been with the wires installed originally in the house have failed.
Also when we switched from one phone company to another the newer phone company had equipment that was not compatible with our alarm system. Had to upgrade to cell phone type dial out.

We get a pretty decent discount on our insurance since the alarm is properly permitted and monitored. We also get signs out front that tell folks to go break into the neighbors house, our is monitored.

Any other questions?

macheta
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:06 am

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by macheta » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:45 pm

I would hire a small business owner to install the alarm. And I would have AlarmRelay monitor it for you at 10 per month. I would recommend getting a glass break sensor, and smoke/heat detector connected to the system. I recommend getting a backup power system but I think the cell phone service is overkill.

https://www.alarmrelay.com/

macheta
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:06 am

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by macheta » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:49 pm

One additional point, I recommend setting up VOIP phone service. Setup backup power for the modem, router, and VOIP device as well.

meebers
Posts: 277
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:20 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by meebers » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:11 pm

macheta wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:45 pm
"..but I think the cell phone service is overkill. "
What would you use if not cell phone? (cable(voip) and telephone wires are easily cut) :happy

darrvao777
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:34 pm

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by darrvao777 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:49 pm

I have a Honeywell system and hate it

They're being dragged into the digital age by their competitors and it shows in the unreliability and poor design of their mobile app

If I could redo it, I'd pick a newer company like simplisafe or Google's nest offerings

macheta
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:06 am

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by macheta » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:25 am

meebers wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:11 pm
macheta wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:45 pm
"..but I think the cell phone service is overkill. "
What would you use if not cell phone? (cable(voip) and telephone wires are easily cut) :happy
Alarm is only a deterrent. If I was going to rob your house and new about the internet setup, I probably would know also about the cell phone setup and destroy the cell devise before it gets triggered.

darrvao777
Posts: 192
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:34 pm

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by darrvao777 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:57 am

macheta wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:25 am
meebers wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:11 pm
macheta wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:45 pm
"..but I think the cell phone service is overkill. "
What would you use if not cell phone? (cable(voip) and telephone wires are easily cut) :happy
Alarm is only a deterrent. If I was going to rob your house and new about the internet setup, I probably would know also about the cell phone setup and destroy the cell devise before it gets triggered.
The cellular connection is usually not a part of the main alarm panel. It's usually hidden in the house elsewhere in a closet and requires tools to disable.

True, the alarm is only a deterrent but I would like as many backup options as needed to trip up a would be thief. (also, that's a lot of work for a thief to hit a home with less than $1000 in the family safe and no jewelry. The most valuable items in my home aside from the cars are ironically the generator and firearms I've listed below)

If they cut the power, I've got a natural gas whole home generator.
If they cut the internet, I've got cellular call out to the cops via my alarm system.
If they manage to evade the 20+ cameras (some connected via wifi, others with their own cellular signal) I have peppered inside and outside my home, I've got some nasty firearms responsibly locked and stashed throughout the home.

Overkill is underrated. :wink:

KT785
Posts: 261
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by KT785 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:38 am

My wife and I chose LiveWatch Security after looking at various options for a few months. We also strongly considered SimpliSafe but in light of the exposed and unfixable "hack" (vulnerability) of that system and its proprietary technology, I decided against it. SimpliSafe just announced their new system (version 2?) which presumably fixes the encryption issue of the prior version(s).

Our plan with LiveWatch is $40/month and includes various remote functionality and notifications via our iPhones. Total cost upfront was around $150 IIRC and included the base station, a motion detector, and 10 door/window sensors (we have a large dog so a motion detector wouldn't work on the main floor).

LiveWatch, like FrontPoint, uses the Alarm.com infrastructure (phone app, web interface, etc.) and the same equipment so the experience and functionality is virtually the same; however, the biggest pro of LiveWatch vs. other Alarm.com based systems (FrontPoint, Protect America, etc.) for us is that the monthly fees are somewhat less and the contract is only for 1 year as opposed to 3 and I believe you can cancel at anytime. We've had the system for several months and customer service has been quite good--we have a dedicated contact person at LiveWatch that I've emailed several times to discuss adding additional sensors and they've been incredibly responsive and helpful.

Another benefit of our system is the variety of sensors you can get compared with proprietary systems. For example, our house already had hardwired smoke and CO detectors per code; we got a module liked to our system that monitors our smoke and CO detectors. I wish SimpliSafe had a similar device as I might consider switching as it would be $15 less per month for comparable service . . .

User avatar
GerryL
Posts: 1820
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:40 pm

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by GerryL » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:23 am

My home has been alarmed for most of the 27 years I have lived in it. Started with a local company (because they did monitoring locally, and my friend worked there) but they were bought by Protection One, and I am still with them.
Over the years I have had to have changes made to the system as the technology has changed, and especially after I had windows replaced. Switched to cell-based monitoring when they could no longer guarantee compatibility with changes in the landline phone system.
I keep it simple. Only have door and window alarms -- all downstairs, none upstairs.
The best "upgrade" I ever got was a second control panel. The original one is at the backdoor. Useful for when leaving by the garage. Finally paid extra for one near the front door, which I can see from upstairs to check to make sure I set the alarm before going to bed.

Keep an eye on your bill to make sure they are not charging you for services you said you didn't want -- and, in my case, they did not even install the equipment to support. Monthly charge (paid quarterly) has grown from ~$20 to >$40.

Cigarman
Posts: 290
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:12 am

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by Cigarman » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:29 am

I know you said you didn't want a DIY but Simplisafe is stupidly easy. Literally less than an hour, $15/month monitoring and very reliable when alarm goes off accidently (I know, they call very quickly as our pet sitter will attest). Recently had a keypad issue and they sent a new one at no charge even though my system was several years old.

Seal the Deal
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:25 pm

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by Seal the Deal » Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:41 am

We have a Vivint security system. It would satisfy everything you are looking for, but I do not recommend this company. While the system itself is fine, the price for monthly monitoring is too high. After an initial 3.5 year contract at $45/mo., I negotiated a better price at $30/mo. and had a verbal agreement with the retention dept. this would be good for the duration of the next 3 year contract. Well, after the first year of the new contract the price went back up to $45. Called to explain the situation but they played dumb and I'm stuck at $45. So I'm counting the days until this contract is up next Jan. so I can cancel and self monitor or look for a low cost competitor.

User avatar
KSOC
Posts: 308
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:53 pm
Location: Central Florida

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by KSOC » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:03 am

macheta wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:25 am
meebers wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:11 pm
macheta wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:45 pm
"..but I think the cell phone service is overkill. "
What would you use if not cell phone? (cable(voip) and telephone wires are easily cut) :happy
Alarm is only a deterrent. If I was going to rob your house and new about the internet setup, I probably would know also about the cell phone setup and destroy the cell devise before it gets triggered.


But you got to find it. My cell unit is not the keypad or siren, it's the base, and it's well hidden.
Too soon old, too late smart.

Rattlesnake
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by Rattlesnake » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:30 am

I've considered home security a cost of owning our home.... That said; we installed ADT when we moved in.... They did the install free at that time (I was not interested in DYI) and just like everything; the cost per month has gone up over the years.... Some would say it's expensive compared to say, SimplySafe but we still have what we did in 2004.... I've noticed some of the neighbors have ADT where we live; that did not impact our decision...

Motion sensor in the living area, door alarms on the front and garage door, glass breaking monitor in the basement by the daylight windows... Changed the batteries in all of the sensors for the 1st time last year... We have Kuna cameras on the front porch and garage, just because....

No complaints....

Just my $0.02....
9th Infantry Division LRRP (Ranger) | 1968-69

KT785
Posts: 261
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by KT785 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:01 am

Another point of information for LiveWatch (and presumably the other Alarm.com based systems) is that you can set up geofencing alerts. My wife invariably forgets to set the system nearly every weekday . . . and as soon as both of our phones our beyond a .5 or 1 mile perimeter of the house, we get push notifications to set the alarm, which I then promptly do via my Apple watch from my office. :beer

macheta
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:06 am

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by macheta » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:13 pm

KT785 wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:01 am
Another point of information for LiveWatch (and presumably the other Alarm.com based systems) is that you can set up geofencing alerts. My wife invariably forgets to set the system nearly every weekday . . . and as soon as both of our phones our beyond a .5 or 1 mile perimeter of the house, we get push notifications to set the alarm, which I then promptly do via my Apple watch from my office. :beer
That's cool. Sometimes I forget if I locked the front door. I positioned one of the cameras pointing towards the door just to verify it's locked.

meebers
Posts: 277
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:20 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Home Alarm Systems

Post by meebers » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:51 pm

macheta wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:25 am
meebers wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:11 pm
macheta wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:45 pm
"..but I think the cell phone service is overkill. "
What would you use if not cell phone? (cable(voip) and telephone wires are easily cut) :happy
Alarm is only a deterrent. If I was going to rob your house and new about the internet setup, I probably would know also about the cell phone setup and destroy the cell devise before it gets triggered.
But the question was, "What would you use if not cell phone?"

Post Reply