Common Alarm Questions
Do pets prevent me from having a good alarm system? No ! ! !
An experienced technician can design a system around pets. Please see “Pet Considerations”
Why do all professional security companies require a contract?
For YOUR benefit:
- Guarrantees Your Rate Protection: The vast majority of alarm companies guarantee in their contracts that they will not raise your monthly rate for the original lifetime/term of the original contract. That is a guarantee that few other industries/services will give you and it is a benefit to you.
- Guarrantees Exactly What You Are Getting: This prevents disagreements following completion of work as to what was originally discussed and agreed upon as being part of the completed security project.
- Greatly Reduces The “Upfront” Cost of a System: Free systems were really the embryo of this principle. Back in the 1970s the average home security system was between $1400 and $3000. These were not “Free System” designs of course; they were real full perimeter systems. They were relatively expensive and out of reach of most homeowners. Large (particularly national companies) figured out that they could sell more systems if they ammatorize the systems over several years. To make sure they were eventually paid for that system they inflated the normal monthly cost to incorporate the expense of parts & installation and enforced a contract term. Once the contract is up of course they are still collecting inflated fees. Back then it was generally calculated that a “Free system” cost the seller approximately $700 so subtract the $99 installation fee they get and over a 3 year contract they cover the other $600. Because these large marketing companies have convinced many folks that their systems are free they have forced real security companies to incorporate at least some of the cost of your system into a termed contract. This is good for you if you do not have the initial funds to purchase a system.
For the benefit of the alarm company:
- The Alarm Company is Not an Insurer: A professional security company will not install an alarm system without a contract. The alarm insurance company’s insurer requires/demands that their alarm company insureds use contracts. If you suffer a loss while using an alarm system it is the responsibility of your insurance company to cover your losses and the contract states this. Your alarm company is not your insurer and the contract will state that.
- Insures the installing company compensation for the installation: If that system sold for $1,400 to $3,000 back in the 70s imagine what it would cost today. With this in mind even the local independent alarm dealers have had to build some of the cost of their system installations into monthly fees so as to appear competitive with all of those advertising “Free Systems”. While most people get a less expensive system upon installation, the bottom line is that the more you spend upfront – the more reduced your monthly monitoring fee will generally be. The term of the contract for large marketers is generally preset on a very basic system (2 doors & a motion detector)over anywhere from 3-5 years. Since all of our systems (including free systems) are custom designed to fit your needs, we also allow you to pick the term of the contract between 2-5 years and the monthly will be adjusted accordingly.
What will an alarm system do for me?
- The Police, Contrary to thought are not your private security force: In most towns you are lucky to see a police car drive by once or twice a day. That kind of police presence will not discourage burglars in any way. The estimates are all over the charts but it is typically projected that homes not protected by alarm systems suffer 3 to 7 times the burglary rate of protected homes. With businesses that number skyrockets even further. Oh and by the way, far more burglaries occur in broad daylight than at night.
- Protects the Pets that you think are protecting your house: The simple fact is that Ferocious Fido often becomes a little distracted when a big juicy tidbit is thrown in front of him. For his sake that is a good thing because someone aggressive enough to break into your house is more than likely aggressive enough to marginalize or eliminate pet / guard dog issues.
- Allows you to keep track of keyholders: Sometimes you give an extra key and an alarm code to a friend or relative for access to the house in case of emergency. Now you will know if they are coming and going without your consent or knowledge.
- Make sure the Pet Sitter is actually feeding and letting pets in and out: You are sitting in Disney world and can’t enjoy the vacation because you are worried whether or not the kid down the street is actually coming in twice a day like he is supposed to and feeding the critters. With our radio monitored system you can tell every time they come and go. If what they are doing should take 10 minutes but they are hanging around in the house for hours, you know you have to change sitters or at least question them as to why they are spending so much time in your house.
- Monitor when the Kids Come & Go by way of your Smart Phone: We can program your system to text you every time the kids turn the system on (leaving) and off (returning).
- Prevent you from losing hundreds of dollars’ worth of food: All systems automatically report to central and then central turns around and calls your call list if power is lost out at your house for more than an hour. Nothing like coming home to a fridge that hasn’t had power for a week.
- Woried about Pipes Freezing when you are away: We can add a Low Temperature Warning Device to your system. If you are out of town in the winter we will call you and, or a list of persons on your behalf to deal with a faulty heater before all of your pipes freeze up.
- Peace of Mind: You can leave your home without worrying about your things. You can return to your home without worrying about interrupting an intruder. You do not have to worry about a burglar disabling your pet to get him quiet or out of the way.
- Annual Insurance Discount: While we cannot guarantee it the vast majority of insurance companies insuring homes and businesses give between a 10% and 20% annual discount on your premiums if you have a 24 hour monitored system. Some insurance companies will not insure your business if you do not have an alarm system.
- Contrary to popular believe Neighbors make lousy security guards: Much like the police, your neighbors have their own issues to deal with throughout the day. Almost every reluctant buyer of an alarm system claims that their neighbors keep a pretty good watch on things during the day. Unless you neighbor is in a guard shack in the center of your house 24-7 he is not watching your house all day and night. We know that it sometimes seems like he is, but he is not. He has to run errands, do the wash, cook dinner, vacuum the house and so forth and so on.
Do I need a land telephone line for an Alarm System ?
- The most common systems today use Cellular Radios to Transmit Alarms:
See “Landline Vs Internet Vs. Cellular monitoring”.
I have a gun – No one is breaking in here – Why do I need an Alarm ?
- Often when you are not home your spouse along with your children and pets are home.
- Are you familiar enough with the laws in your state to unequivocally say you know exactly under what circumstances you are allowed to shoot or even threaten an intruder? We mean without going to jail yourself or being successfully sued by the burglar’s heirs.
- Most of us who own guns have them extremely well secured, especially so if children or others are commonly about. Getting to a gun – loading it and confronting an intruder after waking from a deep sleep is not as easy as one might think.
- An alarm system is far better at protecting your guns than your guns are at protecting you. Guns are among the hottest theft items by the way.
- Have you ever shot or even shot at someone – I can tell you from experience it sounds a lot easier and reflexive than it really is. Read Retired Col. Dave Grossman’s book on the matter. He documents how the vast majority of U.S. soldiers in WWII couldn’t even shoot at the enemy when they themselves were being fired upon. A very interesting read for those who plan to protect their families with a gun. While you are about it check out the many statutes in your state regarding the use of a gun for self-protection. For the record I am an avid supporter of gun ownership for self-protection – just understand your capabilities and the law. I would also mention that twice in my life I have woken in the middle of the night to a sound that I did not understand. Upon surprising the suspected intruder, in both cases they were a relative who was where they were not supposed to be when they were. Had it not been for my military & police firearms training a tragedy could have occurred both times.
What if I accidentally trip the alarm ?
Unless you request otherwise, we typically set up response to your alarm to include first calling your house/business and requesting a “Pass Word”. If you answer within the first few rings and give the correct pass word, you can abort having the police dispatched. If you did not cause the alarm simply do not answer the phone and we will dispatch the police.
Should I buy an alarm system for my elderly “Stay-in” parent ?
Systems can be designed to be quite basic in terms of simply turning it on when they go to bed at night and turning it off when they rise in the morning. Today’s systems can even be programmed such that if they do not see Pop Pop walking around for more than 2 days in a row, a text will be sent out to you whereupon you can call them to make sure everything is alright. Additionally of course we can provide a wireless pendant that permits your loved one to summon help if he/she should become incapacitated.
Do I have to be home for you to install the system ?
A responsible adult has to let us in and a responsible adult has to be there when we finish so that me may teach them how to use the system. We refer to this as an “In-service” on alarm use. We much prefer that we teach those who will have to use the system (the entire family or the entire staff) all at once. Having you teach others what you have learned often times ends up with confusion about how the system works.
How long does an installation take ?
It depends on several things. A Free System generally gets installed in less than 2 hours because there is not much to it. If the system is wireless it gets installed quicker than a hardwired system. If it is a full blown wireless system in a moderate size house it might take 8 – 16 man hours of installation – the same system hardwired might take 24 – 48 man hours. A better guesstimate on time required can be had once the customer decides exactly what he is going to buy.
I don’t want my alarm siren to make the neighborhood crazy
All modern systems can be programmed to shut down the siren after a pre-set time of sounding. Most people who have outside sirens program them for 10 minutes of run town. If you live in a really densely populated area you might consider taking that down to between 3 – 5 minutes. Additionally once the siren stops it can be programmed to run again if another sensor or even the same sensor is tripped again. Once one particular sensor has tripped multiple times that sensor is typically automatically shut down until the whole system is re-set. This prevents a runaway alarm condition that never stops.
Will my children be able to operate the system ?
It generally takes about 15 – 20 minutes to teach an older adult how to use a full blown relatively sophisticated system. It takes about 10 – 15 minutes to teach younger adults how to use the same system. The children generally learn to use any electronics quicker and adapt to using the system faster than the adults.
What happens if I sell my house before the contract term is up ?
Most contracts, like ours require around a 75% buyout fee for an incomplete contract. In other words if you terminate a $20/mo. contract a year into a two year term – you owe 75% of the final year’s fees (12mos. Xs $20/mo.= $240 Xs 75% = $180 for the early termination). Under certain circumstances we have released customers from a termination fee but remember that the initial term of an alarm system contract is always calculated to pay for the system over that period of time. If you are released from the initial term early, you have cheated the alarm company out of the system and they have lost money on you as a customer. If you have concerns about actually staying in your home for a period of time less than the contract it is only fair and reasonable to discuss this up front with the alarm company.