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Apartment Alarm Installation Tips

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The popularity of home security systems has grown quickly over the past several years. However, until recently those living in apartments have missed out on this security. A variety of factors on both the installing companies’ and the landlords’ end made apartment alarm installation a difficult proposal. However, advances in alarm technology and monitoring methods have changed this in recent years. In this post, we share some tips for both landlords and residents of apartments to create a successful security system installation.

For starters, we will explain what made it difficult to install security in apartments in the past. Knowing the hurdles that this installation presents can make it easier to address them. From there, we will share some tips to overcome these issues one by one. Over the past decade or so, security system installation has gotten less intrusive than ever. Furthermore, alarm monitoring does not always bring with it as much hassle as it did in the past. We will examine both of these factors in the “solutions” section of this post. Now, let’s begin with a look at why installing alarms in apartments has proved difficult for so long.

Apartment Alarm Installation Hurdles

As we mentioned, for a long time residents of apartments had difficulty installing alarms. Much of this difficulty came from the installation of the alarm itself. Our post on Smart Home Security System Design explains that in the past, all alarms had hardwired contacts. This created a situation where technicians had to run wire to each and every door contact, motion detector, or other point of security on the alarm. Even as technology improved, installing an alarm still required running some wiring. Additionally, mounting equipment also involved a lot of drilling and modifying of existing surfaces. Therefore, many landlords balked at having these systems installed for potentially temporary tenants.

A contract and pen

The prospect of signing a long-term monitoring contract scares many landlords away from installing alarms in the apartments they own.

Furthermore, alarm monitoring has long involved multiple aspects that would give landlords pause. For starters, apartment complexes do not generally have traditional phone line connections in each unit. Last week we created a post answering the question How Much Does Alarm Monitoring Cost? In that post, we explained that traditional alarm monitoring requires a physical phone line connection. This made it difficult, if not impossible, to connect alarms in apartments to our central station through a phone line.

Furthermore, many alarm companies require signing multi-year monitoring contracts from property owners. Naturally, many landlords refuse to sign these contracts and take responsibility for this long-term expense. At this point, we clearly see why apartment security has long proved a tricky undertaking. Now, let’s see how more recent industry advances have turned things around!

Solving the Issues at Hand

As a result of the factors discussed above, both alarm companies and landlords have long approached apartment security lightly. Landlords wanted their properties altered as little as possible, if they allowed it at all. They also hesitated to sign off on any long-term financial commitments, even if renters also signed on. After all, if the current tenants moved out of the area, it would still fall on the landlord to pay the remainder of any money owed for monitoring.

Furthermore, alarm companies did not want to install systems without receiving assurances from the landlord that their bills would be paid. For these reasons, many alarm companies flat-out refused to install alarms in apartments at all. However, recent equipment and business-based improvements have changed this approach in recent years. In this section, we explain how these improvements have made apartment alarm installation a much less daunting task. Let’s begin with a look at improvements in alarm contact technology.

An Interlogix wireless contact sensor

Wireless contact sensors, such as this model by Interlogix, allow for easy installation without drilling holes where they are installed.

Wireless, Easy-to Install Security Contacts

As we mentioned earlier, older alarm technology required hardwired equipment at every alarm point. Every door, window, and motion detector on an alarm had wiring running from the contact back to the alarm panel. However, the last couple decades have introduced an important change. The advent of wireless security contacts has allowed companies to install alarms with minimal wire running. These contacts use radio communication to “speak” to the panel, rather than a hardwired connection.

Furthermore, we can install many modern security contacts without even drilling into your doors or door frames! Light, compact sensors such as the one pictured here stick to your doors using double-sided tape. This allows us to install an entire security system with little to no alteration of an apartment. This is especially true of apartments without any first-story windows, as upper-story apartments often do not require motion detectors. In addition to security contacts, alarm panels have also gotten easier to install then ever. Next, let’s look at how this improvement has allowed us to install even an alarm’s most important components with minimal disruption.

Quick and Easy Panel Installation

A couple years back, we began installing the QOLSYS IQ Panel 2 as our preferred alarm panel. This panel brings many unique features with it. For starters, this alarm’s touchscreen interface make it an intuitive, easy-to-navigate system for our customers. Furthermore, we can “install” this alarm by merely plugging it in and standing it up on a table or counter.

By contrast, installing a traditional alarm involves running a wire from the main alarm panel to both a hardwired keypad and siren. Even “wireless” alarm systems that included the panel, keypad and siren all in one unit required mounting the alarm to a wall and running a wire for power. The lack of any wiring makes the QOLSYS IQ Panel 2 ideal for apartment alarm installation. Furthermore, this panel comes equipped with our favorite alarm monitoring equipment. In our next section, we will explain how we can monitor this alarm panel without the presence of phone lines or long-term commitments from tenants or landlords.

A QOLSYS IQ Panel 2

The QOLSYS IQ Panel 2 allows us to install alarms in apartments without running wires.

Monitoring with No Strings (or Phone Lines) Attached

A while back, we created an alarm buying guide titled 6 Important Questions to Ask Security System Providers. In that post, we discussed the importance of finding out the long-term cost of having a monitored alarm system with any given alarm company. After all, as we pointed out earlier, installing a monitored alarm system may also mean signing on to a multi-year monitoring agreement. However, not every company requires this. At Northeast Security Solutions, we monitor alarm systems on a month-to-month basis, allowing customers to cancel monitoring at any time. This freedom gives tenants and landlords alike the peace of mind that comes with contract-free alarm monitoring.

Finally, the last several years have seen monitoring technology improve as well. We’ve discussed our cellular dialer, powered by Alarm.com, in many of our posts. Cellular monitoring involves installing a dialer in an alarm panel to communicate. In essence, this creates a direct cellular communication between our customers’ alarm panels and our central station. This allows us to monitor an apartment alarm system without the need for a physical connection to a phone line. Between our no-contract approach and our cellular monitoring option, we can install and monitor security systems in rental properties without any strings attached!

Setting Up a Successful Apartment Alarm Installation

We hope that this post sets you up for a successful apartment alarm installation. If you have any questions about the material in this post, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will happily answer any questions you may have about alarming your apartment. Furthermore, we provide free site surveys for both new and existing customers. While on site, we can help design an alarm that effectively and efficiently secures your apartment. Together, we can create a security plan that keeps you, your most valuable possessions, and your loved ones as safe and secure as possible!