Over the course of our 34 years — and counting — in business, we’ve helped hundreds of customers design security systems that fit their unique security needs. As part of that process, we work to customize many parts of the security experience. From system design to monitoring options and functionality, we can create a truly unique security plan for you. In fact, we often surprise people with how much control we offer over the user experience of our alarms. Previous posts have focused in detail on some of these variables, including system design and monitoring options. Today, we turn our attention to another customizable aspect of your security. In this post, we’ll explain the many options we offer for arming your security system.

First, we’ll explain the basics behind what you should expect upon arming your system. From there, we’ll get into specific options for arming your system both while in the house and when leaving. Then, we’ll discuss the possibility of leaving some alarm zones armed all the time. These “always on” zones add a unique level of security to any security system. Finally, we’ll also review some non-conventional options for arming your alarm. These include both time-based arming and remote security system arming features. Now, let’s dive in and see what you should expect upon arming your security system.

What Happens Upon Arming Your Security System?

When you arm your security system, you can expect a couple different responses to an alarm activation. First and foremost, once an armed security system senses a breach, it sounds the siren(s) on the alarm immediately. This alerts you and anyone else on site to the issue. Just as importantly, it also likely scares the criminal away upon hearing the siren. In some cases, we also arm a property with exterior sirens as well. This can alert the neighbors to your situation and create even more panic for a burglar.

An alarm keypad armed to "Away"

Arming your security system to “Away” mode will activate both perimeter sensors and motion detectors.

As an added layer of security, a monitored alarm also calls out to our central station for help. At this point, the central station calls ths premises to check on the situation. If nobody answers, or if the person on the other end cannot provide the password that’s been set up for the account, then the central station calls for a police dispatch. Following this call, the call center dispatcher then continues to make calls to a call list created by our customers. Both the siren alert and the central station response add tremendous security and peace of mind for our customers. At this point, you know the basic expectations for an armed security system response. In the next section, we’ll look at the two most common arming methods we offer.

“Stay” and “Away” Functions

When we design a security system, we try to secure customers against a variety of threats. First and foremost, we always place sensors on each exterior door. This immediately helps secure against the majority of break-ins. However, burglars often get in through windows and sliders without opening a door at all. For these instances, we often install motion detectors to catch unexpected activity within a room. These sensors provide efficient and effective security for large areas of your home. However, you cannot arm your motion detectors with anyone in the house, or you’ll surely create false alarms walking around the home. Therefore, we create a couple unique ways to arm your security system.

For instance, when you plan on staying home but want the alarm armed, we have the “Stay” feature. This arms your perimeter door and window contacts as well as any glass break detectors you may have. However, it does not arm any motion detectors in the areas you would expect motion. As you can probably guess, arming the system to “away” mode arms every sensor on the system. We can also get creative with these modes based on ecpected activity. For example, we can program basement motion detectors as part of your security in “stay” mode. This provides extra security against basement-level break-ins even while you are home. For an even higher level of security in important areas, let’s move on to a focus on “always on” security zones.

“Always On” Security Zones

As their name implies, “always on” sensors will always activate an alarm response. For example, monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will create an alarm response whether or not you have your security system armed. Furthermore, environmental sensors such as freeze sensors and flood sensors will also create an alarm response at all times. The same goes for police and medical panic buttons, which users can activate at any time to sound their alarm’s siren and create the desired central station response.

Finally, homeowners can even grant traditional door/window sensors and motion detectors “always on” status. Perhaps you have a far-off door in a basement that you never use. This would make a good location for a sensor that always creates an alarm response. The same goes for window sensors in attics or other windows that should never get opened. Allowing customers to add this security can make them feel much more at ease knowing that the most remote areas of their property are secure even while the rest of the alarm is disarmed. Now, let’s look at how you can arm your security system even when you are not on site!

Time-Based and Remote Arming Options

While most of these options involve using your alarm’s keypad to arm your security system, we do offer a couple other important options. Both of the arming methods described in this section require interactive cellular monitoring through our Alarm.com cellular dialer. This dialer uses a cell network, rather than a phone line, to monitor your alarm. Therefore, phone outages will no longer affect your security system’s monitoring. This proves a vast improvement over traditional phone-line based monitoring, which involves tying to your phone line to your alarm and leaves your monitoring susceptible to outages any time your phone lines fail.

A hand holding a phone open to the Alarm.com app

Interactive cellular monitoring through Alarm.com allows users to control their alarm through a cell phone app and receive important security alerts instantaneously.

In addition to providing reliable monitoring, our Alarm.com dialer also allows for time-based system arming. This means that if you expect everyone to leave your property by 6pm, you can have your alarm arm at this time. Additionally, interactive Alarm.com monitoring also allows for remote security system control. Using the Alarm.com app, you can arm and disarm your security system from anywhere in the world! As part of this service, we also offer instant text alerts based on important alarm activity. This means that any alarm activation, or any other important updates such as low sensor batteries, or any other alarm trouble, will get passed on to you right away. The extra security provided by these additional monitoring methods make Alarm.com interactive service our most popular monitoring option!

Putting it All Together

We hope that this post helps you fully undertand the options you have for arming your security system. Additionally, we also encourage you to contact us with any questions this post raises for you. We will happily answer any and all of your security-related inquiries. Moreover, we also invite you to take advantage of our free site survey program. We offer complimentary security audits and equipment quotes to both new and existing customers alike. While onsite, we can address any security concerns that you may have. Furthermore, we can also make suggestions of our own based on observations made during our visit.

Perhaps you have an alarm in place, and wish to utilize some of the tips we’ve shared in this post. Or, maybe you have yet to install a security system, and want us to help design and install an alarm that meets your unique security needs. Either way, we are happy to help! We can help you design a complete security plan to keep your own home or business, as well as everyone in it, as safe and secure as possible.