A big part of our job as security integrators revolves around working with customers to create the security experience they desire. Of course, this includes making sure that they have sufficient security coverage of their property. We must also add as many types of security as we can to make their alarm as effective as possible. Finally, we also want to create the user experience each and every customer desires. As you can see, effective alarm design requires taking a thoughtful and complete approach. Failing to do so can lead to some bad — but also avoidable — outcomes. In this post, we review some common alarm design issues to prevent you from experiencing them!

First, we’ll take some time reviewing the many ways customers and alarm companies can create insufficient coverage. This includes a few different specific categories of security equipment. For starters, we’ll look at how some people leave some weak spots even after installing an alarm. Then, we’ll review some unique alarm sensors that people often fail to install. We’ll also focus on some non-burglary related equipment that greatly adds to the scope of what your security system can do. Finally, we’ll also share how using outdated monitoring methods can hurt your security as well. Now, let’s dive in with an overview of some of the ways customers can experience less-than-required security system coverage.

Creating Insufficient Security Coverage

As we’ve pointed out, we always aim to secure your entire property against a variety of threats. In this section, we’ll go over some of the specific alarm design issues that can lead to this situation. Many of the solutions we offer here often go under the radar. In some cases, customers haven’t heard of the lesser-known types of security that we offer. However, we always prioritize educating you on your security options. Therefore, we’ll attempt to show you how you can easily avoid the pratfalls described here. Let’s now begin with one of the simpler security issues to fix that we’ll discuss in this post.

Leaving Security “Holes” in Your Property

When designing an alarm system, we take several things into account. First and foremost, we look at how to add the most security. Installing contacts to secure every likely entry point should be a no-brainer. However, insufficient installation of security contacts remains one of the most common security system installation mistakes. Sometimes, alarm customers designing and installing an alarm as a DIY project leads to this issue. Furthermore, customers occasionally turn down recommended equipment as a cost-cutting measure.

An Interlogix glass break detector

Glassbreak detectors, such as this one by Interlogix, can detect thieves before they enter your home.

We certainly do not recommend going through the trouble of installing an alarm system only to take partial measures while doing so. In addition to securing the most likely break-in points, we also recommend at least basic coverage in somewhat less likely areas. After all, thieves know that many security systems leave weak points to exploit. For example, many home and business owners do little to secure their second stories and basements. Installing at least basic security in these areas can greatly increase your overall security. Furthermore, we also offer some unique solutions for situations where “standard” alarm contacts don’t cut it. Let’s take a closer look at some of these options now.

Failing to Take Advantage of Unique Burglar Security Contacts

Many alarm systems out there rely solely on door and window contacts, along with motion detectors, to secure a property. However, while often largely effective, this approach does have its shortcomings. For example, window contacts only catch thieves who break in by opening a window. They unfortunately fail to catch those who break windows and climb through without opening them. While motion detectors can help in these scenarios if you are gone, you cannot arm these detectors while you are on site without creating false alarms walking around your home or business. For these reasons, we often install glass break sensors near casement windows, sliders, or large windows in general. These sensors, as well as equipment such as shock sensors and even security screens, can greatly improve the effectiveness of your alarm. Now, let’s look at adding alarm devices to catch threats other than break-ins!

Focusing Strictly on Burglar Security

Many customers fail to get the most out of their alarm systems due to not exploring all of their options. In fact, many customers are surprised to learn that their alarm systems can offer security for threats that have nothing to do with a break-in. For starters, we offer monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detection to alert customers to dangerous fire and CO-related emergencies in their home or business. This equipment can save your property, and even more importantly, save lives! For this reason, we strongly recommend installing life safety equipment as part of any security plan.

Additionally, we also offer sensors that alert you to important weather-related issues as well! For example, our “hi-lo” temperature detectors can create a central station response if your home experiences dangerously hot or cold conditions. This can help alert you to frozen pipes or HVAC equipment failures. Additionally, we offer flood sensors that can detect the presence of water wherever we install them. As an added bonus, some of our alarm manufacturers even create sensors that detect both extremely cold temperatures and the presence of water! These contacts provide a huge amount of environmental security in one compact piece of equipment. Now, let’s take a look at how choosing the wrong monitoring method represents one of the most common alarm design issues that we encounter.

Using Outdated Monitoring Methods

The majority of our security system customers take advantage of our alarm monitoring services. Setting up this service involves connecting your security system to our central monitoring station. Older alarm systems generally utilize a customer’s existing phone lines to create this communication. Unfortunately, this often proves ineffective. For starters, traditional phone service does not provide reliable, consistent service. Phone service can fail due weather-related incidents or even car accidents involving telephone poles. Furthermore, burglars often cut a property’s phone lines before attempting a break-in. They do this to disable any attempts to call for help that you or your alarm system may make after a break-in.

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 alarm alerts instantaneously.

Recently, new technology has created the ability for better alarm monitoring. In particular, our interactive cellular monitoring service, powered by Alarm.com, provides the best security monitoring available. For starters, this service utilizes a cellular network, rather than phone lines, for monitoring. This leads to consistent central station communication regardless of your phone line’s status. Moreover, this service also allows you to control your security system, as well as a wide variety of smart home devices, with a smartphone! Now you can arm and disarm your security system remotely, and even receive smartphone alerts for alarm activations and any other important security updates. Check out our 5 Benefits of Cellular Alarm Monitoring for more information on this unique monitoring option!

Avoiding Common Alarm Design Issues

We hope that this post helps you see how we use creative alarm design to the benefit of our customers. 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 queries. Moreover, we also invite you to take advantage of our free site survey plan. We offer complimentary security audits and equipment quotes to both new and existing customers alike. While on site, we can address your security concerns with the same solution-oriented approach that you’ve seen in this and all our other posts. Furthermore, we can make additional suggestions based on observations we make during our visit.

Perhaps you have a decent security plan implemented now, and wish to bolster your security further. Or, maybe you have yet to consider security in any detail, and wish to get a plan drawn up from scratch. Either way, we are happy to help! Our 34 years in business have been spent creating and implementing security plans with customers in every variety of application. Together, we can create a plan to keep you, your property, and everyone on it as safe and secure as possible!