Saturday, February 2, 2013

Free Home Security Systems?

Everyone likes the word “Free”. Most of us see the value of a home security system. A free home security system can be a great thing if its installed correctly. Unfortunately many security installations aren’t up to par. We just had an Austin homeowner call us with a really bad experience. Someone came by his house offering free security systems. The equipment looked nice and the sales person was knowledgable. When it came time for the installation the homeowner realized he may have made a mistake. The free security equipment consisted of an attractive color keypad, but large, unsightly wireless sensors.

The technician left claiming the system was finished, but the system still wasn't operational. After arming the system from the keypad, the homeowner could open all of the doors without the system ever going into alarm mode! There were even a few doors that didn't have any security sensors at all. After more than 10 phone calls to the alarm company to try to get them to fix the system, the homeowner decided to scrap the free alarm system and get a professional home security system installed, he called us. We started with the idea that we would need wireless sensors everywhere but after we looked in the attic, we realized that we could hardwire many of the door and motion sensors. It took more time to install the system that way, but we were able to offset the cost by crediting back the wireless door sensors we would have installed. There were still a few places that we couldn’t get wires, so we installed recessed wireless contacts on those doors. You can see in the photo below that the recessed wireless sensor is barely visible in the frame of the door.

Now that we are finished, all of the doors have alarm sensors, the homeowner has hardwired motion detectors throughout the house, and he has monitored smoke detectors in every room that will contact the fire department in the case of a fire. We setup an IP communicator that uses the internet to transmit the alarm signals. This is the fastest method of communication, sending the alarm signals in a fraction of the time it would take using a phone line. There is also a cell-backup built in to the communicator that will use a wireless cellular network to transmit the signals in case the internet is down. Finally we set the homeowner up with an iPhone app that lets him arm, disarm, bypass, and check the status of his security system from anywhere in the world. 

Concept Electronics offers free security systems and have many happy clients, but its important to know what you’re getting into with a free home security system. Nothing is free in this world, free security systems are actually financed security systems. That is why they need your credit score and a 3-year contract. This is a great solution for many people that don’t have the ability to pay for a system up front. If you can afford it, a professional security system is the way to go. Purchasing the equipment outright offers several benefits. 

  • The contract period is usually shorter, Concept Electronics has month to month security monitoring contracts for purchased or existing security systems. We believe that if you’re unhappy with our service, you should have the freedom to change your monitoring. 
  • You can choose higher quality equipment that will last longer and be more reliable. Free security systems come with the least expensive equipment available, you do get what you pay for. If wireless sensors are necessary, they are typically large, surface-mount sensors that detract from your home’s aesthetics. I always recommend recessed sensors, they are more secure and invisible when the door or window is closed.
  • The installation will be more thorough. Many security companies pay their technicians by the job. This motivates the tech to finish the installation as quickly as possible which can lead to mistakes and sloppy workmanship. All of our employees are paid hourly, so they can afford take the time to explore the best way to accomplish a given task.

If you do opt for a financed security system make sure to ask the salesperson as many questions as you can. You’ll want to know about the company’s contract period, opt-out options, service/maintenance policy, and service hours of operation. If you don’t get clear answers then you may want to talk to another security company.