Wire Excellence

Choosing a Security System

for Your Family

You can't read through one newspaper or watch one television newscastwithout being alerted to the crime wave invading all areas of the country.One of the best ways to prevent your family from becoming another statisticis by installing a 24-hour electronic home security system. But how do yougo about selecting a security system and professional installer?  Thereareseveral things to consider before making this important purchase.

One of your primary concerns should be the reputation of the securitysystems dealer. Electronic security isn't a short term investment. You mustlook for one who is reliable and will be around years from now when you needto upgrade or expand. You also want to be sure that the company's employeesare all professional and experienced. Installers should have pride in theirwork and be neat and efficient when installing the equipment. The serviceforce should respond whenever you have a problem. Some companies can evenhandle problems over the phone by servicing your system remotely from a computer.This gets the job accomplished without being bothered by a service call.

When you meet with the right company, you will feel that the dealershipis interested in more than just selling an alarm system. They will exhibita sincere concern for your family's well-being. For example, Wire Excellenceprovides information free of charge about personal safety, child safety andwill even help you develop afire escapeplan.

You should also consider the type of equipment the company is using. Makesure that your dealer uses products from a manufacturer that has a brandname you can trust. Products should meetor exceed industry standards such as an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing.A solid warranty package is another thing to contemplate. If your installationcompany uses a reputable security manufacturer then the chances that theequipment will fail are minimal. In the rare occurrence that something doesgo wrong, there will be no hassles in getting a replacement product.

In today's economic times, price may also be a concern. Many companiesadvertise entry level systems that provide "something is better than nothing"protection. If you are considering a basic system, be prepared to purchaseadditional items that will customize the system for your home. This may meanadding additional burglary protection, fire protection and convenience suchas a second or third keypad.

Customizing a System

Once you have chosen an installer, you will want to select a systemtailored to your specific security needs. To determine what is best for yourfamily, a security professional should spend some time discussing your lifestyle.

Are there particular areas of your home that will need additional security?If so, you may want a system that offers partitioning capability. This meansthat the system can be set up so security in certain special areas can bedifferent from the rest of the house. For example, if you have valuable jewelryin your bedroom or a gun room that needs to be protected, the system cankeep these areas armed, even when the rest of the house is disarmed.

Choose a System that is Easy to Operate

If you customize a system, that does not mean it has to be difficultto use. You want to combine the most advanced technology with the simplestoperation. What good is a system if it's so complicated you find it hardto use. The easiest systems to use report the status of each zone in plainEnglish, requiring no blinking lights or numbered codes. For instance, ifyour son left a window open, the keypad would signal, "Fault - Pete's BedroomWindow," eliminating the guesswork.

This issue of simplicity is especially important if younger children aregoing to use the system. Some products can be programmed so that a childcan press just one button instead of a four digit code to operate some functionsof the security system.

How It Works

Once you have selected the features you would like, you should befamiliar with how a security system operates.

The brains and communications of the system are contained in the controlpanel. This panel is a metal box housing the electronics and is often hiddenfrom sight, in a closet for example. Various kinds of sensors are connectedto the control panel from their locations around the home.

There are sensors for two basic types of protection: perimeter and interior.Perimeter protection sensors are located at the vulnerable entry points ofthe home, such as doors and accessible windows. These would include magneticcontacts and glassbreak sensors.

Interior sensors detect motion inside your home. One example would bea Passive Infrared Detector (PIR) which detects motion through body heat.There are also devices called dual technology detectors. In order for theseto sound an alarm, two technologies have to be tripped such as PIR and microwave.These are traditionally used in harsh environments. Smoke and fire detectorsare other types of interior protection since they are located inside, usuallyhigh on walls or ceilings.

When a sensor reports a "catch" to the control panel, it analyzes thereport to determine which sensor it came from and whether the problem isan intruder, fire or an emergency. After this quick analysis, the controlpanel can sound a siren or activate lights, and can alert a 24-hour monitoringservice that then can verify the alarm and dispatch police, fire or medicalhelp as necessary.  Typically, the monitoring service is notified bya digital message sent over regular telephone lines.  To protect againstphone line failures or line cuts, a cellular radio service known asAlarmNet providesadditional security.

To operate the alarm system, you use the security keypad. From the keypadyou give commands to the control panel to activate or deactivate the system.The most traditional form of a security console is the keypad. This is oftenlocated near frequently used entrance doors.

Today, people are accustomed to using remote control devices and Wire Excellence is reacting to this trend.  With Wire Excellence EnhancedSecurity, your system can be controlled by wireless portable keypadsor transmitters the size of key chains. These devices allow you to activatethe system from inside or outside the home. This is particularly useful ifyou spend a lot of time in the backyard or by the pool. By adding a wirelesscontrol to your package, you have extra mobility while still maintaininga great sense of security.

If you are still not comfortable with using any type of keypad, Wire Excellence's Enhanced Security offers a system that uses a veryfamiliar interface: the telephone. If an installer includes a telephone voicemodule in your package, you will be able to access information from any on-siteor remote TouchTone phone. This is especially convenient when you have alreadyreached work and are unsure if you've armed the system. All you do is callfrom any TouchTone phone to check the status. The system respondswith a digitized voice message. Click here for ademonstration.(41K WAV file).

When you select the proper alarm system, you can be confident that youhave installed the very best where second best is never good enough.

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