The following questions and answers will help explain some of the many qualities you should look for in a security system… and separate them from the bias of sales people
Q: Why Get an Alarm System?
A: People choose to install an alarm system for many reasons having to do with: the location of their home or business, frequent absences (e.g., business trips), medical emergencies and/or a desire for greater peace-of-mind. According to security experts, homes and commercial establishments with alarm monitoring are over 10 times less likely to be burglarized. Most insurance companies offer an additional discount on homeowner's insurance if you are protected by a home security monitoring system.
Q: First time buyers.
A: First time buyers of security systems often ask questions about what they should buy. They ask friends who have systems and salespeople who sell them.
Very often, friends don't know whether they have a genuine system or just a collection of parts. But they do know whether the installation was neat. They also know whether their alarm company offers timely, efficient service. Yes, it's OK to disregard comments like "they wouldn't do exactly what I wanted" since these may refer to things that were impractical, illegal or contrary to a life safety code. But do pay attention to comments like "they finished on time and cleaned up as they worked."
Q: What if my home alarm system loses power because of a power failure?
A: Every alarm system from Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc. comes with a backup battery already installed. This means that during power outages the alarm system will automatically switch to the backup battery. The battery will keep your alarm system powered for up to 24 hours, depending on how much you use the system during this time. After the main power of your home comes back on, the alarm system will begin recharging the backup battery until it is at full power again.
Q: Does having a home alarm system really make my homeowners insurance cheaper?
A: Yes! Insurance companies know that you are 3 to 4 times less likely to be burglarized by having a home alarm system in your home. This means they are less likely to have to pay large insurance claims on stolen property and are willing to give significant discounts to their customers that get monitored security alarms in their homes. The level of discount depends on the coverage of the alarm system and the area you live in, for more information contact your insurance company.
Q: Why should I test my alarm system regularly?
A: You should test your alarm system at least once a month, preferably once a week. This ensures that everything is working properly in case of an actual emergency. The biggest concern is the phone lines that the alarm system is hooked to. Testing will confirm that your alarm system has a strong connection to the phones and that the phone lines are working properly. If there ever is a problem that occurs during a test you then can get it fixed before is becomes a serious home alarm issue.
Q: Does a home alarm system really reduce my chance of being burglarized?
A: Yes! Studies have shown that homes with alarm systems in them are 3 to 4 times less likely of being burglarized. Burglars look for places without home alarm systems because it's easier and they have less chance of being caught.
Q: Should I get a wired system or a wireless system?
A: Many factors affect this choice. The major factor is the construction and decoration of the premises. Can the location be wired and how much labor will be involved in wiring for the alarm? Will wireless devices be able to communicate to the alarm panel? Plaster walls with metal lathe in them can block the wireless signals. Large mirrors, foil wallpaper, metal lockers and other radio systems nearby might prevent a wireless system from working properly.
Many new systems integrate wired devices with wireless devices. The main thing to consider is whether the system meets your current needs and whether it can expand to meet your future needs.
Q: Will the authorities charge me if they have to respond to a false alarm at my home or business?
A: There are penalties for false alarms which vary according to the jurisdiction and location. Usually there is no penalty for the first three offenses in one calendar year.
What is most important, however, is that false alarms can be easily avoided. Most false alarms occur at the key pad due to pressing the wrong buttons.
Make sure your alarm is easy to use and that you know how to cancel a false alarm immediately by calling your alarm monitoring station. There are usually no penalties or charges if you call right away.
Q: Do I need to put an alarm sensor on every exterior door and window?
A: It depends on what you are trying to protect. Are you mainly concerned about protecting your property when you are gone? Or is personal safety while you are home your main concern?
Protecting your property can be accomplished with interior motion sensors. You will still need a contact on the main entry/exit doors but if someone comes through the window, a properly positioned motion detector will set off your alarm instantly. One such motion detector can protect many windows.
On the other hand, the motion detectors must be turned off while you are home. So for personal safety, you probably want to alarm some or all of your windows. A wireless panic button is also a good solution.
Q: What about fire safety?
A: This is a security issue that is too often overlooked. Most homes have smoke detectors installed, but what happens if no one is home when they go off? More importantly, what if you don't wake up because carbon monoxide puts you into a deeper sleep?
A simple but priceless solution is to have at least one monitored smoke/heat detector to supplement the others in the house. This way, the fire department will come whether you are able to call them or not.
The average response time in La Porte and Michigan City is two to two and one-half minutes and the La Porte County Volunteer Departments have very good response times also. Property and life can be saved if the fire department is notified in a timely manner.
Q: What is VoIP/Digital Phone Service?
A: The on-going development of new technologies offers today’s consumers a wide range of new communications services, which are generically called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or Digital Phone services. These services are provided by cable companies, telecommunications companies and, in some cases, independent providers that rely on the Internet connections that are already present in the home. While all these technologies provide a form of telephone service, there may be differences in their range of features and reliability.
Q: Will switching to VoIP/Digital Phone service affect my security system?
A: It depends. For a VoIP/Digital Phone service user who elects to also keep a traditional telephone line, there should be no effect on the operation of their security system if they keep their alarm panel connected to their traditional telephone line. However, in many cases, subscribers considering these new technologies plan to disconnect the traditional telephone line that has been used to provide telephone service to the home. Before disconnecting their traditional phone line, homeowners should understand that some VoIP/Digital Phone services may expose them to additional risk of potential signal failure, such as the risk of losing operation of the security system during a power outage (the battery back-up for Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc.’s alarm panel does not power non-traditional telephone service). In some cases, some types of VoIP/Digital Phone service may not properly transmit signals from the home security system.
In recognition that there are potential reliability differences among non-traditional services, Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc. has outlined a set of characteristics that a non-traditional phone service provider must establish for its network in order to be acceptable to Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc. as a primary method of transmitting alarm signals to Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc.’s monitoring center. Any Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc. customer considering a change in telephone service should contact Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc. at 1-219-362-8969 to learn about the potential alarm signal transmission issues that can be associated with some VoIP/Digital Phone services and to learn which VoIP/Digital Phone service providers in your local area have informed Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc. that their network meets the necessary characteristics to become a Qualified Managed Facility Voice Network and are therefore included in Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc.’s policy as acceptable to Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc. as a primary method of transmitting alarm signal to Schnable Alarm Systems, Inc.’s monitoring center.
Q: Other questions not answered here.
A: If you have any other questions you would like answered, please go to our "Contact" page and ask us for our help in leading you in the right direction for your security needs.