When we published our post tackling Ten Common Home Security Myths, we discussed the reluctance of many individuals to install security. In that post, we discuss false alarms, difficult technology, and other reasons homeowners decide against installing alarm systems. However, some customers who overcome this fear still have a negative security experience. Whether installing alarm systems as a DIY project or through a professional security company, poor installation techniques can ruin customers’ experience with their alarm system. In this post, we share how to identify, fix, and avoid security system installation mistakes.

We will begin by stressing the importance of a careful design process. Some security system installation mistakes stem from failing to plan ahead. From there, we will look at specific equipment installation mistakes. Equipment installed improperly or in poor locations lowers a home’s security quite a bit. We will also examine some equipment that homeowners often overlook. Finally, we will address alarm monitoring options that many security customers fail to take advantage of. After all, proper security monitoring makes up a large part of any effective home security plan. Let’s begin by examining how failing to plan ahead can lead to a negative security experience.

Failing to Take the Time Required for Effective Alarm System Design

When we install an alarm system, we attempt to leave all possible options on the table for future expansion. For example, we can usually add additional security contacts or upgrade customers’ alarm monitoring as needed. However, failing to take the time to get the basics of alarm system design figured out at the start can lead to issues. Choosing the wrong alarm panel, for example, can keep you stuck on an inadequate level of technology for years to come.

A QOLSYS IQ Panel 2 with a disaply showing the system is disarmed

Many alarm keypads, including the QOLSYS IQ Panel 2, display when the system is disarmed. Putting this display in sight of passersby can lead to danger.

Let’s say you own a small business and have a basic burglar alarm installed. If you attempt to add fire detection to this panel at a later date, you will find that you need to change your security panel to a UL-Listed Commercial burglar and fire panel to legally complete this work. Making the right equipment selection from the get-go will prevent this scenario. Additionally, many customers settle for the least expensive equipment they can install at a given time. This can lead to both technological and security compromises down the road. We recommend our post on Smart Security System Design to help you ask the right questions during this important process. Now, let’s look one of the most easily-avoided security system installation mistakes that we commonly find.

Placing Alarm Keypads in Poor Locations

Many alarm keypads helpfully display their status on an LCD or touchscreen-based display. This often includes the time, date, and system arming status. Whether coming or going, this allows alarm users to quickly diagnose their next steps to arm or disarm the security system as needed. Unfortunately, many customers install these keypads within easy view of a door or window. This can temp burglars for a couple reasons.

For starters, this placement may allow thieves to determine that your alarm system will not activate upon entering your home or business. Maybe you planned on returning quickly and didn’t want to bother with the alarm. Or even worse, maybe you’re onsite while a criminal scopes out the site. Either way, if a burglar sees a sign and stickers advertising an alarm, you do not want them to then find a keypad and see a “disarmed” status displayed.

Additionally, visible keypads may tempt burglars to attempt a “smash and grab” burglary. This involves breaking in and immediately breaking the alarm equipment. We do offer protection against this type of attack in the form of cellular security monitoring, which you can read about in our post on Unique Security Monitoring Options. However, even with cellular monitoring in place, we install alarm equipment in places not visible from the outside whenever possible. Let’s look at another easily-avoided — yet still prevalent — alarm installation issue.

The sun shining through a window

If installed incorrectly, a motion detector can create a false alarm when the sun shines through a window.

Installing Alarm Sensors Inefficiently or Improperly

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, inefficient 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.

We certainly do not recommend going through the trouble of installing an alarm system only to take partial measures while doing so. In some cases, customers have options available to them that they can ask their alarm company about. For example, installing motion detectors or glass break detectors can efficiently cover rooms with windows. These measure will not cost as much as installing individual contacts on each window.

Additionally, we also find equipment installed in a manner that may create false alarms. Improper sensor installation can cause false alarms and loss of security. DIY alarm customers often experience these headaches because they are not aware of certain installation precautions. For example, motion detectors directly in front of windows may activate when the sun shines through the windows. This happens because motion detectors sense an increase in a room’s temperature. Instead, we install motion detectors in corners of a room that allow them to secure an areas without being pointed directly at a window. Consulting an alarm company for your installation greatly decreases these types of risks. Now, let’s examine some security equipment that many homeowners fail to install¬†and might not even be aware of.

Failing to Install Additional Security and Smart Home-Related Equipment

Many customers fail to get the most out of their alarm systems due to not exploring all of their options. Customers installing alarm systems always look for a measure of security against a burglary. Additionally, many of our customers also install monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detection on these systems as well. However, many customers are surprised to learn that their alarm systems can do much more.

An Alarm.com notification indicating a dangerously low temperature

Many customers are surprised to learn that their alarm can act as a hub for smart home devices and notifications, such as this alert created by a smart thermostat.

We offer sensors that provide environmental alerts, including freeze sensors, flood sensors, and low temperature detectors. Additionally, we can connect your alarm system to smart home products that allow you to connect to and control your home’s appliances like never before. Smart thermostats, doorbells, lights, locks, and more can all work with your alarm system to add both security and convenience to your home.

Of course, failing to add these appliances does not remove security from your alarm the way some of the security system installation mistakes described in this post do. However, knowing all of your options certainly pays off. We’ve pleasantly surprised many of our customers by unleashing the full security and smart home power of their alarm systems. For more information on smart home products, feel free to check out our 7 Important Security System Additions for Your Smart Home. Now, let’s look at how ineffective monitoring can neutralize a security system.

Settling for Non-Existent or Inadequate Central Station Monitoring

Many alarm customers struggle with the decision to add central station monitoring. A non-monitored alarm system does create a blaring siren response to a break-in. However, burglars do not always leave upon activating a siren — especially at homes in remote locations. Furthermore, non-monitored alarm systems do not create any fire department dispatch for a fire. In an empty home, smoke detection monitoring can save your home by creating this emergency response. For these reasons, we always recommend having your alarm system monitored.

Just as we do with security equipment, we also provide a variety of security monitoring options. We mentioned the benefits of cellular alarm monitoring earlier in this post. This service provides the most consistent and reliable monitoring service, as phone line outages will no longer affect your alarm’s ability to communicate with the central station and create an emergency dispatch. Our post answering the question “Should I Have My Security System Monitored?” examines the ways that adding the most effective monitoring helps you get the most out of your alarm system.

Avoiding Common Security System Installation Mistakes

We hope that this post has given you some ideas for avoiding these common security system installation mistakes. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about the material in this post. Perhaps you plan on installing an alarm system soon and want it done right. Or maybe you have an alarm system that you’ve had some difficulty with. Either way, we provide free home site surveys for both new and existing alarm customers. While on site, we can answer any security-related questions you may have. We can also make our own suggestions and equipment recommendations. Together, we can design a home alarm system that does what you need to keep you, your valuables, and your family as safe and secure as possible.