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Proactive Alarm Design Tips

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As security system installers, we at Northeast Security Solutions know how often people look into installing our alarm-related products as a “reactive” measure. After all, many customers do not have the know-how to anticipate various security-related threats. Furthermore, we know that thinking about break-ins and emergency situations does not make up anybody’s favorite past time. However, we always find that proactive, rather than reactive, security proves more effective. In this post, we aim to help you with proactive alarm design so you can experience this additional security!

We will begin with a look at installing security contacts that will stand the test of time. From there, we will look at how managing alarm codes can provide an instant security boost. Next, we’ll share some tips to keep your alarm up and running during power outages. We will also look at how designing your alarm from a burglar’s perspective can make it more effective. Finally, we will wrap up with a rundown of non-alarm security equipment that you can still connect to your home security system! Now, let’s get started with a look at how to use the most effective alarm contacts available.

An Interlogix wireless contact sensor

Wireless contact sensors, such as this model by Interlogix, allow us to install alarms without the usual threat of damage from lightning strikes or age-based decay.

Install Wireless Security Contacts

For several decades, installing an alarm system involved running a wire from your alarm’s main control panel to each and every alarm sensor. In fact, some customers still prefer this type of installation. However, modern alarm panels can use a radio frequency to communicate with wireless alarm sensors. Installing wireless door and window sensors, as well as motion detectors and other alarm equipment, can save money due to the fact that installers do not have to run wiring to each sensor.

Additionally, these sensors provide a unique security benefit. Wireless security contacts can withstand some common events that would disable their hardwired counterparts. For example, lightning strikes to a home often greatly affect a hardwired alarm system. If lightning hit a wire or two that connects sensors to the alarm panel, the strike will disable those sensors! Obviously, lightning strikes do not affect wireless sensors in this manner.

Additionally, alarm wiring often goes bad over the course of several years. Sometimes, mice or other pests eat through alarm wiring that runs through walls and in basements. Other times, wiring gets cut and discarded accidentally as contractors work in customers’ homes. Again, wireless contacts do not experience the same danger from these events as hardwired contacts. Now, let’s examine how controlling your alarm codes carefully can help with proactive alarm design.

Create an Alarm Code Management System

Recently, we created a post answering the popular question “What Happens After My Alarm Goes Off?” In that post, we shared that our customers generally use their alarm’s keypad to disarm their security system using a 4-digit alarm code of their choosing. Individuals use this code to “disarm” the security system after entering the property. Often, customers only create one alarm code to give all alarm users. After all, why make things more complicated than they have to be? Unfortunately, this mindset can create a security risk.

A Concord 4 Alarm Panel with Backup Batttery

Stocking up on backup batteries, such as the Interstate Battery model shown here inside of an Interlogix Concord 4 panel, can keep your alarm running even through extended power outages.

We encourage our alarm customers to create different alarm codes for each alarm user. That way, you can delete each user’s code after you do not anticipate needing it anymore. Our commercial customers who experience employee turnover find this tip especially helpful. After all, it keeps former employees from using the company code to come back and burglarize their old business down the road! Homeowners can also still gain security from following this tip. For example, you may need to give a code to a house sitter or contractor while away from the house at some point. Providing these individuals with a temporary alarm code that you delete after returning home will create more security than giving away your own personal alarm code. Next, let’s look at how power outages can affect your alarm, and how to prepare for them.

Keep Your Alarm Running Through Power Outages

Power outages provide a unique threat to our customers’ security. For starters, power outages can disable many types of safety-related electronic equipment. Security lighting, cameras, and other electronics often cease to work during these events. Therefore, burglars will work extra hard to commit their crimes during periods when your property has no power. Additionally, power outages can even shut down your security system itself! Fortunately, we have a solution for exactly this problem.

When we install an alarm, we provide a backup battery within the alarm panel itself. This battery will keep a system powered up for 1-2 days during a power outage. Of course, this provides a great backup against short-term outages. And for long-term periods of no power? Simply stock up on backup batteries! We frequently sell extra backup batteries to customers looking to ensure that their alarms stay on when they need them the most. Purchasing an extra battery or two when we install an alarm system is a great way to stay proactive. Let’s now look at how to view your home through a burglar’s eyes when designing your security system.

Secure both “Popular” and “Vulnerable” Areas of Your Home

During our site surveys, many of our customers focus on the most “popular” areas of their homes. For example, easy-to-access doorways, front windows, and areas of the home with valuables often receive special attention. However, burglars view your home with a different set of eyes. Rather than focusing on convenience or immediately getting into rooms with valuables, burglars often focus on staying hidden. Once inside the house, they can worry about getting to the right rooms. However, just getting inside remains the initial focus.

This means that areas of your home that you may not think of as “standard” entry points come into play. For example, basement doors inside hatchways and back windows hidden from the views of your neighbors will attract a thief more than a well-lit front doorway. Securing hidden and out-of-the-way areas of your home is one of the most effective proactive alarm design tips that we can offer. Now, as a last tip, let’s take a look at how connecting additional devices to your alarm can greatly increase your overall security!

A Yale smart lock and Alarm.com app open on a smartphone

Our cellular dialer allows customers to control smart appliances, such as this Yale touchscreen lock, with their Alarm.com app.

Connect Your Alarm to Other Security-Related Devices

During this day and age, our customers expect to connect their alarm systems to other appliances that can add security. At Northeast Security Solutions, we can satisfy this demand with flying colors. We generally monitor our alarm systems through our cellular dialer powered by Alarm.com. This dialer creates a connection between your security system and our central station using a cellular network rather than a connection through a telephone line. This allows our alarms to stay monitored during periods where the phone lines go down. Furthermore, many of our customers cancel their traditional phone service after installing our cell dialer. This allows them to save money rather than pay for a service that more and more people bypass these days.

In addition to these benefits, our cellular dialer acts as a smart home hub. This means that you can install connected appliances and control them with the Alarm.com app. Smart lights, smart locks, smart cameras, and other devices can all add security to your alarm system. If you are in the market for a home security  system, our 7 Important Security System Add-Ons for Your Smart Home can give you some great security-related smart home ideas. Likewise, our post sharing Smart Technology Security Solutions for Your Business will help you with some ideas for adding smart security products in commercial settings.

Using Proactive Alarm Design to Your Advantage

We hope that you will put our proactive alarm design tips to work for you while designing your alarm system! Additionally, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have about the material in this post. We will be happy to answer any security-related queries you may have. Furthermore, we encourage you to take advantage of our free site survey program. We offer free site visits for both new and existing customers alike. While onsite, we can address any security concerns you may have. Moreover, we can make suggestions of our own based on what we see during our visit. Together, we can create a complete security plan to keep you and your entire property as safe and secure as possible!