How much is piece of mind worth to you?

Security systems are really quite inexpensive when you consider how much money they can save you. The system can use sensors that detect not only intruders, but carbon monoxide, smoke, and water or cold temperatures. This will not only protect your belongings but it can also protect your home from damage and even save your life! At ADI we give you the choice of having the system monitored for a monthly fee or just as a stand alone system. We can even set it up so you can arm/disarm it over the Internet and receive email alerts when the system is armed, disarmed or tripped!

ADI can install a security system to protect you and your family from a variety of threats. We can also add Surveillance Cameras for extra piece of mind. Call or email today for a free quote or keep reading if you would like to know more about Alarm Systems.

Security systems are available with a wide range of features and at a wide range of prices. Let's talk about some of the things that you may want to consider when selecting an alarm system.

HARD-WIRED OR WIRELESS

In a hard-wired system, wires are run from every sensor in the system to the main control panel. If you are building a new home, this makes the most sense since you can run the wires while the walls are open. If you have an existing home, then a wireless system will usually make the most sense. In a wireless system, the sensors are not hard wired to the main control panel. Instead, they transmit radio signals to the main control panel. The bottom line is that in a wired system, the hardware is cheaper, but the installation is more expensive than the wireless system. Typically hard-wired systems are used in new construction and wireless systems are used in retrofit applications where running wires is difficult or impossible to do. Wireless systems have more on-going maintenance since all of the sensors have batteries that will need to be replaced from time to time. However they typically last for 3+ years.

TYPES OF SYSTEMS

Once you have determined whether you will use a wired or wireless system, the next thing to consider is how many zones the system can handle. Usually, every sensor in the system will require a zone. Control panels can be purchased with 8, 16, 32 or more zones. Some control panels have some number of wired zones AND some number of wireless zones. Most panels are expandable so that more zones can be added later. In the higher end control panels, you can get features like relay controls, lighting control and iPhone/iPad/Smartphone or Internet control. This allows you to do things like turn on lights in a room when a motion sensor detects movement or close the garage door from the alarm keypad. At ADI, we proudly install DSC alarm systems. Here are the types of sensors that are available:

  • Door sensors--Most alarm systems will start with door sensors on all of the main doors. Door sensors are recessed into the door jam, so that you can't even tell that they are there! You can also put a door sensor on your overhead Garage Door. How many times have you left the garage door open all night? With an alarm sensor on it, a quick look at the alarm keypad on your way to bed will let you know that the door was left open.
  • Motion Sensors--Next, you would add some PIR (Passive Infrared) motion sensors. These sensors must detect both a change in temperature and motion to trigger an alarm. This dual action cuts down on false alarms. But if you have pets, they can set off motion sensors causing false alarms. There are three ways to deal with this. First, you could put your pets into a part of the house that does not have motion sensors (laundry room, garage, basement) every time you leave your home and set the alarm. Second, you could let your pets roam the house, but NOT use PIR motion sensors. Instead, you could use glass break sensors (see below). Third, you could use a pet sensitive motion detector. These sensors mask out any small amount of motion from animals, and look for larger movement (like a person). Unfortunately, our experience shows that false alarms are still possible with this technology.
  • Perimeter Sensors--Perimeter sensors are used to secure outdoor areas like your driveway or yard. There are many different technologies like IR, Microwave or Laser available here.
  • Glass Break Sensors--Glass break sensors are basically microphones that "listen" for the frequencies that make up the sound of breaking glass. Glass break sensors can either attach directly to the window, or can mount on a near-by wall or ceiling covering multiple windows with a single sensor. Window attached glass break sensors are rarely used anymore.
  • Smoke Detectors--Many alarm companies install separate smoke detectors around your house that are located right next to the regular smoke detectors. We think this is a dumb idea for a bunch of reasons. First it looks dumb having two smoke detectors mounted on the ceiling right next to each other. Second you are paying twice for every smoke detector. And third, they usually only put alarm connected smoke detectors in a couple of areas in your home. By code, the electrician must install smoke detectors in all bedrooms and on all levels of your home and they must all be connected together so if one detects smoke, they all sound off. We simply add a relay to this system so that if any smoke detector in your home goes off, the alarm will call the central station.
  • Screens--What do you do for a ground floor bedroom where you may want to leave the window open at night but want to feel secure? The answer is to turn the screen into a sensor. What we do is take your window screen and send it to a company that replaces the screen material with a special screen that has a thin wire in it. It also has a contact on the bottom of the screen frame. So when connected to the alarm system, if someone cuts the screen or pushes the screen in, the alarm system will go off.
  • Temperature Sensor--If you only live in your home part of the year, you might want a low/high temperature sensor. If your heating system fails in the winter then the alarm system can let you or the central station know that the temperature is below a safe level, say 40 degrees. This could save you a lot of money if it keeps your pipes from freezing.
  • Carbon Monoxide Sensor--A Carbon Monoxide sensor can be added to the system so that you will be alerted to the presence of deadly carbon monoxide gas. Carbon Monoxide gas is colorless and odorless, and can kill you if levels get too high.
  • Water Sensor--For a basement, a water sensor will alert you if it senses water due to a broken/frozen pipe or if your sump overflows. We can even set it up to shut off the water to your home if it senses water! This can save you thousands of dollars in the event of a water leak.

TYPES OF KEYPADS

Keypads are the devices that allow you to arm and disarm the system, and give you feedback as to the status of the system. Usually you would put a keypad by each exit/entry point, and one in the master bedroom. Standard keypads have LEDs that let you know which zone has been tripped. We recommend using upgraded keypads that have an LCD display. Instead of telling you that "zone 1" has been tripped, it tells you in clear text that "Front Door" or "Basement Motion Sensor" has been tripped. This way, you know exactly which sensor is causing the alarm without having to remember what sensor "zone 1" represents.

AUTOMATION

In addition to or in place of Keypads, you can connect the security system to a whole-house control system. This allows you to use a Touch Screen Controller or iPhone/iPod/iPad or Android device to control the alarm system. So the same Touch Screen controller that you use to control your Radio, iPod, home theater or lighting can also be used to arm/disarm your alarm system and view surveillance cameras around your home! There are also web based options so you can control your alarm system and view cameras remotely using a web browser. And finally, alarm sensors can be used to trigger other events like:

- Turn on lights and adjust the heating/air conditioning in a room when motion is detected

- Turn on lights in the garage when the garage door is opened

- Turn on the outside lights when the garage door opens

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Control4 Wireless Touch Screen Controllers can be used to control everything from Audio/Video to Alarm Systems and even view Surveillance Cameras!

MONITORING

You can choose to have your alarm system monitored if you want. That means that if your alarm is set off, the system will dial up a central monitoring station, which in turn will call you and the police.

WIRELESS MONITORING

With standard monitoring, your phone line is used to dial the central station when an alarm is triggered. A professional thief may cut the phone line before he breaks in to your home so that the system can't dial the central station. To guard against this, a wireless dialer or the Internet can be used. This would use cell phone technology or your Internet connection to alert the central station if the phone line is cut. This also works for homes where there is no phone line. 

COSTS

Cost can be set up two ways. Some companies install the alarm system for free, but force you into a monthly monitoring contract for 3 or more years. Prices can be as high as $69.95 per month. Typically, you don't own the equipment at the end of the time period, you are just renting the equipment! Other companies charge for the alarm system, but allow you to choose whether you want monthly monitoring or not. Typical cost for the system and installation is $700.00 to $1,900.00 depending on the number of sensors and features. Monthly monitoring is $21.95 to $29.95 per month. At ADI, we charge for the alarm hardware and installation so that you own the system, and charge $23.95 per month if you choose to have the system monitored.