Is a "Do it Yourself"
Alarm System Worth Doing?
you own your own home and live anywhere except on an island with
visibility in all directions, you have probably received solicitations
for alarm systems. Alarm systems can be very comprehensivecomplete
with computer monitoring on the job, motion, smoke and fire alarms,
water break alarms, automated calls to the police department, and
wailing sirens that would wake the dead. They can also come with
a price tag to rival your mortgage. You probably want some of the
features described in the best systems, but most likely, you don't
need everything a representative would try to sell you.
Alarm systems can be
classified into indoor or outdoor systems. An outdoor system has
floodlights and sirens which are triggered by motion. The system
is able to determine the size of the intruder and thus will not
activate with the passage of a bird or the neighborhood dog.
The more popular alarm
systems are the indoor systems. These range in complexity from a
simple siren that screams out a warning if someone opens a door
to a complex unit that either calls the local police or fire department,
or sets off an audio alarm, or both. Indoor units can be either
hardwired into your home or wireless. With an older home, wireless
is usually better as the components can be installed without cutting
into your walls. Experts advise new home builders to incorporate
a hardwired system into the new construction.
Once you have decided
what type of system to buy, you have to choose whether to hire a
professional to perform the installation or do it yourself. If you
have a very large home or apartment complex with a lot of video
surveillance needed, it would probably be best to hire a professional
even though a DIY project would cut the cost by about 50%. Furthermore,
it is sometimes difficult to maintain a relationship with the alarm
company if you do it yourself. In fact, many companies will actually
install the unit for free in return for a contract under which you
will pay a monitoring fee for the first year or two. Some experts
consider this monitoring fee a drawback; however, it works for both
the client and the company. You lock in a set fee for the entire
period of the contract, and you have a guarantee against failure
of the components as well as the protection service you are seeking.
Just be sure to compare companies and get a reasonably priced contract.
If you have a smaller
property to protect, you may opt for a do-it-yourself installation.
It is possible to have a monitored system even if you perform the
installation. Most owner-installed systems, however, work by activating
sirens or lights if an intruder breaks a contact on a door or window.
The idea is to attract attention of people in the neighborhood and
thus scare the intruder away before he can cause any damage. If
your property is in a well-populated area, this approach may be
adequate, but if you live in a more rural area with neighbors at
a distance, a monitored system will be more appropriate.
So many alarm systems
are on the market that it is easy to find one that will suit both
your budget and your security needs. There is nothing wrong with
installing the system yourself as long as you don't fool yourself
into thinking that a little $30.00 contact unit that will set off
a 2 minute siren will be sufficient. In addition, you need to be
handy with tools and have an understanding of the way the alarm
system works as well as a thorough knowledge of the burglar access
points in your own home. In fact, one advantage to installing a
good quality system yourself is that when you have finished you
will thoroughly understand the system and may learn a thing or two
about your home as well. Installing an alarm system takes a professional
less than a day. A novice may require several days and the purchase
of specific tools. Many homeowners find that the time and the expertise
needed are simply worth hiring a professional.
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