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Alarm Systems Design

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April 26, 2016

Alarm Systems Design

With more alarm companies offering Do-It-Yourself (DIY) alarm system options, a topic in need of attention is designing the level of protection that is right for your home. The best DIY alarm companies work closely with you, and make recommendations based on the layout of your home and the way you will be using your system. And for any alarm systems it just makes sense to know enough about the technology so that you can join in the conversation. Of course, we are focusing on wireless alarm technology – the same kind used by most forward-thinking providers.

It's All About You

The most important thing to remember is that your alarm system should be designed with you in mind, and that means consideration of the following types of questions:

  • Do you have pets? Where are they allowed to go in the home, and when?
  • Do you have children? How old are they, and what issues will you face integrating a residential security system into their lives?
  • Will you arm your system when you are at home? Many people do so (growing numbers, in fact), and that can impact your choice and placement of sensors.
  • Are there areas of the home where you don't go at night? A basement is a great example, and that can influence the sensors you use there.

There are other questions, of course, and a reputable alarm company can help you work through all of them. But the main point is that every system should be customized: not just for how your home is laid out, but also for your lifestyle. This is no time for a "one–size-fits-most" approach!

"Stay" vs. "Away" System Arming

One thing we want to address up front is that most alarm systems can be armed in either of two modes: "Stay" and "Away." In the "Stay" mode, often used when you are home at night, only the perimeter is armed, and you can move about freely in your home without triggering an alarm. In the "Away" mode, used when you leave your home, there are interior sensors that are also armed – meaning an intruder moving about within the home will also trigger an alarm.

Start with the Perimeter

Since doors are the most common place for an intruder to enter your home, we start there. You should have a wireless door sensor on every exterior door, including the door from the garage into the home. This is the foundation of your perimeter protection.

Next come the windows you want to protect – with the same unobtrusive wireless sensor. It's best to focus on the windows on the sides and back of the house first, since they are less visible, and are therefore more attractive to a burglar. And as for those upstairs windows, you may decide to pass on those – unless a burglar can find an easy way to reach them.

For rooms with lots of windows, the wireless glassbreak sensor is a great solution. This device has a range of 20 feet in any direction (as long as there is line of sight), and that makes the glassbreak sensor an efficient and cost-effective component of your perimeter protection.

Interior Protection

When you arm in the "Away" mode, then you bring into play your interior protection detection device – the wireless motion sensor. You'll seldom see an alarm system without at least one of these, and they are designed for backing up your perimeter devices, for an extra layer of security. This sensor is generally placed in high traffic areas, and detects movement. The best motion sensors are immune to pets up to 50 lb.

Additional Peace of Mind

Once you get your arms around the intrusion component of your system, then you can consider the other devices that work in conjunction with your system – so that you can feel protected and connected.

  • Wireless smoke & heat sensor – we recommend at least one with every system.
  • Carbon monoxide sensor – another important life safety device.
  • Water/flood sensor – if you have a burst pipe, you want to know right away.

Get the Help You Need

Remember – you should never be on your own when it comes to designing the right level of protection for your home. The advice above is just a good starting point (as is this post on RedFin), but you'll want to have an in-depth phone conversation with a trained security professional to make sure your solution is the right one for you. Any alarm company worth its salt will give you that time and attention, and with no obligation.

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Karen johnsr
April 28, 2016
We have had our system since October and definitely feel more secure. We arm when home and away and use the app. The support team is wonderful as I have had to have help with a couple of things. We highly recommend this security system.
April 29, 2016
Great post, very informative. Home security is no joke and should be taken seriously.
Daivid Wong
May 14, 2016
"Lack of thoughts in design on newer versions windows/door sensors" I have ordered two additional windows/doors sensor to add to my system. Granted it's a been quite a few years (around 5 years)since and my windows are only 10 years old (Andersens Windows), the new sensors are too thick to fit between the window panes. I have called and complaint and specifically requested the older versions, it took three returns to get the right ones. When installing it, one of the two failed and have to be returned for a replacement. The replacement came in and I received the new versions "AGAIN" that are too thick to fit. Frontpoint should really think about these design of sensors. I even went to the local home depot prior to see other newer windows they sell to check the clearance and they still don't fit so it's not just me. I don't know how else to get to Frontpoint Security's management or their engineering team so here I am. Please look into this. I am calling in the morning to request the older versions the 4th time. Yes, if you look at the picture you would think why didn't I mount it side ways on the inside edge on the frame instead of the glass,. Well, it's slightly slanted so it will come out in an angle still hitting the opposing window pane. Thank you! David, (5 plus year customer of FrontPoint Security)
Elex Gates
May 17, 2016
A home security system is a must. With 1 in 5 homes having been broken to in the UK, security needs to be taken seriously. Not to mention the reduction in home contents premiums you pay
September 10, 2016
I am a newbie with this system and still in my trial stage. What bothers me most is the steep price of the equipment when I need to add and the weak video choices that they have available. I have also received one bad motion sensor that had the light blinking right out of the box and would not come out of tamper mode so a new one is being sent. As for the outdoor camera issue they require it be plugged in to a power outlet with no wireless or pan and tilt options available. The Frontpoint rep that got me setup even recommended I choose another route for video surveillance cameras. I would really like to keep things under one umbrella if possible. Not very practicle. Weather I keep this system at the end of my trial period remains to be seen.
November 10, 2016
Derail, An update on if you kept the system or not? I too would like to keep everything under one plan. Video door is a must as far as I'm concerned.
SOS Personal Alarm
October 11, 2016
Okay, I agree with Elex and thanks for the wonderful post. I find it really informative. A home security system is really important.
Nimba Technologies Limited
November 3, 2016
Really informative Blog, Security alarm systems are perfect to secure your business or home.
Audio installation Hamilton
December 10, 2016
The speakers sound great but there was a problem with noise! Most of the time I’d be playing music from my computer straight into the amp. The noise problem was when the computer plugged into the mains power supply via the on-board inverter (seen on the 12V electrics wiring page).
Linda Bush
February 2, 2017
Have you watched tv in the past few weeks, Cameras have helped catch burglars all over the city. Home security is no joke. LB
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