© 2017 William J. Mullen
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CERTIFICATE OFREGISTRATION # TXu 1-952-190 Effective date: March 12, 2017
ALARM SYSTEMS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
By: William J. Mullen / Quincy, Ma
40yr veteran of the alarm Industry
When researching an alarm system there is no shortage of websites offering information.
Unfortunately NONE of these websites offer any substantial information that the average person researching an alarm installation is looking for.
At AlarmSystem.com we have “broken ground” on a new concept and that is to make every attempt to explain this business from A to Z. The decision to install an alarm system in your home or business is an important one and our information will overwhelmingly assist you in understanding what it entails.
We will provide you with more information about the entire industry than anyone has ever made available before or has been willing to divulge.
These FAQ’s will start out by educating you on dealer programs. Most national companies have dealer programs with similar offers but because the ADT dealer program is the most recognized and installs more residential and small business alarm systems than the other dealer program we’ll use them for our tutorial.
You can however assume other dealer programs are similar in nature.
Lastly and most importantly you’ll learn detailed information on every aspect of an alarm system, including the most important element, the correct design.
There are many ADT dealers in the United States. Many of them have overlapping territories and they all have the same offer.
(I have tried my very best to present this information in a format that flows and is easy to understand. As you read it you might want to copy and paste to a word document specifics that you find very relevant and important to your research)
Q.Who or what is an ADT Authorized Dealer?
An ADT dealer is an established independent alarm company who has signed a contract with ADT Corporate to install ADT approved alarm systems and surveillance cameras to be monitored by the ADT vast network of central stations.
Q.Why does ADT Corporate(as well as other companies) have independent dealers?
Quite simply the ADT dealer program allows ADT Corporate to increase their customer base.
All major companies doing business nationwide need to have dealers to reach the vast public. This is how products and services are made available.
The ADT dealer program has been in existence for 20 years.
The ADT authorized dealer is responsible for marketing, sales and installation.
The alarm and camera systems are state of the art UL equipment. All the equipment is approved by ADT. New technology allows access via your I phone and internet.
ADT dealers are required to have all the necessary local licenses to function as an alarm company and hire all the necessary staff to design, install and service alarm systems.
ADT dealers have branch offices that cover the entire United States and in 2015 they installed over 350,000 alarm and cameras systems which were then monitored by ADT.
Dealers engage in aggressive “grass roots” marketing which can include telemarketing, (with strict adherence to the “do not call list”) direct mail campaigns, door knocking, (where allowed) presentation booths in home and trade shows as well as “piggy back” marketing where a solicitation for an alarm system is included with a utility bill or some other major company direct mail piece.
The main advantage of doing business with an ADT dealer (or other dealers) as opposed to ADT corporate or for that matter a local alarm company is the significant savings in the cost of the installation.
The dealer is incentivized by ADT with a commission in exchange for all the expense in operating their own offices and generating new customers outside of the marketing channels of ADT corporate.
Another reason for choosing an ADT dealer is they are the only option to have your alarm system monitored by an ADT central station if your town or region cannot be physically visited by ADT corp.
ADT Corp also allows their dealers to offer a base alarm system package and installation for free. (Similar programs exist with other dealers)
Immediately after the alarm system is installed it will be monitored by the ADT national network of central stations, which is the largest in the United States.
ADT Corporate however charges all their customers including those originating from their dealer network a one time activation fee of $99.00 for testing the equipment and setting up the new account in their central station. (This activation fee is common with all dealer programs)
So let’s be clear; there is a charge of $99.00. Every new customer pays it whether signed up by ADT Corp. or the ADT dealer. If your system is installed by an ADT dealer they will collect this $99.00 activation fee.
Q. What does the free base system include?
Nationwide ADT dealers offer an alarm system package that includes the control panel, keypad, siren, three door or window sensors, a pet immune motion detector, a key fob remote control, anofficial ADT yard sign and ADT door/window stickers. (The number of window/door sensors can vary but three is the average)
Some alarm companies especially local alarm companies love to berate the dealer programs telling prospective customers that the average alarm system should cost between $850.00 – $2,000.00; and these $99.00 systems are simply a promotional enticement.
The simple fact is local companies do not have the equipment buying power of national dealers and need to charge more.
Local alarm companies unable to compete with the basic free system offer often insist that every window in a home needs to be integrated into the alarm system, thus driving the installation cost into the thousands!
It is only natural to ask why anyone would pay $850.00 for the same system they can get installed by a dealer program for nearly free. ($99.00 activation fee)
Many folks are also under the mistaken belief that a dealer is an inferior choice to ADT corporate. This is a total misconception. Still others have been told by their local alarm company that the ADT dealer is a bad choice, again mainly because these small companies cannot compete with the great offer from the ADT dealer.
Although the dealer program has been in existence since 1995 it is still a relatively unknown program. ADT corporate does not advertise their dealer program and corporate employees especially those in sales actually view the ADT dealer as their competition, much like two auto dealerships that both sell Chevrolet’s competing for the same customer.
Unless you are solicited by an ADT dealer (any dealer) or receive something in the mail it is unlikely you have ever heard of these reduced priced program.
Local alarm companies not being able to compete with the low installation prices typically try to discredit alarm dealers. They will tell prospects that ADT and their dealers use inferior equipment or you’ll be lost in the millions of their accounts in the event you need police response.
They’ll also smugly tell you that they only have short term monitoring contracts or none at all, while the dealer will insist on a three year contract. (This topic of a monitoring contract will be discussed further on)
It is important to state that we are not disparaging local or smaller alarm companies, but simply pointing out the cost differential.
The truth is small companies just cannot compete with the big guys. This is not however an indictment on their credibility and some folks still prefer doing business with the local alarm company even if it entails paying a higher price.
ADT Corp requires their dealers to follow strict guidelines for the installation of the equipment and they are responsible for all facets of the installation for the first 90 days. Following this period any service or maintenance that may be required is handled 100% through ADT Corp and their network of contractors.
It is important to mention that immediately upon the completion of the alarm or camera system it will be monitored directly by ADT Corp the same as if the system had been installed by one of their regional Corporate ADT offices. (This is true for all dealer programs, the dealer does not monitor the alarm system)
To capsulate: Why does ADT Corporate (or other national companies) have an authorized dealer program?
Independent dealers increase the exposure of the ADT brand and add to the overall customer base.
It is basically a “win (the customer), win (ADT Corp) and win” (the dealer) proposition for all three parties.
Q. Assuming I’ve been contacted by a dealer or I’ve initiated the contact myself, who do I deal with?
You can expect to deal with the most educated and informed representatives in the home security industry.
These sales/design consultants are highly trained in the proper design of an alarm/camera system. Most importantly they listen to what you want or expect in a security system.
Because the dealer and their staff have been involved in literally thousands of alarm and camera installations your system in many instances can be totally designed over the phone without the need for any representative to enter your home.
Additionally with your new found knowledge on the correct design of an alarm (as discussed in the essay; “The Real Truth about Alarm Systems” you will be able to intelligently assist in making sure your system is designed correctly.
More than likely because of your education you will know exactly what is best for your home.
When the technician/installer arrives he will also review with you to make sure you are adequately protected with the correct system design.
Additional devices for convenience or property protection such as additional keypads, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, low temperature device, lamp modules and flood sensors could also be discussed and added to your system or these options could be left open for when the installer arrives at your home.
Q. Who will install the system?
Licensed professional technicians will install your security system. They work for the Authorized dealer and are not corporate employees. Some installers/technicians may have a truck or van while others may use their car. I only mention this as a reminder that the dealer is not the corporate company they represent. As an example the installer does not show up in an ADT vehicle.
It’s also fair to state that many installers that work directly for ADT Corporate (or other national companies) also use their own vehicles.
It is not the vehicle the installer drives that determines his expertise.
Any installer that enters your home has hundreds if not over a thousand installations “under his belt”.
All installation technicians regardless of their tenure in the alarm industry or whether they install for the corporate entity or the dealer must also pass a rigorous course on the proper design of alarm and camera systems to meet the strict standards of the “parent” company that will actually monitor your alarm system.
All the installers/technicians possess ALL the required licenses in your state to perform installations and are fully insured.
MOST IMPORTANTLY all technicians/installers that enter your home have undergone extensive criminal background checks. Simply stated large corporations have a have a lot “to lose” in reputation and law suits should they be remiss in this area.
This is not to imply that the local alarm companies do not also perform background checks on their employees, but because they have a lot less to lose they could occasionally be remiss in this regard.
Q. What if the free basic system offered by the dealer is not adequate to protect my home OR I simply want to expand on the system?
With the knowledge you already possess on the proper design of an alarm system for your home again you can discuss this with your design consultant or installer. Your installer has been thoroughly trained to make sure you will have a properly designed system.
They have also unfortunately been to many homes that have already had a break in. They have seen first hand the ways a potential thief can access a home.
Naturally upgrades will cost extra.
Absolute priority should be placed on a sensor (contacting) EVERY exterior door.
It does not matter if it is made from titanium!
You should also (need) contact any vulnerable windows that could be accessed by a thief.
Any reputable alarm company does not want complaints from customers stating: “My home was broken into and the alarm “didn’t work!”
When this happens in many cases the alarm “didn’t work” because the customer did not agree with the consultant or installers suggestions on the proper perimeter protection or unfortunately their budget was strained with the extra cost for the needed protection.
In our essay “The Real Truth About Alarm Systems” we stated that high or very difficult to access windows typically do not need to be contacted with sensors.
However, the word “typically” is not absolute as there are always exceptions.
Homes have been broken into by entry through windows that you would not have expected to be a target.
An example of this happening is when the homeowner has an extension ladder stored in the open against the back of their home.
Thieves also might guess that if an alarm system is present that maybe that 2nd floor window might not be integrated into the system thus they use the ladder to access this high window, hoping they can by pass the alarm.
The bottom line is; combined with your new found knowledge on how an alarm system should be correctly designed you should arrive at a very close if not accurate design over the phone with your consultant.
This is not difficult. When you do your perimeter walk around the outside of your home, if you can get in the window a thief could also get in!
As stated before common sense rules here, as well as your comfort level.
To be absolute, a follow up with your installer should give you the comfort level you have the right protection in place.
Installers will also always mention the importance of adding smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You previously learned why these devices are important.
Keep in mind as mentioned in our essay, “The Real Truth” the main focus of any security system is not our “stuff” and property but the safety of you and your family.
Q. Does my alarm/camera system require monitoring?
YES. All national companies and dealers ONLY install systems to be monitored by their network of central stations. Recurring monitoring revenue from millions of customers is directly how they make a profit. Additionally today it is also nearly impossible to find even a local company that will install an alarm system with no monitoring.
Q. Why should I have my alarm system monitored?I don’t feel like paying any monthly fee.
A security system that is not connected to a central station for monitoring is called a “local” alarm. This denotes the fact that if activated it only sounds an alarm locally at the site of the installation. The hope is the thief will hear your siren causing him to leave and your neighbors will also come running or call the police.
Today it is highly unlikely any licensed alarm company will agree to install a local alarm system. If you insist your installation cost will suddenly triple. This is because first and foremost alarm companies like any company are in business to make a profit. Profit in the alarm industry is generated by the monthly recurring revenue. An alarm company might only make a few dollars each month but when they have thousands of customers this creates their profit.
It is not any different than recurring fees you pay for your cell phone, cable or any other on-going services.
Outside of the business aspect of the recurring revenue there is a cold plain fact well acknowledged in the industry that local alarm systems are just a total waste of time.
In order for a “local alarm” to be somewhat effective you would need an outside siren in addition to the standard interior sounder accompanying all alarm systems. Today it is “slim to none” that any company will install an outside siren on your home.
(Every attempt has been made to present this information in an orderly fashion but further down there is explicit information regarding the subject of an outside siren and local ordinances prohibiting them)
With a “local” (non monitored system) there is no response from the police, nor is anyone contacted including you that your alarm system has been activated. In fairness because most thieves are drug addicts or vandals and don’t want to get caught, when they hear your interior sounder they are likely to flee.
If they learn however that there is no police response or nobody has ever shown up to check the property, this will embolden them to come back.
Upon returning their first course of action once entering the home will be to destroy the siren from sounding.
With no monitoring of your system any damage or theft caused by the thief will only be known to you when you return to your property. If you’re away on vacation a kicked in door will remain as such.
Even if a neighbor had seen somebody breaking into your home and called the police they may not have any contact information for you. The police are also not responsible to stand by your property until you return.
Residential break-ins are also perpetrated by kids that live in your neighborhood that have turned to vandalism and are quickly aware that you’ve gone on vacation.
With no monitoring of the alarm system and once the interior sounded is destroyed (ripped off the wall or smashed) these vandals are free to spend as much time in your home possibly damaging it to an extreme extent.
Q. How much is monitoring?
Monitoring can vary depending upon the monitoring features. Generally it starts around $32.99 a month with higher rates applied for added services.
Note: The monthly monitoring rate is not determined by the number of sensors or devices that comprise the alarm system.
- Do local alarm companies charge the same monthly fees as ADT or the other national companies?
ADT sets the standard for monitoring fees and most local companies use them as a bench mark for their monthly monitoring. Some local companies may charge a few dollars less but their initial installation charges will be significantly higher as they cannot compete with the alarm equipment buying power of the national companies.
- Is there a monitoring agreement to be signed?
YES, but let’s use the correct word. Just about every company in the word including ADT and their dealers like to use the word “agreement” as it just doesn’t have the same sharp and direct connotation as the word CONTRACT.
Any “agreement” you sign with a company for products or service is a contract.
Probably the only companies that routinely use the terminology “contract” are mortgage and automobile finance firms. They want you to know in no uncertain terms you have signed a contract and you are responsible for paying the agreed to $ amounts.
Something about the word “contract”….it stings!
If your alarm sales consultant uses the term agreement it’s just because from day one the word “agreement” was the accepted term. They are not trying to deceive you.
Tell anyone that uses this word for any possible service you want that you know agreement means contract.
Currently A THREE year monitoring CONTRACT is required by national alarm companies and their dealers in every state with the exception of California which by law only allows for a two year monitoring contract.
Q. Why is a monitoring contract required?
National alarm companies Alarm companies need to show a profit and believe it or not they do not show a profit within the actual three years of the contract. THEY DO NOT!
THIS MAY SOUND BIZZARE AND HARD TO BELIEVE! BUT IT IS THE TRUTH!
Whether your system installation and monitoring contract was processed by the corporate entity or by one of their authorized dealers ALL the monies collected for the first three years of the monitoring goes to all the expenses related to the creation of your account.
The free base equipment the authorized dealer gives away is NOT free to them. The $99.00 you pay for the activation fee goes to the costs in setting up your account in the central station as well as all the subsequent costs associated with maintaining your account.
The equipment has to be purchased and paid for. The installer needs to be paid….etc….. Every scintilla of cost associated with your initial contact to the actual monitoring of your account needs to be amortized.
There absolutely NEEDS to be a CONTRACT in place to at least start to offset all these expenses.
NATIONAL COMPANIES ONLY STARTS TO RECORD A PROFIT ON YOUR MONITORING ACCOUNT SOMEWHERE AFTER THE 42ND MONTH!
This naturally begs the obvious question from you, how do they make a profit if three years of monitoring goes to all the expenses??
Although you are only required to commit to a three year contract (Two in CA) it is widely accepted in the alarm industry and capital funding sources that the average homeowner that installs an alarm system and signs up for a three year monitoring contract will likely continue with the service for at least eight years. (Nationally the average homeowner stays in their home for thirteen years)
Your decision to protect your family and property and the peace of mind it provides does not diminish over time and most people continue to have their system monitored while they own their home.
On the average all the expenses incurred with your account are amortized around 42 months. The recurring revenue that is now coming in from millions of customers that continue having their system monitored for at least another 5 years if not 12 or more realizes the profit for the alarm company. This is how ADT or any alarm company generates their profits.
The SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) actually allows ADT to forecast revenue on these contracts and to put a value of 8+ years on them, even though the actual term of the contract is only 3 years. This is how ADT forecasts revenue and reports their profitability to their stock holders. In their annual report to the SEC, ADT for example states it expects a 15 yr customer relationship.
The monitoring revenue that occasionally ceases to stream from customers that decide not to continue with the monitoring (attrition rate) is absorbed a thousand fold by all the accounts that continue well beyond the 8 year average. ADT has hundreds of thousands of alarm accounts that have been streaming recurring revenue for 15 years or more.
Q. Do local alarm companies also mandate a monitoring contract?
Many local alarm companies like to state they only have a one year monitoring contract or they have none at all. This is because they are not a publicly traded company regulated by the SEC which requires proof of projected revenue.
Local alarm companies however are also keenly aware of the industry averages on monitored accounts and once you make a decision to have an alarm system installed they know you too will likely also continue to use the monitoring service for as long as you live in the home.
Thus, it is not even a gamble for them to operate without a contract.
BUT they love to use this non contract issue as a benefit when prospective customers are shopping around for an alarm company.
This is one of the “hot buttons” they like to bring up when they cannot possibly compete with the great system offer that an authorized dealer provides.
If ADT was not a publicly traded company and not subject to SEC regulations they too would not require a monitoring contract.
Local alarm companies will also falsely claim that any contract you sign has automatic renewal clauses that will obligate you to many years beyond the initial three year term. THIS IS NOT TRUE.
Once the full three years is up you can continue indefinitely OR cancel anytime with a 30 day notice.
Over the years I could never grasp a few homeowners logic that they’d rather go with the local alarm company because they did not require a monitoring agreement but the installation cost was a thousand dollars or more!
When asked if they had plans to only have their system monitored for a few years and then suddenly stop, the answer would be they would likely continue with the service as long as they lived in the home. I would then ask them logically why they’re so opposed to signing three year monitoring contract.
In reality a monitoring contract is nothing to be weary or afraid of. If it is simply the word “contract” then just think of it as an “agreement”. You wanted an alarm system to safeguard your family and property as well as the benefits of monitoring as long as you live in the home.
Q. What if I simply decide I no longer want my alarm system monitored? Can I call and cancel the contract?
NO. A contract is between two parties and one partycannotdecide to just cancel the terms. This is true for any contract.
If this was the case where is the validity of any contract??
“Hey Mortgage Company, I don’t feel like paying my loan anymore!” OR “Hey General Motors Credit, I just decided to cancel my contract and stop paying my car loan!”
An alarm services monitoring contract is no different than any contract you have signed, be it a contract with a mortgage company or a car loan. You have agreed by signing the monitoring contract to pay the monitoring fees for a minimum of three years. (2 yrs. Ca)
Certainly you can ask the alarm company to cancel the monitoring but since the contract cannot be cancelled at your whim the alarm company is responsible for their part of the contract, that is the monitoring of your system and the response follow up it entails.
Cancelling your monitoring does not however cancel your obligations as agreed to in the contract you signed.
Lastly without a contract it would allow some customers to just stop paying for the monitoring after taking advantage of the great installation offer. Naturally this would be a poor business decision to install equipment for free and just hope customers would pay.
Q. What if circumstances dictate I just cannot continue with the monthly monitoring bill? Are there ANY provisions or options open to be released from the contract?
YES THERE IS: If for any reason you suddenly cannot or do not want to complete the term of your contract ADT for example will accept a payment of 75% of the balance. The remaining 25% of the balance will be forgiven and the contract is terminated. You can call other companies and request their policies.
Q. What happens if I have to move before the three year term is up?
ADT has THREE OPTIONS open to you: (Research other companies’ policies)
1. Pay75% of the remaining balance of your monitoring contract.
2. Sign aNEW contract in your new home. This will void out the original contract. You cannot transfer your old contract to your new home as naturally new equipment will need to be installed.
3. IF the buyer of your home upon “inheriting” the system signs aNEW three year contract once they move in this will also void your contract. For this option the new buyer CANNOT assume your contract.
IMPORTANT: Once the full three years is up you can continue indefinitely OR cancel anytime with a 30 day notice.
Q. What happens if I refuse to pay?
Alarm companies will extend every opportunity to work with you but if you simply refuse to honor the contract you signed they can at their discretion refer your account to an outside collection agency and other fees could apply. Similar to any unpaid debt this could also appear on your credit report.
It would be remiss not to mention that if you know on day one that you only plan to stay in your home for a year or two that perhaps entering into a monitoring contract is not in your best interest UNLESS you absolutely want the benefits it provides and understand when you move you will need to choose from one of the three aforementioned options.
The “long and short” of all of this is a monitoring contract is not something to run from or be fearful of. If you want an alarm system to protect your family and property and especially if you want a great deal on the installation cost then you understand there is monitoring contract to reap all the benefits the alarm system provides.
I should comment here that this very detailed subject related to the monitoring contract was necessary because in any home sales situation for any products or services there will always be those customers who will claim they were never told they were signing a contract or they didn’t fully understand what they were signing. Unfortunately there are also sales people guilty of “brushing over” important details just to close the sale.
Q. What are the requirements to qualify for an alarm/camera system installation through the ADT dealer or other authorized dealer programs?
- You must be averified homeowner.
Sorry, folks that reside in an apartment or renting a home cannot qualify for a system through dealer programs. The reason for this is statistically renters move very frequently and getting involved in a monitoring contract is troublesome for both renter and the alarm company.
(ADT Corp as well as other national companies do however have a program whereby renters can still get a system installed but the free program and reduced prices will not be available.)
2. You must be credit worthywith a minimum credit score of 600. When applying for any type of loan your credit worthy status is directly tied to your credit score. A credit score is an indication of your bill paying habits. The alarm company needs to be assured that you can be relied upon to faithfully pay the monitoring, as over the term of the contract the monitoring fee amortizes all the costs associated with the installation.
The dealer will need to check your credit to obtain a credit score.
If your score is lower than minimum requirement of 600 generally you will not be eligible for an alarm installation through an Authorized Dealer program. (This may however fluctuate with different dealer programs)
Folks with credit scores lower than 600 and denied an installation will sometimes state that they can still obtain mortgages and auto loans. This is true, but because of their high risk history they pay much higher interest rates than those with good or excellent credit. ADT however does not have a similar program whereby high risk customers would be charged a higher monitoring rate. Sorry….
As mentioned previously The SEC requires ADT to validate projected revenue to their stock holders with verified monitoring contracts. A contract with a credit score below the minimal acceptance level of 600 does not meet the SEC condition of a valid contract.
Important: In order to obtain your credit score the dealer will first NEED YOUR PERMISSION to access it.
The dealer will need your full legal name, present address, past address and your date of birth.
There are rare instances however when your credit score cannot be accessed by just using your addresses and D.O. B. In this instance the dealer will need your Social Security number.
In today’s age especially with so much consumer credit fraud it is justifiably understandable that some folks may feel uneasy about this. For your protection all authorized dealers have signed a very strict contract with their corporate parent company and very strict guidelines are placed on this credit checking process.
ADT corporate is a publicly traded company and as such has a ZERO tolerance policy for the slightest infraction of any impropriety that may arise as a result of the ADT dealer’s access to your social security number. The dealer would be responsible for any fraud that may occur and/or face immediate termination from the program.
Your information is as secure as when you release it to any reputable lending institution, i.e., bank, auto financing or credit card issuer. This is not an issue to be concerned about.
IMPORTANT: Any authorized dealer will absolutely NOT be able to do any business with you if they cannot obtain a credit score.
Q. How do I pay for the monitoring?
The monitoring fee is required to be set up as an auto debit from your checking account or credit card. Quarterly billing is the preferred method. Invoicing might still be available on a quarterly basis but most dealer programs will require an extra monthly fee of $1.00.
Additionally most invoicing requests also carry the requirement of a minimum credit score of 700.
Q. Will the installer be drilling holes and running wires throughout my walls and ceiling?
- Today’s systems are wireless. Only the “brain” or main control panel/keypad is actually wired. The remainder of the components uses wireless frequency technology to report to the control panel and send signals.
Sensors are neutral in color and are inconspicuously attached to the inside of the door or window frames or other areas with no drilling, patching of walls or retouching of the paint.
Q. So what exactly is a wireless system?
Wireless devices are used as opposed to “hard wired” contacts that are drilled into the door frames or window wells. Wireless devices send wireless frequency signals to the control panel. They are powered by lithium batteries that usually last upwards of five years.
These lithium batteries are inexpensive, readily available at stores that sell batteries and are easily replaced by the homeowner.
Contrary to a myth wireless components are very sophisticated. They cannot be “tripped” by garage door openers, other wireless devices or errant radio signals.
Wireless alarm components are voluminously used worldwide in high end multi thousand dollar installations such as banks, airports and government buildings. Any required maintenance to a wireless component is a quick simple procedure requiring either a new battery or possibly a replacement.
IMPORTANT: There is however exceptions to the use of wireless technology. The batteries are affected by the cold and the sensors might not operate reliably when exposed to cold winter weather.
If for example you need to protect an outside door leading to a garage where there is no heat in the winter season and the temperature is as cold as outside this door WOULD NEED TO BE HARD WIRED TO A TRANSMITTER THAT IS PROTECTED BY THE HEAT.
The same would apply if you are protecting windows in this unheated garage. It is important to note we are not talking about temps in the forties but in regions that experience winter weather where the temperature could be easily drop below thirty degrees centigrade.
A hardwired magnetic contact would be installed on this door or window with a wire running to a transmitter located in a heated area. Running a hard wire the entire distance to the main control is not necessary.
PLEASE MENTION TO YOUR CONSULTANT IF YOU HAVE SUCH A DOOR OR WINDOW SO NOTES CAN BE MADE FOR THE INSTALLER.
Q. What if I request a “hard wired” system?
The alarm industry considers hard wired alarm systems to be old technology, much like a camera that uses film or old “dial up” internet connections.
Hard wired systems are not only labor intensive to install but very problematic when it comes to trouble shooting a problem. Wires are run through walls and ceilings and even though they are protected by insulation they can be compromised over time by termites or other insects that chew through the insulation.
Additionally in homes with finished ceilings in the basement “hard wired” systems cannot be used unless you want to pay for the patchwork and refinishing after holes are drilled.
It is also important to note the Free system installation from most dealer programs is a wireless system.
Wireless IS the way to go.
Author: (I have had a wireless system in my own home for 15 years)
Q. What if there isalready an alarm system in placeand I just want to have this monitored?
Many homes do have existing systems. Some are very old while others may have been installed only a couple of years ago. If the system is hardwired there are many factors which can cause future problems. The wires may have been run during construction but now all the ceilings are finished and accessing these for service can now create a major job and headache. It is not as simple as just turning it on and starting the monitoring process.
Alarm panels (the “brain”) of the system also need to be software compatible with the alarm company’s central station software. There are a myriad of manufacturers of alarm equipment and it would need to be compatible or be able to be reprogrammed to communicate with the central station that will be doing the monitoring.
If however the existing control is compatible and the components and wires are in great shape, then this is referred as a “take over” and it is just a matter of turning it on and programming it to communicate with the central station.
In this scenario there would be no warranty provided as the equipment is not newly installed.
Because of this it is usually prudent just to install a new control/keypad and possibly utilize some of the hard wired contacts if they are proven to be in perfect working order. In this instance everything is warranted with the exception of the previous installed hardwiring leading to a contact or a device.
Q. What if there is alreadyan existing ADT alarm system in place,installed by the previous owner of my new home?
ADT has been installing alarm systems for decades and depending upon how up to date the system is will be a factor if the ADT dealer can simply send his installer to activate the system. In some cases the older system will need to be replaced depending upon the level of monitoring service you request. Again the utilization and activation of an existing system is called a “take over”.
If it is a recent ADT wireless system the installer will run a complete diagnosis of the system and replace all the sensor batteries for free.
If your home presently appears to have a wireless system that can be “taken over” make sure you instruct the consultant to make notes reminding the installer to replace the batteries
Keep in mind many homes have systems that were installed 20-40 years ago and it is probably wiser to replace some if not all of the system.
Q. The word “service ” has been mentioned several times.Does this imply alarm systems will require service like maintaining an automobile? And what are the costs? And what exactly does the warranty cover?
Any new alarm system will be top quality UL equipment installed by a licensed and very experienced installer. The only maintenance likely required for a wireless system would be the replacement of the lithium batteries every 4-5 years. They are available in any store that sells batteries and only cost a few dollars. The actual replacement is a simple task you can easily handle. Replacement cost of batteries is the customer’s responsibility.
On the subject of replacing batteries, your system will alert you when a sensor battery is low. You’ll have ample time to replace it, actually weeks before it is completely dead.
“Service” could be required IF you originally opted to integrate an existing alarm system or existing alarm and now some of the original older components have failed.
Nothing is infallible and alarm systems can require service.
HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS:
If your system is installed by an authorized dealer any maintenance if required is covered by your alarm services contract. This includes all parts and labor.
If your system was installed by an ADT dealer there is a ONE time trip fee of $25.00, but that is all you will pay, regardless how long the technician spends in your home trouble shooting any problem and regardless of the number of devices he replaces. (Other dealer programs have similar charges)
THE FREE MAINTENACE WILL ALSO CONTINUE AS LONG AS YOU CONTINUE TO HAVE YOUR SYSTEM MONITORED.
IT DOES NOT CEASE AFTER THE INITIAL THREE YEARS.
Local alarm companies typically do not offer free maintenance or service so it would be important to ask them beforehand.
Q. Do I own the alarm equipment the authorized dealer installs in my home?
This subject is another “hot button” local alarm companies love to bring up when faced with competing with an authorized dealer and their inexpensive installation option. They will tell you that you don’t own your alarm system.
On paper the authorized dealer depreciates their equipment for tax purposes thus they claim ownership of the “free portion” of the equipment. HOWEVER ADT or other authorized dealer programs will never remove any equipment from any home!
It is simply counter productive to their method of operation and it is not worth the expensive of sending a technician to your home to remove the equipment.
If a customer refuses to honor the monitoring contract ADT will write off the “free” portion” of the equipment they installed. They also know by statistics that you will eventually move and the next occupant when exposed to the dormant alarm may decide to call ADT to activate the system.
Every year there are thousands of these inactive systems reactivated when the new homeowner moves in.
ADT knows what it is doing and removing equipment is NOT something they do!
It is important to note that although it is not worth the expense to remove alarm equipment, the pursuant of the monitoring agreement is a separate issue.
Lastly any alarm system or for that matter any devices of any kind that a company installs or attaches in your home becomes “Chattel”. This is a real estate term for anything that is attached to the home as your property. Obviously NO company can enter your home without your permission.
POLICE / MONITORING
Q. Can my alarm be “hooked up” directly to the police station?
Those days are long gone, probably 40 years or more. Local police stations do not have resources for the equipment/software or staff to accept all the different types of signals that can be sent by alarm panels. They rely on monitoring stations to decipher exactly what is going on and most importantly to weed out false alarms and contact them only if necessary with the vital details.
Q. How is the alarm connected to the central station?
Alarm signals for decades were always sent via phone land lines but contact with the central monitoring station could be easily compromised by storms affecting service or worse, a thief cutting the phone line (if access is readily available on the outside) during a break-in.
If you have land line phone service these factors should be considered when choosing how your system connects to the central station. If you’re home was recently built where all the utilities including phone lines are underground then your phone line is safe from the average drug addict/moron/thief that might target your home as well as severe weather.
Today many alarm systems by pass land lines and send their signals via cellular transmission systems and for many folks this is the preferred reliable choice of communication.
Today, less and less folks have land line service so cellular transmission is the only option.
With no hard wired phone line involved there is no way to compromise the system from the outside and cellular transmissions to the central station are not subject to loss of power when the electricity might be out due to a storm.
The alarm system has a sturdy back up power supply that not only guarantees your alarm will still function when the electricity is out but will also ensure the signals sent via cellular transmission reach the central station.
Q. With cellular communication is the system utilizing MY cell phone carrier?
NO It is a separate cellular device that communicates via a third party cellular network designed for the alarm industry. Thus the added monthly fee to pay for this service
Q. Ok, we don’t have a land line anymore. We use our cell phones exclusively. What will the cellular unit cost?
Cellular units are in the range of $250 – $275 and this cost has always been passed on to the customer. Options may include a one time payment or amortizing the cost with a higher monthly monitoring rate.
Most authorized dealers however have had to evolve with the ever increasing likelihood the home will not have a land line and thus to maintain the integrity of the free system offer most DO NOT CHARGEfor the cellular unit. This is probably not true for your local alarm company.
Q. Is there an alternate way to communicate with the central station?
Yes today’s systems have available “two way talk” keypads. Basically a convenience option whereby in the event of an alarm the central station operator can speak to you right there at the keypad rather than your home land line or cell phone. Some people find this convenient.
Q. What happens when the alarm goes off?How does the monitoring actually work?
The “brain” having received a signal from a device now calls the central station. ADT for example has five central stations in the U.S. with over 300 operators in each station. Your signal is routed immediately to the very first available trained staff at any one of the stations.
Your account information instantly populates on their computer screen, showing the layout of your home and the location of all transmitting devices. The operator also has your “call list” of contacts.
Each device of your system has been assigned a zone number as well as a description. For example, zone #1 is typically your front door.
In seconds it is known what device has caused the alarm, whether it was your kitchen door that was opened or a window on your rear deck. Alarm systems have the capability to accept many zones.
The alarm also has a built in TAMPER SWITCH that will automatically contact the central station if by some chance an intruder gained access to your home through an unprotected opening and tried to remove or otherwise damage the keypad in his attempt to disable the alarm system.
If the signal was sent by a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector or other device that information is also quickly interpreted.
Built into the system is a failsafe that allows the homeowner to disable the alarm in the event it was mistakenly tripped. Nationwide 98% of alarm signals are false alarms with the majority of them taking place between 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM. These are the hours when people are going and coming home from work.
What causes these false alarms? In the morning you set your alarm and quickly leave, and then halfway to your car you remember you forgot your lunch. In a rush you quickly unlock the door, grab that brown bag, run out the door and drive away. All of this took place within the “delay” period after running back into your home. The keypad was beeping “telling you” to shut me off but you were in such a rush you didn’t hear it.
Result: 15 seconds after you pull out of the driveway the alarm goes off and the central station is called. They call the home. NO answer. They call the police and give the details. The front door has been opened! The operator then calls you as they have your cell #. You tell them you screwed up! They call back the police to cancel the dispatch.
In the evening the same thing happens. You enter the “delay” entrance which allows you to open the door without the alarm instantly sounding. You have 30 seconds to put down your “stuff” and go to the keypad to disarm the system. The keypad is beeping all the while to remind you of this. But…. after entering your home you then remember you left something in your car……. And again the false alarm scenario….
In each scenario IF you were still there and heard the SIREN blast you now have a 15 second window to turn off the alarm with your code. In this scenario although the signal was transmitted, the central station realizes that you disabled the alarm WITH A CODE in 15 seconds.
A thief can NOT disable your alarm or cancel the transmission. The chances of a thief being able to guess your alarm code out of tens of thousands of possibilities is beyond comprehension. If he can do that he should be playing the lottery and forget about breaking into homes!
This is another reason why alarms are not directly connected to the police. Years ago as more and more homes and businesses got alarm systems police stations became overwhelmed with tens of thousands of false alarms.
In the event you do not disable your alarm the monitoring station will first call your home or any first contact number you had provided. If you’re home you will be asked your security password you had provided them when your account was set up and if everything is ok. The security password is NOT the digits you enter into the keypad.
There is NO charge for the monitoring station to call your home.
If there is no answer or the person answering the phone does not know the password the central station operator is obliged to contact the proper authorities, be it the police or fire department.
Because your system “tells” the central station exactly what “tripped” the alarm they can tell the police dispatch that the rear kitchen door was opened or a window on your rear deck has been opened.
After the authorities have been notified the central station operator will now attempt to get in touch with you via TEXT and/or by the phone numbers you have provided, i.e., your cell, your work etc.
If unable to reach you the operator will then move to your call list of contacts you had provided.
In the event of signals emanating from a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector the fire department is immediately notified while concurrently trying to reach you at home. In this way if nobody answers the phone at your residence this expedites the emergency response.
There are instances when a signal could emanate from a low temperature device you had added to the system to monitor whether the furnace was working during a winter vacation or a water sensor that has detected a potential start of a flood in your basement.
In these instances the police or fire are not called as it is not in their realm of responsibility. Rather the central station will immediately try to call you or other persons on your contact list.
Note: Regardless if your alarm has not been “armed” or set, the central station will still receive signals from smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, low temperature devices and flood sensors as these devices are “supervised”.
An example would be if a flood sensor detected water on your basement floor while you were out of the home and regardless that you did not set the alarm, the central station will still be notified and call your home. If they are not successful in reaching you there they will continue down your “call list” until somebody is notified of the situation.
Q. Is it better to have my alarm monitored by a nearby station? A local alarm company told me their central station was nearby and this was important.
This again is just another tactic a local alarm company will use to convince you to do business with them insisting their central station is nearby.
Geographic proximity to the Central station is unequivocally irrelevant. If a local alarm company states this they are feeding you a line of B.S.
All central stations operate 24 hours a day.
Signals are received nearly instantly via cellular or land line transmission with no time differential whether your home is one block or 1000 miles away from the central station monitoring your system.
I.e., I can call my cousin Paul in Florida, 1,200 miles away and have him answer his phone as quickly as I can call Ruthie, my very next door neighbor.
The same is true for signals sent from your alarm panel. A central station operator 2,000 miles away can call you, your local police or the fire department just as fast as an operator sitting in a central station that may be located only one block from your local police station.
National alarm companies such as ADT have hundreds of operators in their central stations.
Local alarm companies which number in the tens of thousands use much small monitoring stations. Some of these monitoring stations employ as few as 3-5 operators during peak hours. If by chance multiple alarms are transmitting to them they go into the “cue” waiting for a free operator.
In the alarm business RESPONSE TIME IS EVERYTHING.
This can be especially problematic if you have a REAL emergency during the peak transmitting hours as previously mentioned. In the event of panic signal sent by a homeowner or a signal from a smoke detector every second counts!
Q. How loud is the siren and will it bother the neighbors, if I set it off by mistake?
The siren is around 95 decibels and pursuant to most alarm code ordinances is installed inside the home. No “bull horn” I hanging on your wall as today’s sirens resemble a speaker or intercom.
It is also loud enough to be heard by any thief on the perimeter who tries to break in but will not bother your neighbors if you set it off by mistake.
Q. What if my house is huge and I feel as though the siren might not be heard or as effective if a break in attempt occurred at the opposite end of my home?
Multiple sirens are available to be added to the system to cover this application.
Q. Should I install an outside siren?
YES it is your home. BUT it is strongly discouraged!
False alarms are a major complaint with police departments and most cities and towns have false alarm ordinances.
Most false alarms are caused by the homeowner themselves disarming or arming the system or by children, baby sitters, house cleaners or other contractors visiting the home.
In my home town the first and second false alarm that results in the police responding do not incur a fine but subsequent responses cost $100.00 each. Some major cities have much higher fines that actually double or triple!
The reasons for these fines are quite simple. When the police are dispatched to a false alarm it costs time and money but there is also the chance they are needed elsewhere for a REAL emergency involving a life or death situation. Wasting time responding to nuisance alarms is a serious concern for law enforcement.
Most local ordinances also have an explicit inclusion regarding outside sirens labeling them as “sound pollutants” which means they are causing a disturbance, especially when they sound at night.
These ordinances were put in place not to discourage homeowners from installing an alarm system, but to emphasize they want your system monitored.
When your system goes into the alarm mode the central station determines whether or not the police will be called, as they will call your home first to make sure you did not set it off by mistake.
IF YOU INSIST ON AN OUTSIDE SIREN and anybody mistakenly sets it off, you now have neighbors that might call the police. The police show up and you answer the door with an apology. You have however violated the false alarm ordinance.
If your mindset is “I want my neighbors to hear my siren” so they can respond to my alarm, that will not happen and it is something you should not expect.
Your neighbor is not interested in charging over to your home to do battle with some moron breaking into your home and possibly getting hurt.
BOTTOM LINE: You do not need an outside siren.
The alarm system when activated is to deter the thief. A thief breaking into your home is not a professional as depicted on T.V. He is a punk and most likely a drug addict. They do not want to get caught.
Regardless where the siren is installed in your home, THEY WILL HEAR IT. It does not have to be so loud as to render him senseless. Even if it is muffled he will still hear it.
The siren is “saying” hey idiot I have detected you, GET OUT OF HERE!
Having an outside siren will ONLY accomplish two things: 1: It WILL anger your neighbors when you, your children or somebody checking up on your home sets your alarm off by mistake in the middle of the night!
- 2.You will receive $ fines for having the police respond to your nuisance alarms.
(Years ago I had an elderly neighbor with an outside siren. That damn siren would go off in the middle of the night and wake up everybody on the street. It was always set off by mistake)
- Do alarm companies charge for false alarms?
NO they do not. If you continue to have false alarms a supervisor will most likely call you and ask if you need clarification on how to use your alarm.
Q. I already have smoke detectors, why would I want to add additional ones to my alarm system?Your existing hardwired or battery operated smoke detectors are not compatible for connection to an alarm system.
Adding Smoke and fire protection to the system ensures the fire department will be called in the event there is smoke when you are not home. Smoke detectors as part of your alarm are “supervised” 24 Hours a Day even if you forgot to set your alarm. They are especially important if pets are present. Animals have a “VERY” low tolerance to smoke.
Q. How difficult is the alarm system to operate?
A 5 year old can use the system. A “master” 4 digit pin number is used to turn it on and off (arm & disarm). Multiple user codes can also be entered and deleted at your pleasure using your master code. An example of this would be a baby sitter, house cleaner or any contractor could be given an access code and when your relationship is over you simply delete this code.
Today’s alarm systems also have the capability to be accessed via your smart phone.
Multiple user codes can be entered and deleted at any time. All of these codes are enabled and deleted via the master code. ONLY the primary user or owner should have access to this master code.
The ability to enter multiple access codes comes in handy especially for a business that has many employees. If an employee quits or is terminated, their code can quickly be deleted.
Overlooked is the fact these users can also make a mistake and cause a false alarm. Because of this anyone that has access to your alarm should also know your password in the event they cause a false alarm and the central station calls the premises.
If somebody who you have given permission to enter your home mistakenly sets off the alarm and they do not know the password or forgets it when the central station operator calls the operator IS OBLIGATED TO CALL THE POLICE!
If you do not have a land line and your initial first contact number is your cell, the operator will call you first. You can then inform the operator that a contractor has permission to enter your home and they likely set off the alarm. You can then call the contractor or vice versa.
Q. Can the system be set at night, or when the kids are home?
Yes, the “STAY MODE” on the keypad easily disarms the interior motion detector(s) for freedom of movement while keeping the perimeter armed.
Q. How about my Pets?Will they set off the system?
IN OUR PREVIOUS TUTORIAL (The Real Truth) WE FULLY DISCUSSED THIS ISSUE OF MOTION DETECTORS AND PETS. PLEASE REFER TO THIS INFORMATION.
Q. What is the correct design of an alarm system?
Adhere to the principals of how a alarm system should be designed as discussed in our essay; “The Real Truth about Alarm Systems”
Q. Duringthe summer I like to leave a window or two open slightly to circulate air, Is it possible to still protect these entry points from somebody who can now very easily get in?
Yes, “VENTING”the windows using double contacts allows any window to be left open 7 to 9 inches for air circulation while still keeping them “armed”.
If a thief decided to enter your home this way 7-9 inches of space would not be enough room for him to climb through. He would then raise the window causing the alarm to instantly sound. Venting should only be done on a few windows to allow fresh air to circulate.
Q. What are these “tricks of the trade” or techniques you mentioned on AlarmSystem.com regarding how to correctly “contact” exterior storm doors, sliders and “French doors”?You mention these methods can save hundreds of dollars in potential damage IF a thief were to even attempt to break into my home.
Unfortunately even though the alarm system does a great job in deterring a thief from actually entering your home sometimes the initial damage he caused breaking down a door can cost $$ hundreds to repair. In the case of glass sliders or French doors on a deck this could easily be a thousand dollars!
On my OWN home I have “French doors” leading to a rear deck overlooking by back yard that is completely hidden by a large fence as well as very tall evergreen trees.
Certainly I recognize this entry point as a prime target to break into my home. From my experience in the alarm industry I have seen hundreds of these types of doors broken and their windows smashed. The unfortunate owners not only had to deal with stolen property but also had a huge repair bill.
As mentioned before every door should always be integrated or “contacted” into the alarm system. In regards to sliders or “French doors” most installers will contact or install the wireless transmitter on the door that opens or slides. Naturally when this door is forced open the alarm will sound.
Unfortunately damage to a forced opened door is “accepted” as collateral damage in keeping a thief from entering your home.
In my own system installation I have NOT contacted the door. I have contacted the sliding screen outside the door.
Every slider or French door has screens on a track. One of these screens is “fixed” meaning it does not slide. The other screen naturally slides open to allow you to step out when you open the door. This sliding screen also will have a very simple aluminum catch lock. Certainly not strong enough to prevent somebody from forcing it open but safe enough to possibly keep a toddler from trying to slide the screen open from inside.
IF a thief were to try to enter my home through my French doors he first has to deal with the screen slider.
Cutting it is not a problem but naturally he would first see if it is unlocked.
MY SCREEN IS DELIBERATELY UNLOCKED (I do not have any small children)
AND AS SOON AS THE SCREEN SLIDES TWO INCHES THE SIREN STARTS TO BLAST!
The thief hears the siren, instantly knows he’s been discovered and bolts.
Certainly I cannot guarantee this will always be the outcome but again MOST thieves are morons and drug addicts and they do NOT WANT TO BE CAUGHT.
Breaking into somebody’s home is not a casual act, the thief is acutely tuned to listening to anything or anybody that might see him or catch him in the act. The heart is pounding, he is nervous and ready to leave instantly rather than risk the chance of getting caught.
Again, in this scenario the thief OPENED MY UNLOCKED SCREEN. The aluminum latch lock is no challenge to somebody intent on getting it open, so why lock it? Simply having it closed serves its purpose of keeping out the bugs when I have the door opened.
If kids (vandals) opened my screen they too would also take off at the sound of the siren blaring after my screen opened ONE INCH.
I prevented a break in, I have NO COLLATERAL DAMAGE to the screen but most importantly no damage to the expensive door.
The best way to install this screen contact is with a miniature magnet. It is then “hardwired” through the hinge portion at the top of the door, connected to the wireless transmitter that is INSIDE my home on the top edge of the door frame.
In this way the thief never has a chance to damage the sensor. The sensor is receiving the “open and close message” from the two contacts on the outside screen and instantly transmits the signal to the control panel.
Secondly the transmitter NEEDS to be totally inside because I live in N.E. where if it were installed between the door and the screen the battery would be susceptible to the cold. (As previously mentioned)
Another very likely “target” point of entry is my rear kitchen door. This door is also very susceptible as it is not visible by any neighbor or from the street. With one swift kick any moron could get it open despite the “sturdy” lock.
(Locks keep somebody from easily opening your door but any door can be kicked in!)
OUTSIDE my kitchen door I have an aluminum “storm” door. Many homes have these exterior doors both on the kitchen and front door. The door has glass and a screen that can alternately be positioned depending on the season of the year.
In the summer I can open my kitchen door and position the screen in the storm door to allow air just like on the deck doors. Similar to the deck door I have the aluminum storm door contacted with miniature magnets and hardwired to the sensor just through the door frame on the wall.
Storm doors are also equipped with a very simple aluminum latch lock that can easily be snapped open. So……….Again I leave this outside door unlocked.
In the event of an attempted break in I don’t want the expense of fixing the lock.
Naturally the thief would first need to open the storm door to get at my locked kitchen door and as soon as he pulls it open one inch; WHAM the siren is blaring. No break in and no damage to my storm door, but most importantly my kitchen door!
If you do not have storm doors installed on your exterior doors then certainly this technique can not help you.
PICTURES OF AFOREMENTIONED INSTALLATION
Many outside or kitchen doors also have small glass window panes to allow light into the room. A thief would most likely break one of these windows to attempt to unlock the door.
If you have a door like this with windows do NOT install a dead bolt lock that requires a key to unlock it from both sides.
After he breaks the window pane and is now confronted with this lock that he can not open it is almost guaranteed he WILL then kick in your door causing a lot of frame damage.
THIS SUBJECT WAS PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED IN OUR ORIGINAL TUTORIAL BUT MERITS REITERATING
NEVER INSTALL A DOUBLE KEY DEAD BOLT ON ANY EXTERIOR DOOR!! In the case of fire or an emergency you will have to find the key to open the door to let yourself out!
FACT: When a fire breaks out in a home while you’re sleeping and IF you’re lucky to be awakened it is because of the lowering levels of oxygen that the fire is consuming.
Your brain senses this and wakes you up! HOWEVER without the proper levels of oxygen your brain is not functioning 100% and your reactions and decisions are very much compromised. Your instincts tell you to get out but the door is locked with a double key dead bolt.
Because you have diminished brain function it is very possible you cannot remember where the key is or if you find that “ring” of keys you can’t figure out which key opens this door.
Most people perish in house fires from lack of oxygen and smoke inhalation. Many people are found in closets.
They did not enter the closest for safety to escape the heat, rather they were confused and thought it was possibly an entry door and collapsed inside.
DO NOT INSTALL A DOUBLE KEY DEAD BOLT ON ANY EXTERIOR DOOR!
Not withstanding a fire scenario there may be other emergencies when you need to quickly exit your home and you’re faced with a lock you cannot open.
If you’ve moved into a new home that has them, REMOVE THEM!
Q. In an emergency can I summon the police or fire departments?
YES, the keypad has emergency Police and Fire panic buttons.
Q. How long does a typical alarm installation take?
A basic system could take as little as 2 hours and usually not more than 4 hours. Typically most systems are installed in one visit, however the size and complexity of the system dictates the actual installation time. A large system which also includes cameras could possibly run into two days.
Q. Are any permits required?
YES and you will be asked to pay for any permits required by local ordinances in your town or city.
The application and process will be handled by the alarm company or the installer.
Q. Will my insurance company give me a discount for installing an alarm system?
You can check with you insurance company but most insurance companies do offer discounts. They can vary between 5-20% with the maximum being allowed for systems monitored for fire as well as burglary.
Keep in mind the reason for an alarm system is to protect you and your family. Any discount you receive is just a nice added benefit.
Q. Are there any other benefits besides all the aforementioned to doing business with an authorized dealer as opposed to a local alarm company?
Most authorized dealer programs offer:
- THEFT PROTECTION GUARANTEE: ADT for example will pay your insurance deductable up to $500 for stolen property in the event of a break in. (Restrictions and conditions apply)
- HOME OWNERS INSURANCE CERTIFICATE: A monitored alarm system can save you up to 20% on your homeowner’s insurance. (Restrictions and conditions apply)
- MOVER’S SECURITY GUARANTEE: If you move from your home more than 2 years after becoming a customer of ADT you will be offered a premium movers package that will release you from any balance of your existing contract, a new free basic installation and 25% discount on any upgrades. (Restrictions and conditions apply)
William (Bill) Mullen / Author
© 2017 William J. Mullen
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