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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 12/27/2001 7:31:22 AM EDT
I'm going to be looking at my options for a home security system and would like to know some of the basics, as well as your recommendations prior to talking with any companies. I'd like to have some knowledge so I get the best system for my needs (not just what certain companies are packaging) and also know what questions I should be asking the reps. So, what would you recommend for a good, basic home security system? And what should I be expecting to spend? We may be willing to pop for a more sophisticated system if we can be convinced the added security is worth the expense. After all, we're protecting an $X house, so I'm not going to go cheap. But I also don't want to spend money for systems that are not going to give us measurably more security. I don't know whether I should be looking for something that is monitored by a full time security company, or if there are other options that are just as good. I would almost rather have the system alert me (by cell phone or pager) to any problems. We live in a small municipality and the local police would be able to check the house our for us. I'm just starting my research and, while I can certainly research options on the web, I want some ideas of what works and what should be avoided. TIA
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:03:28 AM EDT
[url]http://www.norcoalarms.com/detail_pages/powermax.htm[/url] This kind of seems like it's probably lower end than I was looking for, but at least it gives me an idea of some of the options out there. Should I even be attempting a do it yourself kit or have a company install it? I'd like to be able to control lights, etc., from my master bed room. A couple of cheap cameras monitoring my front door/yard, back yard, and downstairs would be great (especially if I can access them through a secure internet connection to "check in" when I'm away from home). Motion sensors in the front yard and backyard need to be able to distinguish between squirrels (so no false alarms) and people. Hmmm.
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:12:26 AM EDT
A "security" system cost about $25,000.
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:16:37 AM EDT
5subslr5: What would I be getting with that type of system over other "lesser" systems? I guess I need to prepare myself for sticker shock. I was hoping to keep this under $10K. The more I look on the net the more I realize that I could build my own system, but would need to start with quality components and put some thought into it. Here's a link to CCTV's: [url]http://www.easyhomesecurity.com/cctv.htm[/url]. What are the disadvantages of going this route (obviously presuming it's all installed correctly and works well as one "system")?
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:20:42 AM EDT
Stay away from any of the mass marketed home security systems. They get delivered to your door and some installer drops by to hook it up in a few minutes. These systems are typically junk. Stay away from anything with the keypad or switch attached to the brain box. In the time it takes to enter your code, a theft can sledgehammer the box off the wall and disconnect the phone line from the brain before the alarm can activate. Look for a system where the keypads are located by you far away from the brain box. If a theft destroys a keypad, he hasn't disabled the alarm, just the means to disarm it. Look for a system that can be connected to your phone lines is such a manner that the phone line is seized by the alarm. This can prevent a thief from entering your house and immediately taking a phone of the hook to disable your alarm notification. Also have the brain box mounted in a closet or interior room with a hard contact on the entrance door the the closet or room. You might even want to consider rerunning your main phone line service to a panel inside your house. (CONT.)
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:26:59 AM EDT
By moving the phone lines inside, you may prevent a thief from cutting the lines and then entering the house knowing that help is not on the way. Make sure the system you use does have a monitoring service with an electronic handshake. This allows the system to call into a service automatically and let the service know the unit is functioning properly. Without it, the clever thief can wait until you are off to visit the family for a week and then stop by to cut off your utilities. After three or four days they return to find your alarm backup batteries dead and walk right in. With an electronic handshake, the system will tell the monitoring service that the power is down and to send somebody to check on it after 24 hours or so. While these features are not the be all end all of alarms, they are the type of things to look for in an alarm. And don't be afraid to do it your self on the hard part of the installation. Most alarm companies would love to have somebody else running around in the attic and doing the hard stuff where they only have to do the final hookup and programming. Ask around and you will probably find a service that will work with you. HTH, dhg2
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:45:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Corey: 5subslr5: What would I be getting with that type of system over other "lesser" systems? I guess I need to prepare myself for sticker shock. I was hoping to keep this under $10K. The more I look on the net the more I realize that I could build my own system, but would need to start with quality components and put some thought into it. Here's a link to CCTV's: [url]http://www.easyhomesecurity.com/cctv.htm[/url]. What are the disadvantages of going this route (obviously presuming it's all installed correctly and works well as one "system")?
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Corey, spec'ng this type system is far beyond my abilities. Here you would bring in a real "security" expert to design your system. I just wanted to hit-you with sticker shock on what a real system really costs. Like most things in life I expect this too will be a trade-off for you - dollars vs. benefits/needs. I do want to suggest one practical bit of advice. If you install a cellular back-up phone system you don't have to worry so much about the regular phone lines. If the reg. lines are cut the system automatically switches over to the cellular back-up. The monthly costs aren't bad as virtually no minutes are used. For a decently competent company to design, install and monitor you might consider "Sonitrol" if they are in your area.
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:49:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2001 9:05:18 AM EDT by Quarterbore]
There is some great advise given above. I had an ADT system in my previous home and I was quite happy with it.... Some keys to consider.... 1. Hard Contacts in each door from the outside. 2. Hard Contacts in each window at ground level. 3. Motion Detectors to cover broad areas of house. 4. Numerous Keypads (I like how ADT keypads show where alarm is triggerd) 5. GET AN OUTSIDE SIREN! We had someone get into our old home soon after we moved in and we think they managed to have a key obtained during the building process or they picked the lock. The security system worked as intended as they opened the door, the keypads alarmed and 30-seconds later the shit really hit the fan when the inside and outside sirens went off. Our neighbors woke up and looked out to see the would be thief leaving. We never got them, but the security system did it's part! We didn't loose a thing in this case but the phone interestingly enough was taken off the hook but the ADT system still called the Police who were there in under 2-minutes. I like a monitored system, but if you live in a neighborhood a non-monitored system can still provide great value as no would be thief wants to be in a house full of flashing lights and sirens loud enough to make your ears ring! We are building a new home at this time and we made it clear that we wanted the builder to secure all keys to the new home and to allow access through ONE DOOR which uses a different lock then the house will have when finished. The new home will also have an ADT security system because I know I can trust them... The system isn't cheap, but I don't think we paid more than $2000 for ours in our old home and we had a number of add ons? [url]http://www.adt.com/divisions/residential/index.cfm[/url]
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 9:45:09 AM EDT
Oh boy, have I ever been waiting for a thread like this! I had a security system (LYNX ####) installed in my new home shortly after moving in. The company that installed it was called -Safe and Secure of Virginia-. It is a wireless system, hard contacts on all entry ways, motion sensors covering entire first floor including garage. This is a monitored system ($29.95 a month.) OK, here is the shitty part: A month later (Friday AM) I leave for work (6:55AM), return home for lunch (11:20AM) and find my front door KICKED IN and my entire house ransacked. Of course I was armed and _almost_ wishing I would find the asshole that did it still in the house...alas, no such luck. The alarm had been disarmed! It was in the same status as it would have been if I had disarmed it myself. So, with this in mind, I call the police and my homeowners insurance. They show up, dust for prints, look around and talk to neighbors. Knowing that the alarm has three codes in it (master, installer, guest) I call the security company and ask them to get me the logs so I can see which code was used to disarm it. Well, Mr. installer shows up and wires into the alarm (he could have just dialed into it from outside, he has a answering machine defeat) and pulls up the logs....get this: It wasn't set to record a detailed log, only "general" events were sent to the log file, ie if it went off, low power, codes being changed, but not day to day arming and disarming! Also, he showed me my master code plain text on the screen...WTF! So I call the manufacturer of the alarm and ask them if it leaves the factory with the log set to record "general events" or "detailed events"; they respond "detailed event recording is default, it has to be changed my the installer" So I go the the cops with this info and they almost laugh at me! To make things worse, they ask me to take a lie detector test! There reasoning was that I may have staged the whole thing to collect the insurance money...what a crock of shit. Then I find out the installer lives in the same neighborhood I do...I'd like to burn his freaking house down but I refrain. (no PROOF) Stolen were two handguns (Glock 27 (old model) in alessi ankle rig, 3.5 connector; Ruger GP-100 stainless 4" bbl, Pachmeyer grip. Large maglight, Sony Digital camera, cash, jewlery, my cordless phone, my computer repair kit, A box of 12 condoms (minus two), a Benchmade AFCK (large), A Rolex, and various other small valuables. No booze, smokes or porn was touched so I think it was adults. To add insult to injury, I find out Safe and Secure of Virgina has gone out of buisness...big suprise right? They are now called -Theft and Fire Protection of Virgina-Take heed my friends. I now keep all my firearms (sans carry gun) in the vault of the gun shop/range where I used to work. Its cheaper than a safe and they are fully insured. If anyone has had a similiar experience or knows someone who has I'd love to hear about it. This company may have a pattern and I'd love to prove it! Oh would I love to prove it!!!! -Vortex
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 7:24:03 PM EDT
BTT What do I do for windows? Have them wired to alert when open/broke, or just use standard motion detectors? What about the front and back yards? Dummy cameras to supplement real ones? I have cats, a dog and an active toddler. So any motion detectors need to be idiot proof. I'm beginning to think, particularly after Vortex's story, that I should just do this thing myself. Then I know EXACTLY what it is and isn't. Heck, a pager fee for me and my wife is less than most security firms charge. Just a thought....
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 7:50:00 PM EDT
Anywhere from free to a couple hundred dollars. Maintenance is food and water...WHOOF WHOOF
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:55:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 8:57:13 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2001 9:13:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2001 9:20:37 PM EDT by Avalon01]
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: For a decently competent company to design, install and monitor you might consider "Sonitrol" if they are in your area.
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AUGGGGGGGG!!! AVOID SONITROL AT ALL COSTS!!! I recently had the misfortune of working with them to get all of our schools wired to a central alarm system. Proximity keypads at every door, motion sensors in all hallways, cameras, central monitoring, microphones in the ceilings, the whole shebang. Cost was well over million dollars for 10 locations. They were VERY unprofessional. The installers had no idea what they were doing. At 2 of the locations they cut a bundle of data lines for the network. They would drill the wrong sized hole for a camera mount, and just use tape to keep it mounted. Wires were hanging down from the drop ceiling, allowing kids to pull them. A project that was supposed to take 3 months took almost a year. I still holding several thousand dollars for work not yet done. Avoid Sonitrol. Use anyone else, they have to be better. Av. Edited to say: there were so many problems with Sonitrol we had to threaten to take them to court to get any work done. They had more problems than I could possibly list. I have to go lay down, just writing about this is causing my blood pressure to rise... [-!-]
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 12:15:33 AM EDT
Put claymores in front of your door and all of your windows when your away and sleep w/ your AR next to you at night.[:K]
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 4:05:11 AM EDT
I used to install security systems, mostly DSC equipment. You can assign different codes to each individual person who you want to have access, and have your system page your pager with that code whenever someone arms or disarms your system. You can also have codes sent to you pager whenever a zone is violated. If someone breakes into your house, you can actually track their path through your house by the codes sent to your pager. Then it is your decision to call the police or not. Most systems will do alot more than the installer or sales person will tell you because it confuses people and actually can kill the sale. Most want a system that is very "simple" to use.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 4:29:54 AM EDT
We put a keypad in our bedroom and one downstairs. When we are upstairs sleeping we have the downstairs rigged to go off immediately instead of the normal so many beeps to turn off alarm. I would also get a smoke/carbon monoxide sensor added to your system at the same time. That way if your house catches on fire and your not home help can hopefully come quickly.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:26:00 AM EDT
Plateshooter: Do you have any specific recommendations as to types of control panels (if that's the correct term)? I'm interested in the pager service. Also, what should I be thinking about in terms of power? Do these run off of the home power supply with a batter back up if power is ever cut? I'm envisioning someone cutting home power and land phone lines. I would like to have a system that updates me through my pager, with maybe a back up to my cell phone. I like the idea of different users having different codes and tracking movement through the house. Is this done with motion detectors? Thanks everyone. This is great info here.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 6:58:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2001 10:15:45 AM EDT by NOVA5]
Originally Posted By Corey: I have cats, a dog and an active toddler. So any motion detectors need to be idiot proof.
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ask the company that supplies the part, most motion sensors ignore things as small as pets. due to the fact it might trigger the alarm. though it might catch kitty playing the piano... ;) i think most MS's are calibrated to ignore 30lbs sized objects moving around. anything over than and they trip. again just ask the supplier, they should know the details of the parts. a complicated way to setup a security system, would be X10 its a home automation techonology. sends signals through the AC wires to turn devices on and off. however with a powerfailure it could fall offline and be useless, i havent looked into this myself. but if you wire up your house lights with it and carry the remote with you when investigating "bumps in the night" you could turn on lights in a room you think the noise is in when your not near it. if he is there, this gives you the advanatage. he is now blinded by sudden light and will be looking INISDE the room for you. for that is the only way to turn lights in the room on right? how wrong he is.. your at the end of a darkened hallway with near unaffected vision. a very good system could call 911 (computer would be the brain, one would get a UPS for it) play a wav file through the modem to the 911 operator saying your address. and then connect the homes internal mics to it. now the 911 operator will hear both you and the intruder. interesting, no? problem is it may cost a small fortune. ;) Edited due to speeeling errors ;)
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 2:32:08 PM EDT
Vortex, I got burned by Lynx too. They switched monitoring companies twice on me without any notification. While I didn't lose any property, I lost money on paying out that damn 2 year contract. I finally stopped payment on them after the second time they switched M.C.'s with no notification (the M.C. is who I'm paying), with a couple of months to go on the contract. Check your BBB. Here in OK they have NUMEROUS complaints against them. If anyone is gonna call me a cheat for cancelling the contract, I tried to get ahold of the old M.C. for some weeks. The new M.C. only sent me a notice AFTER I cancelled the direct withdrawal on my checking account (at the price of a returned check too, ARGH!). So up their ass with broken glass...
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 3:31:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Ghettoblaster: Vortex, I got burned by Lynx too. They switched monitoring companies twice on me without any notification. While I didn't lose any property, I lost money on paying out that damn 2 year contract. I finally stopped payment on them after the second time they switched M.C.'s with no notification (the M.C. is who I'm paying), with a couple of months to go on the contract. Check your BBB. Here in OK they have NUMEROUS complaints against them. Ghetto, LYNX is the model name of the security system I have, not the company that put it in. Sorry to hear that you got jerked around. What was the name of the monitoring company (s)?
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 3:49:20 PM EDT
... Sadly, once you've signed the bottom line you'll discover all kinds of ways to defeat your system. Any alarm system under $10,000 can easily be tricked and or circumvented to allow access if the seasoned perp so decides.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 4:09:55 PM EDT
A Dogs a great addition to any homes security.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 4:20:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By mleaky: Anywhere from free to a couple hundred dollars. Maintenance is food and water...WHOOF WHOOF
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Damn, beat me to it! :) Robby
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 5:08:18 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Avalon01:
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: For a decently competent company to design, install and monitor you might consider "Sonitrol" if they are in your area.
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AUGGGGGGGG!!! AVOID SONITROL AT ALL COSTS!!! I recently had the misfortune of working with them to get all of our schools wired to a central alarm system. Proximity keypads at every door, motion sensors in all hallways, cameras, central monitoring, microphones in the ceilings, the whole shebang. Cost was well over million dollars for 10 locations. They were VERY unprofessional. The installers had no idea what they were doing. At 2 of the locations they cut a bundle of data lines for the network. They would drill the wrong sized hole for a camera mount, and just use tape to keep it mounted. Wires were hanging down from the drop ceiling, allowing kids to pull them. A project that was supposed to take 3 months took almost a year. I still holding several thousand dollars for work not yet done. Avoid Sonitrol. Use anyone else, they have to be better. Av. Edited to say: there were so many problems with Sonitrol we had to threaten to take them to court to get any work done. They had more problems than I could possibly list. I have to go lay down, just writing about this is causing my blood pressure to rise... [-!-]
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Avalon, like most multi-state companies don't you suppose there are good and bad offices ? I used them in over thirty retail stores and was pleased. Corey, you can always go get some Geese - they really will work for food.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 5:15:30 PM EDT
Vortex, the guys that installed my Lynx started as Security 1. Then about a year later, Security Services Cable Connections. Then A-Link USA. Anybody in the OK/TX area, watch out for these guys...
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 5:23:39 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Vortex: Then I find out the installer lives in the same neighborhood I do...I'd like to burn his freaking house down but I refrain. (no PROOF) -Vortex
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First if it wasn't the installer it was probably neighbors or relatives. Second, maybe just a "small" fire at the installers home since you are without proof. He deserves a small blaze due to screwing up the settings of your system. Of that you have proof. Finally, I hope you told the cops to stuff the polygraph. NEVER, never take a polygraph for anyone about anything. There's three things that can happen: 1) You pass the test (The cops figure you beat the test) 2) You flunk the test (The cops immediately consider only you as the perp) 3) The test is inconclusive (See number 2) [soapbox]
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 10:08:02 PM EDT
Where do you people live? I want to sell you a security system. $25,000??? $10,000??? $2,000 for an ADT system??? I run my own Security installation company and somebody is making a killing off of people like you. For $25,000 I could install full house, perimiter and infer-red CCTV on your pad!!! Yes there are ways to circumvent the alarms, but not if it is set up right. Contacts on windows and doors. Motion detectors and glass breaks. You can get an emegency cellular device for your panel and set your panel up to monitor your landline. If it is cut, the alarm calls out via cell. All panels will seize the phone line if hooked up properly. If an installer is crooked, he can disarm it in 2 seconds, as long as he knows the dealer or installer codes. I deal in ITI alarm equipment, which will work with X-10 components and work you lights. Outdoor motion are no problem. Cameras are simple, I run my company, plus work for a casino company that has two casinos in my area. Combined I am incharge of the installation, maintinance and upgrading of over 1,500 cameras and 400 VCR's. Internet viewing requires your own URL or a hosted one from a security provider. Email me with your specifics and maybe I can point you in the right direction or at least stop you from getting ripped off by an installer. HELL for $10,000 I will drive up to the cheese state and set you up in a weekend [;)] TAC
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 10:46:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2001 10:46:56 PM EDT by Avalon01]
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: Avalon, like most multi-state companies don't you suppose there are good and bad offices ? I used them in over thirty retail stores and was pleased.
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Oh sure, they COULD be better in other areas, but we had Sonitrol pull people from 2 IL offices and a WI office. Every single office had the same inept people working for them. If we only had 1 bad office, and the rest were good, I might recommend them. Out here in N. Illinois/Southern WI, they are to be avoided at all costs. An untrained drunken monkey could install a better system. Av.
Link Posted: 12/28/2001 10:59:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/29/2001 7:38:34 AM EDT
Great information here! And TACTICAL, I just might take you up on your offer. Lemme talk with my wife about where we want this to go. And, quite honestly, I'm less concerned about a break in when I'm home (or even at work). In fact, if anyone is going to break in I'd prefer to be home. Having my wife and kid out at grandma's for the night would be prefered as well. We have a 56 pound Airedale Terrier that would deter the most seasoned crook when he meets them at the door or window going friggin ballistic. I think he could take care of the place during the day when we're gone and give us ample warning at night when we're there. I'm more concerned about the house when we pack up and take the dog with us for a weekend, like over a holiday or something.
Link Posted: 12/29/2001 11:55:25 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: First if it wasn't the installer it was probably neighbors or relatives. Second, maybe just a "small" fire at the installers home since you are without proof. He deserves a small blaze due to screwing up the settings of your system. Of that you have proof. Finally, I hope you told the cops to stuff the polygraph. NEVER, never take a polygraph for anyone about anything. There's three things that can happen: 1) You pass the test (The cops figure you beat the test) 2) You flunk the test (The cops immediately consider only you as the perp) 3) The test is inconclusive (See number 2) 5subslr5, First, thanks for the input. I inquired about the "installer code" and was told by a third party that it CANNOT disarm the system if it was armed with the master code. However, if it was armed with the installer code, it could be disarmed. Please elaborate on other ways that mine could have been disarmed. You have my attention as this issue has yet to be resolved. About the polygraph... I did take it, and I'm sure the results were one of the three that you listed above. I've taken numerous polygraphs in my time and they are pretty worthless. The only ones that suck worse are the "lifestyle" polygraphs. This type is required for Super-Ultra-Mega secret jobs that include guarding the aliens... They ask questions like "Have you ever had sexual relations with a duck?" No shit.
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