When home or business owners sit down to design a security system, they often find themselves overwhelmed. After all, the security industry consists largely of products that consumers know very little about. Unlike car or furniture shopping, alarm shopping is often done by customers who do not know much about their options or preferences. Furthermore, security systems offer a wide variety of technology and pricing options. This can make designing an effective alarm difficult. Fortunately, we are here to help. In this post, we share some security system “do’s” and “don’ts.” We will address multiple aspects of alarm design with these tips.

For starters, we’ll look at how the best alarm designs come to fruition. As a counterpoint, we’ll also share some markings of an ineffective alarm. Additionally, we will look at creating an effective system for code management. Again, we will also look at the dangers of taking the opposite approach to this tip. Finally, we will also look at choosing a monitoring option that works for you. Then, we will discuss the dangers of many alarm company’s default security monitoring option. Now, let’s get started with a look at effective security system design!

Do: Work with a Professional to Design Your Alarm

At Northeast Security Solutions, we always work with our customers to design the best alarm system for each and every application. Moreover, we provide this consultation at no cost. After all, no two locations have exactly the same layout. Moreover, no two customers have exactly the same security concerns. Some customers want to secure their property like Fort Knox. Others wish to create efficient, “basic” security that catches burglars before they get too far with their crimes. Still others design alarm systems with smart home functionality in mind. Of course, many customers use a combination of various appoaches. We highly recommend working with an alarm company to create a system that works for you. Additionally, our post on Choosing the Right Security Provider can help you do so. Now, let’s look at the approach that directly contradicts the one described here.

A flyer with stars reading "bargain"

Beware shopping for alarm “bargains,” as sale prices often include pre-determined amounts of alarm contacts, rather than a system that properly secures your home.

Don’t: Install a Security System “Package”

It may surprise you to learn that many alarm systems get installed with no design process taking place at all. Next time you see an ad for an alarm system that includes a price, read the fine print. Often, you will find an equipment list associated with this pricing. Naturally, installing additional equipment costs more money than the advertised price. Unfortunately, this can lead to a couple issues. Sometimes, customers will end up installing an ineffective alarm in order to get the desired price. This may leave areas of a property under-secured, or even unsecured altother!

On the flip side, customers may decide to go with additional security sensors. This often happens when the technician shows up and “upsells” the customer on additional equipment. This can lead to making pressure-based decisions and paying more than intended. For these reasons, we strongly recommend avoiding these alarm “packages.” Let’s contiue our discussion of security system “do’s” and “don’ts” with a look at user code management.

D0: Set Up and Manage User Codes for Each Authorized Alarm User

When we install an alarm system, we program alarm codes chosen by our customers. Often, we only program one or two initial user codes. Then, we show customers how to add more codes as needed. Conversely, we also show customers how to delete outdated alarm codes. If you have an alarm and have forgotten how to do this, we encourage you to reach out to your alarm company.  Following this security tip can help you better control who has access to your property, and when. Now, let’s look at the unfortunate approach followed by customers who do not follow this advice.

Don’t: Give Out the Same Code to Multiple People to Enter Your Home

If you have one alarm code for all alarm users, then you’ve greatly decreased your alarm’s effectiveness. Unfortunately, people who may have needed to disarm your security system at one point may come back months or even years later with less-than-pure intentions. If you do not properly manage you alarm codes, these individuals will have no trouble getting past your alarm.

A hand entering a code on a keypad

If you have multiple alarm users entering the same security system code, you could be hurting your security.

Furthermore, many of our customers have monitoring methods that track alarm use. This allows them to view alarm history, including who arms and disarms the security system, and when. Customers who use one alarm code greatly lessen the value of this security. After all, you cannot track who’s really arming and disarming the security system if you fail to create different codes for each alarm user! Next, let’s look at one more set of security system “do’s” and “don’ts” related to alarm monitoring options.

Do: Find a Monitoring Solution that Works for You

The vast majority of our customers take advatage of one of our alarm monitoring services. These monitoring options create a connection between our customers’ alarms and our central station. Upon activation, our monitored alarms create a central station response originating from a live operator. The operator attempts to reach the customer to check on the issue. If needed, the central station then creates an emergency dispatch of the proper authorities.

We offer several different means of security monitoring, as well as some additional alarm tracking options. For example, we can use cellular networks or an internet connection to monitor our alarms. Futhermore, we offer services to track alarm use, as we discussed in the previous section. If desired, we can even provide you with text alerts from your alarm directly to your cell phone! We encourage you to read our post sharing Unique Security Monitoring Options for more information. Now, let’s share one of our most valuable tips for choosing alarm monitoring.

An orange phone with a cord

If you rely on your property’s old-fashioned phone lines for monitoring, you will not experience the most consistent monitoring available.

Don’t: Rely on Phone Lines for Alarm Monitoring

Traditional alarm monitoring involves connecting a customer’s home phone lines to their alarm panel. In turn, this creates the connection needed between the alarm and our central station to monitor the security system. Unfortunately, this monitoring method comes with its share of limitations. For starters, any phone outage will create an interruption in alarm monitoring. Moreover, burglars often cut their victims’ phone lines before committing their crimes. This would also cut off your alarm from calling our central station if you depend on your home phone for monitoring.

These days, we prefer to monitor our alarms with a cellular dialer. Cellular dialers, such as ours powered by Alarm.com, monitor your alarm through the use of major cellular networks. This means that the issues we brought up earlier will not affect your alarm. Furthermore, our cellular dialer even allows for the alarm use tracking and text notifications that we mentioned earlier. Finally, our cellular dialer allows you to control your alarm remotely. The additional security and convenience these options provide makes Alarm.com monitoring our most popular monitoring option for both residential and commercial customers alike.

Making Your Knowledge of Security System “Do’s” and “Don’ts” Work for You

We hope that this post on security system “do’s” and “don’ts” has given you some valuable alarm use tips. Moreover, we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about the material in this post. We will happily answer your security-related questions. Furthermore, we offer free site surveys to both new and existing customers alike. While on site, we can address any security concerns you may have. Additionally, we can also make suggestions of our own based on our findings during our visit. Together, we can design an alarm and a complete security plan to keep you, your most valuable possessions, and your loved ones as safe and secure as possible!


All images used under the CC0 Public Domain License.