Home Alarm System
When I built my home one of the major considerations was a Home Alarm System. I wanted to make sure I had a great system at a good price. So as with all the aspects of Building my own home I did my Research. I know you have heard it from me a hundred times on the other pages but it is the most important thing you can do.
The first thing I did was go to the internet and research alarm companies and found out that it was mainly a local market. Does this sound familiar? It is very similar to the new home construction market. Why? Because it requires installation, by a knowledgeable contractor.
What does this mean to you the folks that want to build your own home? It means if you want to have a Home Alarm you have to make some initial choices. Sound familiar? It should; it is very similar to what we discussed on the New Home
The best way to approach installing a Home Alarm System in your new home requires initially reviewing your options. Once you have decided what is best for your needs then you can proceed.
Lets get started!
Home Alarm Option #1 You Hire a Alarm Company
This is by far the easy way. But, is it the best?
We have all seen the ads for the major home alarm companies. They protect our home 24 hours a day, and it is all done for a nominal fee. In fact most of them offer a free or very cheap system just for singing a multi year contract. Whats the catch?
The catch is they install a very limited (cheap) system and then monitor it for multiple years at a monthly cost around $20 to $30. You sign a contract agreeing to pay for their monitoring service. If you want to sell your home you are still obligated to the monitoring contract.
The Free Home Alarm now has a price tag of say $20 to $30 dollars a month for 2 to 3 years. You do get the monitoring, but is it really free?
The other drawback is the system they install does not cover the whole house (unless you are willing to pay more). Usually they will install a front door, and/or a back door, and maybe one motion sensor. What happens if someone decides to break in where you are not covered?
Prior to building our home I talked to 3 local alarm companies that were franchises of major companies. After receiving bids form them it became obvious that if I wanted a good system that covered all my openings (doors & windows) and had a couple of motion sensors it was going to cost me thousands.
I wanted a good system that would keep my family safe. There had to be a better way!
Home Alarm Option #2 Install a Wireless System
A wireless alarm system can be installed anytime on your home. What am I talking about? A traditional home alarm system is hardwired to each door, window motion sensor, keypad etc
. It is much easier to wire the system during house construction. More on this later.
This gives the wireless system an edge. You can put it in after the house is finished. The only drawback to wireless system is higher cost and false alarms. Wireless systems have come a long way in the last several years and many people use them. They can also be monitored and reputable companies will install them.
Many Wireless Home Alarm Systems require battery changes and are more expensive. For my needs I wanted a system that once installed would be dependable and require little or no maintenance.
Home Alarm Option #3 You Contract it Yourself
This option should sound familiar to you the Owner Builder. I choose this option and did the Research to find out how.
The home alarm installation is done in two major stages. The first stage is pre-wiring. The installer can do this in a day and it is accomplished at rough in. Go to the
Home Construction Page
and look at the section for rough in of electrical and plumbing. If you look at the third picture (the one on the bottom) you will see a pigtail of wires on the right all taped together. These are the home alarm wires to be installed in the control box.
Ok, where was I? Thats right the first stage of installation. The installer will come out at rough in (or pre-wire) and run all the wires in the walls and ceiling for all the openings (windows and doors), motion sensors, smoke sensors, keypads and whatever else you decide to install.
It is a good idea to bring the alarm installer in after the plumber and electrician are done. Why? Good Question! Because the alarm wires will get torn up by these guys. Alarm wires are durable but the plumber will be soldering pipe and the electricians will be pulling heavy wire. By the way this goes for the Heating and Air Conditioning people to. Let them finish then have the alarm wiring done.
One other thing. Most of the alarm installers and companies also install intercoms and central vacuum systems. You can talk to them about this also.
The second Stage of home alarm installation is trim out and install of the devices. After sheetrock and wall finish the installer will come back and put in the contact switches (that he could not install on the doors and windows before) motion detectors, smoke sensors, keypads etc
. It is to be noted that the installer will probably do most of the contact switches on the rough wiring. The only reason that it would not be done is if a door or window has not been installed. This happens if you are waiting on an order or one is broken.
The installer will program the system and hook it up to monitoring, and your done. I waited until I was done with my finish work to bring the installer back to finish. This makes it easier to paint or do finishing without the alarm components in the way.
About this time you probably want to know where to find an installer for your alarm system. Guess what? It is time to do some Research. Click on the link below and follow the instructions. The installers will be under the electrical section. You may be wondering if the electrician you contract will do your alarm install. Generally the answer is no. This is a specialized installation.
One more thing to note before you do your research. Many of these companies that you will be referred to will be alarm companies. Do not let that sway you. The contractor that did my alarm installation was from a franchised alarm company. They wanted to do the whole 9 yards but I told them only the installation. Why? Go do your Research and then I will tell you!
Find Local Contractors
OK, You have done your research. You now have at least 3 to choose from (or you will have soon). Remember what we discussed earlier get three bids and choose the right one for you. If you need more information
on choosing the right Home Alarm System Contractor go to the Contractor Page.
I decided it was in my best interest when I built my home to put in the most home alarm for my money. That required me to buy my own equipment and hire a contractor to install it.
The install was around $450.00 for a 3800 square foot house. Could I have done it myself? Probably; but it is better to hire a good qualified contractor. The contractor did all the pre-wiring (three man crew) on rough then came back, did all trim out, the programming, and it was done. If you have the time, you may want to do it yourself, but you dont want to hold up the construction process while you figure it out. Remember time is money and the interest clock is ticking!
What else do we need for a Home Alarm? Oh Yeah! You need the alarm to install and all the trimmings. The key to a great alarm system is professional equipment. You can hire all the contractors in the world but if they install junk, you got junk!
There are many cheap low-grade non-professional systems out there. Take your time do your research. Very few companies will sell professional alarm equipment to the public. In fact, I had problems finding any when I was building. Most everybody wanted me to buy the whole deal with expensive monitoring and a long-term contract. Get the most for your money!
I installed a top of the line security system, labor and parts for under $800 dollars. I have my home alarm system monitored for under $10 per month. The lowest bid I got from a full service alarm company for this house was $2295 if I signed a 3-year contract and that was with a cheaper system!
If you already have a completed Home and want to install a home alarm the procedure is a little different. Installers will fish the wires through your walls and run them through the attic or however they can. This is a common practice.
Alarm companies do this on a regular basis. All you have to do is Research you alarm contractors through the links provided above and purchase your equipment.
You can find professional equipment, good monitoring, and free technical support at the following companies:
Home Technology Store
For more Information on Home Alarms Go to the
Home Alarm Knowledge Center.
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