So, you’ve been thinking about a diy security alarm system, but you don’t know where to begin. You’ve done some Internet searches and are overwhelmed by the choices. You can easily become confused when viewing such a large number of alarm system web sites. It’s time to get a piece of paper and jot down a few simple questions to ask yourself. Number one; where is your security alarm system going, and what do you expect to get from it? This is an important question, because it will help you focus on the type of alarm system you require. Securing a standalone shop/garage is quite different then securing an office. You would most likely choose different equipment to secure a factory, with an on-site office, compared to securing your family home or vacation home. Knowing how security alarms work will help you pick the best diy security alarm system for your needs.
A standalone shop/garage would be easy to wire and having exposed wire inside is not usually a problem. However, in your home, wiring will need to be concealed inside the walls. Securing an office, where everyone will be going home at five o’clock, usually would only need a simple alarm motion detector system. Alarm sensors on every window and door may not be necessary. A factory with an onsite office could have different needs. Employees may be working on weekends and need access to the factory but are not allowed in the office. In this case, you will need an alarm system that has partitions, which would allow part of the security system to remain armed, while part is disarmed. If you find yourself confused by security terms or how alarm devices’ work, web sites such as www.securityalarminfo.com have sections dedicated to security terminology and alarm devise descriptions.
Question two; now that you know what you are securing, what will you expect from your system? Let’s say you are securing your home. Do you plan on using it only when you are away or will you be using it when you go to bed at night? What is the difference you ask yourself? All professional alarm systems allow you to arm them in one of two ways, usually referred to as ‘stay’ or ‘away’. Sensors that are labeled interior protection, such as motion detectors, are affected by the arming method selected. When arming the system in ‘stay’ mode, you are telling it that someone is staying home. In that case, you would want the windows and doors armed, but the interior protection disabled, so you can move around inside. Arming the system to ‘away’ would mean to put on both, perimeter and interior protection, since no one will be moving around inside.
Now let’s see how this applies to your situation. Are you the type of person who says, I don’t need a security alarm system when I’m home, only when I’m away? If so, a simple motion detector system, such as may be used in an office or vacation home, could be right for you. If, on the other hand, your goal is to secure your family in at night, a complete perimeter protection system will be required. A typical professional alarm system, installed by a security company would normally recommend doing all of your moveable perimeter openings, as well as, one or two interior traps using motion detectors. This method would provide the maximum protection for your family while at home.
Question three; wired alarm system or wireless alarm system? This may seem like a simple question at first, but there is a big tradeoff between dollars and labor, when it comes to alarm systems. First of all, look at the windows and doors of your home to be sure it was not pre-wired during construction. This will make your installation much easier and we would recommend using the wires, if they are already in place. If not, are you able to drill down to the basement or up to the attic and run the wiring yourself? As unpleasant as that thought maybe, a weekend wiring project may save you a lot of money. Considering a wireless alarm system generally costs more than four times the cost of a wired alarm, your savings may be substantial.
Now that you have an organized plan, and some ideas about how you want your alarm system to work, it’s time to shop. Web sites such as www.intellahome.com or www.udoitalarms.com are an excellent source for diy alarm equipment. Sticking with a nationally recognized name brand is a good idea for most diy security alarm installers. Manufactures like Honeywell/Ademco are industry standards and can be serviced by most companies. This may be important if you need a service call, by a local company, a year or two down the road. Wherever you decide to purchase, be sure that friendly support is available. Installation manuals for professional alarm systems are usually written in ‘tech speak’, you may need help understanding some of the instructions. Ask if support is free and available evenings and weekends, the time most diy installers will be working on their projects.