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In today’s uncertain world, many households have security systems to protect their home and person.  Many types of security systems are available, depending on whether they are hard wired or wireless, the types of protection provided, and whether they are remotely monitored.  Some of the considerations in the cost of a home security system are the following:


1.     Wired systems are usually more expensive and are usually installed when the home is built.  However, it is possible to retrofit most homes with a wired system.  Wireless systems are generally less expensive systems, with more limited options available. Wireless systems have sensors that are battery powered, with batteries requiring periodic replacement.


2.     The more types of security options included in the system, the more expensive. Options include perimeter protection of the exterior doors and windows, interior protection generally provided by motion detectors and glass break sensors, smoke and heat detectors connected to the security system, and many other options.


3.     Most systems include a control panel that monitors the sensors and issues an alarm if security is breached, or a fire is detected.  If the system is hard-wired, battery back-up is generally available.


4.     Many systems offer the option of having the system connected to the security company’s central monitoring station by telephone line, so the system is monitored off-site and police or fire are called to the scene if warranted.  Be aware of the following considerations of having central monitoring.


a.  There is a monthly charge for this service which can range from $10-$30 per month or more.  This is a big profit center for security companies, and most local security companies contract with one of the few regional and national companies that provide the actual monitoring.  So, prices vary widely for the same identical service. It definitely pays to shop around. Definitely try not to pay any more than $10-$15 per month.  And make sure your home insurance company knows you have monitoring. You should get a discount.


b.  If you have monitoring service and the security system is set off, you will receive a call asking if help is needed.  If you do not give the proper password help will be sent.  If you are not home (and therefore cannot respond to the security company’s phone call) help will be sent.  Most alarms received are false alarms because the alarm was accidentally tripped.  Because of the number of false alarms responded to by police and fire departments, many towns have started charging residents for false alarms.  Check with your town to determine their policy.


c.  One of the “dirty little secrets” of central monitoring by phone line is that the phone line can easily be cut, so that no signal is sent to the monitoring station, although it will still sound in your home (if configured that way).  Although, in some systems, the central station will get a signal that something is wrong with the phone line. Unfortunately, most phone lines are exposed on the outside of your home where they enter the home.  It is not difficult to cut these lines, thus rendering central station monitoring pretty ineffective.  If your phone lines are exposed at all on the exterior of your home, make sure they are protected by conduit or some other shielding so they cannot simply be cut with a knife.  Otherwise, central station monitoring for burglaries is a costly service that may not be very meaningful.