Over our 35 years in business, we’ve helped hundreds of customers design and install security systems that suit their unique security needs. We’ve long touted the importance of installing a burglar alarm as a cornerstone of any complete security plan. Equipping your home with a monitored security system marks one of the most important security decisions you can make. However, installing an alarm only marks the first step in experiencing the security these systems provide. Failure to follow up with proper care can lead to security issues down the road. In this post, we aim to help answer the question, “Why do alarms fail?”
To start, we’ll share how burglar alarms provide security. Then, we’ll go into the specific reasons this security can falter, and what you can do about it. These issues include failing to care for your alarm equipment. Additionally, careless alarm use habits can also cancel out your burglar alarm’s security features. Finally, we’ll also share how unreliable alarm monitoring can create a security threat. Now, let’s dive in with an overview of the important security provided by a burglar alarm.
Your Burglar Alarm Primer
When we install a burglar alarm, we have two goals in mind. First, we want to create an audible alert to a potential break-in at your home. A blaring siren response ensures that everyone in your house knows about the situation. Of course, at this point the criminals hear the sirens as well. This often gets them off of your property in a hurry. Obviously, this represents the most desirable scenario following an attempted breach.
Additionally, we also connect the security systems we install to our central station. In turn, our central station operators attempt to contact you in the case of an alarm. If necessary, the central station will also dispatch the authorities to check on the situation. This extra layer of security makes alarm monitoring an extremely important aspect of the overall security provided by an alarm. Now that we know how alarms should work, we also need to ask the question “Why do alarms fail?” in order to address any potential security shortcomings. In the next few sections, we do just that!
Why Do Alarms Fail?
When it comes to security systems failing, you may think it all has to do with the equipment. After all, with a system in place, how else could a criminal breach a property? While this represents a logical line of thought, we can often point to more nuanced issues than equipment failures. In this section, we run down some very important reasons that alarms my fail in different circumstances. Failing to proactively address each of these dangers can greatly decrease the security offered by your alarm. Let’s get started with a look at the importance of proper security system design.
Poor System Design
While it may seem simple to understand the security provided by a home alarm, creating this security does not always prove easy. In fact, a lot of work goes into designing a series of equipment that properly secures your home. For starters, many security companies use base “packages” that they sell for a discounted rate. These equipment packages may not represent the best way to secure your home. For example, a security system with 6 door/window contacts and 2 motion detectors can fail to address important areas such as picture windows, basement windows, and second-story windows with roof access from the bottom story.
As we point out in our post on The Dangers of “Budget” Security, effective alarm design involves working with customers and using the full array of security products at our disposal to provide proper alarm coverage. We can address the home in the scenario described above, for instance, by installing glass break detectors, basement window barrier bars, and additional window contacts to secure your home. While any alarm is still better than no alarm, careless alarm design leads to many security “holes.” For this reason, poor system design can often represent the answer to the question “Why do alarms fail?” Now, let’s check out some alarm use “best practices” that can spell danger if not followed.
Failure to Follow Alarm Use Best Practices
As we’ve alerady pointed out, installing a burglar alarm adds tremendous security to your home. However, a burglar with an alarm code can quite easily defeat this security. For this reason, we spend time “coaching” our customers on best practices to keep alarm codes safe and secure. For starters, we recommend choosing multiple codes for different people who may need to access your alarm. As an example, we do not recommend that you give a contractor or house sitter your primary alarm code. Instead, we encourage you to create multiple alarm codes, and then delete these codes when you no longer need them. In turn, this also keeps these guests from returning uninvited to your home down the road.
Moreover, we also offer monitoring services that allow you to track security system arming and disarming events. This means that you can review when people used your security system. Additionally, if you followed our advice about creating multiple alarm codes, you can also see who used their alarm codes at these times. The ability to fully track these important alarm events helps your alarm work for you even if someone disables it before taking something from your home. Next up, let’s see how our most popular security monitoring adds an important level of security for our customers.
Unreliable Monitoring Methods
Our security monitoring services involve tying your alarm in to our central station. Phone-based alarm monitoring represents the earliest form of connecting an alarm to our central station. Creating this monitoring involves tying a home’s existing phone lines into your new alarm system. While any form of alarm monitoring creates considerable security, traditional phone-based monitoring has its limitations. For starters, phone lines often fail due to inclement weather. This means that storms can interfere with your alarm monitoring. Furthermore, burglars often cut a home’s phone lines before attempting a break-in to negate any alarm’s monitoring service.
For these reasons, we strongly recommend using a cellular dialer to monitor your security system. When we refer to a “cellular dialer,” we are referencing a piece of equipment that provides a direct communication path between your alarm and our central station. These dialers use a cellular network, rather than a phone line, for their communication. Therefore, phone outages do not affect your alarm’s monitoring at all. Finally, our preferred cellular dialer, powered by Alarm.com, takes this security even further. Our Alarm.com customers can also use a mobile app to control their security systems and receive valuable alerts as well. The Alarm.com cell dialer and app represent our most secure and convenient monitoring option.
Putting it All Together
We hope that this post helps answer the question “Why do alarms fail?” Additionally, we also encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have about the material presented here. We will happily answer any and all of your security-related inquiries. Furthermore, we encourage 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 on site, we can address any security concerns you may have. Moreover, we can also make suggestions of our own based on obervations of your property made during our visit.
Perhaps you have an alarm in place now, but realize it may not work for you when you need it most. Or, maybe you have yet to install a security system, and want to build it right from the ground up. Either way, we are here to help! We’ve worked with hundreds of customers to design effective alarms that fit their security needs and meets their user experience expectations. Together, we can create a complete security plan that keeps your home, your valuables, and your family as safe and secure as possible!