You are in the market for your very first home security system. You are looking for the best value in terms of equipment. As for monitoring, you haven’t decided if you want to pay for it. Monitoring is the one part of the home security paradigm of which you are unsure.
No worries. You’re not alone. Home alarm monitoring used to be a straightforward deal in the days of wired security systems. But with the prevalence of wireless technology, there is more than one way to monitor a security system. You do not necessarily have to pay a monthly monitoring fee for professional service.
In the following paragraphs you will learn everything you need to know about home alarm monitoring. Armed with the information, you’ll be in a much better position to decide how you want to handle this particular aspect of your security plan. If you do choose to pay for professional monitoring, don’t be afraid to hold the service provider accountable. Your family’s safety could depend on.
Professional monitoring basics
Most people who choose to have their home security systems monitored go with professional monitoring. What is professional monitoring? It is a service provided by a company that employs monitoring specialists fully trained in how to respond to alarms in accordance with standard safety procedures and any applicable laws. Note that some home security companies provide monitoring services even for equipment they have not sold or installed. By the same token, there are home security companies that sell equipment but do not offer professional monitoring. It is really a mixed bag.
DIY monitoring basics
It used to be that home security systems could not be monitored if they were connected to remote monitoring centers. In such a case, the only way to monitor an unconnected system was to be home. That is no longer true thanks to DIY home security. In a DIY scenario, you can purchase wireless security equipment from department stores, electronics boutiques, or even directly from manufacturers. You can shop online or in person. Best of all, most devices come with mobile apps that let you monitor them on your own.
Maybe you are looking primarily for wireless video cameras. Buy two or three from the same manufacturer and you will be able to use a single mobile app to monitor them. As long as you have an internet connection, you’ll be able to check video feeds from anywhere.
Monthly monitoring fees
It goes without saying that you’ll pay monthly monitoring fees if you want professional monitoring. How much you pay depends on the company contract with. Of course, there are monitoring packages for every budget. The most basic are limited to burglary monitoring. But you can also pay for smoke, CO, and water monitoring. If a member of your family has chronic health issues, you can even pay for health emergency monitoring.
Be aware that some companies offer free equipment installation in exchange for you signing a monitoring agreement. They retain ownership of all equipment during the term. You pay the monthly monitoring fee to keep the equipment active. Should you decide to pay for professional monitoring, be sure you know where you stand in terms of equipment ownership. An arrangement in which you rent the equipment could mean that purchasing it outright and moving monitoring services to another provider isn’t possible.
How pro monitoring works
Professional home alarm monitoring is pretty simple from a technical standpoint. It has followed the same basic principles since first-generation home security systems were introduced decades ago. A wired home security system is directly connected to the remote monitoring center via telephone or broadband internet. A wireless system connects remotely through your local wi-fi network and internet router. In both cases, connection to the remote center is constant.
This constant connection facilitates immediate notification in the event an alarm is triggered. Let’s say your smoke alarm goes off. While it’s blaring a loud noise to get your attention, it is also sending a signal to your home security hub. From there, the signal is sent to the remote monitoring center. Monitoring personnel are alerted by their own electronic systems. They spring into action by attempting to make contact with you. Any indication that they are dealing with a legitimate emergency is motivation to call 911 on your behalf.
One of the main reasons for investing in monitored home security is around-the-clock protection. Note that monitoring is active 24/7 – whether you are home or not. Think about that for a minute. If you pay for professional monitoring, your home is being watched even while you are sleeping.
This does not mean that monitoring personnel are peering into your home through your security cameras. They aren’t. It simply means that their computer systems are communicating with your alarm at all times. Should an emergency arise in the middle of the night, your monitoring company will know. Without monitoring, it is up to you to know when something goes wrong.
The last thing to know is that paying for professional monitoring adds a level of convenience you don’t get from DIY monitoring. When you handle things yourself, you must always be on the alert. You must always be prepared to deal with phone notifications, even if one of your cameras is activated by a dog walking through the yard.
Paying for professional monitoring gives you the freedom to forget about things when you want to. You don’t have to constantly pay attention because your alarm company is doing it for you. There is a lot to be said for that kind of convenience. You are now up to speed on home alarm monitoring. What you do with the information is up to you. At the very least, think through your options carefully before you make a decision.