Does Anyone Have An Alarm System On Their House?

Lounge By butternut Updated 9 Jun 2008 , 4:25am by itsmylife

butternut Posted 31 May 2008 , 3:26pm
post #1 of 10

Hello everyone. I've been thinking of checking into a security system like ADT. They are offering special deals right now where you get certain equipment etc and you only pay 99.00 for installation and then you sign a three year contract for 34.95 per month. In this free offer, they will include alarming 2 doors or windows. If I had a system I think I would want all my windows covered as well. I can't find any info on the cost for each additional window on the webistes. I figure once I call and inquire I'll be hounded for ever. So, I was wondering if anyone could share with me any experience you may have on the systems. Thanks so much. Hope everyone is having a great week-end.

9 replies
SugarplumStudio Posted 31 May 2008 , 3:32pm
post #2 of 10

Hi Margie,

We have a Brinks alarm system in our house. We have a combination of door sensors, window sensors and motion detectors. In the areas where motion sensors wouldn't work, we focused on window alarms and vice versa. We have 3 keypads, front entry, garage entry and master bedroom with panic buttons and instant call to police and fire.

Installation was free. We paid only for the 3rd keypad. Monitoring is $29.95 a month and we signed a 3 year contract.

We live on a very busy road that isn't very neighborhood like, so anyone could pull a truck into our driveway and empty the contents of our house. having an alarm makes us feel so much safer.

Carolynlovescake Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 4:55pm
post #3 of 10

We have ADT And I hate them to the very core. Part of it is because I used to work for their competitor (in multiple departments) and know ADT's tricks inside and out.

Unfortunately they are the only system provider in my area for monitoring options. Even the local mom/pop companies have ADT doing their monitoring (outsourced to them to keep costs low).

Billing has been a nightmare since day one. I won't waste your time with my discontent with them.

Service with them has been outstanding though. The techs are on time, they know what they are doing and are awesome to deal with.

One thing to remember is that a security system is nothing more really then a piece of mind for you. It will not keep bad guys from trying to get in and it will not keep you from disaster. It's a deterrant for petty thieves (the good ones know how to bypass systems and still get in/get out quickly) and for things like a fire it is an early warning to get everyone out.

I do love it for the medical alert aspect as well. Unfortunately the one time I needed it for a medical alert I was to far away to use it. I did have my cell phone on me so I called hubby for help instead).

Most homeowners policies will give you a discount for a monitored alarm system in the home. If anything ever happens and your system fails you and you need to make a claim with it your insurance company will ask you or your alarm company to provide test records. I have seen companies not pay a claim because it hadn't been tested in months or ever and the failure would have been caught prior to the event and fixed thus avoiding the need for the claim.

Read the contract in full with out the pressure of a sales rep watching you read it. Any good sales rep is confident leaving it unsigned. They understand that you want to read and understand it. If there's anything you don't understand then definately e-mail them. Have their reply in writing so you can go back to it if you ever need to.

If your sales rep is rushing through the contract or trying to promise you it's all good and ok and to just sign, don't! If something goes wrong saying "I signed with out reading because I felt rushed and forced by the rep who promised it was all ok" won't hold water with any company or court (if it is serious enough to get that far).

I know I'm missing a lot more I could say but I have to run and could write a thesis on this subject and industry since it was a very good long part of my working history.

If you have any quesitons shoot me a PM and I'll answer what I can.

Kayakado Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 7:27pm
post #4 of 10

I have safe touch security at home and really love it. It is locally monitored. The system was installed for free and monitoring incl tax is $24 a month with free repairs. The initial installation included fire sensor over the stove, arming 3 doors, 2 windows, 3 glassbreaks, 2 motion detectors and one key pad station. The initial contract was for three years and a different company that I have now. I replaced the original motion detectors with pet ones which don't seem to be set properly - the cats set them off. The weather can set them off too. I had to replace the sensors on the windows at one point, but that was part of the free maintenance.

I live alone, so it really makes me feel more secure. The local response time from the moment I push the panic alarm until the cops arrive is less than 3-5 minutes. I've had to use it once for prowlers and it works faster than calling 911 than having to hope you get a 911 operator whose on the ball. I've had some who tell me the local cross streets don't exist.

indydebi Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 9:35pm
post #5 of 10

Moving to "the big city" (from a small town) and having a rash of neighborhood break-ins shortly after moving in, we've had a home system for almost 10 years. Unfortunately, I can tell you nothing about who it's with or how much it is because hubby handles the household stuff.

But we have our doors monitored and motion detectors. We can set the alarm for "gone" or "stay". "Stay" is when we go to bed and if we get up in the middle of the night to go pee, then the motion detectors will not go off. Also a good feature if you have pets in the house.

Check with your local govt authority. You probably have to get an alarm permit. We have a sticker we had to put in our window indicating we have the permit. We're allowed 3 false alarms that dispatch police or fire and then we're fined for any after that.

Touch base with your insurance agent ... most companies give 5-20% discounts on home alarm systems, depending on what kind you have.

butternut Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 2:18am
post #6 of 10

Thank you so much for all of your responses. You've all been such a big help. Some things were brought out that I hadn't even thought about. I think I'm going to start calling places tomorrow and setting up some appointments. I know that Brink's is one of the companies that I'm going to call. Thanks again everyone. I really do appreciate each and every response.

Texas_Rose Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 4:12am
post #7 of 10

I think the usefulness of a home alarm depends on whether you're trying to protect your belongings when you're not at home, or your family when you're there. An alarm won't keep anyone out, and the response time varies depending on where you live.

My husband has had to deal with lots of different alarm systems because of his work. He says that the more complex it is, the less likely it is to work properly, and also that most alarms will malfunction in stormy or very windy weather. He also said to be sure to test it when you get the alarm company and tell them you'll be testing it, and for them not to relay the alarms to the police...and then go ahead and set it off, then call the alarm company to be sure they're getting the signal.

Someone tried to break into my apartment last October. They cracked the doorframe but didn't make it in. My birds woke me up...they scream when they hear the wrong noises during the night, which they've done twice in their lives and both times it was something wrong (the other time my next-door neighbor had set her carpet on fire, and either they heard her smoke alarm or smelled smoke, I don't know which). Anyhow, I was standing on the other side of the door with a can of mace and a metal bar, for lack of anything better. The police took about 20 minutes to show up. I bought a gun after that and learned to use it, because I am home alone every night with the kids, and 20 minutes would have been a really long time, if someone had gotten in.

lardbutt Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 5:07am
post #8 of 10

You can also have the monitoring station call YOUR number BEFORE they dispatch the police. This has helped us several times! And where I live, when the police have responded, it was with a couple of minutes. But....I do live right downtown in our city limits. I could walk to the police station!

Keep in mind with the "free installations" monitiring only costs them about $5 a month. That's how they are making money. Nothin wrong with that unless you don't like the service you get then your stuck for the years you signed a contract.

I'm not trying to scare you, but all someone has to do is cut the phone wires with one snip right outside your house at the box and the alarm is gonna call anyone! In that case monitoring is useless.

Windows tend to be costly, but you don't really need them done. Motion dectors can be used instead.

Do you happen to live anywhere near South Carolina? My hubby does this for a living and works all over the place in SC, NC, GA, AL, TN.

adven68 Posted 6 Jun 2008 , 3:16pm
post #9 of 10

I used a private installer in our area...have all my doors/windows done. We paid a lare installation fee...a couple of grand from what I remember....and (I think) a yearly monitoring fee. It's set to beep when anything wired has if one of my young children open the front door, I'm aware of it.

I've had a couple false alarms which sent the police over for nothing...but our central monitering station will call for a password within seconds...if they don't get it...they call the police.

It's so funny cause in the city I can't sleep without the alarm (I was woken up wih a gun to my head at one time in my life)....but where we go in the country...our "alarm" is a little hook on the inside of the door LOL

itsmylife Posted 9 Jun 2008 , 4:25am
post #10 of 10

If you are not home & someone gets into your house (there are a multitude of ways to do this without busting a window or smashing through a door, unfortunately). The typical alarm gives you sometimes up to a minute or so to turn it off when you come home. If the code is not entered, then the alarm company will call you. If no one answers, or someone answers but does not give the correct code, then the alarm company contacts the police. All of this takes several minutes.

Once the police get the call, then they enter the information into the system (which also sometimes gets messed up as sometimes the alarm companies and the police do not run off the same maps). So, a minute or so to enter the info, a minute or so to dispatch the call, and who knows how long before response.

Many police departments do not put a residential burglar alarm call as high priority. Not because they don't want to, but many are short staffed, and/or they just have a higher volume of higher priority calls (persons crimes, etc). So realistically, it may be an hour or more before a deputy or officer can get to your house to check it out. By then... most of your valuables are long gone.

If the alarm is used as a panic alarm, however (you are in the house and think someone is breaking in, so you activate the alarm), this would definitely fall into the high priority category to get a much faster response.

Definitely check into fines for false alarms as someone else suggested. the policies vary widely. But it is done out of necessity. I know that in many areas, false alarms account for over 95 percent of all alarm calls - which really wastes a lot of time/resources for law enforcement.

If the bad guy sees the sign in your yard.. he might think twice, but he might not.... depending on how bad he wants what you have. Some just don't care. They know they can get in and out in just a few minutes, and even if they just get one thing, like a laptop, they scored. You can also get an alarm system turned on, but not monitored. So, you don't pay the monthly fee, but you get the sign and the blaring siren.

Some companies offer fire, smoke, carbon monoxide etc... monitoring with the burglar detection, which could definitely be useful.


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