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- Designing Your Home Security System
- Monitor or not to Monitor
- POTS Line
- Home Automation
- Choosing your Brand of Home Security
- DIY or Professional Installation
Designing Your Home Security System
When it comes to home security there are a lot of things to consider. You must remember that you are installing a security system so that you can protect your family and your processions.
What does an Alarm System do?
An alarm system does all of the following depending on the equipment that you choose:
- Notify you of doors or windows that are opened
- Notify you if windows are broken
- Notify you of movement inside your home
These are all things that would be caused by an unwanted intruder but there are other things that can bring harm to your family or your home. Home Security Systems can also provide notifications for the following:
- Early warning of a fire
- Early warning of Carbon Monoxide gases
- Early warning of freezing
- Early warning of flooding
There are multiple levels of protection that you must consider when you are designing your alarm system. If you consider that 50-60% of burglaries happen by the intruder breaking through the front or back doors you could just install an essential security system.
Essential Security System
An essential security system provides contacts on your main entry doors and a motion detector in the main pathway of your home. In most homes this is the hallway leading to the bedrooms. This type of system assumes that if the intruder enters your home through an unprotected opening such as a window that the motion detector will detect them and sound the alarm. It is always best to detect an intruder before they have entered your home. If they start to make entry and the alarm system sounds the burglar can make the choice to run away and not ransack your home. This system has adequate coverage when your system is armed in away mode because all sensors are armed. If you are at home and asleep the system is armed in stay mode which automatically shuts of the motion detector. There are two times that your home and family are most vulnerable and those are when you are away from your home and when you are asleep in your home. The essential home security system will only provide the best coverage when you are away from your home.
Full Perimeter Protection
The goal of having a security system is to be notified if any opening to your house is violated. You want to receive this notification as quickly as possible. In order to have this happen you must have contacts installed at every window and door in your home. This forms a security curtain around your home so that the potential intruder cannot get in undetected. If you want typical full perimeter protection you will want to install contacts on every door and window.
Advanced Full Perimeter Protection
In order for full perimeter protection to work the intruder must open a door or window. In many cases the burglar will break a window and then reach inside to unlatch the lock and then open the window or door. In this scenario the alarm system will sound. If the intruder does not open the window or door then the alarm system will not sound. In this case the only way the intruder will be detected is if they pass by the motion detector. This is why the motion detector is a secondary or backup device. The goal is to keep the burglar outside the home. In order to do this with advanced protection you can install glass break detectors. This type of detector is built to hear breaking glass and when it does the alarm will sound. Another advantage of a glass break detector is that they can be programmed to be a 24 hour device. This means that they will sound the alarm even if the system is not armed. When you incorporate all of the following types of protection you have utilized every form of protection available for your home and family.
Additional Protection available from your Security System
So far we have only talked about protection from an unwanted intruder of the human variety. There are a few unwanted intruders and potentially more detrimental to your home and family and should be incorporated into your total home protection plan. These unwanted intruders are:
- Carbon Monoxide
Chances are you will have a fire
- Number of home fires your household can expect in an average lifetime: 5
- Chances your household will have a reported home fire in an average lifetime: 1 in 4
- Chances that someone in your household will suffer a fire injury in an average lifetime: 1 in 10
- Chances that someone in your household will suffer an injury in a reported fire in an average lifetime: 1 in 89
Households can expect to average a home fire every 15 years or five fires in an average lifetime. (Life expectancy now averages 78 years in the U.S., according to the Statistical Abstract.) That is one of the results of the latest survey of unreported fires, conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2004-2005, when combined with NFPA's annual tracking of reported fires.
Most of these will be small fires resulting in little or no damage and will not be reported to a fire department, but even a trivial fire causes at least some temporary anxiety.
Your household has a one in four chance of having a home fire large enough to be reported to a fire department during an average lifetime.
Someone in your household also has a one in ten chance of suffering a fire injury in a home fire an average lifetime. More likely than not, this will be a minor injury suffered in a fire that you did not report to the fire department. You might not even remember the injury a month after it happened. About one out of nine of these injuries will occur in a reported home fire, which means someone in your household has a one in 89 chance of suffering a fire injury in a reported home fire in an average lifetime.
As you can see the likelihood of having a fire is high and the best protection is a smoke detector. A smoke detector provides early notification so that you can save your family and your processions. The average damage done by a fire can be far worse than the loss from a burglary but many people still neglect to make sure that they have a working detector.
Protection from Flooding
Just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. From 2008 to 2012, the average residential flood claim amounted to more than $38,000. Flood insurance is the best way to protect yourself from devastating financial loss.
Here are some startling facts:
Property damage resulting from water damage due to plumbing failures and freezing pipes is the second most common cause of homeowner loss.
Water caused $9.1 billion in annual homeowner policy property losses annually from 2007 to 2009 - approximately 23 percent of all homeowner property losses.
"Water damage claims have been growing faster than other components of homeowners insurance." - American Insurance Association
Designing the Layout of your Alarm System
Now that you are aware of the different types of protection and they work you can begin to layout your alarm system. I have always used the following method in setting up my alarm system installations. Grab a piece of paper and start at your front door. Go to each opening in your home and write down the name of each door and window. Make sure that you have the following column titles on your list:
Zone Type Zone Name
I always walk clockwise around each new installation. This makes sure that I do not miss any openings in the home and I also have a list with all of the names of the openings which I will use later for programming the panel. At the end of your walk through you will have a list of all the areas that you want to protect and their names. Make sure you include a minimum of one motion detector in the main hallway of the house. If you have a two story home you will want to see if the motion detector can be located so that the stairway is included. You will be able to use this list in the event that you decide to do an installation on your own (DIY) or when you have a professional provide you with a quote.